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BV199aLocal street and environmental cleanlinesslitter and detritus
BV199bLocal street and environmental cleanlinessgraffiti
BV199cLocal street and environmental cleanlinessfly-posting
BV199dLocal street and environmental cleanlinessfly-tipping
BV216aIdentifying contaminated land
BV216bInformation on contaminated land
BV217Pollution control improvements
BV178Footpaths and Rights of Way Easy to Use by the Public
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of staff in (a) his Department and (b) agencies for which he is responsible were (i) on fixed term appointments and (ii) supplied by agencies in each of the last three years. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 5 December 2006]: The number and percentage of staff (in full-time equivalents) in DEFRA and its agencies employed on fixed term appointments is shown in the following table.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what effect the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Annual Report Card on the marine environment will have on his Department's fisheries policy. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The impacts of climate change are of key importance to fisheries policy. The results of the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Annual Report Card will be taken into account in the development of the Department's fisheries policy and properly integrated into decision-making.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much raw organic milk was sold in the UK in each of the last five years; and how much was imported from EU countries in each year; 
The action plan aims to help UK producers meet more of the demand for organic produce, including raw milk, and seeks to increase farmers' confidence in the future prospects for organic production. In support of the action plan, and in recognition of the benefits organic farming produces for the environment, financial aid is available under the Organic Entry Level Stewardship scheme. This aid is available to existing organic farmers and those converting to organic production.
The following table provides estimates of sales and imports of liquid organic milk from the years 2001-02 until 2005-06. Figures for 2006-07 are not currently available. However, it is expected that a limited quantity of liquid organic milk will be imported during this period.
|Milk sold as organic||Imports|
|(1)Soil Association organic food and farming report 2003|
(2)Soil Association organic market report 2005
(3)Forecast volumesource organic milk market report January 2006, published by the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo)
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many parliamentary written questions his Department received in each parliamentary session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer (i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what target his Department has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary session since 2001. 
Barry Gardiner: The Departments aim is to answer parliamentary questions within the time scales specified by Parliament. We aim to answer named day questions on the named day and ordinary written questions within a working week.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers are available to local authorities to take action against businesses that have illegally deposited fats, oils and greases into the sewerage system. 
Under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (ERA), it is an offence to deposit controlled waste without a waste management licence or to dispose of controlled waste in a manner likely to
cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. It will be for the enforcing authority to decide whether an offence might have been committed and whether or not to prosecute a business, in line with its enforcement policy and the evidence and circumstances of the individual case.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to check their areas for existing and potential statutory nuisances under section 79 of the ERA. Once satisfied that a statutory nuisance does or may in the future occur, a local authority must serve an abatement notice, under section 80 of the ERA, requiring that the nuisance be ceased or abated within a specified time scale. Statutory nuisance can include any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance; and any dust, steam smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
Building regulations state that drainage systems should be provided in such a way that they function properly without causing blockages or nuisance. Section 59 of the Building Act 1984, enforceable by local authorities, requires that drainage systems remain satisfactory while in use.
It is an offence under section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991 Act, for a person to empty into a public sewer, any matter which is likely to injure the sewer, to interfere with the free flow of its contents or prejudice the treatment and disposal of its contents. Any person who is found guilty of an offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent legal advice his Department has sought on the legitimacy of recent prosecutions in Northamptonshire for (a) deception in relation to the beef special premium scheme contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and (b) knowingly or recklessly providing false information regarding the date of birth of an animal contrary to Regulation 5 (2) of the Cattle Database Regulations 1998, made pursuant to section 2 (2) of the European Community Act 1972. 
The Department has concluded that convictions under the Cattle Database Regulations 1998 may be unsafe due to problems with cross-references to links to European legislation. My right hon. friend the Secretary of State made a written ministerial statement on 15 June 2006, Official Report, column 67WS. stating this was a matter for the courts to decide. Defendants to prosecutions brought by the Department have been alerted to the issue by letter and informed they may challenge their convictions at court if they wish to do so.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what charges the (a) European Union and (b) other organisations have made claims from his Department for delays in payments by the Rural Payments Agency. 
Barry Gardiner: Additional costs, in the form of reduced EU funding, may arise in relation to payments under the 2005 direct payment schemes, including the Single Payment Scheme (SPS), which are made after the end of the regulatory payment window on 30 June 2006. However, the European Commission has yet to make any formal proposals in this regard.
The Rural Payments Agency continues to pay interest, subject to a minimum level of £50, on payments under the EU 2005 direct payment schemes which were made after 30 June. A total of 3,384 claimants have received £596,042 to date.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many follow up calls have been made by the Rural Payments Agency since 5 June 2006; and how many which were outstanding at that date are still due to be made. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 7 December 2006]: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has made 5,777 follow up calls since 5 June 2006. There were 338 outstanding call backs at 5 June 2006 which have all been made.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) shortest and (b) longest processing times were for processing applications for a payment to farmers and agricultural businesses in each year since 2001. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 7 December 2006]: Between 2001 and 2004 the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) processed payments to farmers and agricultural business under 11 different farm-based schemes. Payments under these schemes were made within individual payment windows. With effect from January 2005, the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) replaced the 11 legacy schemes and introduced a single payment window.
In each of the years 2001 to 2004, RPA made payments on the first day of at least one payment window. This represents the shortest time for processing an application. The first payment under SPS was made three months into the payment window.
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