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8 Jan 2007 : Column 269Wcontinued
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the effective date is for annual pay awards to his Department's staff; and what the actual implementation date has been in each of the last five years. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 12 December 2006]: For staff in the senior civil service, the effective date for the annual pay award is 1 April. In each of the last five years the award has been implemented in June salaries. In 2006, the award was applied in two stages with effective dates of 1 April and 1 November. The first stage was implemented in June and the second in November salaries.
For staff below the senior civil service cover by core-DEFRA pay arrangements (core-DEFRA, State Veterinary Service, Pesticides Safety Directorate, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service), the effective date for the annual pay award is 1 July. The month in which the award has been implemented in each of the last five years is as follows:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) examined into the animal welfare issues related to the operation of electric shock collars on (i) dogs and (ii) other animals. 
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA has not yet commissioned any research into the animal welfare issues related to the operation of electric shock collars on dogs, though we are currently considering a proposal to assess the effect of specific electronic pet training aids (excluding electronic dog fences) on the welfare of dogs.
We have examined the available relevant peer reviewed research on the welfare effects of electric shock collars on dogs. We have not examined or commissioned research into animal welfare issues related to the operation of electric shock collars on other animals.
I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 6 December 2006, Official Report, column 420W.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the manufacturers were of the (a) mobile telephones and (b) computer equipment supplied to his Department since January 2006. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 14 December 2006]: Since January 2006 the manufacturers of (a) mobile telephones and (b) computer equipment supplied new to the Department have been as follows:
(a) Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, RIM;
(b) Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies has paid to the Eunomia consultancy; and for what purpose. 
Barry Gardiner: From information held centrally, the sums paid to the company Eunomia are as follows:
|Financial year||Value (£)|
The expenditure with Eunomia covers work commissioned by DEFRA on environment regulation policy and the waste implementation programme. Data on any expenditure with Eunomia by DEFRAs agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made to date of the total cost to the farming industry of implementing fallen stock disposal regulations. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Assuming 100 per cent. compliance with the regulations, the Department has estimated that the cost of collection and disposal of all fallen stock in the UK is just over £50 million per year. However, about £30 million of that cost is accounted for by arrangements for testing of cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and the costs are borne by the Government.
The voluntary National Fallen Stock Scheme (NFSS) also benefits from £20 million of Government funding over four years to November 2008, to assist with the costs to the industry of complying with the regulations. From November 2004 when the scheme started to November 2006, £11.5 million of Government funding had been given, with farmers who were members contributing just over £14 million.
However, it should be recognised that many livestock producers were already disposing of their fallen stock by means other than burial before the regulations came into force. In such cases implementing the regulations did not impose an additional cost.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on implementing his pledge to enable each school child to visit a farm. 
Barry Gardiner: The Year of Food and Farming is an industry-led initiative supported by DEFRA, the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health. The Year aims to reconnect children and young people with food, farming and the countryside. It will run through the academic year from September 2007 to July 2008. A series of national, regional and local events and learning resources will be supplemented by a wide range of other activities for children to participate in, including visits to food and farm businesses.
My officials and I have worked closely with our counterparts at the Department for Education and Skills, and with other stakeholders, in developing this initiative.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the implications are for flood defences in North Yorkshire of the recent changes to his Department's allocation of funds to the Environment Agency. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA funds most of the Environment Agency's (EA) flood-related work and grant aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities and, in low-lying areas, internal drainage boards. The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities; DEFRA does not build defences, or direct the authorities on what specific projects to undertake.
Local authority expenditure on flood risk management (including levies to the EA and internal drainage boards) is largely supported by the local government funding mechanisms operated by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The reduction in funding to the EA applies only to non-capital spend and it is re-prioritising its spend to minimise the impact on flood risk management. Local authorities are not affected and neither are projects to manage coastal erosion risk.
Within Yorkshire, the EA has undertaken significant works within the Ouse catchment area to repair and improve flood defences since the floods of autumn 2000. These include repairs to defences in York and Selby (including the Foss Barrier) totalling in excess of £1 million and improvements to flood defences in Selby, due to be completed in 2008 at a cost of some £14 million.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department inspects intensive gamebird farms; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether his Department has instigated any prosecutions of intensive gamebird farms in the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) whether the duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 will apply to intensively reared gamebirds; 
(4) whether he is planning to introduce regulations on intensive rearing of gamebirds; 
(5) what regulations apply to the intensive rearing of game birds; 
(6) what stocking densities apply to the intensive rearing of game birds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 19 December 2006]: There is no provision for routine inspection of gamebird farms at present.
