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28 Oct 2005 : Column 556W—continued


Departmental Electricity

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the annual spending by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on electricity use has been in each year since 1997. [18138]

Nick Ainger: The Wales Office was established in July 1999. Electricity bills for its premises were paid by the National Assembly for Wales until 2000. Payments made by the Wales Office since are:
Financial year£

Figures for financial year 2005–06 will be available in April 2006

Departmental Spending

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on items of art in 2004–05. [23467]

Nick Ainger: The Wales Office expenditure for items of art in 2004–05 was nil.

EU Directives

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh First Minister and (b) other Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government concerning the implementation in Wales of European Commission Directives covering (i) the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and (ii) the setting of standards for efficient energy use. [18269]

Nick Ainger: My right hon. Friend and I have regular meetings with Assembly Ministers on a variety of matters, including measures to promote energy efficiency. EU Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings will be implemented through revisions to Building Regulations; this is not a devolved matter. ODPM announced on 13 September changes to Parts F and L of the Building Regulations to implement this Directive from April 2006 in England and Wales. The
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Assembly is represented on the Building Regulations Advisory Committee and is therefore aware of on-going developments.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects Herceptin to be available to patients in Wales for the treatment of early stage breast cancer. [19905]

Nick Ainger: All women in Wales diagnosed with breast cancer can already be tested to see if they might benefit from Herceptin.

Herceptin is currently available in England and Wales for patients in the later stages of breast cancer. It is also available for some patients in the early stages of breast cancer, though only in exceptional circumstances.

The Secretary of State for Health has already asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to begin their preparatory work on Herceptin so they will be in a position to produce guidance quickly when the drug is licensed.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many volunteering positions his Department has offered in each of the last five years. [17885]

Nick Ainger: The Wales Office recognises the benefits of volunteering both to the individual and the organisation. Wales Office staff are able to take one day's special leave a year to take part in voluntary and community activities.

The Wales Office considers requests from individuals who wish to volunteer within the Department. The Department does not hold information on the number of volunteering positions offered in each of the last fiveyears. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Farm Business Advice Service

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers have used the farm business advice service, broken down by region. [22178]

Jim Knight: The original three day farm business advice service was launched in October 2000 and ended on 31 March 2005.

The original service was delivered to 17,676 farmers, broken down on a regional basis as follows:
North West2,720
North East733
Yorkshire and Number1,588
West Midlands1,732
East Midlands2,175
East of England1,421
South East and London2,401
South West4,906

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Resources for the service were allocated based on the region's share of the total number of holdings in England.

A restructured service focussing on the business implications of the single payment scheme began delivery in October 2005 until March 2007. The restructured service has a target of delivering one-to-one advice to 15,000 farmers over its lifetime.

Hill Farming

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average income for a hill farmer in (a) Cumbria and (b) England has been in each year since 1997. [19183]

Jim Knight: Information on the average income for a hill farmer in (a) Cumbria and (b) England in each year since 1997 is given in the following table:
Net farm income—grazing livestock (LFA) farms


(3)Excludes farms subjected to compulsory foot and mouth disease cull.
Farm business survey

Net farm income is defined as the return to the principal farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and on the tenant type capital of the business.

Non-native Species

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in meeting the eight key recommendations contained in the 2003 review of policy on non-native species; and if she will make a statement. [19131]

Jim Knight: The review of non-native species policy was undertaken by a working group comprising representatives from Government, the devolved administrations, the statutory nature conservation agencies, conservation and animal welfare NGOs and the trade sector. Their report, published in 2003, contained eight key and 34 supporting recommendations.

The review was carried out on a Great Britain basis, however, this answer relates to progress made within England, as responsibility for taking forward the recommendations falls to each of the devolved administrations. In 2003 a joint public consultation was published in England and Wales, containing the Government's response to each of the recommendations made in the report. A separate consultation was published in Scotland during 2004.

In answering your question I will take each of the key recommendations of the working group in turn.
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The Government should (1) designate or create a single lead organisation to undertake the role of co-ordinating and ensuring consistency of application of non-native species policies across Government.

In March this year the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw), announced the setting up of a co-ordinating mechanism to ensure that policy and action on non-natives is joined up across Government and its agencies. The programme board held its first meeting on 12 September and plans further meetings on a quarterly basis. Minutes of the meetings will be published on the Defra website.

(2) Develop comprehensive, accepted risk assessment procedures to assess risks posed by non-native species and identify and prioritise prevention action.

A research contract to develop a comprehensive risk assessment methodology was completed in February of this year. The scheme is based upon the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) pest risk assessment scheme used for plant quarantine purposes, adapted to be applicable to all taxonomic groups. It has been designed to generate an assessment of risk based on a three point scale of high, medium and low risk. A joint programme of peer review and further testing is being agreed between DEFRA and the Scottish Executive and will begin shortly.

(3) Develop codes of conduct to help prevent introductions for all relevant sectors in a participative fashion involving all relevant stakeholders.

The first code of practice, for the horticultural sector, was launched by the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw) in March 2003. It is published in full on the Defra website, and has been summarised in a leaflet. This code should form a template for other codes—one for each vector of introduction. The programme board has suggested that a code for the pet trade should be the next to be developed in close association with the industry.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, currently before Parliament, includes a provision to give the Secretary of State the power to issue or approve codes of practice in connection with non-native species. These codes will not be statutory, but may be used as evidence in any court proceedings and may be taken into account by the court when sentencing. A similar power has already been introduced within Scotland.

(4) Develop a targeted education and awareness strategy involving all relevant sectors.

The programme board will establish working groups to take forward the review recommendations, and to fulfil our international obligations. It has suggested that an education and public awareness group should be established immediately. Membership of working groups will be drawn from Government and its agencies, the academic and professional sectors and non-governmental organisations.

(5) Revise and update existing legislation to improve handling of invasive non-native species issue.

A consultation on part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the principal piece of legislation which protects our native wildlife, was carried out in
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England and Wales last winter. This raised a number of issues associated with the legislative controls on non-native species, and we are taking forward two of these in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill. In addition to the power to issue or approve codes of practice, mentioned above, the Bill contains a power for the Secretary of State to ban the sale of certain non-native species, to be listed by order. There are no species proposed at this stage; any proposals will be the subject of full consultation in due course. We will develop a coherent package of further proposals for future consideration.

(6) Establish adequate monitoring and surveillance arrangements for non-native species in Great Britain.

A national audit of non-native species has been carried out within Scotland and England, and this will form the basis of a research project to be let shortly to carry out an audit of current monitoring activity in Great Britain in relation to non-native species. This will identify where the most significant gaps lie in existing capacity, and what improvements can be made.

(7) Establish policies with respect to management and control of invasive non-native species currently present or newly arrived in the wild, and develop operational capacity to implement these policies.

It is not possible to take action against all of the non-native species currently present in the wild. A sound risk assessment process will provide the scientific basis for decisions about priorities for management and control of individual species.

(8) Stakeholders should be fully consulted and engaged in development of invasive non-native species policies and actions through a mechanism such as a consultative forum.

The holding of a regular forum, to which all relevant stakeholders are invited, is a valuable way to ensure a wider understanding and ownership of the issues. Two annual events have been held to date, and a further forum is scheduled to take place next spring.

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