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Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total number of reductions proposed is in the Department's staff at its offices in Alnwick, Northumberland. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 19 October 2007]: In the current financial year 2007-08, shared services directorate (SSD) in Alnwick has plans to reduce existing staff levels by six FTE (full-time equivalents) as the result of the implementation of new technology that makes invoice processing more efficient. This will be achieved from not renewing short and fixed term appointments. While SSD is committed to continue to drive operational efficiencies, the current intention is that any resulting job losses would be offset by the increase in the volume of transactions to be processed by the Alnwick team as more members of the Defra network take services from SSD.
The anticipated reductions from restructuring and business improvement in our Chief Information Officer's directorate have been partly offset by the transfer of some additional work from London. Overall staffing in Alnwick will be reduced by the equivalent of seven full-time posts by April 2008. These reductions are
being achieved through voluntary early retirement/severance and the transfer of common service functions to an external facilities management provider.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what departmental assets are planned to be sold in each financial year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each such asset is; and what the expected revenue from each such sale is. 
Jonathan Shaw: For reasons of commercial sensitivity it is unfortunately not possible to itemise the net book value and expected sale revenue of each asset currently planned for disposal. However the Department is taking professional advice to ensure value for money and to maximise the return on these disposals.
The Department currently anticipates total receipts from the sale of assets of approximately £9 million in 2007-08; 3£6 million in 2008-09; £10 million in 2009-10 and £5 million in 2010-11. The disposals planned for the latter three years will form part of the Department's Asset Management Strategy to be published in December this year.
It should also be noted that the figures apply to the wider DEFRA network, not just to the core Department. The assets in question are surplus or under-utilised land and property. The largest anticipated sale is that of DEFRA-owned land and buildings at Guildford, and we expect this to account for approximately one third of the income from asset disposals over the period 2007-08 to 2010-11.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many civil law suits have been brought against his Department based either wholly or partially on grounds provided by the Human Rights Act 1998; how many were settled out of court, before a court judgment was delivered; and how much such settlements cost the public purse since 1998. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which buildings occupied by his Department (a) are and (b) are not fully accessible to disabled people; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of each type of food served in his Department's catering establishments was of (a) British and (b) Welsh origin in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: Special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Copies of the Model Contract are available in the Libraries of the House.
Jonathan Shaw: From information held centrally, the core-Departments expenditure on hospitality from October 2006 to September 2007 inclusive is £467,347. All hospitality expenditure incurred by the Department is made in accordance with departmental guidance based on the principles set in Government Accounting.
Jonathan Shaw: Since taking office on 27 June, the Secretary of State has visited the English regions as set out in the following table. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates his Department breached its (a) resource, (b) near-cash, (c) administration and (d) capital budgets since 2001; what the value of each breach was; and what the reason was for each breach. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which financial years since 2001 his Department's outturn for its capital budget at the end of the year was less than planned at the beginning of the year; and what the (a) value and (b) reason for the underspend was in each case. 
Jonathan Shaw: The National Audit Office measures spending performance against plans by comparing outturns against final provision following supplementary estimatesrather than against plans at the start of the yearas plans can change during the year for a number of reasons, such as machinery of government and classification changes. The definitive figures for final provision and provisional outturn are published each year in the Public Expenditure Outturns White Paper (PEOWP).
In financial years 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05, the outturn for DEFRA's capital budget at the end of each year was less than the final budget provision for the year. Details and reasons for the variances are set out in the following table.
|Capital expenditure||Final budget provision||Outturn||Variance|
|(1) The underspend arose mainly from capital grant payments in respect of flood defence to the Environment Agency flood and coast protection grants to the local authorities. (2) The key underspend was on various capital projects within the core Department (£88 million), its agencies and sponsored bodies including EU structural schemes (£22 million) which was partially offset by overspend of around £39 million on capital grants. (3) The underspend was mainly due to in-house capital projects within core DEFRA and capital grants to local authorities. (4) The underspend mainly related to in-house IT capital projects within core DEFRA|
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the considerable budgetary problems as a result of unfunded pressures in the 2006-07 financial year were referred to in the Governments response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committees Seventh Report of Session 2006-07, page 2; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many citizens juries have been arranged by his Department since June 2007; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens jury; and what the estimated cost is of each exercise. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many citizens juries were arranged for (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) his Departments and its predecessors agencies in each year since 1997; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens jury; and what the cost was of each. 
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees in his Department applied to continue to work beyond state retirement age in the latest year or part thereof for which figures are available; and how many of those applications were successful. 
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of his Department's public service agreement targets (a) take and (b) do not take account of rural proofing. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA takes into consideration the impact on rural areas of its other policies. Rural proofing is a technique which aims to ensure that the impact of policies on rural communities is taken fully into account in their development. It is in widespread use, both in developing the two PSAs DEFRA will lead under CSR07 arrangements (on climate change and the natural environment), and in other policy areas for which the department is responsible. One of DEFRAs Departmental Strategic Objectives for the CSR07 period is for Strong rural communities, showing the continued departmental focus on addressing the needs of rural areas.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of questions tabled to his Department for answer on a named day received a substantive reply on the day named in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: Badgers are known to carry Mycobacterium bovis, which can cause tuberculosis in badgers and other animals such as cattle. Research at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency has found badgers with an immunological response to PPD-A, which means they have likely been exposed to M. avium.
There are many species of mycobacterium and some can be very difficult to culture. Research studies in badgers have concentrated primarily on culture of M. bovis and therefore few other species have been found. Badger samples have been found to harbour M. avium paratuberculosis by researchers in Scotland.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research and statistical data gathering has been undertaken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies into the proportion and tonnage of household waste collected for recycling which is sent for processing outside the UK. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government-sponsored Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has undertaken research to assess the international markets for key recyclable wastes: plastic, paper and glass. These papers are available on WRAPs website.
DEFRA does not have available data on the proportion of household waste that is sent abroad for recycling. However, based on HM Revenue and Customs figures, it is estimated that in 2006, the UK exported some 8 million tonnes of metal scrap, 4 million tonnes of paper, 441,000 tonnes of plastic and 136,000 tonnes of glass cullet. These figures will include recyclable materials collected from all sources including households, commerce and industry.
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