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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department has taken in the last 12 months to investigate the potential use of continuous sampling technology for the monitoring of emissions from waste incinerators for dioxin levels. 
Mr. Morley: I understand that the Environment Agency has finished field tests of continuous dioxin sampling and analysis equipment. Reports on the field tests are still being written and will be available early next year. The Environment Agency will consider the regulatory implications of the conclusions of the reports when they are published.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions resulted in (a) convictions and
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(b) custodial sentences in each year since 1999 for offences related to (i) water resources, (ii) flood defences, (iii) fisheries, (iv) navigation, (v) process industry regulation, (vi) radioactive substances, (vii) waste and (viii) water quality as recorded in the National Enforcement Database; and what the average fines were where custodial sentences were awarded (A) in total and (B) broken down by region. 
|Total convictions/custodial sentences|
|Total convictions/custodial sentences|
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding her Department has allocated to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in each of the last 10 years; what plans she has for future levels of funding for the organisation; and if she will make a statement. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department takes to make sure that the cost and rigour of environmental regulation in the UK compares favourably with that of current and prospective members of the European Union. 
Mr. Morley: All Defra's policies are developed using impact assessments that consider the economic, social and environmental effects of different policy options. The majority of UK environment legislation comes from the EU and, to ensure the quality of legislation, Defra must work effectively with our EU partners and the European institutions to shape policy. Defra has an excellent international reputation for usefully influencing EU legislation. Notable recent successes in the EU include bringing about changes to the REACH chemical proposal to reduce its burden on business.
Defra's internal organisation promotes detailed scrutiny of policy proposals during their development. Economists form part of policy teams in advising both on costs and benefits and on the best ways to achieve policy goals. In April 2004, Defra's Better Regulation Unit (BRU) was enlarged to promote the Better Regulation agenda. It plays a role in scrutinising policy and in advising policy teams on aspects of policy making. The BRU are also undertaking studies into red tape and the cumulative burden on business of the whole stock of Defra regulations. Here, as in many other areas of Defra's work, Defra benefits from close contact and comparison with other EU member states. A recent example is the work done in the BRU to reduce red tape and administrative burdens on business, building on a Dutch methodology. One of the nine principles of policy making promoted in Defra is the need to be outward lookingto draw on experience in other countries and regions.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total external spending by her Department was on public private partnership (PPP) consultants in each of the last two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by her Department over this period; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total external spending by her Department was on private finance initiative (PFI) consultants in each of the past two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by her Department over this period; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: From information held centrally, and for the last two years to date, the Department has spent a total of £415,593 on private finance initiative (PFI) consultants. For 200304 the expenditure was £80,000 and for 200405 to date the expenditure is £335,593. Information on how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over the two-year period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; and what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
As part of its preparations for, and implementation of, the Gershon Value for money agenda in Defra, Pareto or detailed expenditure distribution analysis of departmental expenditure on professional services is now being undertaken, and will be made available publicly in due course. The analysis will define how many consultancy firms have been used by the Department over the past financial year.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations she received from (a) biotechnology companies, (b) environmental groups and (c) farming organisations regarding the application for a licence to import GT73 genetically modified oilseed rape into the European Union for use as animal feed (i) before and (ii) after 20 June. 
Mr. Morley: Defra Ministers have not, either before or after 20 June 2004, had any direct representations from biotechnology companies, or farming organisations regarding this application. I have received one letter from an environmental organisation which included, among other issues, a representation on this case. The Application by Monsanto Europe SA/NV for consent to import and market oilseed rape grain GT73 under Directive 2001/18 was made through the Netherlands Competent Authority. As part of the procedure there is a mandatory EU-wide system of written consultation for each commercial GM product application before any decision is made. This provides all members of the public throughout the EU with the opportunity to make representations, which are taken into account during the regulatory process. The UK authorities assessed the dossier after the Netherlands had submitted their opinion and considered that further information was necessary before coming to a decision. Monsanto subsequently provided some further information.
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