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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on English Nature's delivery plan; when the latest plan will be published; and whether this plan imposes (a) targets and (b) statutory requirements on local planning authorities. 
Jim Knight: English Nature is a public service organisation, which provides advice and influences policies at national, regional and local level in order to conserve and enhance our natural environment.
Subject to parliamentary approval, English Nature, parts of the Countryside Agency and DEFRA's rural development service, will be brought together from 1 October into a single body, Natural England, to be responsible for conserving, managing and enhancing the natural environment. Natural England will be responsible for publishing its own reports and plans.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farming households in England were living below the Government low-income threshold in each year since 199697. 
Pursuant to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) on 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1183W, the low income threshold as defined by the Department for Work and Pensions cannot be compared with any estimate of average farm household income. This is because the low income threshold published by the Department for Work and Pensions has been re-scaled for a standardised household consisting of two adults only.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) percentage and (b) real terms changes in total income from farming were in each of the last four years. 
|£ million||Percentage change|
|Total income from farming|
|Total income from farming in real term (2005 prices)|
Jim Knight [holding answer 2 February 2006]: We cannot be precise at this stage about how many payments will have been made by the end of February 2006. However, we expect the bulk of payments to be complete by the end of March 2006.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes in pillar II funding from earlier estimates are expected in 200713 as a result of the recent EU budget reform. 
Jim Knight: The overall budget for the Rural Development Regulation was agreed as part of the Financial Perspective (200713) negotiations and has been set at €69.75 billion for the whole EU. This is roughly in line with existing expenditure, although with a greater focus in the new member states. Once the mandatory transfer from CAP subsidies to rural development agreed as part of the 2003 reform are taken into account, (also known as compulsory modulation), EU spending on rural development will be higherduring the 200713 period than it is currently.
The European Commission has yet to propose the detailed allocation for each member state. For the UK, a key element of the budget deal was securing the flexibility to make use of voluntary modulation or additional transfers of funds from pillar I to pillar II. This will enable us to meet our manifesto commitments on Environmental Stewardship. We will look at all financing arrangements for the successor Rural Development Programme from 2007 with the Treasury and in light of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.
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Mr. Bradshaw: I have already visited Iceland in August 2004 as part of a series of tours to explore the ways various non-EU countries managed their fisheries. The Icelandic approach to managing fish stocks is, along with examples from other countries, being taken into account in the current programme to change our own quota management arrangements.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications for footpath closure orders have been made in each metropolitan district in the county of Greater Manchester under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 since the act came into force; and how many were successful in each district. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total sum has been received by her Department for the provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in its first year of operation. 
Jim Knight: Since the Freedom of Information Act came into force, the Department has not received any payment for the provision of information under the Act, nor for answering requests under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The Freedom of Information Act allows for public authorities to determine when the cost of processing a request will exceed the appropriate limit, which for central Government are set at £600 and for the wider public sector £450. In this instance the public authority may decide to either approach the applicant to help them refine their request and where possible to bring it under the appropriate limit. Alternatively, public authorities may charge the applicant the cost of processing the request. There is, however, no obligation for Departments to provide information if the cost of processing the request exceeds the appropriate limit.
Public authorities may also charge for disbursements when handling requests where it is deemed appropriate. Further information on the FOI fees regime can be found on the DCA website at http://www.foi.gov.uk/feesguide.htm.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of terminator seed technology on free access to genetic resources. 
Terminator technology (genetic use restriction technologies or GURTs) involves a wide range of technically complex, inter-related issues that
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are evolving rapidly. While the Government keeps abreast of the potential impact of this technology on a range of stakeholders, we have not undertaken a specific study into the impact on free access to genetic resources.
We do however monitor developments in the genetically modified (GM) field overall and seek stakeholder views more generally. In 2003, we initiated the GM nation" public debate which sought to explore the public's views on GM crops and food. All GM issues were open for debate but we did not seek specifically views on GURTs. We regularly meet with relevant stakeholders to keep abreast of their views on all GM matters and GURTs have been raised on occasion. We also monitor development in the scientific press and the wider media.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will support the Convention on Biodiversity Decision V/5 section III on the field testing and commercialisation of genetic use restriction technologies at the forthcoming 2006 Convention on Biodiversity meetings. 
Mr. Morley: The UK Government support the decision that the Convention on Biological Diversity took in 2000 that there should be a precautionary approach to the use of genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) while research into the possible impacts of these technologies is carried out.
At the meeting of the convention in March, this year, parties will consider recommendations and reports from the convention's subsidiary body and other working groups on this issue. They will be invited to reaffirm the previous decision. Our position at the meeting will take full account of these reports, as well as the EU's own regulatory regime.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what was the value of genetically modified crops imported to the UK from Spain in (a) 2003 and (b) 2005. 
Mr. Morley: The only GM crop which is approved for cultivation in Spain is maize, and we understand that no GM maize that has been grown in Spain is exported to the UK. Any GM maize grain imported into the UK from Spain would itself have been imported into Spain from outside the EU.
Only part of the total export was genetically modified. We do not keep specific records of the total of specifically GM imports, although since April 2004 exporters have been required under new EU legislation to keep for five years records of imports of GM crops. This data is not however collected centrally.
We do not keep records of the total of specifically GM imports, although since April 2004 exporters have been required under new EU legislation to keep for five years records of imports of GM crops. This data is not however collected centrally.
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