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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to ensure that advice from her officials is made available to Department for Trade and Industry Ministers on energy matters. 
Mr. Morley: Defra continues to work closely with DTI across a wide range of policy issues on a daily basis. There are a number of formal channels, including several different elements of the Sustainable Energy Policy Network, the Joint Working Group on Energy and Environment, the UK Emissions Trading Group and the Climate Change Programme Review Project Board. These provide a platform for cross-departmental discussion and cooperation at both ministerial and official levels.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings of the (a) EU Committee on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitat), (b) EU Committee for the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade and (c) EU Scientific Review Group for the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade are planned for the UK Presidency of the EU; who will be presiding over each meeting; which other UK representatives will be present; what provision is in place for representation of the devolved governments; and if she will make a statement. 
(a) the EU Committee on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Habitats) is scheduled to meet once during the UK Presidency, on 19 October 2005. Meetings of this Committee are chaired by an official from the European
(b) The EC CITES Committee (The Committee on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora) is scheduled to meet once during the UK Presidency of the EU, on 13 October 2005. Meetings of this Committee are chaired by an official from the European Commission and UK representation on this occasion will comprise one official from the Department and one from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Representatives from the devolved administrations may also attend the meeting.
(c) The Scientific Review Group (SRG) is scheduled to meet twice during the UK Presidency of the EU, on 25 October 2005 and 20 December 2005. Meetings of this Group are chaired by an official from the European Commission and are ordinarily attended by DEFRA's scientific advisors from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). Representatives from the devolved administrations may also attend the meeting.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings of the (a) EU Standing Committee on agricultural research and (b) EU Community Committee on the farm accountancy data network are planned for the UKPresidency of the EU; who will be presiding over each meeting; what other UK representatives will be present; what provision is in place for representation of the devolved governments; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The EU Standing Committee on Agricultural Research will meet once during the current UK Presidency of the EU. The European Commission provides the Chair for the Committee and it will be attended by DEFRA. My Department will consult the devolved Administrations before the meeting and they are also invited to attend.
The EU Community Committee for the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) will also meet once during the UK Presidency. This will be chaired by the European Commission. As in previous meetings, there will be two UK representatives, this time from DEFRA and DARDNI.
The Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission was set up by Government in 2000 to look at social and ethical issues relating to developments in biotechnology which have implications for agriculture and the environment, and to provide strategic advice to Government. In its second report it took a strategic look at the issues associated with animals and biotechnology and investigated the regulatory system to see if it could cope with future developments in agriculture and the environment. It generally concluded that the issues facing GM and cloned animals should be considered in the same way as for animals selected through established breeding procedures.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the information derived from the Government-sponsored farm-scale evaluation of Bayer's herbicide-resistant GM oilseed rape, in respect of the capacity to cross-breed with charlock, was available to Ministers when the Minister for Climate Change voted in the EU Council in relation to France and Greece lifting their bans on GM oilseed rape. 
Mr. Morley: Assessment of the possibility of cross-breeding (hybridisation) between a genetically modified (GM) plant and any wild relatives is a key aspect of the risk assessment carried out prior to any decision on the release or marketing of a GM plant. The capacity for cross-breeding (hybridisation) to occur between oilseed rape and a small number of sexually compatible wild species in the wild in Europe is well known and well documented. The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment has given advice on this matter. The likelihood of hybridisation occurring and the resulting impact on the environment of such events were part of the assessments for the types of oil seed rape currently approved in the European Union.
This was our understanding when Ministers voted in EU Council and there has been no new information that has altered this understanding. The results of the research that you refer to confirmed our understanding of the likelihood and frequency of cross-pollination between oil-seed rape and its wild relatives. The actual research report was not published until after the vote taken at council.
Jim Knight: The Government has no plans to ban the importation of hunting trophies. Powers are available to restrict the import and keeping of hunting trophies and we shall not hesitate to use these if there is evidence that this trade is illegal or unsustainable.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) organic foods, (b) drinking water, (c) parsnips and (d) yoghurt consumed in the UK which is imported. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will require plant variety officers to maintain open lists of protected varieties under their marketing names. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The publication Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette" includes lists of protected varieties under their approved names. An approved name is required by the plant breeders' rights regulations, but it is a decision for the holder of plant breeders' rights whether or not to give a marketing name to the protected variety in addition to this.
Mr. Bradshaw: The main effects of the Plant Varieties Act 1997 were extending the scope of plant breeders' rights to cover all plant genera and species and to include farm saved seed. Since the Act was introduced, applications for 10 species have been received for which UK plant breeders' rights were not available prior to its introduction. UK farmers and plant breeders have collaborated in introducing a system to collect royalties on farm saved seed.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the circumstances under which naturally occurring plants may be (a) patented and (b) subject to plant breeders' rights. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Plant breeders' rights may be granted on a variety of any plant genera or species. However, simply discovering a variety growing in the wild would not entitle a person to a grant of rights on it. For such rights to be available the naturally occurring variety would need to be further developed.
Plant varieties themselves cannot be patented. However inventions that concern plants may be patentable if the technical feasibility of the invention is not confined to a particular plant variety. Patents may therefore claim plant genera or species but they cannot claim individual varieties.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to amend the labelling of plants covered by plant breeders' rights to prevent plants whose propagation forsale is prohibited being labelled as propagation illegal. 
UK plant breeders' rights are governed by the Plant Varieties Act 1997. While offering protection against unauthorised commercial propagation, plant breeders' rights do not prevent propagation for private and non-commercial purposes. At present we are
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not proposing to introduce any specific labelling requirements in this respect in relation to plant breeders' rights.
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