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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many spoilt ballot papers there were in each electoral ward in (a) North East Lincolnshire and (b) North Lincolnshire in the most recent local elections in each of those wards. 
This information is not held centrally. The Returning officer at a local election, has a duty to publish the results of that election, including the names of the candidate(s) elected, the number of votes each candidate received and the number of rejected ballot papers under each head shown in the statement of rejected ballot papers (Rule 44(1 )(c) of the Local Elections (Principle Areas) Rules 1983). There is no duty, however, to inform the Government of the result of a local election. The local authority in question should hold this information.
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Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total administrative costs for her core Department are; and whether these are regarded as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable for the purposes of public expenditure statistical analyses. 
Jim Knight: DEFRA's provisional administration costs outturn for the core Department for 200405 is shown in table 4 in the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper (CMD 6639). All the administration costs, with the exception of administrative costs associated with departmental pay costs, are identifiable for the purposes of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will introduce a regime whereby single farm payments can be made to farmers who develop an animal health and welfare strategy in conjunction with a veterinary surgeon. 
Jim Knight: From 1 January 2007, farmers receiving payments under the single payment scheme will have to fulfil the requirements of three animal welfare directives under the cross compliance regime. We do not intend to make payments to farmers through the money available through the Rural Development Programme for farm health planning, but we do intend to pump prime with £6 million of money from elsewhere.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discretion is allowed to applicants on complying with time limits when applying to the British Cattle Movement Service for animal movement licences. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 17 January 2006]: The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) may issue a movement licence to allow a bovine animal without a passport, aged under two years, to be moved to a hunt kennel or knacker's yard. This licence may be applied for at any time but is valid for only two weeks from the date of issue. It must accompany the animal when it is moved. There is no discretion as to the time limit.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 16 January 2006, Official Report, column 892W, on Avian influenza, on what date the testing of the 3,179 wild birds for avian influenza commenced; and on what dates the mallard and shelduck were (a) found or captured and (b) tested. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what incentives the Government are making available for the development of refining and processing capacity for (a) biomass and (b) other biofuels. 
Mr. Morley: The Government are keen to promote the production of biomass heat and electricity, and transport biofuels. Electricity suppliers are required to source 15 per cent. of their electricity from renewables, including biomass, by 201516. The co-firing of biomass with coal in conventional power stations is permitted. £66 million of funding has been allocated to develop dedicated biomass power stations, combined heat and power schemes, and heating boilers. £12.5 million is available for household and community renewable energy projects, including biomass heating.
Support is available to process biomass into a form suitable for use by energy end-users. A cross-departmental team is looking at the recommendations from the Biomass Task Force on ways to overcome the barriers to developing biomass energy. The Government will publish a full response by April. Support for the production of transport biofuels is through the 20 pence per litre cut in the duty rate for biodiesel and bioethanol. Last November, the Government announced that a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation will be introduced to require 5 per cent. of road fuel to come from a renewable source by 2010. Other measures being considered include duty incentives to encourage the mixing of biomass with hydrocarbons in the conventional refinery process, and an enhanced capital allowance scheme for the cleanest biofuels processing plants. The latter scheme would allow the cost of capital assets to be written off against taxable profits. Regional support grants for capital investment in production plants are already available.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle passport applications were refused because the application was received late over the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
In the calendar year 2005, the Rural Payments Agency refused to issue passports for 13,298 animals born in or imported into Great Britain, because their passport applications were received outside the
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legal time limit. This amounts to 0.49 per cent. of all applications. All these animals have been registered on the Cattle Tracing System database and issued with a notice of registration.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter dated 14 November from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. Alexander Scott-Marlow. 
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many letters longer than one sheet of A4 paper were sent by her Department in 2005 in answer to inquiries from (a) hon. Members and (b) the public. 
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the former (a) buildings and (b) land of (i) her Department and (ii) (A) non-departmental public bodies, (B)agencies and (C) independent statutory bodies for which her Department is responsible which have been sold since 7 May 1997; what the sale price of each (1) was at the time of sale and (2) is at current prices; and whether the money accrued was (x) retained by her Department and (y) claimed by the Treasury. 
Jim Knight: The information on sales of freehold land and buildings since June 2001 when DEFRA was created is set out in the following table. The Department does not hold information on current values and these could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The sales proceeds have been retained within the departmental limits agreed by the Treasury and therefore no excess funds have been claimed by the Treasury.
Sale price (£)
|DEFRA||2001021, 2||Torry Laboratory|
|||Brynsiencyn Oyster Station|
Tyne and Wear
|Hoddesdon Buffer Depot|
|200203||Gunthorpe Buffer Depot|
(main part of site)
|Harlescott Buffer Depot|
|Stockbridge House Dwellings|
|200405||Tattenhall Buffer Depot|
(small part of site)
Lots 1 and 1A (part of site)
Lot 4 (part of site)
Lot 5 (part of site)
(small part of site)
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