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7 Dec 2005 : Column 1291W—continued



Sarah Teather: To ask the Prime Minister when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Brent East dated 7 July on behalf of Ms Susan Llewellyn. [33859]

7 Dec 2005 : Column 1292W

The Prime Minister: My Office has informed the office of the hon. Member that the letter has not been received.

Departmental Tendering Policy

Martin Horwood: To ask the Prime Minister what his policy is on including (a) ethical and (b) environmental factors in tenders for his Office's services. [33339]

The Prime Minister: For these purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 6 December 2005, Official Report, column 1128W by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Jim Murphy).

Donated Asset Reserve

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the 20 most expensive gifts he has received which are held as part of the donated asset reserve. [34357]

The Prime Minister: The Government has published an annual list of gifts received by Ministers in an official capacity valued at more than £140 since 2001. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. The list makes clear which gifts are held by Government Departments.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Prime Minister when he last met the Prime Minister of Canada; and what was discussed. [34702]

The Prime Minister: I last met the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in July. We discussed a wide range of issues including those on the G8 agenda: Africa, climate change and the Middle East Peace Process. For further details I refer my hon. Friend to the No. 10 website.

I also held a video-conference with the Canadian Prime Minister, in my capacity as presidency of the European Union, on 24 November. We discussed a range of issues including the Canada/EU strategic partnership. I refer my hon. Friend to the joint statement made after the conference. This is available on the No. 10 website.

Ministerial Pensions

Gregory Barker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the value of his ministerial pension is expected to be at the end of (a) November 2005, (b) December 2005 and (c) December 2006; and if he will make a statement; [34810]

(2) what the total cost of contributions to his ministerial pension has been since 1997; [34811]

(3) how much from public funds has been used to fund his ministerial pension in each month since 1997. [34812]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1245W.
7 Dec 2005 : Column 1293W


Corporate Responsibility

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her policies to promote corporate responsibility. [35031]

Mr. Morley: The Department for Trade and Industry has primary responsibility for corporate responsibility issues.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) works to improve the UK's environmental performance, including that of UK business. This is a particularly important theme of DEFRA's strategic priority on sustainable consumption and production.

On the narrower issue of corporate responsibility, we will shortly publish Environmental Key Performance Indicators: Reporting Guidelines for UK Business". These guidelines will assist companies in fulfilling their obligations for an enhanced business review under the EU accounts modernisation directive, and in producing sustainability, corporate responsibility or environmental reports.

DEFRA also promotes robust and credible environmental management systems (EMSs). In September 2005, we published a position statement setting out the qualities of a good EMS, and the steps Government are taking to encourage wider take up of these.

GM Crops

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the latest advice being offered by the Department is on separation distances between genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops. [35105]

Mr. Morley: No GM crops are currently being grown in the UK. We will issue a consultation paper in due course on proposals to manage the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops. This will include proposed separation distances reflecting the latest scientific evidence.

Opinion Polls

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) subject matter and (b) dates were of opinion survey research undertaken by the Department since its inception; if she will place copies of the results of each survey in the Library; which companies were used in conducting the research; and how much each was paid. [27919]

Jim Knight: Since inception, Defra's Communications Directorate has commissioned an omnibus tracking survey to measure public awareness of DEFRA, knowledge of its responsibilities and opinions on its performance.
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Surveys conducted as follows;
DateCompanyCost (£)
February 2002Taylor Nelson Sofres42,000
April 2004Taylor Nelson Sofres14,950
October 2005Taylor Nelson Sofres26,000

Copies of all three surveys will be available in the Library.

River Beds (Ownership)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the ownership status of a river bed is where both banks are in private ownership. [33891]

Mr. Morley: A riparian owner (a landowner with a frontage along a watercourse) is presumed to own the land up to the centre of the watercourse, unless it is known to be owned by others. If the watercourse flows through land where the owner owns both banks, then the presumption will be that that the owner owns the whole of the bed.

The presumption may be displaced by actual proof that the riparian owner does not own the bed. This may occur when the land adjoining the watercourse has been sold without the vendor conveying his part of the bed as a result of an oversight in conveyancing. Sometimes the bed itself may be bought separately from the adjoining land, perhaps to allow access by boat to other land owned by the purchaser. In other cases the ownership of the bed is vested in, for example, the navigation authority by a local Act of Parliament in order to give control over the use of the river.

School Milk

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why the Rural Payments Agency's inspection report on the operation of the school milk subsidy scheme on the Isle of Wight has not been published; and if she will place a copy in the Library. [35440]

Jim Knight: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is dealing with a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act from the Dairy Products Champion for the south east region, which includes making available the inspection report of the school milk subsidy scheme on the Isle of Wight. The report will be made available in the next few days.

A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House.

SSSI Sites (Stroud)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list sites of special scientific interest in Stroud constituency. [35179]

Jim Knight: There are 25 sites of special scientific interest in the Stroud constituency. Details of those sites are set out in the following table.
7 Dec 2005 : Column 1295W

SiteArea in Stroud constituency (ha)
Box Farm Meadows8.29
Bull Cross, The Frith and Juniper Hill40.51
Coaley Wood Quarries4.96
Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods518.05
Daneway Banks16.95
Easter Park Farm Quarry0.14
Edge Common20.94
Frampton Pools60.60
Haresfield Beacon0.80
Hucclecote Meadows2.39
Kingscote and Horsley Woods14.64
Minchinhampton Common193.98
Nibley Knoll3.05
Purton Passage4.79
Range Farm Fields12.97
Rodborough Common109.54
Rough Bank, Miserden9.14
Selsley Common39.87
Severn Estuary644.68
Stinchcombe Hill25.72
Strawberry Banks5.08
Swift's Hill9.48
Upper Severn Estuary822.35
Woodchester Park220.90
Wotton Hill5.66
Total area (ha):2795.50

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