Previous Section Index Home Page

5 July 2006 : Column 1143W—continued

New Technologies (Research)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage
5 July 2006 : Column 1144W
of his Department’s budget was spent researching new technologies in the last period for which figures are available. [76807]

Barry Gardiner: Science, engineering and technology (SET) statistics provide a breakdown of Government R and D expenditure by primary purpose and Department. The following table outlines spend for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for 2003-04 on Technology Support and gives this as a percentage of the Department’s total budget. The category Technology Support includes strategic as well as applied research, and pre-competitive research. These figures exclude funding of the research base under the science budget and are derived from SET statistics. Tables 3.5 and 3.10 are available on the DTI website at hard copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

Analysis of DEFRA R and D expenditure
Purpose £ million Percentage of total Department budget

General Support



Government Services



Policy Support



Technology Support



Total R and D



Definitions: General Support for research All basic and applied R and D which advances knowledge for its own sake; support for postgraduate research studentships (PhD’s). Government Services R and D relevant to any aspects of Government service provision (all defence included here). Policy Support R and D which Government funds to inform policy (excluding Government Services and Technology Support) and for monitoring developments of significance for the welfare of the population. Technology Support—applied R and D that advances technology underpinning the UK economy (but excluding defence). The category includes strategic as well as applied research, and pre-competitive research under schemes such as LINK. Source: ONS Government R and D Survey.


Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which officials in his Department (a) are responsible for Olympics-related activity and (b) sit on the inter-departmental steering group for the Olympics. [81562]

Barry Gardiner: Jonathan Tillson, head of the sustainable communities division, is responsible for Olympics-related activity within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and sits on the inter-departmental steering group for the Olympics.

Rural Enterprise Scheme

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will enable surplus funds in his Department’s rural enterprise
5 July 2006 : Column 1145W
scheme and processing and marketing scheme to be re-allocated to the South-West England region to cover the funding shortfall; and if he will make a statement. [81760]

Barry Gardiner: The rural enterprise scheme and processing and marketing grant have been very popular and successful across the country. The announcement, in February this year that these schemes would close on 30 June led to a large increase in the number of applications, all of which were seeking funding from a limited budget.

DEFRA and the Rural Development Service (RDS) expect to be able to award fully the remaining funds to projects in the respective regions where that money was scheduled to be allocated. In the event that any money remains unallocated after the final Regional Appraisal Panels have met (in August), RDS have put in place plans and procedures to allocate any surplus to the highest quality reserve projects from around the country.

Good quality reserve projects from the South-West region would be included in this exercise, but in such an event projects will be judged on their merits regardless of the region they are from.

Rural Payments Agency

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the costs of running the Rural Payments Agency for each year since 2001. [71515]

Barry Gardiner: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA), an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), was formed on 16 October 2001. Its main objective is to administer the common agricultural policy for England. The gross running costs associated with the administration of the payments to farmers for each of the five years are given as follows. The figures for 2000-01 are the combined figures for the Intervention Board and the elements of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that merged to become RPA in October 2001.

Amount (£ million)











(1) Restated figure due to reclassification of costs. (2) Restated figure under merger accounting.

The detail supporting each of the years can be found in RPA’s annual report and accounts under House of Commons publication numbers HC 1197 (for both 2000-01 and 2001-02), HC 940, HC 1009 and HC 82 respectively.

Single Farm Payments

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made in making single farm payments to farmers in Northamptonshire. [72937]

5 July 2006 : Column 1146W

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many single farm payments have been made in (a) England and (b) Shropshire in excess of entitlements; and, in each case, by what aggregate amount. [74175]

Barry Gardiner: As at 23 June 2006 104,230 payments had been made in respect of Single Payment Scheme applications. This figure consists of full and partial payments. Work is continuing by the Rural Payments Agency to pay as many claims as possible using a variety of methods by the end of the payment window on 30 June.

Payments have been calculated and paid based on the number of entitlements established, including a substantial number of partial payments, where the payment was calculated on the basis of an estimated number of entitlements.

Details of payments made in England up to 30 June 2006, including by constituency and county, are not presently available but will be published in due course.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency will receive a financial bonus for the complete payment of single farm payments. [76182]

Barry Gardiner: The chief executive of the RPA was replaced after advising Ministers that, contrary to earlier assurances, the bulk of 2005 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments would not be made by the end of March. The current interim chief executive, who is now responsible for turning the system around, will be eligible for a bonus payment at the end of this financial year subject to the achievement of challenging targets. These will be set in the light of his plans to improve the RPA’s performance and will certainly cover the administration of the SPS.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments have been made to third parties in relation to administering the Single Payment Scheme. [74071]

