|Table 2: UK Average milk producer prices
|Average price (pence per litre)
Ian Pearson: Working with the Carbon Trust, DEFRA has developed a systematic approach to carbon management and is actively engaged in identifying carbon reduction opportunities through operational improvements, reduced energy costs, staff awareness and monitoring initiatives.
A system for benchmarking, monitoring and analysing utility usage across the estate has been created which highlights buildings where substantial energy savings can be made. Focusing on these sites has helped identify key projects which will return major savings on energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Among other smaller projects, three major voltage optimisation projects which could save the department a potential 900 tonnes of carbon per year (8 per cent. of DEFRAs total annual carbon emissions) are currently being assessed with a view to implement before the end of the financial year. The success of these pilot projects will influence the roll out of further initiatives in the new financial year.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of expenditure by his Department in each Government Office region in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Departments expenditure was on hospitality and entertainment in 2005-06; and what his predecessor Departments expenditure was on hospitality and entertainment in 1996-97. 
Barry Gardiner: In the 2005-06 fiscal year, the Department spent £626,000 on hospitality and entertainment. There are no figures provided for DEFRAs predecessor Departments in 1996-97 as this information could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost. The Prime Ministers answer to the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) of 9 February 1998, Official Report, column 17W, provides the global figure for Government expenditure on ministerial entertaining and hospitality for official purposes in 1996-97.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been (a) spent on and (b) allocated to bonuses for staff in his Department in financial years (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2005-06 and (iii) 2004-05; what the highest and lowest bonus paid in each year was; and what percentage of the total sum in each year was related to staff who have responsibility for departmental matters (A) in the North West, (B) in the Eddisbury constituency and (C) for single farm payments. 
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.
Core-DEFRA (covering State Veterinary Service, Pesticides Safety Directorate, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service) 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 staff. Information on annual performance
and in-year performance bonuses before this date is available only at disproportionate cost as a result of system changes.
|Total bonuses paid
Information is not held centrally on the geographical areas of responsibility of staff awarded bonuses. Staff with responsibility for single farm payments work in RPA who operate separate pay and bonus arrangements.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which websites are being closed by his Department as a result of the recent departmental review as referred to by the Chief Information Officers Transformational Government Annual Report 2006; how much use was made by visitors of each website being closed; and how much was spent on maintaining each in the last two years. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 19 January 2007]: Defra fully supports the Transformational Government strategy and is taking a leading role in working with the Chief Information Officers Delivery Transformation Group to deliver website rationalisation. Defra is taking a pragmatic approach to this complex process and has begun to plan its delivery in a number of phases. The initial phase will review content and services of almost 50 websites for convergence on Directgov and Business Link, as recommended in the Transformational Government implementation plan. The focus will be on providing online services that meet the needs of our customers and no sites will be closed precipitously.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he expects the consultation on the third phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2008-11 in spring 2007 to include a section on smart metering with two way communications systems. 
The statutory consultation on the third phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2008-11 (EEC3) will cover a range of measures that energy
suppliers may promote in order to achieve carbon savings in the household sector.
The Government are currently consulting on energy billing and metering to take forward the measures in last years Energy Review and the transposition of the European Community (EC) Directive on Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services. This will take account of possible developments under EEC3.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates Ministers in his Department and its predecessors made official visits to the London boroughs of (a) Tower Hamlets, (b) Newham and (c) Waltham Forest in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors were taken into consideration when appointing the agency to pay sugar beet compensation following reform of the EU sugar regime; whether British Sugar was considered as a candidate; whether consideration was given to making a request to the European Commission that British Sugar become a registered European payment agency for this purpose; and whether he made an estimate of the effect on costs of administration of appointing British Sugar to make sugar beet compensation payments to farmers. 
Barry Gardiner: All elements of the additional income support made available to farmers must be incorporated into the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and, specifically, the model of the scheme that member states have already adopted. This falls under the terms of the November 2005 agreement on reform of the EU sugar regime.
In England, the SPS is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), which is the accredited Paying Agency which makes Common Agricultural Policy payments to English farmers. Given the impracticality of two paying agencies administering different, but closely inter-related, aspects of the same scheme for the same farmers, the RPA was the natural choice to administer the additional income support.
Even if this had not been the case, it is highly unlikely that British Sugar would have been considered as a candidate. The EU has regulatory requirements
that member states must restrict paying agency numbers to the minimum necessary and that such agencies must be public rather than private bodies.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission further studies to ascertain the risk of flooding in areas put forward by English Partnerships as possible areas of growth surrounding Milton Keynes. 
Ian Pearson: The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) leads on land use planning policy. DEFRA funds the Environment Agency (EA) to advise planning authorities on development proposals to ensure flood risk is properly taken into account.
The new Planning Policy Statement on Development and Flood Risk, PPS25, was published by DCLG in December 2006. This clearly sets out how local planning authorities should prevent and manage flood risk to and from new developments to ensure that, where new development is necessary in flood risk areas, it is appropriate and safe, does not increase flood risk elsewhere ;and where possible, reduces flood risk overall.
It is the responsibility of the planning authority to ensure that flood risk is taken properly into account when planning new development. In the case of Milton Keynes, I understand the planning authority will undertake a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment in consultation with the EA. At the planning application stage, PPS25 requires appropriate site specific Flood Risk Assessments to be provided by developers to describe how flood risk will be managed in detail. I understand the EA is confident that a well-established strategic approach is being applied to future development in Milton Keynes, which is not considered to be a significant flood risk area.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his Department will assess the merits of amending the legislative framework on hosepipe bans to allow for concessions for the elderly, people with disabilities and those with newly landscaped gardens. 
Ian Pearson: My Department is reviewing the scope of the current legislative framework relating to hosepipe bans, and the issue of concessions is being considered as part of this. We will undertake a public consultation on the proposals before making any changes to the legislation.
A project is now under way to replace the five existing levy boards with a single levy body and a number of wholly-owned subsidiary sectoral companies covering horticulture, potatoes, cereals, milk, pigs, beef and lamb. The new structure will be established by statutory instrument made under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. The new levy body will come into being on 1 April 2008.
A shadow board is being appointed to lead the process of establishing the new levy body. These appointments are being made in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). The shadow board will review the current requirements of each sector, take a view on what activities could meet those needs, and consider what implications that might have for levy rates in the different sectors (called the Fresh Start exercise).
Restructuring of the levy boards will improve governance and transparency, with decisions on sector strategies and levy expenditure taken close to levy payers. The new structure will provide a more efficient and effective service and enhance industry ownership of levy arrangements.
Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many live (a) calves, (b) adult cattle, (c) sheep and (d) pigs were exported for (i) slaughter, (ii) fattening and (iii) breeding in 2006, broken down by country of destination. 
Please note these figures are obtained using VAT records and will exclude some EU trade for businesses which are below the VAT threshold. As a result, actual trade levels may be higher than those given.
|Number of head
1. 2006 data are subject to amendments
2. EU data based on EU 25
HM Revenue and Customs
Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA