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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK will be making to the UN high commissioner for refugees appeal to help southern Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons to return home. 
Hilary Benn: The return of people to their homes in Sudan is a major priority for the international community in 2007, particularly in the first half of the year, before the rains make movement difficult. DFID has channelled all its funding for the returns process through the UN-administered common humanitarian fund (CHF). The multi-donor CHF is an ideal way of supporting returns as it provides fast and predictable funding. Of the $133 million allocated so far by the CHF (of which the DFID contribution makes up 60 per cent.), $12.4 million was given to support the returns process.
A considerable amount of the CHF funding for other sectors (e.g. water and sanitation, health and nutrition) in the south ($50 million) and the three areas ($17.8 million) is also targeted at areas of return for refugees and the internally displaced.
Hilary Benn: The UK is playing a lead role in support of civil service development for both the Government of the Southern Sudan (GOSS) and the 10 state governments in the South. We have allocated £2 million of bilateral support to a capacity building programme for GOSS. Its achievements to date include service training for newly recruited officials at different levels in central and state level Government and technical assistance for government accountants. We are also supporting civil service reform through the Multi Donor Trust Funds Capacity Building, Institutional and Human Resource Development in Southern Sudan Project, UNDP and the African Development Bank.
The Government of Indonesia has sent medical teams to the area and is coordinating delivery of relief items including tents and water. The Indonesian military is providing relief kitchens and clinics.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average cost per application of obtaining the expert advice required to support an application for a bat licence under the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 8 March 2007]: Obtaining expert advice in relation to supporting applications for bat licences is a private and commercial matter for the applicant. Consequently, DEFRA does not hold this information.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the evidential basis is for the contention in the review of bird registration that whilst there is evidence that the peregrine is persecuted, it is not for the reasons outlined in the criteria for including the species on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; 
Barry Gardiner: There is no reference in the review to the contention to which the hon. Member refers. Peregrine falcons are, of course, already listed on schedule 4 of the 1981 Act. In the Consultation on the Review of Registration under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in England, Scotland and Wales, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's (JNCC) recommendation is for the peregrine falcon to be retained on schedule 4.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the saker falcon will be subject to a fresh review by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee as a candidate for listing in Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in view of its endangered status. 
Barry Gardiner: We are currently in the midst of a review of schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in which we are reviewing the status of all endangered bird species, including the saker falcon.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the costs of operating the Bird Registration Scheme under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 were in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what proportion of these costs are paid by bird keepers. 
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conclusions were drawn from (a) the Review of Bird Registration and CITES licensing fees in 1999 and (b) the review of charges for CITES licences and permits in 2004; and whether any changes were made to the fees charged following each review. 
Barry Gardiner: In 1999, there was a review of CITES fees which officials subsequently withdrew as being unworkable. The 2004 review resulted in proposals for an increase of CITES fees but, subsequently, this was withdrawn following detailed consultations with HM Treasury.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of the cost implications for enforcement and conservation agencies of the proposals contained within his Departments Review of Bird Registration. 
Barry Gardiner: My officials are currently assessing the implications of the consultation exercise. As part of that exercise, I will require them to produce, and publish, a full regulatory impact assessment which will quantify the cost implications of any proposed changes. At the moment, it is too early in the process for me to make any comment on the cost implications.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there is a minimum infrastructure cost associated with running the Bird Registration scheme; and whether reducing the number of birds on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 would reduce income from bird keepers. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken (a) to improve the training of veterinary surgeons undertaking TB testing and (b) to improve the management of State Veterinary Service staff undertaking TB testing since the DNV Consulting report on Veterinary Surgeons within the Meat Hygiene Service. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The DNV Consulting Report, Review of TB Testing looked at the way instructions, procedures and interpretive material for TB testing were promulgated, reviewed and complied with by local veterinary inspectors (LVIs) in England and Wales. It considered testing by LVIs and staff within the State Veterinary Service (SVS), not the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS). The MHS does not carry out TB testing on live cattle.
A CD-Rom training package is being prepared for use by all veterinary surgeons undertaking TB testing which will be rolled out in the near future. The instructions for carrying out the test have been revised. At the same time we are developing plans for refresher training for SVS staff and more formal monitoring procedures.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) beef cows and (b) dairy cows were compulsorily slaughtered because of bovine tuberculosis in (i) Great Britain, (ii) England, (iii) Wales and (iv) each county in each year since 1997; and how many have been slaughtered in 2007. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The number of cattle, broken down by beef and dairy cows, slaughtered under bovine TB measures in each county of Great Britain, over the time period requested, is not routinely available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. I have arranged for details of the total number of cattle slaughtered under bovine TB measures in each county, from 1997 to 2006, along with provisional data for January 2007, to be placed in the Library of the House.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on Common Agricultural Policy subsidies and reform in favour of aiding the use of excess crop production for the domestic production of bio-fuels. 
Ian Pearson: The Government have regular discussions with other member states and the European Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These discussions are likely to become more frequent as we move towards the proposed healthcheck in 2008.
Our objectives for the CAP include completing the process of decoupling direct aid and the removal of compulsory set-aside land so that farmers across the EU are free to produce crops in response to market demand. We also aim to end the intervention system which leads to surplus production.
We will consider the existing CAP measures that support the production of biofuels in the context of these objectives, and Government initiatives to promote the use of bio-energy in road transport fuels.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made in achieving gender equality in public appointments to bodies which fall within his Department's responsibility since 1997. 
Barry Gardiner: The Government remain committed to improving diversity on the boards of public bodies and the principle of equal representation of women and men in public appointments. The annual Cabinet Office publication, Public Bodies, contains details of the number of women appointed to public bodies each year by Department. For 2001-06 copies of these documents are available in the Library for the reference of Members.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1180W, on departments: orders and regulations, how many general and local statutory instruments were made by his Department in each year since 2001. 
[holding answer 8 March 2007]: Statistical information on videoconferencing usage is not held centrally. Defra and its associated agencies have 76 videoconferencing units. Fifteen of these units have been managed by IBM since mid-2005 and the
following statistics relate to bookings made for those units only. The other units are mainly on Defra agency sites and are managed locally. To collate the requested usage information from these sites would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.
|(1 )October to December.|
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding he has made available to Natural England for the creation of (a) entry level and (b) higher level environmental stewardship schemes during the contingency period before the new rural development programme for England is approved by the European Commission. 
Barry Gardiner: As the Secretary of State made clear in his announcement on 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 77WS, we have kept the Environmental Stewardship Scheme open to new applications in advance of formal approval of the Rural Development Programme for England.
Agreements entered into since 1 January are provisional and are being funded from existing indicative budgets agreed when the scheme was launched. No specific, separate budget has been made available for the period prior to programme approval.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many agreements on the creation of (a) entry level and (b) higher level environmental stewardship schemes he expects Natural England to offer before the new England rural development programme commences; and what he expects the financial value of these agreements to be. 
Barry Gardiner: The final, total number of new agreements entered into on a contingency basis since 1 January will depend on the date the new Rural Development Programme for England is approved. During this period, Natural England is continuing to work towards existing targets. That is, by the end of 2007, some 60 per cent. of the agricultural area in England will be managed under an Entry Level Scheme agreement. We are also working towards a target of having some 525,000 hectares of land under a combination of either Higher Level Stewardship or the previously operated Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
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