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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received about the effect of the recent proposal of the European Commission on cod stocks in the North sea; what expert advice she has received on the matter; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 25 January 2005]: The Commission published on 8 December 2004 its proposals for a regulation on total allowable catches and related measures for fishing in 2005. In relation to North sea cod, these proposals included maintaining the total allowable catch at the same level as 2004, a further strengthening of the days at sea rules and a series of closed areas in the North sea. fisheries Departments received numerous representations on the Commission's proposals from fishing interests, environmental organisations and others. The recently established North Sea Regional Advisory Council produced advice for the Fisheries Council on the proposal. The Government was also informed by advice from its fisheries scientists. At the Fisheries Council on 2122 December 2004, the Commission withdrew its proposals for closed areas but secured agreement to a strengthening of the days at sea regime. The total allowable catch of North sea cod for 2005which had been agreed in discussions between the EU and Norwaywas confirmed at 27,300 tonnes, the same level as in 2004.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what outbreaks of the Foot and Mouth virus have been identified by the Government as a possible common
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origin for the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK in February 2001 and the outbreak of September 2000 in South Africa; 
(2) if she will publish the phylogenetic analyses on which her Department's report Origin of the UK Foot and Mouth disease epidemic in 2001 based its conclusions on the introduction of the Foot and Mouth virus into Great Britain; 
(3) what phylogenetic evidence was used to support the conclusion of her Department's report Origin of the UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001 that the February 2001 UK outbreak and the September 2000 South African outbreak had a common origin as opposed to the South African outbreak being the origin of the UK outbreak; 
(4) whether the Government has received evidence of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak isolate that has a closer phylogenetic relationship to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in February 2001 in the UK than the outbreak of September 2000 in South Africa; 
(5) what further analyses of the genome sequences of isolates from the February 2001 UK Foot and Mouth outbreak and the September 2000 South African Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks, and their likely origins, have been performed since the publication of her Department's report, Origin of the UK foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2001. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to appoint the Chairman and Board of the proposed new integrated agency for rural delivery. 
Alun Michael: We would like to appoint a Chair-elect and a Board-elect before the 'Integrated Agency' is formally vested to help guide the development of the new organisation. The timing of the appointment will be dependent on the legislative process for establishing the 'Integrated Agency' in statute. We intend to bring forward legislation as soon as practicable, and to publish a draft bill as an early step.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the effects on costs are expected to be from the proposed merger of English Nature with parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. 
The Government announced in the 2004 Spending Review the Department's plan to generate efficiencies of £13 million a year by 200708 through the Modernising Rural Delivery Programme. Establishment of the Integrated Agency will generate efficiencies from a number of sources, principally reduced estates and staff costs from the merger of the three constituent organisations and the application of Gershon principles to deliver better value for money from back office services. These will contribute at least £6.5 million cumulative efficiencies by 200708 with further efficiencies in 200809 and 200910.
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The total main investment costs required to implement the Modernising Rural Delivery Programme as a whole are estimated to be approximately £40 million. These costs are expected to fall in financial years 200405 to 200809. Of this, it is estimated that around £30 million will be needed for establishment of the Integrated Agency. There may also be an additional ongoing cost associated with providing common terms and conditions for staff in the Agency.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the UK is making towards the target of 40 per cent. of materials for growing media and soil improvers being peat-free by 2005. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The 2001 survey monitoring the use of peat and alternative products for growing media and soil improvers in the UK showed that 37 per cent. of the total consumption of the supply of materials used as soil improvers and growing media was peat-free. In 1999, 32 per cent. was peat-free. A new survey will monitor the use of peat and peat free alternatives for growing media alternatives between 2005 and 2010.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has for meeting the Government's target of 90 per cent. peat-free materials for growing media and soil improvers by 2010. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are currently working to establish a stakeholder forum which we hope will contribute to the development of an action plan to achieve sustainable reduction in peat use in the UK. Although there have been delays in convening this forum, we hope to hold a first meeting in the first half of this year.
In addition Defra is sponsoring research through the Horticulture LINK and other programmes (for example WRAP) to develop sustainable growing media solutions for the horticulture industry with less reliance on peat use.
Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Government initiatives exist to promote the planting of trees; and what assessment she has made of the effect they have had on tree numbers. 
New incentives to promote the planting of trees in England will be launched later this year. The Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) will combine and replace incentives for the establishment of new woodland that were available under the Commission's Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) and Defra's Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS). Defra's Environmental Stewardship Scheme which is replacing Countryside Stewardship and Environmentally Sensitive Area Schemes will build on past achievements by providing incentives for small-scale tree planting.
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In addition to these England-wide schemes there are various regional and local initiatives aimed at increasing tree cover; notably the National Forest in the Midlands and the twelve Community Forest partnerships based close to urban areas.
Our target is to create 30,000 hectares of new woodland over the seven-year period, 200006, of the England Rural Development Programme. In the period 1 April 200031 March 2004, 24,198 hectares of new woodland had been planted with WGS and, where qualifying, FWPS support. The majority of trees planted under regional and local initiatives over the same period will have attracted WGS/FWPS support.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what the running costs of each Select Committee of the House were in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what part of those costs were accounted for by (a) staff costs and (b) costs of publication and printing. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Sessional Return (HC 1, 200405), published on 25 January 2005, gives a detailed breakdown of expenditure by each Select Committee of the House of Commons for Session 200304. Section10C gives financial information for financial year 200304 and Session 200304. The figures do not include accommodation and other centrally provided support costs.
Staff salary costs for the Committee Office in financial year 200304 were approximately £6.3 million. Several Committees are staffed from outside the Committee Office by staff who in many cases have other responsibilities, as set out at pages 36263 of the Return.
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