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Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of consultant-led projects in her Department; what sanctions are available to penalise consultants who ran unsuccessful projects; how many projects conducted by consultants were assessed as unsuccessful in each year since 2000; and what sanctions were imposed in each case. 
The planning, monitoring, control and delivery of projects and programmes in Defra is the responsibility of departmental management, not consultants. External resources are engaged to assist in the successful delivery of these projects and programmes and are subject to a raft of commercial, financial, procurement, technical and project quality assurance and standards. Additionally, OGC's Gateway Review process provides assurance at critical stages of a programme's or project's lifecycle.
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Service providers who do not deliver the required services to time, quality and cost are subject to remedies appropriate to the shortcomings identified up to and including, as a last resort, contract termination and pursuit of damages. From information held centrally, the Department is unaware of any projects or programmes that could merit classification as unsuccessful, because the Department's project and contract management procedures act to remedy any emerging difficulties in the planning, monitoring, control and delivery of departmental projects and programmes.
No records are held centrally of sanctions applied within programmes, projects and contracts, and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department takes to ensure that consultancies do not claim excessive expenses while working for the Department and its agencies. 
Jim Knight: Departmental governance arrangements require that expenses incurred by contractors, including consultancies, while working for the Department and its agencies are subject to validation and substantiation before authorisation for payment. The Department reserves the right to recover any monies overpaid to contractors to which they are not entitled.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list departmental projects conducted by consultants in each year since 2000; what the cost was in each case; and what the total cost of employing consultants was in each year. 
Jim Knight: Defra came into being in June 2001. Departmental projects are the responsibility of departmental management. A list of departmental projects and their costs each year since 2000 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. On the total cost of employing consultants, a broad and imprecise term, I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 13 June 2005, Official Report, columns 3536W, and on 21 July 2005, Official Report, columns 196263W to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell).
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many licences for the culling of cormorants were issued in England in each of the last five years; how many cormorants were killed under licence in England in each year; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The information requested is as follows.
|Season||Number of licenses granted||Number of birds licensed to be shot||Number of birds shot|
The above table shows statistics from the start of each cormorant season, rather than for specific years.
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The numbers given for the 2005 season run to 17 November only.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she willreply to the letter from the hon. Member for Coventry, South on the Draper Study on overhead power lines. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 28 November 2005]: There is no record of this letter in the Department. If the hon. Member would like to resubmit this letter I will expedite a prompt reply
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to continue the Access Management Grant Scheme beyond 2007. 
Jim Knight: The Access Management Grant Scheme was introduced to support access authorities (outside National Parks) in meeting the start-up costs in managing the new right of public access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
The right of access has now been commenced across England, and the Grant Scheme is due to come to an end for access authorities in mapping areas one to five in March 2006, and for remaining authorities in March 2007.
On-going access management, and infrastructure maintenance costs, should be much lower than the initial start-up costs. However, I have asked the Countryside Agency to advise me as to whether there would be any benefit in extending the scheme for a further year. This would allow access authorities to benefit from three years worth of funding. The Agency is currently consulting access authorities and other stakeholders and I hope to make a decision in spring next year.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish the regulations covering the review of maps of open country and registered commons land produced under section 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. 
Section 10 of the Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000 requires the Countryside Agency to review the conclusive maps of open country and registered common land not more than 10 years after the time that each map was first issued and not less
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frequently than every 10 years thereafter. Before making any regulations covering the review of conclusive maps we need to consider how the review process ought to work. Both Defra and the Countryside Agency are currently undertaking lessons learned exercises and the outcome of these will help inform our decisions on the review process. We aim to undertake consultation on our proposals for the review of conclusive maps during the course of next year.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research the Department has commissioned on the environmental consequences of deforestation. 
Mr. Morley: Forests cover 30 to 40 per cent. of the earth's land area and provide several essential ecosystem services. For example, forests act as sinks for the world's terrestrial carbon stores, absorbing the carbon dioxide that is contributing to climate change. Forests are the repository of the great bulk of terrestrial biodiversity; regulate water cycles; maintain soil quality and reduce the risks of natural disasters such as floods.
There is a vast amount of existing research on the environmental impacts of deforestation which guides UK policy. The UK Government remains in regular discussions with a number of international organisations that undertake significant forestry research such as the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), as well as spending about £20 million a year on forestry through country programmes and centrally funded research.
Defra is engaged in several areas. For example under Defra's contract with the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Defra has commissioned work on the consequences of deforestation for the climate at local, regional and global scales. Defra also funds a range of forestry projects under the Darwin Initiative which helps developing countries to monitor biodiversity impacts and build capacity for conservation.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the real terms percentage increase in allocated resources for her Department (a) was for the period 199798 to 200405 and (b) is estimated to be between 200506 and 200708 (i) for each period and (ii) for each year. 
Jim Knight: Defra was only created in July 2001, therefore in the following table is the information requested based upon the Defra 2005 Departmental Report for the period 200102 onwards.
|GDP deflator||Real term resources in 200405 prices (£ million)||Percentage increase|
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