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Internet Viruses

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the cost to businesses in Lancashire caused by internet viruses in each of the last three years. [106224]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 November 2006]: My Department does not collect statistics relating to individual PCs or computer systems. However, the 2006 Information Security Breaches Survey, which is the largest survey of its kind in the UK, forms a significant part of the Department's work with business to understand the nature and impact of information security breaches and to raise awareness of the value of effective information security management. This report contains a wide range of statistical information and is available from the DTI website ( The 2006 report found that virtually all companies now have anti-virus software and that fewer companies had suffered security incidents related to viruses than in the previous two surveys. Although viruses remain a major concern, the nature of the threat is changing; the major virus disseminations that were prevalent until a few years ago and which caused widespread damage are now less important than the more targeted theft of confidential business information. My Department produces extensive online advice and other guidance material relating to information security best practice.

Ministerial Travel

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the occasions since he has held his present office when he has used (a) rail services, (b) the London Underground, (c) tram or light railway services and (d) buses in connection with his ministerial duties. [101988]

Mr. Darling: Since taking office as Secretary of State, when on ministerial duty I have used rail services on:

Rail journey

15 May

Derby to London

17 May

London to Runcorn return

25 May

London to Durham

2 June

Luxembourg to Brussels

11 July

London to Whitstable return

12 July

London Marylebone to Banbury return

13 July

London to Oxenholme

14 July

Carlisle to Edinburgh

12 September

London to Brighton

13 September

Brighton to London

04 October

London to Southampton Parkway return

16 October

Edinburgh to York and Doncaster to London

30 October

Eurostar from Brussels to London Waterloo

07 November

Eurostar from Brussels to London Waterloo

7 Dec 2006 : Column 578W

I have used public transport wherever possible and practical to complete my journey, taking account of security considerations.

I have not used the London Underground, tram, light railway services or buses on ministerial business, but do so on other occasions.

All my ministerial travel on official business is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in “Travel by Ministers”.

Renewable Energy: Research

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research his Department has conducted on how existing energy sources can be made cleaner in the last five years. [107681]

Malcolm Wicks: The DTI's carbon abatement technologies programme, formerly the Cleaner Fossil Fuels Programme, has supported collaborative work covering Research and Development on Cleaner Coal Technologies since 1999. During this time the Department provided some £13 million to the programme and an additional £3.5 million for collaborative Cleaner Coal Technology projects with the USA.

The Government have also made available, between 2002 and 2008 around £500 million of spending on emerging renewable and low carbon technologies in the form of capital grants and research and development. This includes £35 million for a carbon abatement technologies demonstration programme.

Leader of the House

Departmental Staff

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Leader of the House how many temporary employees were contracted to work for the Privy Council Office in 2005-06; and what the total cost of such employees was in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 1997-98. [106700]

Mr. Straw: During 2005-06, the Privy Council Office contracted 14 staff from employment agencies at a cost of £35,433.22. Staff employed from agencies were engaged to cover long-term sick absence and short-term recruitment gaps. In this same period, the PCO also contracted two staff on a fixed term appointment basis at a cost of £18,299.34. Staff employed on fixed term contracts were engaged to assist on long-term projects.

Details covering 1997-98 are not held centrally and are available only at disproportionate cost.

Official Cars

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Leader of the House how many cars run by the Privy Council Office were manufactured (a) in the UK and (b) abroad. [104815]

Mr. Straw: The Privy Council Office does not own or run any vehicles.

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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare Bill

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any species of primate will be removed from those listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 as a result of the Animal Welfare Bill. [106866]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 is at present being reviewed. Following extensive consultation and expert advice, changes to the Act’s schedule are planned for 2007. Any such changes will be timed to coincide as far as possible with the timing of the Animal Welfare Act’s coming into force. The final decisions on the detail of the amendments, including whether any primates will be removed from the list, will be taken at that time.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what additional incentives he is planning to persuade more farmers to grow (a) biofuels and (b) other non-food crops. [106298]

Ian Pearson: The joint Defra and Department of Trade and Industry Strategy for non-food crops and uses provides an overarching package of measures and incentives. These are designed to promote the sustainable and competitive development of non-food crops in order to provide biofuels, biomass heat and electricity and industrial materials.

The strategy recognises the opportunities non-food crops offer farmers and industry. It contains a number of actions aimed at developing supply chains, disseminating information and targeting research and development. These actions are delivered in part by the Government-funded National Non-Food Crops Centre. The centre plays a pivotal role in linking farmers with industry and provides advice and guidance on crop agronomics, contracts and procurement issues. The recently established Biomass Energy Centre also provides detailed information on all aspects of growing and supplying energy crops.

