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The only change has been a reduction of £14.9 million in grant for Environment Agency revenue spend. The Government also supports revenue spend by local authorities on flood risk management through revenue support grant, administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Forestry Commission has taken to encourage former fox hunts to switch to the use of artificial scents when drag hunting on Forestry Commission land. 
Barry Gardiner: The Forestry Commission allows drag hunting to take place in some areas formerly used for fox hunting. Their agreement with the Masters of Fox Hounds Association includes in the terms and conditions details of the scent that may be used. This has been revised for the current season by including the requirement for hunts to continue efforts to achieve successful hunting with chemical-only based scent.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when he expects to make available the responses to the recent consultation on GM co-existence; and if he will place them on the Departments website; 
(3) when the results of the recent consultation on co-existence between genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops will be announced; and how many correspondents were (a) in favour, (b) against and (c) neutral on the proposals. 
Ian Pearson: We have received several thousand responses to the consultation on proposals for managing the co-existence of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops in England. We do not intend to put individual responses on our website, but we will publish a summary of the responses as soon as possible. Copies of the responses will be publicly available through the DEFRA Library. In due course we will indicate how we intend to proceed having weighed up all the comments. It is too early to say when we might bring forward draft co-existence regulations, although it remains our objective to have co-existence measures in place before there is any commercial GM cultivation.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors underlay his Department's decision to set genetically modified (GM) contamination levels at 0.9 per cent. in foods before GM labelling is required. 
Ian Pearson: In 2003, the Member States of the European Union (EU) decided collectively that crops or food ingredients should be exempted from carrying a genetically modified (GM) label if they have an adventitious, or technically unavoidable presence of an approved GM organism below 0.9 per cent. This is specified in EU law.
Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to reduce the (a) length and (b) complexity of the registration application for the integrated pollution prevention and control permit by the Environment Agency. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environmental Permitting Programme, launched by DEFRA in partnership with the Environment Agency and Welsh Assembly Government, seeks to combine the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) and waste management licensing systems into a common permitting and compliance system.
The proposed integrated permit, planned for implementation in 2008, is set out in the second of two consultations. This aims to streamline and simplify the mechanics of the permitting and compliance systems for waste and IPPC. The new system, consisting of fewer, simpler rules and clearer guidance, would result in a more unified approach allowing industry, regulators and the public to focus more on environmental outcomes and less on how they are achieved.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department recognises the International GCSE as an acceptable substitute for a GCSE for the purposes of recruitment. 
Barry Gardiner: This qualification is not recognised by DEFRA as it is neither part of the National Qualification Framework or regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. DEFRA operates a competence-based recruitment system and would require applicants who hold this qualification to also provide evidence of relevant experience in support of their application.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to encourage EU members that are not signatories of the International Whaling Commission to sign. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I have recently written again to the Environment Ministers of all European Union (EU) member states that are not currently members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and to those seeking accession to the EU, to encourage support for the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling, and for the United Kingdoms policies on whaling. Furthermore, I also raised the issue of IWC membership at the recent Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg.
DEFRA officials also ensure that Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts in the relevant capitals are briefed, and engage in discussion with their counterparts on whaling at every appropriate opportunity. This ensures that these countries are in no doubt of the importance that the UK places on whale conservation.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Cypriot Government on Cyprus joining the International Whaling Commission. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I have written to the Cypriot Government, and to all the other member states of the European Union that are not yet members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), urging them to join the IWC, stressing the importance of their membership.
I am pleased to say that I received a reply from my counterpart in Cyprus. He has assured me of Cyprus' commitment to conservation issues and that the Cypriot Government is looking to join the IWC in the near future. The British Embassy in Nicosia is fully engaged in supporting the Cypriot Government in this step.
Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many live adult cattle have been exported for (a) breeding, (b) further fattening and (c) slaughter since 1 May 2006; and how many in each category were exported to each country of destination. 
