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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much land was given over to organic production in each region in each year since 1990; what the total land area under agricultural use was in each year; and what percentage of all agricultural land the former represented in each year. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The following tables show areas of organic and in-conversion land, total agricultural land and the percentage that organic land represents for all agricultural land. Figures for organic land are only available from 2003 onwards.
|UK area of organic and in conversion land by region as a proportion of total agricultural area|
|March 2003||January 2004|
|Organic and in conversion area (ha)||Total agricultural area( 1 ) (ha)||Percentage of total agricultural area||Organic and in conversion area (ha)||Total agricultural area( 1 ) (ha)||Percentage of total agricultural area|
|Organic and in conversion area (ha)||Total agricultural area( 1 ) (ha)||Percentage of total agricultural area|
|(1) Excludes common grazing land.|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of agricultural authorities from the new entrant countries into the EU about their policy on genetically modified organisms; and how many of those countries are permitting cultivation of GM food for export into the UK. 
Ian Pearson: No DEFRA Ministers have had any recent bilateral discussions with representatives of agricultural authorities from the countries which joined the EU on 1 May 2004 about their policy on genetically modified (GM) organisms. However, periodic collective discussions are held, involving all EU member states.
The EU regulatory regime permits the cultivation of only those GM crops which have received a prior EU approval for cultivation. Any approved GM crop so cultivated could then be traded within the internal market, including being exported to the UK. All new member states signed up to this regime when they joined the EU.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission Reports recommendations on (a) second homes and tax, (b) second homes and planning use claims order, (c) public funding proportions for rural communities, (d) right-to-buy and right-to-acquire entitlements in rural areas and (e) changes in the tax system to improve supply of development sites for affordable housing. 
We are currently considering the report and will use a range of channels and mechanisms to respond in a constructive way to the agenda set by the Commission, including in the forthcoming spending review.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many illegal
immigrants have been discovered to be employed by his Department in each year since 2001; in what capacities they were employed; how many were discovered as part of a criminal investigation; and what the nature of the charges brought against them were. 
Barry Gardiner: No staff directly employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since 2001, including those on fixed term appointment and casual contracts, have been identified as illegal immigrants.
2001a security guard was arrested on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant and subsequently deported;
2005a cleaner was arrested on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant;
2006a cleaning supervisor was arrested on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.
None were discovered as part of wider criminal investigations. The Department reports suspicions about the immigration status of staff, whether directly employed or working for contractors, to the appropriate authorities.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) import and (b) export permits the UK has processed for ivory in each year since 1997; and what (i) the nature of the item and (ii) the country of (A) origin or (B) destination was in each case. 
Barry Gardiner: The UK Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Management Authority has issued over 14,000 import, export or re-export permits in total since 1997. The number of each category of permit and the number of pieces of ivory involved are set out in the table.
Because of the large number of permits, these figures cannot readily be broken down further into country of origin or destination. In most cases the country of origin is unknown, as the vast majority of applications are for antique ivory and there is no definitive proof to confirm whether the ivory is Indian or African, and even if African, which country it was originally taken from.
|Item||Import permits||Number of pieces||Export permits||Number of pieces||Re-export permits||Number of pieces|
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