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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for the reductions in the budget of the Eastern Region Flood Defences from 2006-07 to 2007-08. 
The agency allocates funding to Regional Flood Defence Committees both for new capital schemes and to maintain existing defences on the basis of national priorities to ensure that the funding is spent to optimum effect. This inevitably means that the allocation to each Regional Flood Defence Committee is likely to change year on year, particularly as capital schemes are completed.
During the current year, major schemes in the Anglian Eastern area have completed, notably Canvey and Tilbury. A wide range of capital schemessuch as Broadlands and Eastern Broadwill be taken forward in the agencys Anglian Eastern area in 2007-08.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of how much public money was lost through financial mis-management at the Environment Agency in each of the last five years. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 17 January 2007]: The National Audit Office have confirmed in the last two financial years (and PricewaterhouseCoopers before that (2001-02 to 2003-04)) that in all material aspects the expenditure and income for the Environment Agency have been applied to the purposes intended by Parliament and the financial transactions conform to the standards set by the authorities which govern them.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government have contingency plans in place to ensure that coastal communities at risk from rising sea levels and flooding can access property insurance in the event of the private sector withdrawing insurance coverage. 
Ian Pearson: The Government continue to work with the Association of British Insurers to maintain the widespread availability of flood risk insurance. Insurance cover remains broadly available to households in areas at risk of flooding in accordance with the Associations Statement of Principles which is published on their website. I met the Association in November and they confirmed there are no plans to withdraw from the Statement of Principles.
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fixed penalty fines for litter offences were issued by each local authority in England in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to establish the proposed London Waste and Recycling Forum and Fund; and whether (a) the Fund and (b) the Forum will be put on a statutory footing. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The issue of Londons waste is currently being debated in Parliament in the context of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Bill. The GLA Bill was introduced to Parliament on 27 November 2006, and will take forward a number of changes to the Mayors powers announced on 13 July last year. The Government announced a package of measures to strengthen Londons ability to manage waste sustainably without change to current structures.
The Government intend to establish a London-wide Waste and Recycling Forum which will bring stakeholders together to deliver improved performance on waste minimisation and recycling, promote collaborative action and link waste with other London priorities around climate change, transport and employment. Under the Governments proposals, neither the Fund nor the Forum should have statutory powers.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the volume and value of beef imported from Brazil was in each of the last five years, broken down by state. 
|(1) January to October.|
These figures were obtained from Her Majestys Revenue and Customs for all consignments which have been declared through the required channels by both exporters and importers, in accordance with European Union (EU) regulations.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which states in Brazil have (a) reported outbreaks of foot and mouth in the last 12 months and (b) been subject to EU bans on exports. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 17 January 2007]: In the last 12 months outbreaks of foot and mouth disease have been reported in Brazil in or around the regions of Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Parana.
Imports of livestock susceptible to foot and mouth disease from Brazil as a whole are currently banned under EU law. There is currently no evidence that we are aware of to justify a total EU ban on imports of meat and related food products from Brazil, although the Commission is keeping the situation under close scrutiny.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the implications of changes to Natural Englands budget are for the educational elements of the Higher Level Scheme. 
Barry Gardiner [pursuant to the reply, 11 January 2007, Official Report, c. 677]: My answer gave the year of Natural Englands budget as 2006-07. This was incorrect and should have read 2007-08. The rest of the answer remains correct and is detailed in full as follows:
Natural Englands budget for 2007-08 was announced on 22 December as £169.59 million. This represents core funding, largely in relation to running costs. The Higher Level agri-environment scheme is funded under separate arrangements to support the UKs Rural Development Programmes.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will provide substantive responses to the parliamentary questions raised with his Departments Permanent Secretary in the evidence session held by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on 4 December 2006. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he collects on the money spent by sewerage undertakers on control of rat populations; and what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that control. 
Ian Pearson: The Department does not collect information on monies spent by sewerage undertakers on the control of rat populations, which is not one of their statutory functions. Nor does it make regular assessments of the effectiveness of sewerage undertakers control of rat populations in sewers.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken as a result of his Departments review of liaison arrangements between water companies and local authorities in relation to sewer baiting for rats; and what further measures are planned. 
Ian Pearson: A joint protocol, published in 1999 by the Local Government Association and Water UK, set out arrangements for closer working relationships between water companies and local authorities on rodent infestations in sewers. Sewer baiting policy is a matter for individual water companies.
Ian Pearson: The Rats in Sewers Working Group was established to encourage the development of joint strategies between local authorities and water companies for sewer baiting and the control of rodent populations. This resulted in the publication of a joint protocol by the Local Government Association and Water UK.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the value for money of funding provided to the Waste and Resources Action Programme for the campaign Recycle Now. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was allocated a total of £11 million for a two-year period to run a national campaign on recycling. Recycle Now was launched in September 2004.
An independent survey carried out by marketing groups has shown that the Recycle Now television adverts generate very strong public recognition and, therefore, compare favourably to successful commercial advertisements with significantly larger budgets.
Work carried out by NOP on behalf of WRAP indicates an increase in committed recyclers, from 45 per cent. to 57 per cent. over the period from April 2004 to March 2006. This represents an additional five million committed recyclers (that is, those who regard recycling as important, those who recycle even if it requires additional effort, and those who recycle a lot or everything that they can). The campaign therefore exceeded the 55 per cent. committed recycler target set out in WRAPS 2004-06 business plan.
The Government firmly believes that public participation is key to increasing recycling and waste minimisation and in taking forward a policy of sustainable waste management. We have seen household waste recycling rates increase to 27 per cent. in 2005-06 (in combination with increased levels of recycling infrastructure). This exceeds the 25 per cent. target and represents nearly a fourfold increase since 1997.
Barry Gardiner: In 2005 Natural England produced a framework which aims to provide clear and detailed advice for countryside managers on how to improve access opportunities for disabled people. It guides land managers, land owners and others, through a process of working more actively with disabled people. This can be found on the Natural England website at:
Under section 69 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, highway authorities must consider the needs of disabled people when authorising the erection of stiles and gates or other works on footpaths or bridleways. A local authority may also enter into agreements with owners, occupiers or lessees of land to improve stiles, gates or other structures to benefit disabled people.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many single payment scheme claimants have been written to by the Rural Payments Agency (a) advising them that their
claim may be adjusted and (b) to seek a refund of overpayment; and what total sum of money is being reclaimed following overpayment. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 16 January 2007]: RPA does not keep statistics on all letters and their type sent out to customers. However, as at 19 December, the 2005 SPS claims for 17,288 customers had been adjusted. These adjustments have resulted in claim reductions of £11.26 million. Overall, 3,647 claimants have received overpayments valued at about £23.1 million. The overpayments are in the process of being recovered.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the process is for deciding the date of publication of statistics prepared by or relating to the Department; and who is involved in that process. 
final responsibility for the content, format and timing of release of National Statistics
rests with the Head of Profession for Statistics in each department. In reaching their decisions, Heads of Profession take into consideration the detailed procedural guidance given in the National Statistics Protocol on Release Practices.
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