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Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what administrative functions for which his Department is responsible are outsourced overseas; and what assessment he has made of the merits of outsourcing further such functions overseas. 
According to information held centrally, no administrative functions for which the Department is responsible have been outsourced overseas. Sourcing decisions are made on the basis of
value for money. Any decisions to outsource functions overseas would be taken in the light of that policy and would recognise the Departments emergency preparedness and business continuity requirements.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for which services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies hold contracts with the Post Office; and what the (i) start and (ii) termination date is of each contract. 
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what special EU support is offered to poultry farmers; and what assessment he has made of the impact of such support on the poultry industry in the UK. 
Ian Pearson: Recent amendments to EU Council Regulations 2777/75 and 27771/75 provide legal powers to make special support measures available to member states in the event of a significant decline in consumer confidence in poultry products, as a direct result of avian influenza, causing the market to collapse.
It is a long established Government policy that accommodating market fluctuations is something for the industry to manage. It is principally for this reason that we do not propose to exercise the EC provision to provide these exceptional market support measures.
Ian Pearson: The Government are very aware of the problem of private sewers, whereby householders often do not know they have a private sewer until a problem occurs such as a blockage or collapse, which can lead to disputes and consumer resistance to paying for repairs. Local authorities have also traditionally lacked any kind of records of where such sewers are, and the condition that they are in.
Legislation concerning private sewers has been kept under review by the Government since 2001 when a protocol was proposed for the construction of new sewers, enabling them to be built to a standard suitable for adoption by water and sewerage companies. The Government published their Review of existing private sewers and drains in England and Wales in July 2003, which sought views on a number of possible solutions to the problem of maintenance of such
sewers including their adoption by water and sewerage companies. This report is available on the DEFRA website:
In January 2005, DEFRA held a stakeholder seminarReview of Existing Private Sewers in England and Wales: What Next?which explored and drew conclusions on sustainable options for the scope and form of any potential transfer of private sewers to water and sewerage companies. There was general consensus at the seminar that transfer provided the most comprehensive solution.
DEFRA has worked hard with stakeholders, including Ofwat, Water UK and the Consumer Council for Water, to examine the scope and form of any potential transfer to water and sewerage companies. This has included its costs and funding, the impact on the drain repair and insurance industries, and public expectation. We intend to publish a decision on existing private sewers in England and Wales in the autumn.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to resolve the applications from applicants for the Entry Level Scheme where applications have been delayed because of disputes over Rural Payments Agency mapping and where payments have consequently been lost for one year; and if he will pay compensation to those affected. 
Monthly, rather than quarterly start dates were implemented in the summer of 2005;
Shortly after the launch of the scheme, a prioritisation list of ELS applicants with outstanding Rural Land Register (RLR) mapping issues was established. This enabled Rural Payment Agency staff to prioritise cases more effectively;
applying for an agreement on the land initially registered and then applying for a separate subsequent ELS agreement on the newly registered land; or
applying for an agreement on the land initially registered and then once land registration for all land was completed, applying for a new, re-started agreement across the whole of the holding.
It should also be noted that applicants are able to take up a full five-year ELS agreement. Therefore, though payments may be initially delayed for some, the opportunity to participate in an ELS agreement and receive payment for this will not be lost.
Given the steps outlined, and the voluntary nature of the ES scheme rather than its being a regulatory entitlement, I do not believe that there is a sufficiently robust case for compensation, where a later than anticipated entry into the scheme has been experienced.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 902W to the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Keetch), on the single farm payment, on what date he will publish details of payments made in England up to 30 June 2006. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the amount of UK food produce sold in supermarkets in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps his Department takes to enforce the Waste Incineration Directive in relation to the burning of tallow; what assessment he has made of enforcement levels; and if he will make a statement; 
Ian Pearson: The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) applies to all technical units incinerating waste or co-incinerating waste along with non-waste material. As the law currently stands, the burning of waste tallow as fuel is subject to the requirements of the WID and is regulated by local authorities and the Environment Agency depending on the type of rendering unit.
Having received representationsincluding one from the UK Governmentthat the application of the stringent requirements of the WID is disproportionate in relation to the burning of tallow, the European Commission has set up a study to help establish whether such controls are appropriate and necessary to
the protection of the environment. The study is expected to report by the autumn, and the Government are pressing the Commission for the study to be completed as soon as possible.