There have been no prosecutions of intensive gamebird farms by DEFRA in the last five years.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006, which will come into force in April 2007, introduces a duty on people responsible for an animal to take such steps as are reasonable to ensure its welfare. This new power will apply to gamebirds reared for sporting shooting prior to their release, and to gamebirds reared for meat.
We have no plans to introduce regulations for the rearing of gamebirds. We do, however, propose to use powers under the Animal Welfare Act to produce a Code of Practice, which will provide guidance on accommodation and management methods, including aggression reduction. Specifically on the issue of raised laying units, before considering regulation or a ban on the system, I believe that it is important I obtain an independent view on this method of housing gamebirds. To that end, the Farm Animal Welfare Councils study of the system and its report will be fundamental in informing my decision on their future. As you are aware, I have particular concerns surrounding the use of raised laying units and will not hesitate to take appropriate action if, following the report, I believe that the birds welfare is compromised. Any code would be subject to public consultation and endorsement by Parliament.
At present, all animals, including gamebirds reared for sporting purposes, are covered by the Protection of Animals Act 1911. Under this Act it is an offence to ill-treat or cause unnecessary suffering to any captive or domestic animal. In addition, gamebirds reared for slaughter for food would be covered by the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.
There are no specific stocking densities of gamebirds required under present law.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent by his Department and its associated public bodies in order to achieve Gershon efficiency savings; whether these costs have been included in reports of headline efficiency savings; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Sir Peter Gershons independent report on public sector efficiency did not ask Departments to record efficiencies net of upfront investment costs and DEFRA has followed this advice.
DEFRA does not hold information centrally on the total cost of achieving its Gershon efficiency gains. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much in efficiency savings has been made in his Department and its associated public bodies as a result of the Gershon Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Verified figures for efficiency savings made by DEFRA to the end of quarter 2 2006-07 are given in the Departments autumn performance report published on 15 December 2006.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Department has spent on research into global warming in 2005-06; and on what projects money has been spent. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRAs climate change science research programme analyses the risk of human-induced climate change and assesses its potential impacts and means of adaptation and mitigation. Total spending on climate science research in 2005-06 was £15.7 million. This included over £11 million for the Hadley Centre (part of the Meteorological Office) and around £0.7 million for the UK Climate Impacts Programme (www.ukcip.org.uk).
DEFRA also commissions research on energy efficiency and energy use. The expenditure on research related to climate change and energy was over £1 million in 2005-06.
The following table shows the research programmes spending for the financial year 2005-06.
Details of all DEFRA research projects on climate change and energy can be found at:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will discuss with the British Potato Council the Governments plans to allow trials of GM potatoes. 
Ian Pearson: The British Potato Council has already made its views clear on this matter. We granted a statutory consent on 1 December for the company BASF to undertake research trials of a genetically modified, disease-resistant potato, starting in 2007.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the measures taken by the Marine Fisheries Agency to manage UK fishing fleet capacity referred to on page 177 of his Department's annual report were; what the cost of the measures has been to date; what measure is used of their effectiveness; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Marine Fisheries Agency delivers a wide range of services in support of fisheries management and environmental conservation. One of its functions is to manage fishing fleet capacity on behalf of DEFRA. The main measures and activities undertaken by the agency in this area include
i. Licensing of all England and Wales fishing vessels to control the capacity and fishing activity.
ii. Implementation of rules and limitations on fishing fleet capacity and regimes based on:
reliable and accurate data;
iii. Provision of detailed guidance to industry on the application of days at sea arrangements, for example, cod and sole.
The unaggregated costs to the agency of these measures could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The agency's measures of effectiveness in relation to its activities refer to the efficiency in fulfilling its obligations for issuing fishing vessel licences, recovery scheme entitlements, processing transfers of days in the two recovery areas and monthly entries and exits to the fleet to ensure no increase in overall capacity.
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