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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which bathing waters he expects to be exempt from the requirement to achieve sufficient status by 2015 under the procedure in Article 5(4) of Directive 2006/7/EC; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government are not proposing to exempt any designated bathing waters from meeting the sufficient classification under the revised Bathing Water Directive (rBWD), since they expect that all bathing waters will achieve the sufficient classification by the end of the 2015 bathing season (following the introduction of measures to improve water quality in the catchments of bathing waters currently predicted to be classified as
poor). The Government would only consider using the Article 5(4) provision to temporarily classify a bathing water as poor and still remain in compliance with the rBWD if unforeseen circumstances arise near to 2015.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) volume and (b) value of beef imported from Brazil was in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by state of origin. 
Jonathan Shaw: The following table shows the value and volume of imports of beef and beef products from Brazil to the United Kingdom from 2006 to September 2007. It is not possible to break these figures down by state of origin.
|UK imports of beef from Brazil, 2006September 2007|
2007 data are subject to amendments
H M Revenue and Customs
Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK bird Registration Scheme under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in deterring the illegal taking of high value native species from the wild. 
Joan Ruddock: There is no clear evidence that bird registration has a deterrent effect on the illegal taking of high value native species from the wild for commercial sale. Such birds are also subject to stringent sales controls. Recent information from the National Wildlife Crime Unit indicates that there is minimal criminal activity in the trade of high value native species subject to bird registration, for example certain birds of prey, and such activity does not constitute a threat to their conservation.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of a discontinuation or weakening of the UK Bird Registration Scheme under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on levels of illegal wildlife trade. 
My Department has undertaken a public consultation on a number of possible changes to the bird registration scheme. A number of respondents to that consultation considered any discontinuation or weakening of the registration scheme may lead to
increase in illegal activity. My Department is seeking further advice from the UKs nature conservation advisors, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and others on these issues before taking a decision on any future changes to the list of birds that need to be registered.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many citizens juries were arranged for his Department for each year between 1997 and June 2007; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens jury; and what the cost was of each. 
Jonathan Shaw: Data from 1997 are not readily available in core DEFRA and would require a significant review of all engagement activities and an analysis of the techniques used, resulting in extracting costs for citizens juries at a disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department (a) were disciplined and (b) had their employment terminated as a result of a poor sickness record in each of the last five years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The number of DEFRA staff who were disciplined or had their employment terminated or both as a result of a poor sick record in each year since 2003 is shown in the following table. The figures shown in the disciplined column includes those members of staff who were dismissed.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours (i) in his Department and (ii) the executive agencies for which his Department is responsible. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has in place a process to allow parents (adopters, guardians or foster carers) of children under six or of disabled children under 18, and for carers of adults, to apply to work flexibly in line with recent legislation. However, information on applications for flexible working is not held centrally and could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost. Many requests for flexible working may be made informally between managers and staff and will not therefore be formally recorded.
The Department believes in giving its staff every opportunity to work to a pattern that best suits their lifestyle and the demands of family and dependents. This contributes to staff welfare and ultimately to delivery of a high quality service to our customers.
DEFRA is committed to helping its staff maintain a healthy work/life balance. This can only be achieved if employees and their managers are prepared to think creatively about working patterns so that efficient working can be combined with other responsibilities, and with employees interests and enjoyment of life.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many reports have been made to his Departments nominated officers under paragraph 16 of the revised Civil Service Code since its publication on 6 June 2006; 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people aged (a) 30 to 39, (b) 40 to 49, (c) 50 to 59 and (d) 60 to 69 years have (i) applied for jobs, (ii) received interviews and (iii) gained (A) temporary and (B) permanent jobs in his Department in 2007. 
Jonathan Shaw: Data on the age of applicants and interviewees are not available as DEFRA does not request this information. Date of birth is requested only from successful candidates. DEFRA is committed to creating an inclusive workplace, and to ensuring that there is no discrimination on the basis of age. By not asking candidates to disclose their date of birth there is a greater degree of objectivity built in the recruitment and appointment process.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what entertainment or hospitality members of his Departments management board received in each of the last three financial years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Paragraph 4.3.5 of the Civil Service Management Code sets out the rules on the registration of hospitality. The Government are committed to publishing an annual list of hospitality received by members of departmental boards. The first list for 2007 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the current calendar year.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by his Department on renovation and refurbishment of its properties in each of the last five years. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how often he has used the dispute resolution procedures under the devolution agreements; and if he will make a statement. 
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on fuel duty as it relates to farm machinery; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to reduce the regulatory burden on the fertiliser sector; and if he will make a statement. 
EC law governs the regulation of the fertiliser sector and this is set out in the EC Fertilisers Regulation 2003/2003. This regulation defines the
composition and definition of all fertilisers which have been approved as EC designated fertilisers, and these can be freely traded within the EU. Every importer and manufacturer must ensure any fertiliser intended for sale in the EU complies with this regulation.
Work is under way to review and update the domestic Fertilisers Regulations 1991 which covers composition and labelling issues for fertilisers used within the UK. We are working closely with the fertiliser industry to ensure the updated regulations do not impose additional burdens on business.
Jonathan Shaw: The UK and Ireland are jointly undertaking a pilot project in the Irish Sea to improve the quality of data on catches and discards in a range of fisheries. The project was approved by the European Commission on 27 August and participating vessels are therefore entitled to benefit from extra days at sea under the cod recovery programme.
Results so far are encouraging. The Irish sea data enhancement project has increased observer coverage by at least 100 per cent.. Fishermen, trained under the project, are now regularly engaged in the provision of self-collected discard samples. However, it is too early in the programme to fully evaluate the utility of these data.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which organisations he has consulted on the European Commission Communication Fishing Opportunities for 2008: Policy Statement from the European Commission (COM(2007) 295 final); and if he will make a statement. 
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