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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases
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of financial irregularities have been recorded in her Department in each of the last five financial years; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Annual returns of fraud submitted by Defra, to HM Treasury for the financial years 200102, 200203, 200304 and 200405, show the number of cases of fraud in the Department. These are summarised in the following table. Records of any other cases of financial irregularities are not maintained and could only reconstructed at disproportionate cost.
|Type of fraud||Number of cases reported|
|Travelling, subsistence and allowances||20||6||1||3|
|Fraud Related to|
|Income Related Fraud||1||||||3|
Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Islington South and Finsbury constituency, the effects on Islington South and Finsbury of her Department's policies and actions since 2nd May 1997. 
Mr. Jim Knight: The Department has put in place a considerable programme of reforms and improvements across a wide range of policy areas since 1997 to help improve the quality of life for local communities. These include broadening enforcement tools to tackle litter, dog fouling, noise and fly-posting. The issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices for Islington in each of these areas are as follows.
|London borough of Islingtonlitter|
|Number of fines issued by local authority||256|
|Number of fines paid to local authority||179|
|Number of cases taken to court||3|
Islington also has the power to impose Fixed Penalty Notices for dog fouling, graffiti, fly posting and noise. No notices have been issued by Islington for these offences. Improved monitoring tools and resources have also been introduced to help local authorities to manage local environmental quality issues at a local level, respond to local needs and target resources more effectively and efficiently.
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The main source of funding for local authorities' waste management services is the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) block of annual Government grant. It is for the local authorities to decide what proportion of the block is invested in
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waste management services, including recycling. Funding is also provided from a variety of other sources to support recycling, the amounts allocated are set out in the table.
|Local authority||Funding type||Funding short description||Funding amount||Start date||End date|
|Islington||Grant to relieve spending pressures on waste||67,220.00||1 April 2004||31 March 2005|
|Islington||Waste Performance Efficiency|
|WPEG||193,470.00||1 April 2005||31 March 2006|
|Islington||Local Authority Support Unit|
|Land use planning||46,463.00||1 April 2004||31 March 2005|
|Islington||Waste and Resources Action|
|Phase 1 and 2||18,918.00|
|1 April 2004||31 March 2005|
|Islington||LASU DCS||Strategy||52,675.00||1 April 2005||31 March 2006|
|Islington||Household recycling incentives||Estate scheme||45,000.00||1 April 2005||31 March 2006|
My Department is responsible for the Warm Front Scheme, which is the key tool for tackling fuel poverty in the private sector in England. Since its launch in June 2000 it has assisted more than one million households with a range of insulation and heating measures and energy efficiency advice.
|June 2000 to March 2001||8|
|April 2001 to March 2002||77|
|April 2002 to March 2003||271|
|April 2003 to March 2004||11|
|April 2004 to March 2005||28|
|April 2005 to end February 2006||30|
In general, Defra collects information on a local authority basis rather than a constituency basis so not all information provided in this reply is specific to the Islington South and Finsbury constituency. The information provided reflects a significant proportion of Defra activity in this area, but may not be exhaustive.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) public speeches and (b) official visits she has made on departmental business since 5 May 2005; and how many letters she sent in this period. 
Jim Knight: Since 5 May 2005, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Margaret Beckett) has made six keynote speeches in the UK and conducted ten official domestic visits on Departmental business. She has replied to 1,508 letters as of 21 March 2006.
My right hon. Friend has made a large number of more routine speeches and attended many international gatherings during the UK's presidency of the G8 and the EU, including chairing both the Agriculture and Environment Ministerial Councils.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how UK authorities exercise their responsibilities under the EU Habitats Directive with regard to (a) the assessment of plans or projects likely to have an effect on European wildlife sites and (b) the consideration of alternative solutions and of imperative reasons of over-riding public interest relating to plans or projects assessed as likely to have an adverse impact on the integrity of European wildlife sites in instances when a plan or project is of a type not specified by Regulations 5485 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994 (as amended). 
Jim Knight: Regulation 3(4) of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) provides a general duty for UK Competent Authorities to have regard to the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive so far as they may be affected through the exercise of their functions. This general duty includes the need for competent authorities, considering plans or projects not specified in Regulations 5485, to address the requirements of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the UK authorities exercise their responsibilities under the EU Habitats Directive relating to (a) the assessment of a plan or project likely to have an effect on a European wildlife site, (b) the consideration of alternative solutions and of imperative reasons of over-riding public interest in the case of a plan or project assessed as likely to have an adverse impact on the integrity of a European wildlife site and (c) European protected species. 
Jim Knight: Competent Authorities have a duty to make sure their responsibilities for assessing plans or projects likely to affect a European wildlife site are carried out in ways that agree with the provisions in Part IV of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended).
Regulation 3(4) of the 1994 Regulations sets out a general duty for Competent Authorities to follow the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive if they may
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be affected when the Authorities exercise their functions. This duty also means that Competent Authorities, which are considering plans or projects not specified in Regulations 5485, have to address the requirements of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.
The same general duty provided by Regulation 3(4) also applies to the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive about the protection and surveillance of European protected species and any operations that might adversely affect them, their eggs, breeding sites or places of shelter. This includes, in particular, the need to address the requirements of Articles 1116 of the Habitats Directive.
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