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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints of bullying have been investigated in his Department in the last 12 months; and how many complaints have been upheld. 
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Africa about (a) elephant populations and (b) the ivory trade in preparation for the forthcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species conference. 
Barry Gardiner: I met with Marthinus Van Schalkwyk the South African Minister last June and we discussed issues of elephant management among other issues. Although visa difficulties prevented officials from Kenya, Mali, Chad, Ghana, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo from meeting me last month, they did meet environment officials in the UK's permanent representation in Brussels, who passed their briefing to my Department. However, last year DEFRA officials met the Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, the Botswana Minister for Environment and Tourism, on 8 November when he was in London, to hear that country's perspective. I also met Michael Wamithi (IFAW's global elephant habitat programme manager) on 28 November 2006.
We are in constant touch with non-governmental organisations and experts in elephant conservation to ensure we have a full and rounded picture of the issues involved. A DEFRA official will also be attending the African elephant dialogue meeting which will take place immediately before the CITES conference, the outcome of which will influence the EU/UK position on the proposals to be discussed at the Conference.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions resulting in (a) convictions and (b) custodial sentences there were in each year since 1 May 1997 for offences related to (i) water resources, (ii) flood defences, (iii) fisheries, (iv) navigation, (v) process
industry regulation, (vi) radioactive substances, (vii) waste and (viii) water quality as recorded in the national enforcement database. 
Barry Gardiner: The following table shows the number of convictions (1) and custodial sentences (2) for environmental offences recorded in the national enforcement database in each financial year from 1999-2000 to 2005-2006.
|1999-2000||2000-01||2001-02||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05||2005- 0 6|
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent maintaining the National Fruit Collection in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Strangles is not a notifiable disease or infection, there is no evidence that it has any significance for public health and it is not a listed disease by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). There are no plans to make it notifiable or for the Department to take steps to eradicate the disease. The equine industry has the responsibility to control strangles and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) publishes a code of practice, updated annually, containing guidelines on the disease. The code is available from the HBLB, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the British Horse Society, and can be accessed via the DEFRA website. Both DEFRA and the industry encourage horse owners to follow the guidelines on strangles contained in the code of practice.
DEFRA is not funding research into developing a diagnostic blood test for strangles and has no plans to do so. However, the Animal Health Trust is currently working on improving diagnostic tests for equine strangles through a three-year welfare grant awarded by The Horse Trust. The Department concentrates its resources on those equine diseases which have human health, economic or international trade implications.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the European Commission's proposals to extend the sugar restructuring programme to individual sugar beet growers. 
[holding answer 21 May 2007]: The European Unions sugar restructuring scheme has, so far, failed to achieve its planned results and we agree with the European Commission that further action is necessary to make it more effective. The Commissions proposal to establish a limited grower initiative within the third year of the scheme is part of a wider package of measures designed to increase uptake. Discussions
on the proposed package are at a very early stage but we do believe that, if adopted, this element of the package would contribute to increased overall uptake.
Mr. McCartney: The formation of the African Union (AU) in 2002 was a major development and an important break from the past with the AU committing itself to taking real responsibility for promoting peace and security; improved governance; sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. The AU's lead continental role on many issues is now established. We welcome this.
We seek every opportunity to support the AU politically and practically. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister invited AU chairperson Konare to London in May 2006 and to the G8 Gleneagles summit. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, has attended all of the AU's six-monthly summits since his appointment in 2005. Our ambassador in Addis Ababa is accredited as the British permanent representative to the AU; the embassy spends a substantive part of its time on AU matters. The UK is providing significant support to AU operations in Sudan and Somalia, as well as to help develop the AU's internal capacity and its key instruments such as the African peace and security architecture.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has for the future of those living on Ascension Island following the conclusions of her Departments economic report of 2005. 
Mr. Hoon: Government policy remains to work with the Ascension Island Government towards improving the working and living environment for those on Ascension Island. As long as the main employers remain on Ascension Island, there should continue to be employment prospects for St. Helenians and others. All those working and living on Ascension Island are required by Ascension law to leave once their contracts expire. This will continue to be the case.
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