Dr. Pugh: To ask the Leader of the House what percentage of questions tabled by hon. Members remained unanswered after a month in the last period for which figures are available, broken down by Department. 
Mr. Straw: This information is not collected centrally. My Office monitors the performance of Departments in answering questions, but does not hold detailed statistics on a comparable basis. Individual Departments are responsible for keeping their own records on the timeliness of answers and providing this information to the House when requested by the Public Administration Select Committee or through Members questions.
The last available figures for my Office relate to the whole of the last session. These show that 100 per cent. of the 188 ordinary written questions tabled were answered within a working week and 100 per cent. of the 71 named day questions tabled were answered on the date specified. No questions remained unanswered after a month.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the England Rural Development Programme 2007-13 promotes higher animal welfare standards; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what status in potential court actions the proposed codes relating to welfare of animal species will have under the Animal Welfare Bill.[R] 
The proposed codes relating to welfare of animal species under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are intended primarily to help animal owners and keepers understand the welfare needs of their animals. Failure to comply with a code will not, in itself, constitute an offence. However, evidence of non-compliance with a code may be used by the courts in deciding whether a person has committed an offence
under the other provisions of the Act. Similarly, a code could be used by the defence to support any claim of compliance with the Act.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his most recent estimate is of (a) the number of batteries used by UK households and (b) the number of batteries collected for recycling from UK households in each year since 1997, broken down by battery type; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Bradshaw: Recent consultancy work, carried out on behalf of DEFRA, estimates that 24,850 tonnes of household batteries were sold in the UK in 2003. The great majority of these were alkaline manganese and zinc carbon varieties. There has been no legislative requirement for waste household batteries to be separately collected and detailed statistics have not therefore been kept. However, we estimate that various local voluntary schemes have resulted in a capture rate of less than 2 per cent.
The Batteries and Accumulators Directive (2006/66/EC) came into force on 26 September 2006. Member states have two years to transpose this measure into national law. This is a producer responsibility directive and, as such, the onus on collection and recycling will fall on battery producers in the first instance. However, local authorities are also likely to play a role given their current involvement in the collection of household waste. The exact form this may take will not be decided until the completion of formal domestic consultation with all parties concerned.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is currently working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations which already run recycling collection services on a number of pilot battery collection schemes.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of greenhouse gas emissions came from cows in the last period for which figures are available; and what plans he has to reduce such emissions. 
Ian Pearson: Agriculture as a whole contributes 7 per cent. of all UK greenhouse gas emissions and 14 per cent. globally. The sector accounts for 36 per cent. of methane and 67 per cent. of nitrous oxide emissions in the UK, but only 1 per cent. of carbon dioxide. About 80 per cent. of this methane comes from enteric fermentation in the digestive system of animals (sheep, pigs and bovines), and 20 per cent. from animal waste. Methane emissions from agriculture have declined by 12 per cent. since 1990.
Recent research suggests that substantial methane reductions could be achieved by changes to feed regimes. Improving the longevity of dairy cows will
also result in decreased methane production as a result of a reduction in the total number of animals needed to produce the same quantity of milk.
Defra is exploring the role of anaerobic digestion in reducing methane emissions in agriculture, both domestically and internationally. For example, we are taking a leading role in the Methane to Markets Partnership, an international initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and its use as a clean energy source.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking through the EU to address the carbon outputs of (a) Luxembourg, (b) Spain and (c) Portugal. 
The Commission recently announced decisions on the National Allocation Plans for phase II of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme of 10 member states. A number of member states were asked to undertake further work and the Commission is looking for significant further reductions in emissions. The framework under which the decisions have been taken has been set out clearly, which the UK welcomes.
This framework sets a standard for the National Allocation Plans yet to be submitted and assessed. The Commission has made clear the importance of using the Emissions Trading Scheme to achieve Kyoto targets and to make good use of the available potential for emissions reductions.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which projects are supported by his Department through carbon offsetting schemes; and where each project is located; 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 4 December 2006]: DEFRA is taking the lead on offsetting emissions associated with the UKs presidency of the G8 in 2005, to help ensure that the presidency is carbon-neutral. All of last years G8-associated meetings, including the G8 summit, were included in the DEFRA-led carbon offsetting initiative. The calculations included the emissions associated with air travel, local transport, energy use at venues and accommodation, and waste production.
