|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2666W
(a) land and (b) property her Department (i) owns and (ii) rents in each constituency; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Lists containing the names and addresses of land and property owned (freehold) and rented (leasehold) by the Department in each constituency are given in the tables which have been placed in the Library.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of each Civil Service grade in her Department is located in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; what the average salary is for each grade; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (Mr. Murphy) will write to the hon. Member with details for the civil service of the percentage of staff in post by region and grade responsibility and the median salary of staff in post by region and grade responsibility as at 1 April 2004. Copies of his letter will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the production of maps to be used for applications under the entry level scheme. 
Jim Knight: Entry level stewardship (ELS) maps are produced by the Rural Development Service when the applicant requests a pre-application pack; the maps are based upon data contained within the Rural Land Register.
The information contained within the map forms a fundamental component of the legal agreement and in particular supports the on site compliance inspections that we are required to undertake.
There have been some problems with incomplete registrations of land on the Rural Land Register, as a backlog of cases developed at the Rural Payments Agency. This occurred when registration requests relating to single payment scheme and environmental stewardship increased to an unprecedented level. However, earlier in the year, outstanding cases that were identified as being linked to an environmental stewardship application were prioritised. Registration for this group of applicants has now been largely completed by the Rural Payments Agency, as part of the on-going efforts to deal with the backlog generated earlier in the year.
Nationally there are now more than 11,000 entry level scheme agreements in place.
Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) matters were discussed and (b) decisions were taken at the EU Environment Council on 2 December; on which decisions a vote took place; and how matters affecting the environment in Wales were represented. 
Mr. Morley: A written ministerial statement on the outcome of the council was made on 13 December 2005, Official Report, columns 13537WS, in line with the procedures introduced in May 2005.
The Welsh Assembly Government interests were fully involved in agreeing UK positions, where these had a bearing on devolved matters, in the usual way.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely impact on jobs in London of the proposed EU draft changes to the European Union sugar regime; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has separately reported to the House, agreement on reform of the EU sugar regime was successfully concluded under the UK Presidency at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 24 November.
The Regulatory Impact Assessment prepared by DEFRA following the publication of the Commission's proposals for reform in June this year included consideration of the likely impact on employment in both the sugar production and processing sectors in the UK as well as in companies using sugar as a raw ingredient.
A significant employer in London in the sugar sector is Tate and Lyle. Assessing the impact on its business of the decisions now reached is a commercial matter for the company itself. In a press release issued following the Council agreement the company made the following statement,
Whilst the long-term impact on Tate & Lyle remains significant, the final decision to make the cut in the sugar reference price of 36% (instead of the 39% previously proposed) and to delay the implementation of the price reduction is very welcome."
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account she takes of advice from (a) toxicologists working in industry, (b) academics funded by agrochemical companies and (c) employees of contract research organisations whose income is dependent on agrochemical companies who sit on expert advisory committees. 
Mr. Morley: The Secretary of State takes advice from the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) on matters relating to the control of pests, including advice on the approvals of pesticides. Members of the ACP declare any interests in the agrochemical industry in accordance with their published code of practice. These interests are published in the ACP's annual report.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the farm mapping in respect of the deadline for single payments for farmers of 14 February 2006 is expected to be completed. 
Jim Knight: The Rural Payments Agency is planning to have completed digitising and uploading data into its computer system by the end of January.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much interest she expects will have accumulated on Single Payment Scheme funds between December 2005 and February 2006; and what proportion of that interest she expects will be distributed to farmers. [R] 
Jim Knight: Common Agricultural Policy funding is reimbursed by the Commission two months in arrears after payment to claimants. No interest will therefore accumulate on Single Payment Scheme funds between December 2005 and February 2006.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on flooding in the Severn Basin of the strategy to reduce water levels in the Clywedog Dam; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency is the principal authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. The extent to which both the Clywedog and Vyrnwy Reservoirs can help mitigate the effects of flooding in the Severn Basin is limited as any beneficial effect to alleviate flooding rapidly diminishes downstream. Other parts of the catchment also contribute floodwater and the proportion that the reservoir holds back" becomes smaller as the total catchment area gets bigger.
The catchment area above Clywedog Dam is 2 per cent. of the entire catchment draining to Shrewsbury and 1 per cent. of the catchment draining to Bridgnorth. Previous studies have indicated that the influence of floodwater storage at Llyn Clywedog has extended only as far as Buttington.
A study in 1999 for the Environment Agency confirmed that existing reservoir flood drawdown controls, in place for many years, adequately maximise the opportunity for local flood alleviation. The findings of this study have been reviewed as part of the Fluvial Severn Flood Risk Management Strategy, which was issued for public consultation (including to local MPs) in the summer of 2005.
The Environment Agency's strategy to lower water levels in these reservoirs means more storage being available to hold water during periods of heavy rainfall. This assists flood risk management in the Severn Basin insofar as the reservoirs influence this. However, it should be remembered that the primary function of the reservoirs is to maintain flow in the River Severn during dry periods.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of her Department's funding in 200506 of research on GM crops and food was allocated to products aimed at benefiting developing countries. 
Mr. Morley: My department does not fund any suchresearch on GM crops and food. Any such work would be the responsibility of the Department for International Development.
DEFRA does fund research into the environmental safety of GMOs to underpin our regulatory responsibilities for the regulation of GMOs within a European context.
Details of our current research programme are available through the DEFRA website:
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|