Against this background, operators have argued that the continued burning of tallow in rendering plants would be more beneficial for the environment than switching to alternative fossil fuels, which do not require WID-compliant plants. In addition, switching fuels would have damaging cost impacts on the livestock chain.
Recognising these points and the ongoing Commission study, but also the current state of the law, Ministers have encouraged the industry to enter technical discussions with the regulators to determine how best individual plants might plan move over time to comply with the WID.
A plants failure to comply with WID requirements .included in Pollution Prevention Control permits is a matter for the regulator. My Department does not maintain a database of Waste Incineration Directive breaches. Following detection of non-compliance, decisions about enforcement action and/or prosecution are taken in line with the regulators existing enforcement and prosecution policies. The latter includes consideration of public interest in upholding environmental law.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the use of tallow by the soap production and oleochemical industries on levels of recycling in the context of the Governments policies on waste management and sustainable development; and what research he has commissioned on this. 
Ian Pearson: Approximately 265,000 tonnes of tallow are produced in the UK annually. Approximately 50-65,000 tonnes (including imported tallow) are used by the soap production and oleochemical industry in the UK per year. No assessment of the effects on levels of recycling from the use of tallow has been made, nor has any research been commissioned.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the incentive scheme for the production of biodiesel in the context of competing uses for tallow; and what discussions he has had with the Department (a) of Trade and Industry and (b) for Transport on the impact; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the incentive scheme in place for the use of tallow in the production of biofuels on levels of (a) recycling and (b) renewable energy production. 
The Government are supporting the production of biodiesel through a 20p per litre duty rate cut. This has brought forward biodiesel from a variety of feedstock, including tallow. The forthcoming Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation will require 5 per cent. of road fuel to come from renewable sources by 2010. Tallow-derived biodiesel will qualify under the obligation. Burning tallow for the generation of electricity may also qualify for Renewables Obligation
Certificates (ROCs), although the Government are not aware of any significant burning of tallow which is eligible for ROCs.
We are aware that the oleochemical industry is concerned that the use of tallow for the production of biodiesel and electricity generation will reduce available supplies of tallow for their industry. No formal assessment of this has been made by the Government. However, Defra is in close contact with the Department for Transport and the Department of Trade and Industry, which are engaged in on-going discussions with the oleochemical industry.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance is issued to regulators of the rendering industry in England and Wales on determining whether a rendering plant is working towards compliance with the European Union Waste Incineration Directive. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 16 June 2006]: The Environment Agency has met the UK Renderers Association on two recent occasions to agree steps to be taken by the sector in moving towards compliance with the waste incineration directive (WID). Those steps include emissions monitoring at two rendering plants. All plants will also investigate the cost and lead times for the supply and installation of suitable continuous emissions monitoring equipment, as well as the engineering feasibility. Relevant local authorities in England and Wales have been made aware of the outcome of the meeting. A third meeting is planned in July.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings he (a) has held and (b) plans to hold with (i) Thames Water and (ii) Ofwat regarding Thames Waters performance against its leakage reduction targets. 
Ian Pearson: The Secretary of State and I met with representatives of the water industry, including Thames Water, on 1 June to discuss the water supply challenges we face in the short, medium and long term. Leakage levels was one of the issues discussed. I also met Thames Water seperately in May and made clear that its leakage rates were unacceptably high.
On 4 July, Ofwat announced that it had secured a legally binding undertaking, committing Thames Water to £150 million of additional investment in replacing leaking mains. This is more than double the maximum imposable fine and will come from the shareholder, not the bill payer. Ofwat has also set revised leakage targets for the period up to 2010 to get the companys leakage reduction back on track and to take leakage down to 720 rather than 725 megalitres per day by 2009-10. It is right that the consumer does not bear the burden of the increased investment needed for Thames Water to deal with its failure to meet its leakage targets.
Ian Pearson: Ofwat has recognised that leakage is affected by severe weather conditions and since 2002-03 it has assessed the water companies achievement of targets on a 36-month rolling average. Following Ofwats assessment of the companies, 2004-05 leakage performance, United Utilities and Thames Water were deemed to be operating above their 36-month average targets. Thames Water had targets suspended in 2001-02 and 2002-03 owing to its performance and data problems.
Three Valleys Water
Northumbrian Water (South)
Severn Trent Water
Three Valleys Water
Mid Kent Water
Three Valleys Water
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