Previous Section Index Home Page

17 Jan 2006 : Column 1182W—continued

Departmental Jobs (Regional Distribution)

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of jobs in (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which her Department is responsible are located in (A) England, excluding Greater London, (B) Greater London and (C) overseas. [39866]

17 Jan 2006 : Column 1183W

Jim Knight: The figures requested for the department and its executive agencies are published in Civil Service Statistics. Table D covers permanent staff numbers on a full-time equivalent basis. Civil Service Statistics are available in the Library and at the following address on the Cabinet Office Statistics website: http://www.civilservice. service_statistics/index.asp

Regional information on non departmental public bodies is not collected centrally could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings of the EC-Canada Joint Committee have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved Governments; and if she will make a statement. [38781]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

The EC-Uruguay Joint Committee met on 10 November 2005. The UK was represented by officials from the British embassy in Montevideo. The EC-Canada Joint Co-operation Committee met on 25 October 2005. The presidency was represented by officials from London and the British high commission in Ottawa. There was no EC-Japan Joint Committee.

The Government take into account the views and interests of the devolved administrations when formulating the UK's policy position on all EU and international issues which touch upon devolved matters. Provision for attendance at EU meetings by Ministers and officials of the devolved administrations is set out in paragraphs 4.12–15 of the Concordat on Co-ordination of European Union Policy Issues (part of the Memorandum of Understanding between devolved Ministers and the UK Government) a copy of which is available at: Ministers from the devolved administrations have attended and do attend Councils, by agreement with the lead Whitehall Minister.

Farm Incomes

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farming households in (a) England, (b) Northamptonshire and (c) Kettering constituency have household incomes below the Department's low income threshold. [38894]

Jim Knight: Defra does not have its own low-income threshold. A measure of low-income is specified by the Department for Work and Pensions who define the threshold as 60 per cent, of median household income. The latest data we were able to obtain for this threshold are taken from the 2005 Social Trends publications produced by the Office for National Statistics. This indicated that in 2002–03, the low income threshold was around £10,000 (£194 per week).

For the year ending February 2005, Farm Business Survey results showed that 16 per cent. of farming households 1 in England had a household income below
17 Jan 2006 : Column 1184W
£10,000 and 12 per cent. in the Government office region of East Midlands. Data for Northamptonshire and Kettering are not available due to insufficient farms in the survey.

In 2002–03, the proportion of all households in the UK below the threshold was 17 per cent. and this helps to put the figures for farming households into context with the wider population. No equivalent data are available for the East Midlands, Northamptonshire or Kettering.


Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she hastaken to protect the additional peatbogs designated as special areas of conservation in 2002, with particularreference to halting the commercial extraction of peat. [42651]

Jim Knight: The peatbogs at Thorne Moor, Hatfield Moor and Wedholme Flow, which have been accepted as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), now have the highest levels of protection against disturbance or damage under the Habitats Regulations (1994). Where necessary, these Regulations also allow for a review of extraction licences in SACs.

Consultations on the remaining two sites, at Bolton Fell Moss and Solway Moss, are continuing because there are still some conflicting scientific views about their eligibility. They cannot be submitted to the European Commission or formally designated as SACs until this is resolved. If the conclusion is that they are eligible, we will take immediate steps to progress their formal designation.

Public Bodies/Agencies

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff were employed by non-departmental public bodies and agencies for which she has responsibility in (a) total and (b) each (i) nation and (ii) region of the UK and (c) London in 2004–05. [35955]

Jim Knight: Total executive NDPB staff numbers by department as at 31 March 2005 are recorded in Table 2 of Public Bodies 2005, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, and which is available online at:

The NDPB data do not detail the regional breakdowns requested, and this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The number of staff in individual executive agencies as at 1 April 2004, including a regional analysis, is available in Civil Service Statistics 2004 which was published in February 2005, a copy of which is in House Libraries. It is also available online at: civil_service_statistics_2004_report/number_of_civil_ser vants/index.asp.
17 Jan 2006 : Column 1185W


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will take steps to introduce a statutory code of practice on the use of snares; [42002]

(2) if she will seek to introduce a legal requirement to have a stop on snares; [42003]

(3) if she will commission further research into the useof animal snares, with particular reference to (a) thewelfare impacts and (b) alternative methods of control. [42004]

Jim Knight: On 19 October 2005 Defra published the report of the independent snares working group, the Defra Snares Action Plan and the Defra Code of Good Practice on the use of Snares in Fox and Rabbit Control in England. These documents can be found on the Defra website:

The action plan sets out our response to the recommendations of the snares working group and the action we will take over the next three years. This includes reviewing the Code of Practice and considering if it should be legally binding.


Road Congestion

9. Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for reducing congestion on the road network. [42351]

Dr. Ladyman: We are tackling congestion with targeted strategies developed with national and local agencies—investing more in the road network, including new capacity where it is justified, trialling innovative new traffic management systems, and exploring the benefits of new ways to manage demand for road space—including road pricing.

Bus Regulation

10. Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to change the regulatory regime applying to buses. [42352]

Ms Buck: We have no plans to return to the regulatory regime of the 1980s. Current options available to local authorities include voluntary or statutory quality partnerships. There are a number of examples of good partnership working across the country, and quality contracts are available if other measures do not work. If local authorities are prepared to propose a comprehensive system for managing traffic demand, such as road pricing, we are prepared to consider introducing further measures to control bus services.

Next Section Index Home Page