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22 Mar 2006 : Column 438W—continued


Agricultural Employment

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of people employed in the farming industry in (a) West Lancashire constituency and (b) Lancashire. [58488]

Jim Knight: The total number of people working on agricultural and horticultural holdings in June 2004 were as follows:
Total employeesTotal labour force
(a) West Lancashire constituency6001,291
(b) Lancashire4,53312,427

1. Total employees includes full and part time regular workers, salaried managers and casual workers.
2. Total labour force included all employees plus farmers, partners, directors and their spouses if working on the holding.
3. The county of Lancashire comprises of Lancashire CC, Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority and Blackpool unitary authority.
June Agricultural Survey

Avian Influenza

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the evidential basis was for her statements that birds vaccinated against avian influenza continue to spread the virus. [56673]

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Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 7 March 2006]: The use of vaccination against outbreaks of avian influenza in recent years has been well documented in many scientific articles and papers. The reporting of this field use of vaccines has been complemented by more controlled laboratory studies. My officials have examined the published material and consulted with experts at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

It has been a frequently recognised feature of the use of vaccine in the field that vaccinated birds can continue to allow spread of the virus, whilst not showing typical clinical signs. This is particularly true if large numbers of birds have been vaccinated.

It is therefore widely recognised that the most important factors in any Al control programme are continued biosecurity, early detection, separation of poultry from wild birds, the slaughter of diseased birds and dangerous contacts, and movement controls around outbreaks. However, we keep the policy on vaccination under review in the light of scientific developments in vaccines.

Departmental Offices (Guildford)

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to move out of its departmental offices in Epsom Road, Merrow, Guildford; what representations she has received from departmental employees on this issue; and if she will make a statement. [58047]

Jim Knight: In the light of the Sir Michael Lyons' recommendations about Government occupations in London and the South East, every Department is required to review its estate. Consideration of the long term occupation of the Epsom Road, Guildford site is therefore part of this wide reaching review.

We have engaged consultants to prepare a full business case of the property options. This will be followed by consultations with the key stakeholders. The findings will be passed to the Management Board for their consideration and decision.

We will have a programme of clear communication with those affected and to date I am not aware of any representations from departmental employees on this matter.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many jobs in her Department have been relocated to Wales since 2001. [57671]

Jim Knight: Since 2001 Defra has not relocated any posts to Wales. However, Defra has provided financial assistance to relocate 2 members of staff to posts already existing in Wales.

Departmental Telephone Numbers

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the (a) 0800, (b) 0845 and (c) 0870 telephone numbers for the public administered by (i) her Department and (ii) agencies which report to her. [56537]

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Jim Knight: The information is as follows:
Defra helplines

Telephone contact number
Defra08459 3305577
Defra International number+4420 7 238 6951
Defra Textphone0845 3001998
Moorland (SDA)0845 6056516
Environmental Impact Assessment0800 0282140
Agricultural Wages0845 0000134
Whole Farm Approach0845 0006358
Countryside Agency Access (Right to Roam)0845 1003298
WRAP Waste and Resources Action Programme0808 1002040
NFSS National Fallen Stock Helpline0845 0548888
European Wildlife Division:0845 6014523
Pets Travel Scheme Helpline0870 2411710
BCMS (British Cattle Movement Service)0845 0501234

Agency helplines

Telephone contact number
Environment Agency (general inquiries)0870 8506506
Hazardous Waste registration line0870 8502858
Agricultural Waste registration line0845 6033113
Floodline0845 9881188
Incident Hotline0800 0807060
Hard of Hearing Minicom0870 2422549
RPA Customer Service Centre0845 6037777

Departmental Transport

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answers of 8 February 2006, Official Report, columns 1285–6W, on departmental transport; what further steps the Department is taking to stop IBM contractors parking in residential roads in light of IBM contractors ignoring the site-wide notice. [56496]

Jim Knight: Despite the local Council's reluctance to allow Defra/IBM to park in their 'Park and Ride' car parks, so that a shuttle bus could ferry staff to site, it is still Defra/IBM's intention to operate a shuttle bus from the Guildford station. The contract is currently being evaluated by Defra and, subject to a satisfactory outcome, will be signed shortly.

Patrols of the local streets continue and staff, whether they are Defra or IBM, are asked to move their vehicles if they are identified.

Defra has joined the SurreyCarShare Scheme and is now waiting for Surrey county council to launch and promote the scheme on site.

English Nature

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure English Nature spends its budget efficiently. [59862]

Jim Knight: The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Financial Memorandum issued by Defra in 2003 specify the terms under which English Nature receives and spends funds provided by Parliament.

As part of the process for agreeing English Nature's annual Business Plan, English Nature carries out written consultations and holds meetings with officials
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at Defra to establish English Nature's contribution to delivery of PSA targets, other high-level priorities and targets, corporate level risks and the financial plans. Similar interaction between English Nature and Defra has informed agreement of the English Nature Corporate Plan for 2005–08.

As part of the organisational change anticipated with the creation of Natural England, English Nature is working in partnership with the Rural Development Service and the Landscape, Access and Recreation Team of the Countryside Agency. The three Corporate Plans for 2005–08 have been harmonised to show what each organisation will contribute in this partnership. This provides clear accountability in terms of what English Nature will deliver with the resources it has, while also presenting this in the wider context of organisational change.

Environmental Legislation

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely effect of European Court of Justice ruling 2006/C 36/35, OJ 11 February 2006, on planned UK environmental legislation; for what reason the case was contested by the Government; and if she will make a statement. [59808]

Jim Knight: We have considered the implications of the ruling with the devolved Administrations, other Government Departments and Gibraltar. DEFRA will, to meet the court judgment, amend the legislation for England and Wales for the Habitats Regulations 1994 and put in place the Offshore Marine Regulations. Equivalent amendments will be made in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

The UK considered that most of the deficiencies highlighted by the Commission were already being adequately implemented in the UK through current legislation, general duties and administrative procedures.

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