|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on issues relating to animal welfare on common land, with particular reference to the New Forest. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The welfare of all animals, including those on common land, is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This Act makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal and contains a duty of care which means that owners of all animals must take reasonable steps to make sure their needs are met.
In the New Forest, Agisters appointed by the Verderers court monitor the condition of livestock. The Agisters may remove animals which fall below set welfare standards from the open forest and the owners must take steps to improve their condition. DEFRA also appoints a Verderer to the court who keeps a watching brief on animal welfare issues in the New Forest.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of fraud relating to the Over Thirty Months Scheme have been investigated since the scheme began; and how many prosecutions have resulted. 
There have been 318 cases of suspected fraud relating to the Over Thirty Months Scheme investigated by the Department and eight successful prosecutions resulted. To date one case of suspected fraud relating to the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme has been investigated with no prosecution resulting.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will visit the village of Minsterley to meet farmers who have experienced bovine TB in their cattle. 
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA Ministers receive many invitations to visit farmers in different parts of the country to discuss their individual circumstances and issues. Unfortunately, it is not possible to accept all of these. However, I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet the hon. Member and a delegation of farmers from Shropshire to discuss bovine TB earlier this year.
Although we cannot accept all the invitations received, Ministers and officials do have regular meetings with organisations representing farmers and cattle keepers to discuss a range of key issues, including TB.
[holding answer 21 May 2007]: Data from the cattle tracing system show that there are 37,300 cattle in Great Britain with notices of registration, that is cattle which have been registered but for which a passport has not been issued. This
would be as a result of the passport application being submitted late or with incomplete or invalid details that could not be resolved.
In the time available it has not been possible to obtain an exact figure for England only but based on the proportion of the national herd that is resident in England, I estimate that there are 24,000 cattle without a valid passport in England.
There may also be a number of cattle which have never been notified to the central database. 10 per cent. of cattle holdings are inspected annually. From June 2006 to April 2007, 1,500 cattle out of 398,016 inspected were found that had not been registered. However it should be noted that holdings are selected for inspection on a risk basis and this is therefore not a representative sample.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list the outside (a) agencies and (b) consultancies which are undertaking work commissioned by his Department; and what the (i) purpose and (ii) cost is of each commission. 
The Department does not hold a central list of what every outside agency and consultancy undertaking work in DEFRA has been or is commissioned to do. Such a list could be provided
only at disproportionate cost. I have placed in the House of Commons Library a list held centrally of the outside agencies and consultancies paid fees by the core Department in 2005-06. A similar list for each of DEFRAs executive agencies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
I refer the hon. Member to the recently published NAO report on Central Governments Use of Consultants. The Department is in the process of ensuring that it meets the recommendations contained therein.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) originally estimated, (b) most recently estimated and (c) outturn cost was of the five largest information technology contracts agreed by his Department with outside suppliers over the last five years. 
(a) Original estimated cost£34.10 million;
(b) Recently estimated costs£68.05 million;
(c) Outturn costs£68.05 million (plus enhancement work to the value of £928,000 in 2005-06 and £2.7 million in 2006-07.)
(a) Original estimated cost £85 million per year;
(b) Recently estimated costs£97.9 million per year;
(c) Outturn costs: 2004-05£28.26 million; 2005-06£111.12 million; 2006-07£147.56 million.
The estimated costs are based on initial predicted demand for IBM services; the higher outturn costs represent the increased demand for IBM services by projects in delivering DEFRAs strategic objectives. The contract with IBM incorporates sufficient flexibility to allow significant variation in demand, with costs varying directly in proportion.
(a) Original estimated cost£16.10 million;
(b) Recently estimated costs£18.42 million (total life time cost);
(c) Outturn costscost of supply was £6.7 million in 2002.
As with the previous answer, smaller local IT contracts will also have been agreed; however, information on these is neither managed nor maintained centrally, and therefore it would incur disproportionate costs to collate. Only by reference to such information would it be possible to determine which are the fourth and fifth largest IT contracts, agreed with outside suppliers, in the Department.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for which Government websites he is responsible; how many visitors each received in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the cost (a) was of establishing and (b) has been of maintaining each site. 
Barry Gardiner: The costs for maintaining DEFRAs website (www.defra.gov.uk) are estimated to be £243,561 for this financial year.
Available data on the visitors to websites which are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are set out in the following table. Costs for establishing and maintaining these sites are not available without incurring disproportionate cost.
As part of the Transformational Government web rationalisation process, DEFRA is currently reviewing all its websites. Over time, content will be rationalised and where appropriate moved to Directgov and Business Link. A number of the current websites will close.
|URL||Number of unique visitors per month (collated July 2006)|
|(1) Unique visitors per week|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|