To offset these emissions, the Government have agreed to purchase 10,000 Certified Emission Reductions from the Kuyasa low-income housing energy upgrade project in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the first Clean Development Mechanism project to be registered in Africa, and the first Gold Standard project to be registered anywhere in the world.
DEFRA is also responsible for administering the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund, which offsets all official and ministerial air travel of all central Government Departments (except the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which have their own offsetting schemes). Proceeds from the Fund will be used to purchase Certified Emission Reduction credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are based in developing countries and accredited under the Clean Development Mechanism. The organisations and specific projects that will be involved will be finalised soon and more details will be included in an announcement to be made shortly.
Ian Pearson: While carbon sequestration by forestry is a useful tool for offsetting some greenhouse gas emissions, sequestration in cropland and pasture through new management practices is less certain. This is because new management practices have to be followed for a substantial period of time in order to record additional carbon storage. Also, several years of stored carbon could be released by a change of practice in just one season.
A more important issue is protecting the 10 billion tonnes of carbon held in UK soils, especially upland peat soils, from release through soil erosion and inappropriate management practices such as over-grazing. For example, allowing the peat soils of the High Peak to dry out would alone release carbon equivalent to 270 million vehicle miles.
Defra is undertaking research to understand fully the issues on sequestration and protection of carbon stores. We are considering how to ensure agri-environment measures address this problem and are engaging with stakeholders, notably through the Rural Climate Change Forum, to ensure full understanding between the Government and industry on this problem.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the Common Fisheries Policies on cetaceans; and what mitigation measures are currently under discussion at EU level. 
Mr. Bradshaw: European Council Regulation (EC) 812/2004 lays down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries. The Regulation makes the use of acoustic deterrent devices ("pingers") mandatory for vessels over 12 meters in length, involved in fixed-gear fisheries in the Celtic Sea Channel and Western Waters. It also sets up mandatory observer schemes to increase our knowledge of by-catch in fisheries.
Unfortunately, there has been a delay in implementing pingers because studies of their effectiveness, costs and availability indicate that there are currently no devices suitable for use. A discussion was held at a Council Working Group on 27 September which recognised that, because of deployment problems in certain fisheries, some member states could not currently implement pingers as required. However, the group recommended that member states should continue work towards developing a suitable pinger.
Ian Pearson [holding answer 4 December 2006]: We are determined to promote the widest possible debate, in the Houses of Parliament and across the country, about the contents of the Climate Change Bill. This will ensure that all views are taken into consideration when the terms of the Bill are drafted.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which officials represented the Government at the recent United Nations climate change talks in Nairobi; and what assessment he has made of the outcome of the talks. 
Ian Pearson: The UK delegation to the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the second session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto protocol, in Nairobi, was led by the Secretary of State. It also included officials from DEFRA, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Scottish Executive and Her Majestys Treasury.
The conference took important steps forward in the battle against climate change. However, greater urgency and momentum need to be injected into the international negotiations to secure a global agreement that builds on the first Kyoto commitment period, which ends in 2012, and ensures there is no gap between commitment periods.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in his Department work in (a) environment, (b) agriculture, (c) rural affairs and (d) food. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether people employed (a) through employment agencies and (b) on a consultancy basis are included in the calculations for the full-time equivalent staff mentioned in his Departments annual report. 
Barry Gardiner: People employed through employment agencies and on a consultancy basis are not included in the calculations for the full-time equivalent staff mentioned in the Departments annual report as they are not members of DEFRA staff.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Departments (a) budget and (b) outturn expenditure was in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to his intervention of 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 721, if he will give further details of the (a) accounting changes and (b) pressures of previous years which have contributed £65 million and between £70 million to £80 million respectively to his Departments funding deficit of £200 million. 
Barry Gardiner: The accounting changes arose from clarification and application of Treasury consolidated budgeting guidance rules. This guidance set out constraints over movements between sub-control totals within departmental resource budgets.
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