Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the salary of the (a) chair, (b) chief executive and (c) board members of the Office of Water Services is; and how many days' work per week each is expected to undertake. 
Mr. Morley: The Office of Water Services does not have a chair, chief executive or statutory board. The Director General of Water Services is the statutory regulator. He is employed on a full time basis and assisted by a committee of full time senior managers and a non-statutory board, which includes four non-executive advisory directors who work two days a month. The Director General's salary in 200304 was in the pay band £140145,000. Salaries and benefits of other senior members of Ofwat are published in the Ofwat Resource Accounts 200304 (note 3 of the accounts) which is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when it was decided to announce an inquiry into Ofwat's performance on its recommendations on price limits for water and sewerage for England and Wales; and if she will list representations she received on the matter; 
However, Ofwat indicated to the EFRA committee in October its intention to review the way in which it carried out its two-year review of price limits for the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. The steering group conducting this review will be chaired by John Baker, a non-executive advisory director of Ofwat. The Director General of Water Services appointed the Chairman of this inquiry.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) reasons for and (b) consequences of rising emissions of (i) nitrogen dioxide and (ii) ammonia from the road transport sector between 1990 and 2002. 
Mr. Morley: Most emissions of nitrogen oxides (nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide) at the point of release are nitric oxide. Under normal circumstances the emitted nitrogen monoxide rapidly reacts to form nitrogen dioxide. The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) does not report separately emissions of nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides from road transport decreased by 45 per cent. between 1990 and 2002 from 1,295 to 711 kte. This is mainly as a result of the increase in the proportion of the vehicle fleet fitted with catalysts and improvements in the emissions of nitrogen oxides from diesel fuelled vehicles.
The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) reported in 2004 that there may have been an increase in the proportion of nitrogen dioxide emitted directly from the tailpipe of diesel vehicles as a result of increased diesel activity and the fitting of specific types of particle matter traps. AQEG's report can be viewed at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/ageg/nitrogen- dioxide/index.htm.
Emissions of ammonia from road transport were only 4.2 per cent. of the national ammonia emission total in 2002. They had increased between 1990 and 2002 from 0.85 to 11.97 kte. The increase in ammonia releases from road transport is related to the growth in the number of vehicles fitted with three- way catalysts. These produce ammonia and nitrous oxide as a by-product of the catalytic process that reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides. Improvements in catalyst technology and engine management systems has reduced ammonia emissions in recent years. The NAEI reports ammonia emissions from road transport peaked in 2000 and are now starting to fall as these new vehicles penetrate the fleet. The NAEI can be viewed at http://www.naei.org.uk.
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Reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides from road transport reduces the ambient levels of nitrogen dioxide. This decreases the areas where air quality objectives are exceeded and reduces the detrimental health effects associated with high ambient levels of nitrogen dioxide. Increased primary emissions of nitrogen dioxide may have a significant impact on roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations in areas where there is considerable diesel activity.
The consequences of the rise in emissions of ammonia from road transport are thought to be relatively slight. While there may, on occasion, be a detectable odour from some catalyst equipped cars. Emission of ammonia from road transport tend to occur mostly in urban locations, whereas the main ecological effects of ammonia occur to rural ecosystems.
Alun Michael: The Cabinet Office collects and publishes annually statistical information on the Civil Service by Department. These include data on the number of women in senior positions in Departments.
The latest available information at April 2004 is available in the Library and on the Civil Service website at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/management information/statistical_information/statistics/publications/xls/disability_apr04_4nov04.xls
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days sick leave were taken by civil servants in the Department in each year since 1997; and what the sickness absence rate was in each year. 
Alun Michael: Defra did not come into existence until June 2001. The following table shows the total number of days sickness absence taken each year since 1997 in the first column, the second column shows the average rate of sickness absence (per staff year 1 ) for each full year.
|Total sickness absence (days)
|Average days sick per staff year
Defra is committed to managing sickness absence effectively. On 1 December the Department introduced a new sickness absence policy, which includes many of the recommendations contained in the report on Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector produced jointly by the Ministerial Task Force for Health Safety and Productivity and the Cabinet Office.
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department has offered to farmers in respect of the operation of the single farm payment for those whose farms include (a) access to common land, (b) land which has been part of an agri-environmental scheme during the reference period, (c) land which during the reference period was in a different single farm payment regime than applied during the application period and (d) land which has been subject to a tenancy agreement for a period less than six years in length. 
Alun Michael: Our aim is to ensure that all farmers are as well informed as possible about implementation of the Single Payment Scheme in England. Regular meetings have been held to consult farmers and their representatives in advance of our decisions on implementation. Once those decisions are made, they are communicated through News Releases, updates on the Department's website and, at regular intervals, consolidated in publications sent to all farmers in England. So far, these have included:
(b) Advice on what to do in circumstances where land was in an agri-environment scheme during the reference period was sent to all existing subsidy claimants by the RPA in July and August as part of the application pack for the "hardship" provisions of the scheme. Further information on the precise effect on the reference amount for individuals has just been announced.
(c) Those who have ceased farming in a region where they have a right to a reference amount will not lose that benefit. We are currently discussing details with the Devolved Administrations of how a transfer will work and those details will be announced shortly.
(d) Those with tenancy agreements of less than six years can access the scheme in the same way as any other applicant. However there are three National Reserve categories where there is a requirement that leases must be of six or more years