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7 Jul 2005 : Column 565W—continued


Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department gives to local authorities on measures to combat fly-tipping. [9208]

Mr. Bradshaw: Guidance was issued to local authorities, and others, on the new powers to tackle fly-tipping that were included in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and which were commenced with effect from 7 June. The 2005 Act contains further powers for local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for some offences. The Department is funding ENCAMS to provide training for local authorities on how to use these powers later in 2005, in advance of the powers being commenced in April 2006.
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We are funding the Environment Agency through a project known as Flycapture Enforcement to provide additional training for local authority enforcement officers and local authority lawyers on how to successfully build cases against those responsible for fly-tipping offences and on hew to use the full range of enforcement powers that are now available to them. It is hoped that this training will be available from September.

Finally, we have commissioned the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science to carry out research into the causes and incentives of fly-tipping. One of the outputs of this work will be a good practice guide for local authorities on effective strategies for reducing fly tipping levels in their area. This should be available in the spring of 2006.

Newcastle Brown Ale

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) product specification, (b) production and (c) content disclosures were required as a result of the granting of protected geographical indicator status to Newcastle Brown Ale in 1998; and in what form such disclosures were made. [9875]

Jim Knight: Newcastle Brown Ale was registered as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under Article 17 of EC Regulation 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Article 17, which no longer applies, required the applicant to send the full product specification, including a list of raw materials and the method of production, to the competent authority in their member state. Article 17 did not require the publication of a summary specification in the Official Journal of the European Union. However, a copy of the, summary specification is available at

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations were carried out on the proposed removal of protected geographical indicator status from Newcastle Brown Ale; in what form comments were sought; and how many replies were received. [9876]

Jim Knight: Defra wrote to the relevant industry organisations on 9 July 2004 and invited written comments from them. In addition, officials were already in correspondence with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) about the application by the producers for cancellation of the registration of protected geographical indication status for Newcastle Brown Ale. The Department has, to date, received two replies, including the correspondence from CAMRA.

Pet Cemeteries

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the hon. Member for Wight will receive the substantive reply promised in the Prime Minister's letter of 2 June concerning his response of 25 May 2005, Official Report, column 699, about pet cemeteries. [10089]

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Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 6 July 2005]: I wrote to the hon. Member on 4 July and explained that I was taking up the issue with the Environment Agency on the subject of fees for the regulation of pet cemeteries. I will write to the hon. Member substantively in due course and place a copy of my letter in the Library.

Press Officers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many press officers the Department and its predecessors employed in each year since 1997; and what the cost was in each year. [8137]

Jim Knight: Defra was set up in June 2001. Figures relating to the number of press officers by the Departments subsumed into the new Department would not correspond accurately to the scope of the current press office.

Year on year comparisons since that date are as follows:
As at JunePress officers

The numbers vary within the course of any one year.

The information on costs of press officers could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the salary and directly related costs for all permanent and temporary staff for both press officers and support staff were as follows:
Financial year£ million

Rural Pathfinders

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the Rural Pathfinders in England; on what date each was established; and what outcomes they have achieved since inception. [10385]

Jim Knight: There are eight rural delivery pathfinders, one in each of the Government Office regions (outside London):

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Announced as part of the Government's Rural Strategy in July 2004, the pathfinders were formally-launched on 14 March 2005 and will run through to April 2007. It is too early to expect outcomes from the work to date but the pathfinders have been working closely with their local and regional partners to develop a shared agreed business plan to tackle local priorities and identify practical solutions to gaps, blockages or failures in service delivery to rural customers.

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the terms of reference of the Rural Pathfinder for the Peak District are; which other agencies are involved in its work; and if she will make a statement. [10416]

Jim Knight: As set out in the "pathfinders prospectus" published in March 2005, a copy of which has been made available in the Library of the House, the overall aim of the rural delivery pathfinders is to explore and test opportunities for more joined up, flexible and effective approaches to rural delivery at a local level. This includes innovation in rural development and delivery of services in rural areas, and better prioritisation of existing resources, in line with local priorities, towards areas, communities and people with the greatest needs. The prospectus sets out in more detail the overarching framework within which all pathfinders, including the one in the Peak District Rural Action Zone, are operating.

In the Peak District RAZ pathfinder, the focus is on access to services with particular emphasis on access to support a sustainable rural economy and community regeneration. Local priorities for action include affordable housing, sustainable tourism, promoting local distinctiveness, learning and skills, and enhancing and sustaining a high quality environment. More detail can be found in the outline business plan published at the pathfinders launch on 14 March 2005 (and to be found at

From the outset the pathfinder has aimed for an inclusive approach; the cross-border nature of the area makes this imperative. The steering group formed to oversee the preparatory work for the pathfinder involves two Local Strategic Partnerships (Derbyshire and Staffordshire), six local authorities, a National Park Authority, a sub-regional Strategic Partnership, the voluntary and community sector, representation from the Natural England confederation, a Rural Community Council, a Government Office and RDA. further linkages are being developed with other partners within the East and West Midlands.
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The pathfinders represent a key element of DEFRA's agenda to ensure that decisions on service delivery can be taken closer to the customer. We have allowed local areas to set the agenda for what they tackle. This is critical because we are embarked on a radical process of improving the way in which we support rural delivery, as outlined in Rural Strategy 2004. The pathfinders provide us and our delivery partners with an opportunity to recognise and respond to difficulties and opportunities and better meet rural needs.

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