However, the GB Cattle Tracing System (CTS) is updated as and when cattle are exported. The CTS shows that 14,352 cattle of 42 days of age and older were exported to mainland Europe in the period from1 May 2006 to 11 October 2006. The CTS does not indicate whether the animals were intended for breeding, production or slaughter. The cattle were exported to the following countries: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Poland, Denmark,
Romania and Switzerland. A breakdown of how many cattle were exported to each of these countries is not available.
Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 October 2006, Official Report, column 1593W, on animal exports, what the total journey time was from the place of departure to the final destination of each of the consignments of calves exported from Dover on 11 October 2006. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Ten of the 14 route plans have so far been returned. The time taken to the nearest hour to get from the export premises to the places of destination including rest breaks during the journey are recorded as:
|Destination country||Duration (hours)|
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of (a) written submissions and (b) notes of oral submissions related to the Departments decision in the case of Lyme Bay scallop dredging. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I have arranged for summaries of submissions made to me, and released to Devon Wildlife Trust and interested parties under the Environment Information Regulations (S.I. 2004/3391), to be placed in the Library of the House.
Barry Gardiner: David Miliband's speech, One Planet FarmingTowards a shared agenda for the future of farming, was not actually published in booklet form until after the Royal Show. The cost of the typesetting and printing of the document was £10,490 excluding VAT. It was sent to 53,000 farmers with the British Farmer and Grower publication by the NFU, at no additional cost to DEFRA.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) financial support and (b) support in kind his Department and its agencies have given to the Muslim Council of Britain in each year since 1997. 
Barry Gardiner: The Department and its agencies can confirm that (a) no financial support has been given to the Muslim Council of Britain since 1997 and that similarly (b) no support in kind has been provided.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contracts Natural England has entered into with environmental organisations since its inception, broken down by (a) length and (b) value of contract. 
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Nirex work force regarding his proposals to merge Nirex into the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 
Ian Pearson: The Secretary of State made clear in his parliamentary statement and his open letter to the Nirex Chair that we are determined to harness the skill and commitment of the Nirex work force within the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The Nirex Board is being consulted about the proposed share sale. We are committed to ensuring that Nirex staff will be fairly treated.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings his Department's (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with representatives of (i) Nirex, (ii) the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and (iii) Sovereign Strategy in the last 24 months. 
Since that time, according to departmental records, DEFRA Ministers have had meetings with representatives of Nirex on two occasions and with representatives of the NDA on one occasion. DEFRA officials have had meetings with representatives of Nirex on at least 21 occasions and with the NDA on at least 14 occasions. There have been no meetings between DEFRA Ministers, or DEFRA officials, and representatives of Sovereign Strategy.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2006, Official Report, column 273W, on Nirex, if he will consult the Sustainable Development Commission on his plans to merge Nirex into the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to minimise the movement between licensed nuclear sites of conditioned radioactive waste. 
Ian Pearson: There are various factors (such as social impacts, technical issues, protection of the environment, land use, transport, availability of radioactive waste treatment and disposal facilities and economic factors) that may need to be considered in any future decision about moving conditioned radioactive wastes between licensed nuclear sites. The desire to avoid excessive transportation of materials is an important consideration but must be balanced with all other relevant factors on a case-by-case basis.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investigations into the suitability of the soil strata for low or high-level nuclear waste have been made in West Yorkshire. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what process he plans to adopt to assess the likely cost of (a) interim storage and (b) long-term disposal of intermediate and high level radioactive waste. 
Ian Pearson: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authoritys (NDA) site licensee companies already have costed plans for the interim storage of waste included in their site lifetime plans. Several stores are already in operation.
We accept the Committee on Radioactive Waste Managements (CoRWM) recommendation that the process for developing a geological disposal option should be undertaken on a staged basis, with clear decision points. That will allow the Government to review progress and to assess costs, value for money and environmental impact before decisions are taken to move to the next stage.
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