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Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the costof staff mobile phone bills was in each year since 1997. 
Alun Michael: The following table shows the expenditure in fiscal years since the Department was formed in 2001.
|Mobile phones (£000)|
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in her Department and agencies (a) are and (b) will be fully or partly employed in preparing for the merger of English Nature with parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: Many members of staff across the Department and its Agencies are contributing, to the successful creation of an integrated agency as part of their normal duties. This will be achieved through the merger of English Nature with parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. The level of involvement varies between individuals according to their specific roles.
The detailed activities involved in establishing an integrated agency are being co-ordinated by a dedicated project team consisting of people from across the three organisations, as well as from within core Defra. The project team consists of 23 people working on the project either full time, or for a significant part of their time. This number is planned to increase to 28 from April 2005.
In addition, a team has been established within Defrato ensure the overall successful implementation of the Modernising Rural Delivery programme, of which establishment of an integrated agency forms a significant part. This team comprises 34 members of staff.
As the establishment of the new agency progresses, there will be increasing involvement from additional members of staff. In due course, all those employed by the three organisations who will join the integrated agency will be involved to some extent.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on postage by the Department and its predecessors in each year since 1997. 
The information set out in the following table details postage costs for Defra's London and Guildford HQ sites from 200001, when Defra came into existence.
21 Feb 2005 : Column 60W
|Post and courier||396,069||447,268||209,240||248,334|
|Inter departmental service||95,313||93,373||94,640||96,853|
|Post and courier||10,000||7,500||8,500||9,000|
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the REACH (Chemicals) Directive on UK industry; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: The Government have worked with all stakeholders to ensure that the REACH proposal is well focused on achieving maximum practical benefit to human health and the environment with a minimum of direct impact on industrial competitiveness. In particular, our proposal for 'one substance, one registration' is intended to lower costs to industry as well as improving the consistency of information available on chemicals across Europe and keeping animal testing to a minimum. We have recently completed a study which indicates that, if 'one substance, one registration' were to be adopted, the cost to industry and the authorities of REACH would be decreased by at least €77 million in comparison to the Commission estimates on the basis of the current proposals.
The UK partial regulatory impact assessment is based on the current proposals and primarily reflects the direct costs to industry of REACH which are estimated at £515 million over the 11-year phase in period. This is equivalent to total direct costs across the EU of approximately £2.4 billion. These are in line with European Commission estimates published in October 2003 of a maximum overall cost of the revised proposal (including indirect costs) of €7.5 billion. We are currently carrying out further impact assessment work to assess the indirect costs passed down the supply chain.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the Rural Payments Agency to start making payments under the Single Farm Payment. 
Alun Michael: The payment window for the Single Payment Scheme is 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006. The objective has always been to make as many payments as early as practicable within that window.
The Rural Payments Agency issued a news release on 19 January confirming that the most probable date for payments to start is February 2006.
Mr. Ian Taylor:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects
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to publish the terms of reference of the agency to be created by the merger of English Nature and parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. 
Alun Michael: The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill was published in draft on 10 February 2005. Among other things this Bill contains provisions to establish the new Agency and set out its purpose. Copies of the draft Bill have been placed in the Vote Office.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of sewage were discharged into the River Thames in the last five years, broken down by water utility; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: It is important to draw a distinction between treated and untreated sewerage discharges. Treated effluent discharges from sewage treatment works and some intermittent discharges from overflows during wet weather are measured in cubic metres. Discharges consented by the Environment Agency are made to the Thames by three water companies: Thames Water (inland and estuary); Anglian Water and Southern Water (estuary only).
Thames Water reports it has discharged an estimated 4,800 million cubic metres of sewage effluent to the Thames in the last five years. Of this, 4,500 million cubic metres receives secondary treatment. Some of this effluent also receives more stringent treatment at Abingdon, Little Marlow and Windsor's sewage treatment works, which discharge to the freshwater section of the Thames. Approximately, 100 million cubic metres will have been treated storm sewage from treatment works, and the remaining 200 million cubic metres as untreated storm sewage (sewage and rainwater run-off). It is estimated that about 30 per cent. of storm sewage is discharged unmeasured.
I provided a breakdown of this information in a written answer to a similar question from the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), on 15 December 2004, Official Report, column 1111W.
The consented daily dry weather effluent flows, which receive secondary treatment prior to discharge, from three sewage works operated by Anglian Water are 95,514 cubic metres. As it is generally accepted that average daily flows are 1.25 times the dry weather flow, it is estimated that 218 million cubic metres of treated effluent has been discharged from these works (Canvey Island, Southend and Tilbury) in the last five years.
Southern Water discharges effluent after it has received secondary treatment from two sites (Gravesend and Northfleet). In the last five years (200004) the sewage treatment works at Gravesend has discharged approximately 19 million cubic metres of treated effluent. Since April 2001, when flow monitors were installed at the Northfleet sewage works approximately 12.5 million cubic metres of treated effluent has been discharge to the end of 2004.
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Storm sewage is discharged to the Thames at three sites at times of unusually heavy rainfall when the capacity of sewerage system is exceeded. The consents for these storm overflows do not require Southern Water to monitor the volume of discharges that occur.
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