Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the merits of banning incandescent light bulbs on grounds of their relative inefficiency. 
Mr. Morley: The Government remains fully committed to raising product standards and encouraging consumers to use the most efficient products available. The Government cannot itself though, simply ban or otherwise prevent the free trade in such products on the basis of their energy efficiency and therefore no assessment of the merits of banning incandescent light bulbs has been made. This would be reliant on the European Commission, other member states and the European Parliament agreeing that this was necessary.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 372W, on the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit, what options are under consideration for the future location of the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit; what implications its relocation will have for its resourcing; and when she expects to reach a decision on its future. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions since 1 January 2004 her Department has sought legal opinion on the legality of (a) pet fairs and
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(b) pet markets, with particular reference to itinerant sales; what those opinions concluded; and if she will place copies of each opinion in the Library. 
Mr. Bradshaw: It is not current practice to disclose information about internal legal advice. However, I will shortly send the hon. Member a briefing note on the Bill which provides a summary of the law on pet fairs which we made available to the EFRA Select Committee on the Bill. A copy of the briefing note will be placed in the Library of the House.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she is having with her Polish counterpart to encourage agricultural imports and exports between Poland and the UK. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There have been no recent discussions between the Secretary of State and her Polish counterparts concerning agricultural imports and exports between the Poland and the UK. However, Food from Britain and the International Agriculture Technology Centre, both funded by Defra and responsible for promoting exports of UK food and drink and primary agricultural products respectively, have undertaken activities to increase the level of exports of UK products to Poland.
The type of activities include assisting producers to enter, evaluate and develop Poland as an export market, organising seminars and workshops in Poland and attendance at relevant trade shows. The products covered include red meat, fish, dairy, poultry, tea, alcoholic beverages, ambient groceries and aquaculture.
It is possible to provide information on the area of potatoes grown within a constituency but only from 1992, the earliest year from which it is possible to compile data on this basis. The latest data are for 2004; the 2005 data are not yet available. An estimate of the production can be calculated using the average yield figure for England. Potato area data and estimates of production for Shrewsbury constituency for 1992 and 2004 are:
|Potato area (hectares)
|Potato production (thousand tonnes)
Looking back to 1989, it is possible to provide information on the area of potatoes grown at a county level and calculate an estimate of production based on
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the average yield figure for England. Potato area data and estimates of production for Shropshire for 1989, 1992 and 2004 are:
|Potato area (hectares)
|Potato production (thousand tonnes)
It should be noted that area data for 1992 are based on main holdings only; data for other years are based on all holdings. Data for 1989 and 1992 are for maincrop potatoes; data for 2004 are for early and maincrop potatoes.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people from science and technology backgrounds have been seconded into the civil service in her Department in each of the last three years. 
Jim Knight: Defra continues to promote and encourage the exchange of personnel between the Department and a range of organisations. In the last three years the Department has seconded individuals from both the private and public sector to develop and exchange good practice and expertise. Unfortunately detailed data regarding whether these individuals have science and technology backgrounds is not held centrally and would be possible only at disproportionate cost.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact on farmers of late payments of the single farm payment. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 13 February 2006]: In my statement on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 10WS, I confirmed that payments under the Single Payment Scheme would begin before the end of February 2006. This is in line with the forecast made over a year ago and well within the EU regulatory window of 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006. All evidence to date suggests no otherwise viable businesses will fail because of the timing of these payments, but I know cash-flow is currently an important issue for a number of farmers and that my statement has, consequently, been widely welcomed.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects the delays in single farm payments have had on the supply chain within the farming industry; and what discussions she has had with farmers on compensation for their creditors as a result of the delays. 
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, and the rest of the Defra ministerial team meet regularly with farmers and their representatives, when the timing of payments under the single payment scheme
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(SPS) and the related impact on the agricultural industry are regular topics of discussion. The most recent such meeting was with the President of the National Farmers Union on 14 February, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State reconfirmed the Government's commitment to begin SPS payments before the end of February as was made clear in the statement on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 10WS. I am sure that representatives of the agricultural supply chain, having previously expressed concerns about consequential effects of cash flow problems within the industry, will have welcomed that statement.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what account was taken by her Department of the cost of replacing an animal with another of similar quality when setting the compensation level for cattle slaughtered under tuberculosis control measures before 1 February 2006; 
(2) what weight (a) is given and (b) was given before 1 February, when considering the compensation value of a cow slaughtered under tuberculosis control measures, to the fact the animal is or was (i) from a closed organic herd and (ii) six months in calf to a pedigree South Devon Bull. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Prior to 1 February 2006 legislation required that the level of compensation for cattle affected by bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was market value, i.e. the price, which might reasonably have been obtained at the time of valuation, from a purchaser in the open market, if the animal were not affected by or exposed to bTB.
Under the current table based cattle compensation system, which came into force on 1 February, no breed specific weighting is provided, nor is there weighting for organic cattle. However, there are separate tables for pedigree and non-pedigree animals. And compensation payments also vary according to the age and sex of an animal.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will reassess the compensation provided for a cow slaughtered under tuberculosis control measures following the introduction of the new system on 1 February; what mechanism is open to the owner of a cow slaughtered under tuberculosis control measures to appeal against the compensation value assigned to the animal by a valuer appointed by her Department before 1 February; and if she will make a statement. 
The new arrangements for cattle affected by bovine tuberculosis came into force in England on 1 February 2006. In making these changes, the Department's objective is to have in place a system that promotes good industry practice, enhances disease control, addresses the serious (and independently identified) problem of over-compensation, and is fair to both cattle owners and the taxpayer.
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Under these arrangements, we believe that all farmers effectively gain because they are being compensated for disease affected animals (whose true worth are salvage value only) using a price based on the value of healthy animals.
As part of government's ongoing commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders, Defra is setting up a Cattle Compensation Advisory Group involving industry stakeholder representatives. We expect this stakeholder group to help us monitor the new compensation arrangements.