A two year progress report on the strategy was published on 16 November 2006 and a copy can be found on the Defra website at: The report contains recommendations for developing the strategy over the next three years.

We intend to continue to provide support for energy crops in England under the new Rural Development Programme for England. Support for biomass supply chains will continue with a second round of the bio-energy infrastructure scheme.

Bonus Payments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid in bonuses to civil servants in his Department each year since 2001-02; and how many civil servants received bonuses in each year. [101028]

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Barry Gardiner: Payment of non-consolidated performance bonuses reflects the principle across the civil service of rewarding performance increasingly through one-off payments rather than increases to basic salary.

DEFRA operates two different performance bonus systems: in-year high performance bonuses, paid to individuals or teams below the senior civil service (SCS) in recognition of one-off achievement during the year; and annual high performance bonuses, paid to both SCS and non-SCS staff for high performance sustained throughout the whole year.

For the period November 2004 to March 2005, in-year performance bonuses totalling £179,879 were awarded to 513 staff. Information on annual performance and in-year bonuses before this date is only available at disproportionate cost as a result of system changes.

For the periods April 2005 to March 2006 and April 2006 to date, the number of annual and in-year performance bonuses awarded was as follows:

Period Number of staff awarded bonuses Total amount of bonuses paid (£)

April 2005-March 2006



April 2006-to date



The total sums paid annually in performance bonuses are a little over 1 per cent. of paybill.

For staff in the SCS, the data relates to bonuses awarded to those in core-DEFRA and its Executive agencies (excluding chief executives) in accordance with Cabinet Office arrangements. For staff below the SCS, the data relates to staff covered by core-DEFRA pay arrangements (core-DEFRA, State Veterinary Service, Pesticides Safety Directorate, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service). DEFRA’s other agencies and non-departmental public bodies operate separate pay and bonus arrangements.

British Waterways

Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate the Government have made of the number of projects being undertaken by British Waterways which will be affected by the planned further budget cuts to that organisation. [107730]

Barry Gardiner: This is an operational matter for British Waterways. Major engineering works to the value of £5.6 million have been deferred this year. These were identified by using risk assessment procedures to maximise potential savings while minimising impact on structural condition.

It is for the board of British Waterways to decide on its future projects and maintenance programme in the light of the budget for 2007-08 and beyond.

Carbon Neutrality

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timescale is for achieving his Department’s objective of Government activity becoming carbon neutral. [107854]

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Ian Pearson: In a written statement to the House on 12 June 2006, a new set of sustainable operational targets for the central Government estate were announced. The new targets include a specific commitment for a carbon neutral Government office estate by 2012 and to reduce carbon emissions from offices by 30 per cent. by 2020.

Carbon neutrality is about having zero net carbon dioxide emissions. This is achieved through a combination of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using renewable energy and offsetting the remaining balance. Carbon offsets are purchased to cover unavoidable emissions that result after all economically viable carbon savings have been made.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many traders have been prosecuted by (a) the police and (b) local authorities for selling cars on verges by the roadside under the Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. [107417]

Mr. Bradshaw: Only authorised officers of a local authority are empowered under Section 3 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 to issue a fixed penalty notice or prosecute for this offence.

Local authorities submit data on the number of fixed penalty notices and prosecutions they have made for local environmental offences on an annual basis. The first full year’s data since the introduction of this offence will be submitted and published by July 2007.

Coastal Areas: Access

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the report from Natural England on coastal access is expected to be published. [104836]

Barry Gardiner: In July this year, I announced that I had asked the Natural England Board to come forward with its recommendations to the Government on coastal access before the end of December.

I met the Chair and Chief Executive of Natural England on 23 November. Following the meeting I have confirmed that I am happy for Natural England to do some further work in order to finalise their advice. I have agreed that the Board should come forward with their final advice and recommendations by the end of February 2007. As a result, I expect that there will be a delay in issuing the public consultation document from my previously announced date of early 2007.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether an assessment has been made of the impact of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [104837]

Barry Gardiner: It is too early to make an accurate assessment of the impact of the new right of access under Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 but Natural England has some monitoring
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procedures in place. Natural England has planned an initial three year programme designed to monitor public use of the new right of access, identifying both favourable and adverse impacts on land management and nature conservation.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) marketing officers, (b) communications officers and (c) press officers are employed in his Department; and what the total expenditure on communications for his Department was on (i) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (ii) other (A) press officers, (B) special advisers and (C) staff in the last year for which figures are available. [104363]

Barry Gardiner: The Government Information and Communication Service has been replaced by the Government Communications Network (GCN). The two categories of GCN specialisms best matching those in the question are (i) press officers and (ii) marketing. Full-time equivalent staff employed in Communications Directorate fitting these specialisms, as of 1 November, are as follows:


Press Officers




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