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20 Dec 2004 : Column 1346W—continued

Equipment Leasing

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the equipment leasing arrangements entered into by her Department in each of the last two years; and what the cost is to public funds in each case. [202363]

Alun Michael: From information held centrally, the cost to public funds of equipment leasing arrangements entered into by the core Department in each of the last two years is £1,257,143 for financial year 2002–03 and £512,293 for financial year 2003–04. The leasing arrangements covered photocopiers, postal franking machines and other miscellaneous office equipment.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the total EU fishing catch was taken in waters within the (a) UK 12 mile limit and (b) UK 200 mile or median line limit in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by species. [204218]

Mr. Bradshaw: Information on the catches by vessels of other member states is only available in terms of totals for the sea areas involved, and this does not include any breakdown of catches in terms of those caught within the UK 12-mile limit or within the UK
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200 mile or median line limit. As such, the information requested is not available, and could be made available only through requesting such information from the individual member states concerned.


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many gyms are available to staff in the Department; and what the cost of providing them was in the last year for which figures are available. [204377]

Alun Michael: The Department has five gymnasiums on its estate. These make an important contribution to the health and well-being of Defra staff but it is difficult to reflect this in terms of monetary value. The cost of these for the year 2003–04 is £82,500 for rent and rates although some are located in basement areas with limited alternative uses. There would also be an unquantifiable cost for utilities. The gymnasiums are run by the members who pay from their own resources for equipment, training and any other operational charges.

Horse Passports

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horse passports have been issued to date, broken down by issuing authority. [204129]

Alun Michael: The following is a list of the most recent figures that English Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) have submitted to Defra. Fifty-three out of fifty-eight (53/58) have submitted such information. No figures have been received from five organisations, Appaloosa Horse Club, British Bravian Warmblood Association, British Morgan Horse Society, British Warmblood Association and Friesan Horse Society GB.

Additionally, there is one organisation (British Horse Database) that has ceased trading. The passports that were issued by this organisation remain valid and are updated by Weatherbys.
Names of passport issuing organisationsPassports issued
American Miniature Horse Club5
American Saddlebred Association GB183
Anglo European Studbook11,175
American Quarter Horse Association—UK937
Arab Horse Society15,659
British Appaloosa Society1,020
British Association Purebred Spanish Horse Ltd.400
British Connemara Pony Society2,031
British Driving Society15,603
British Falabella Studbook9
British Hanoverian Horse Society600
British Harness Racing Club521
British Horse Society20,900
British Miniature Horse Society1470
British Palomino Society467
British Percheron Horse Society775
British Show Jumping Association (BSJA)2,944
British Skewbald and Piebald Association694
British Spotted Pony Society710
Caspian Breed Society UK152
Caspian Horse Society165
Cleveland Bay Horse Society2,000
Dales Pony Society1,328
Dartmoor Pony Society4,674
Donkey Breed Society4,900
EquiCours/Selle Francais18
Exmoor Pony Society1,418
Gypsy Cob Society159
Hackney Horse Society718
Haflinger Society510
Horse Passport Agency52,008
Horse Passports Ltd.1,331
Hurlingham Polo Association4,440
Icelandic Horse Society434
Irish Draught Horse Society GB14,000
Lipizzaner Society of GB171
Lustiano Breed Society GB185
Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association218
National Pony Society8,830
New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society9,962
Pet ID UK35,316
Pleasure Horse Society12,500
Shire Horse Society3,487
Sport Horse Breeding of GB17,546
Sports Pony Studbook Society292
Spotted Horse and Pony Society1,582
Spotted Pony Breed Society GB497
Suffolk Horse Society181
Trakehner Breeders Fraternity876
United Saddlebred Association—UK134
Weatherbys ID34,686
Weatherbys thoroughbred173,325

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National Forest Company

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people are employed by the National Forest Company; what its running cost was in the last year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement on its future. [203101]

Alun Michael: The total staff complement of the National Forest Company in 2003–04 was 17.5. The Company's actual running cost expenditure for that year was £1,096,674.

The National Forest Company will continue aiding the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the north midlands by developing a major forest resource there.

Pesticide Run-Off

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the latest research on pesticide run-off into water supplies; and what her Department's advice on sheep dipping is. [205500]

Alun Michael: Earlier research indicated that surface runoff from crop protection pesticides applied in the field to adjacent surface water was low compared to the amount that reached surface waters from field drains or applications of herbicides to man made surfaces. Therefore recent research has concentrated on pesticide movement from the field to surface waters via field
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drainage systems. This research has shown that recommendations on the timing of applications were critical for minimising water concentrations.

Defra has now commissioned a project looking into the scientific basis for mitigation differentiated by soil type to reduce pesticide transport to surface waters in drain flow. The results of this work are expected towards the end of 2007. The Department has also recently completed research that developed a model to estimate pesticide concentrations that arise from run-off from hard man made surfaces to surface water.

The Environment Agency is also funding development of a Decision Support tool which will enable us to determine the environmental impact of different land use combinations. Within this tool will be a module that considers pesticide impacts. This tool will be available within 1–2 years.

Since 1 April 1995 the sale and supply of OP based sheep dips has been restricted to only those people holding a Certificate of Competence. The Certificate of Competence scheme is run by the National Proficiency Tests Councils (NPTC) and covers all aspects of the use of sheep dips and of dip disposal.

In 1998 an advisory booklet (AS29) entitled "Sheep Dipping" was produced jointly by HSE; SEPA; VMD and the Environment Agency. The booklet provides detailed guidance on sheep dipping including the correct disposal of sheep dip. This booklet was sent to all sheep farmers in 1994 and again in 1998 and is available free of charge from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and online:

Special Advisers

Mr. Andrew Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether departmental special advisers have written to external (a) bodies and (b) individuals in their official capacity since May 1997. [204288]

Alun Michael: I refer to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the then Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Ruth Kelly) on 14 December 2004, Official Report, column 1004W.

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