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|Health care staff in post at 31 March 2006|
|Health care staff in post at 31 March 2007|
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what change there has been in beef prices paid to farmers in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 17 May 2007]: The average price to farmers in England and Wales for finished cattle (steers, heifers and young bulls) is the same in the week ending 9 May 2007 as one year previously at 108 pence per kilo. The average price over the 12 month period was 111 pence per kilo.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential impact on biodiversity of trends in the numbers of common species of moths. 
Barry Gardiner: No detailed assessment has been made of the potential impact on biodiversity of trends in the numbers of common species of moths. Recent research indicates that more species of common moths are in decline than are increasing in numbers, probably largely due to changes in land use and the effects of climate change. The roles that moths play in the functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity are known to be significant, because moths are generally abundant, and they have important food chain links with plants, bats and birds.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the rules governing the exemptions to the Waste Management Regulations on (a) the development of biogas facilities and (b) the production of energy via commercial anaerobic digestion. 
DEFRA has started a comprehensive review of exemptions from waste management licensing and has produced a discussion document on the options and issues. The review will take a risk-based approach to the provision of exemptions and will ultimately complement the environmental permitting regime, which is due to come into force in April 2008. My Department will be
formally consulting on proposals and representations will be invited from all sectors of industry affected by the proposed regulations.
In order to encourage the greater uptake of anaerobic digestion, I am also pleased that the Environment Agency has agreed to develop a standard for digestate in 2007-08. This will allow modern regulatory principles to be applied to the use of this material and bring certainty to when it is considered to be fully recovered. This should help to facilitate the development of markets for digestate.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what checks are in place to prevent ruminants being transported to the UK from those parts of northern France in which blue tongue is prevalent. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In accordance with EU legislation, susceptible animals travelling from or through a bluetongue restricted area are permitted only if the member state of destinationand transit as applicablegives prior authorisation for the animals to enter their country. DEFRA currently does not authorise imports of animals originating from bluetongue affected areas, or those that have been moved through an affected area.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) meetings and (b) consultations his Department held on bovine tuberculosis and badger culling policy in August 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Ministers and officials met with various organisations in August 2006 as part of the course of business and discussed a variety of important matters, including bovine TB and badger culling.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what advice he has received from the Central Science Laboratory on the efficacy of a badger cull to counteract bovine TB; 
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA publishes the final reports of all its research projects as soon as possible following project completion and review of the project report. Published final reports are available on the DEFRA website at:
The Central Science Laboratory (CSL) provided an estimate of trapping efficacy of 20-60 per cent. in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, based on available
data and their expert opinion, for DEFRAs 2006 consultation document on badger culling. The CSL has since revised those estimates upwards to 35-85 per cent. in the light of further data provided by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB. The revised estimates are to be published in a paper in the 26 May issue of the Veterinary Record.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the contribution to the rural economy of coastal walking routes and national trails. 
Barry Gardiner: Research carried out during 2004-05 for the Countryside Agency (now part of Natural England) estimates that 12 million visits are paid to the National Trail network in England each year. In 2003, the Countryside Agency and the South West of England Regional Development Agency commissioned research to mark the Silver Jubilee of the 630 mile long South West Coastal Path. The principal aim of the research was to assess the economic value of the Path. The results of the research indicated that the Path generated about £307 million a year for the regions economy.
We are currently considering Natural Englands report on coastal access and will shortly launch a public consultation document inviting views on ways for improving access. On the same day, we will publish a partial regulatory impact assessment and the research study which we commissioned looking at the benefits and costs of each of the options. The research includes an assessment of the benefits to local economies and levels of expenditure by people using a number of the national trails.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Governments commitment to improving access to the coast includes improving access to all private beaches. 
Barry Gardiner: Natural Englands recent report on coastal access recommended that new legislation should be introduced to enable it to align a coastal access corridor, including the vast majority of beaches, around the whole coast.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department holds on (a) fines and (b) prosecutions implemented relating to Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken by his Department since May 2005 (a) to protect wild flower meadows and (b) to encourage the planting of wild flowers. 
Barry Gardiner: The UK Biodiversity Action Plan helps to co-ordinate work at national and local levels by identifying priorities for action and setting biological targets for the recovery of habitats and species, including wildflowers.
Flower meadows are benefiting from at least 10 awards made under the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund. This scheme is administered by Natural England, but the funding, £1.95 million in both 2006-07 and 2007-08, is provided by DEFRA.
We also encourage structured wild flower establishment through the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, the support of education/information sources like Flora Locale, and highly targeted re-establishment programmes for particular endangered taxa. These include the ongoing restoration of Ladys Slipper Orchid to 12 sites across northern England.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which 10 areas of the UK had the highest number of fly-tipping incidents in 2006-07 according to the Flycapture database. 
|Number||Local authority||Incident number|
These data reflect the particular circumstances of the local authority area. As a result of Best Value Performance Indicator 199d on fly-tipping, local authorities are now being monitored for their performance in reducing overall incident numbers and increasing the amount of enforcement activity, year-on-year. Flycapture was always intended to be a management information tool to help target action, rather than to produce league tables.
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