Barry Gardiner: The main third parties whose services have been used to set up the administration of the Single Payment Scheme are Accenture, Infoterra and Black & Veatch. Payments made to date to each of these companies are detailed as follows:

Main third party £ million





Black & Veatch


In addition, the Rural Payments Agency has employed agency staff and consultants.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission regarding EU fines for not paying all of the Single Farm Payment by 30 June 2006; whether the deadline will be extended; and if he will make a statement; [79894]

5 July 2006 : Column 1147W

(2) how much the European Commission will fine the UK Government for missing the 30 June 2006 deadline for Single Farm Payment if (a) 85 per cent., (b) 86 per cent., (c) 87 per cent., (d) 88 per cent., (e) 89 per cent., (f) 90 per cent., (g) 91 per cent., (h) 92 per cent., (i) 93 per cent., (j) 94 per cent., (k) 95 per cent., (l) 96 per cent., (m) 97 per cent., (n) 98 per cent., (o) 99 per cent. have been paid by the deadline. [79895]

Barry Gardiner: The end of the regulatory payment window for the 2005 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is 30 June 2006. Discussions with the European Commission suggest that a formal extension to that window is unlikely, but those discussions will continue, focussed on the application of separate regulatory requirements on the EU funding of payments. As things stand, those requirements are, in summary, that where payments made after 30 June in any member state amount to 4 per cent. or less of what was paid out before that date, no reduction in EU funding will be imposed. For any amounts outstanding after 30 June over and above the 4 per cent. threshold, reductions will apply as follows:

Month Percentage

up to 1


up to 2


up to 3


up to 4


up to 5 or more


Furthermore, where the 4 per cent. threshold has not been used by 15 October, it will be reduced to 2 per cent.

Whether there is any reduction in EU funding of UK 2005 SPS payments and, if so, how much will, therefore, depend on the amount and timing of any payments made after 30 June deadline across the UK.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on computer training for the systems to implement the Single Farm Payment. [79897]

Barry Gardiner: The expenditure on training in the new business processes and IT systems in the implementation and ongoing delivery of the Single Payment Scheme was £1,342,296.

Sovereign Strategy

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 165W, on Sovereign Strategy, on how many occasions (a) he, (b) his predecessor and (c) other Ministers in his Department met (i) Alan Donnelly, (ii) representatives of Alan Donnelly and (iii) others about whom he was informed that they were representatives of Sovereign Strategy, regardless of whether they were acting in that capacity at the meeting, in the last 12 months. [80252]

Barry Gardiner: There is no departmental record of any meeting in the last 12 months between the
5 July 2006 : Column 1148W
Secretary of State, his predecessor, or other Ministers, and representatives of Alan Donnelly or Sovereign Strategy.

Special Advisers

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role is played by special advisers in answering parliamentary questions asked of his Department. [80647]

Barry Gardiner: Special advisers conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct for special advisers.

Uplands Rewards Scheme

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the Uplands Reward Scheme provides for (a) appropriate staffing levels and (b) appropriate levels and mix of stock to maintain the integrity of the Uplands. [80701]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 27 June 2006]: The consultation on the future upland reward structure closed on 22 May. We are currently considering responses. A mixed stocking option will be added to the Entry Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme this summer. This will encourage a mix of stock.

Water Companies

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of whether each of the regulated water companies is making a reasonable rate of return on capital as defined in the relevant legislation; and if he will make a statement; [81085]

(2) what assessment he has made of whether water companies are making excessive rates of return. [81583]

Ian Pearson: The Government recognise that companies have to earn a return on their capital and Ofwat has a duty to enable them to reasonably do so. At each price review, Ofwat must make a judgment about what is a reasonable return on capital to be allowed in price limits. If companies outperform Ofwat's assumptions at the last price review, then customers will share the benefit in their bills from 2010.

Rates of return earned by water companies in 2000-05 were lower than 1990-95.


Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place for the protection of woodland in (a) South Swindon constituency and (b) the Great Western Community Forest. [82415]

5 July 2006 : Column 1149W

Barry Gardiner: A number of measures are in place to protect woodlands in England including South Swindon and Great Western Community Forest. In particular the felling of woodland is controlled through the felling regulations. Additionally, many woodlands are subject to further controls where they lie within designated areas such as sites of special scientific interest or special areas of conservation.

Local planning authorities also have wide powers to protect trees and woodland by means of Tree Preservation Orders.

Where it is intended to fell trees and use the land for another purpose the proposals will be assessed under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations and consent for felling under these regulations may also be required from the Forestry Commission.

Planning Policy Statement 9 says that, for areas of ancient woodland that do not benefit from statutory protection, planning permission should not be granted for any development that would result in its loss or deterioration unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location outweigh the loss of the woodland habitat.

Next Section Index Home Page