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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid to the former Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency Mr. Johnston McNeil whilst he was on sick leave during 2006. 
Barry Gardiner: The departmental sick pay arrangements are designed to ensure that when staff are unwell they do not need to worry about the immediate financial impact of their illness. The former Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency received his normal salary for any periods of sick leave taken during 2006. The former Chief Executive was signed off for a two-week period during November 2006.
Ian Pearson: The Nitrates Directive requires member states to designate as nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) any land draining to waters identified as polluted, or likely to be polluted, by nitrates from agricultural sources. These designations must be reviewed at least every four years. Nearly 55 per cent. of land in England is currently designated as NVZs.
The directive further requires an action programme to be established and implemented within the designated NVZs to protect the identified waters. The directive offers member states the option of applying action programme measures across the whole of its national territory. The four-yearly review of designations is not required where this option is followed. The Government have opted to take a discrete area approach to implementing the directive.
A review of NVZ designations, as required by the directive, is nearing completion. Depending on the outcome, consideration may be given to adopting a whole territory approach and to applying action programme measures throughout England. This issue would be subject to a full public consultation.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with British Waterways about the lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers required to allow water freight access to the Olympic Park site; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) when British Waterways expects to announce its decision on the funding of the lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers required to allow water freight access to the Olympic Park site; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the impact on (a) the environment and (b) congestion of allowing water freight access to the Olympic Park site through the construction of the new lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers; 
(4) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the funding for the lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers required to allow water freight access to the Olympic Park site; 
(5) what assessment he has made of the effect of the delay in the announcement by British Waterways of its decision on the funding of the lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers required to allow water freight access to the Olympic Park site. 
Barry Gardiner: I have discussed the proposal for the new lock and water-control structure on the Bow Back Rivers with British Waterways on a number of occasions and welcome it. When complete, the lock and water control structure will enable waterborne freight to access the site both during construction and the legacy phase. It is also expected to provide other recreational, environmental and amenity benefits. British Waterways is currently finalising the funding package and an announcement will be made shortly.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of his Departments computer systems use open source software; what percentage of the systems planned to be installed use such software; and whether he plans to increase the use of open source software in his Department. 
(a) percentage of implemented computer systems in DEFRA that use open source software is small, less than 5 per cent.;
(b) Open Source software is being used in the development of several new applications, for example in the delivery of spatial
information services and for application development tools, and more significantly as software components embedded in numerous vendor supplied software products, where vendors have adopted and developed open source. Use of Open Source software is fully compliant with the requirements of the OGC guidance on OSS, and any software chosen is fully covered by OSS/GPL;
(c) DEFRA has recently outsourced its IT operations. There are no targets imposed on the supplier to implement open source software, a level playing field will apply in procurement of software solutions. The IT supplier is bound to work within eGlF standards and many of the planned IT systems will include a significant proportion of open source code.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he next plans to meet organisations involved in carbon offset activities to discuss the effectiveness and reliability of their products and services. 
Ian Pearson: On 18 January Defra launched a consultation on establishing a code of best practice for carbon offsetting. The consultation runs until 13 April and Defra is planning to hold a seminar for relevant stakeholders during this period.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a privacy impact assessment has (a) been produced and (b) is planned in relation to plans to introduce (i) variable waste charging for domestic rubbish and (ii) microchips in wheelie bins. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Englands Waste Strategy is currently being reviewed. In this context, Defra is considering the full range of tools that could encourage producers and consumers to reduce waste and increase recycling. The use of financial incentives, such as recycling rebates, is only one of a number of options being considered.
Microchips are identification tags which allow a bin to be matched to a particular propertythey do not record information on what is put into the bin. There are other methods of providing people with positive incentives to recycle.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the 20 largest procurement projects initiated by his Department since May 1997 have been; what the (a) original budget, (b) cost to date and (c) consultancy fees have been; and what the final cost was of each project which has been completed. 
|Project title||Awarded in financial year April to March||Budget (£ million)|
|(1) Various activities, including land purchase and earth works.|
The core-Department does not hold a central list of what the original budget, cost to date and any consultancy fees have been, nor does it hold centrally what the final cost has been in each case where the projects have been completed. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Of the procurement projects listed, all are current, except procurement project 8 which is completed.
The budget figures quoted are the overall values of the programmes and projects in which there has been a procurement element; and are not necessarily the actual values of contracts or framework agreements associated with the programmes or projects. Costs of programmes and projects are subject to change arising from amended programme and project scope, budgetary re-allocation, and re-consideration of departmental objectives.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage public sector bodies to procure their food requirements from (a) sustainable sources and (b) local producers. 
Barry Gardiner: Since its launch in 2003, the Governments Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI) has highlighted practical ways in which the public sectors £2 billion annual food budget can help deliver a world-class sustainable farming and food sector that contributes to a better environment and healthier and prosperous communities. This aim of the PSFPI is to encourage public sector buyers to work with farmers, growers, and suppliers to ensure more sustainable food is consumed in hospitals, schools, prisons and canteens. Comprehensive information about the PSFPI can be found on DEFRAs website at
and from DEFRAs Food Procurement Unit (Tel: 0207 270 8409). This includes details of the public sector Catering Services and Food Procurement Toolkitwhich gives practical help in tendering for public sector buyers.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste Strategy Review consultation document, published in February 2006, proposed higher targets for the recycling and composting of household waste to reach 40 per cent. by 2010, 45 per cent. by 2015 and 50 per cent. by 2020.
Barry Gardiner: A small number of full 2006 single payment scheme payments have already been made to a number of eligible claimants as part of a live IT test with the first payments reaching farmers on 15 January.
The proving process has been successful and so full payments will continue to be made where claims are fully validated. In line with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of States statement of 7 November 2006 a partial payment of at least 50 per cent. of the claim value will be made from mid February to all claimants where it has not been possible to make a full payment and the claim value is at least €1,000.
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