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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 8 December 2005

WALES

Departmental/Ministerial Travel

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what expenditure was incurred by the Wales Office for (a) air and (b) rail travel in each year since 2003–04. [32361]

Mr. Hain: The total travel cost incurred by the Wales Office for the following years were:
Means of travel£
(a) air travel
2003–04321
2004–0518,344
(b) rail travel
2003–04111,808
2004–0594,533

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

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since 7 July 2005 he has used the London Underground in connection with his official duties. [35332]

Mr. Hain: On three occasions.

Government of Wales Act (Convictions)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) males and (b) females have been (i)charged with and (ii) convicted of offences under section (A) 72, (B) 75 and (C) 145C of the Government of Wales Act 1998 in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [33804]

Mr. Hain: None.

Race Equality Impact Assessments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many race equality impact assessments his Department completed between (a) April 2004 and March 2005 and (b) April 2005 and November 2005; and how many assessments in each period resulted in a change of policy. [32827]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office completed two race equality impact assessments between April 2004 and March 2005 as part of the regulatory impact assessments for the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill and the Transport (Wales) Bill. Between April 2005 and November 2005, one was completed as part of the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the
 
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Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill. No changes were made as a result of conducting these assessments.

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

Avian Influenza

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department has given to poultry workers and those working with live birds on the actions they should take in the event of their suffering from influenza-like symptoms. [30745]

Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

The extant general advice to poultry workers is that if they think that they have contracted an infection from an animal they should contact their doctor quickly and inform them that they work in agriculture. In the absence of avian influenza in the United Kingdom, poultry workers and others, having contact with live birds, need to follow only normal good practice in dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have published guidance on their websites.

Biodiversity Ministerial Group

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the members are of the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity; how often it meets; and whether the minutes of its meetings are published. [35049]

Jim Knight: The members of the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity are the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development, the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity at Defra, and the Chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

The group has met twice to date, and a third meeting is planned for February 2006. Thereafter the group intends to meet at intervals of between six and nine months.

The minutes of the meetings are not published.

Bushmeat Trade

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what proposals the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity has made to date to combat the international trade in bushmeat; [35003]

(2) if the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity will open up discussions on the international trade in bushmeat to external stakeholders and other interested parties; [35005]
 
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(3) what progress has been made by the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity in developing the Government's policy on the international trade in bushmeat from Africa. [35038]

Jim Knight: In response to a request from the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity, the Department has recently let a research contract to the Overseas Development Institute.

The research will comprise a desk study which will draw on previous and current research and other relevant literature, particularly focusing on literature published in the past five years. The results will inform policy discussions at the Inter-departmental Ministers Group on biodiversity, by addressing the key questions;

The recommendations to the group will help to inform Government policy in this area. The specification for this project can be viewed at www.defra.gov.uk/science/funding/historical.htm.

At this stage it would be premature to invite external stakeholders, and other interested parties, to discuss the matter before this work has concluded. The research is due to conclude in the summer of next year.

Departmental Estate

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which buildings and sites used by her Department and related agencies (a) have ceased to be used in the last year and (b) will be closed under current plans for relocation. [31764]

Jim Knight: The Sir Michael Lyons initiative is part of Defra's overall estate strategy that will contribute to the freeing up of space in London and the south east and the
 
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subsequent release" of our occupations. Planned relocation is currently unlikely to lead directly to closures.

The following table lists those occupations nationwide that Defra and its agencies has ceased to use in the last year due mainly to estate rationalisation.
PropertyDate ceased
to be used
Market Towers, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall28 May 2004
10 Queen Street, Ripon23 June 2004
Springfield House, Chapel Brow, Leyland29 June 2004
Oxford Spires Business Park, Kidlington8 July 2004
132 Warkworth Woods, Gosforth24 December 2004
19–29 Woburn Place, London31 January 2005
Westmoreland Lane Farm, Crooklands,
Milnethorpe
22 March 2005
2nd Floor Princes House, Queen Street,
Barnstaple
25 March 2005
10 Whitehall Place, London30 March 2005


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