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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a Minister in her Department is planned to be nominated to take responsibility for liaison with the Office for Disability Issues; and if she will make a statement. [37079]

Jim Knight: Prior to the general election Defra's Minister responsible for diversity issues was Alun Michael. Since the election, the Department has been reviewing its diversity strategy and wanted to complete this work before appointing a new Minister with this responsibility. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, intends to nominate one of her Ministers in the new year.

The new appointee will take responsibility for championing all diversity groups which will include liaison with the Office for Disability Issues.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the initial activity undertaken by her Department in response to those recommendations in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, where lead responsibility was assigned to all Government Departments. [37080]

Jim Knight: This Department has undertaken the following activity in response to the recommendations of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Report.

Defra is currently undertaking work on a Disability Equality Scheme which is required by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. This will address how the Department delivers and promotes its services to disabled employees and customers. As part of the scheme we will be developing specific indicators of progress which the report outlines as important in measuring success. This Disability Equality Scheme will be published by 1 December 2006.

Although some of the recommendations made in the Strategy Unit Report are not directly within Defra's remit, the Department is doing a lot of work in relation to the recommendation

In particular disabled candidates are supported through the Two Ticks Scheme which ensures that all disabled applicants are interviewed for jobs, if they meet the minimum criteria for the post. In addition, the Department uses the Access to Work Scheme which
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independently assesses each disabled employee so reasonable adjustments can be made, where applicable, to enable them to develop and work to their full potential.

Energy Review

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received regarding the Energy Review; and when she expects the Energy Review to report to her. [39050]

Mr. Morley: The review of UK energy policy is being taken forward by a team led by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Energy. The review will report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in early summer.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings of the EU (a) Committee for the adaptation to technical progress of the directive on procedures for the surveillance and monitoring of environments concerned by waste from the titanium dioxide industry, (b) Advisory Committee on the transportation of radioactive waste (surveillance and control) and (c) Committee overseeing the conditions governing imports of agricultural products originating in third countries following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; which other UK representatives were present; what provisions were made for representation of the devolved Governments; and if she will make a statement. [39011]

Mr. Morley: No meetings of these committees took place during the UK presidency.

Farm Payments

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department will pay interest on delayed payments under the (a) Entry Level Scheme and (b) single farm payments. [37902]

Jim Knight: For payments under the Entry Level Scheme there is no regulatory deadline by which payments must be made. Applicants can enter into agreements which can commence at intervals throughout the year with full payment being made in due course. A number of steps have been introduced this year to mitigate against the impact of later than planned delivery. Therefore interest on delayed payments is not appropriate. The Single Payment Scheme has a regulatory payment window which runs from 1 December to 30 June each year. Consideration would not be given to paying interest until this period has expired.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to the agricultural industry of a month's delay in payment by the Rural Payments Agency of the single farm payment. [23803]

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Jim Knight: The EU regulatory window for payments under the 2005 Single Payment Scheme is 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) remains committed and on target to commence payments well within that window in February 2006. The cost to the agriculture industry of payments being made in one month rather than another would depend on individual farmers' circumstances.

Buncefield Oil Depot

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of carbon she estimates were emitted as a consequence of the fire at Hemel Hempstead; and what percentage of the UK's annual carbon emission this constitutes. [38837]

Mr. Morley: Whilst it is too early to say exactly how much fuel was burnt during the fire at the Buncefield oil depot earlier this month, a worst case scenario would suggest that approximately 42.9 kilo tonnes of carbon were released which would equate to about 0.03 per cent. of the UK's carbon emissions for 2005.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role the Government Decontamination Service has played in responding to the Hemel Hempstead oil depot fire. [39248]

Mr. Morley: On being informed of the incident, Government Decontamination Service staff established contact with those involved in the response and recovery to establish whether GDS assistance was required.

That contact was maintained until it was clear that there was no formal requirement on the part of the local authorities and emergency services for GDS advice, guidance and facilitation.

Hunting Trophies

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers the Government have to restrict the (a) importation and (b) retention of hunting trophies; and under what circumstances these powers would be used. [38322]

Jim Knight: Many of the species that are hunted for trophies are subject to EU legislation implementing the convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES), which includes powers to enable member states to refuse imports where such trade is detrimental to the conservation of the species concerned. If we decide, on the basis of our scientific advice, that such trade is unsustainable we will press the European Commission to use its powers to suspend the trade.

Powers are also available to prohibit the keeping of certain CITES specimens and we recently went out to public consultation on our proposals for using these powers. This included proposals to prohibit the keeping of trophies made from tigers, Tibetan antelopes and rhinos, which have prompted some respondents to call for the proposed prohibition to be extended to include all hunting trophies. We are currently considering all comments received during the consultation process and I shall announce our conclusions in the new year.
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Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish on the internet (a) the detailed record of discussions of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), (b) the agendas and minutes of the ACP's Medical and Toxicology Panel and (c) a declaration of interests of the ACP's Medical and Toxicology Panel. [35800]

Mr. Morley: A summary report of all ACP discussions is published. The Department has previously considered the feasibility of publishing the detailed record of the ACP's meetings but this was not taken forward due to the fact that certain commercially confidential information is included.

As the Medical and Toxicology Panel of the ACP does not provide advice direct to Government it does not currently publish minutes. Most of the Panel's work is preparatory and reported direct to the ACP and hence reported in the ACP minutes. The ACP annual report lists the issues the panel has considered over the year.

I have asked my officials to look again at these issues in consultation with the ACP and its panel members to see whether more information could be made available.

Membership of the Medical and Toxicology Panel, and the affiliations of the non-ACP members, is published in the ACP annual report. Members are also required to declare any conflicts of interest at the start of each meeting, and the Chair decides the appropriate action in each case.

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