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|Number of farmers, partners, directors and spouses (full and part time) working on the holding||Number of holdings with farmers, partners, directors and spouses|
Alun Michael: The Government are working with the industry on practical measures to reduce food miles in a way which is sustainable. The industry, particularly food retailers, has a crucial role to play in helping to reduce food miles. There are encouraging signs, notably in development of logistics planning and preparation of advice, but more could be done. Defra has commissioned research that is due to report this spring, analysing available data and making recommendations for indicators for measuring improvement.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many previously paid invoices for (a) direct compensation and (b) associated activities connected with the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease are being re-investigated. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to pages 6, 35, 36 and 37 of the National Audit Office Report Foot and Mouth Disease: Applying the LessonsReport by the Comptroller and Auditor General HC184 Session 20042005 2 February 2005".
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many ongoing claims and invoices for work connected with the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak have not been settled by her Department. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to pages 36 and 37 of the National Audit Office Report Foot and Mouth Disease: Applying the LessonsReport by the Comptroller and Auditor General HC184 Session 20042005 2 February 2005".
Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many homes in Leicester South constituency have benefited from the (a) home energy efficiency and (b) warm front schemes. 
Under the previous home energy efficiency scheme information was collected by local authority rather than parliamentary constituency. Between April 1991 and
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May 2000 the number of households assisted by the scheme in the Leicester city council area were:
|Number of households assisted|
Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with multiple retailers regarding their commercial treatment of primary producers; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: No meetings have been held with multiple retailers specifically to discuss their treatment of primary producers, though the subject will have arisen in the course of the Department's ongoing contacts with multiple retailers and other representatives of the food retail industry.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) Departments, (b) agencies and (c) public bodies she expects will be affected by the proposed merger of English Nature, the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency. 
Alun Michael: English Nature and the Countryside Agency are both statutory non-departmental public bodies. The Rural Development Service is part of core Defra. The new statutory non-departmental public body announced in the Rural Strategy 2004 will comprise all of English Nature, the landscape, access and recreation elements of the Countryside Agency and the environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service. No other Departments, agencies or public bodies will be involved in the merger.
In the Rural Strategy my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, also announced that the advocacy and advice role of the Countryside Agency would be refocused on a small expert body providing advice to government and advocacy on behalf of rural people. The establishment of the Commission for Rural Communities, initially within the legal framework of the Countryside Agency, but in due course as a statutory NDPB in its own right, was announced on 9 March. The socio-economic funding currently disbursed by the Countryside Agency is being devolved to the regional development agencies, together with control of the EU social and economic schemes of the England Rural Development Programme currently administered by the Rural Development Service while funding for Rural
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Community Councils will be continued, along with help for the rural voluntary and community sector, via Government offices.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of jobs which will be lost in the Grantham and Stamford constituency following the proposed merger of English Nature, the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency. 
Alun Michael: English Nature currently has an office in Grantham. Work is currently being undertaken on the structure, precise numbers of staff, and the potential future locations of offices of the new agency. As decisions have yet to be taken, it is not yet possible to know whether there will be an impact on jobs in the hon. Member's constituency.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the merger of English Nature, the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency on (a) the services they provide and (b) the general public. 
Alun Michael: The rural strategy set out the benefits of creating a new agency to champion integrated natural resource management, nature conservation, biodiversity, landscape, access and recreation. These were:
The new agency will be accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State for the exercise of its functions. Its annual report and accounts will be laid before Parliament and its performance will be monitored by Ministers as part of the corporate planning and reporting cycles.
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