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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department is working towards accreditation to a certified environmental management system such as ISO14001 or EMAS for (a) its whole estate or (b) some of its buildings. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has 53 sites across the entire estate which falls within the scope of its Environmental Management System (EMS). Of these, 88 per cent. (based on floor space) are accredited to ISO14001. DEFRA is working towards accreditation for all sites falling within the parameters of the EMS within its entire estate not yet accredited.
The Department has an active and on-going programme of assessment for certification of sites currently working towards accreditation and a continuing programme of re-assessment for all sites already accredited to the standard.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees in his Department have been offered early retirement in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 27 November 2007]: In the last six months 161 employees of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have been offered early retirement. To date, 135 of these have accepted the offer. A further 230 employees, aged under 50, have been offered early severance in the same period and of those, to date, 167 have accepted the offer. The scheme has been open to core DEFRA staff only and does not include agencies.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the payment of an EU subsidy to British Sugar; who will qualify; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: An application for aid has been made by British Sugar under the EUs sugar restructuring scheme. If the application is successful, a fixed 10 per cent. of the aid is available to beet growers and machinery contractors who are affected by the restructuring process. The application is under consideration.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average price of farmland per acre is in West Yorkshire; what estimate he has made of changes in the price over the last 10 years; what his assessment is of the effect of such changes; and if he will make a statement. 
|Average price (£ per Ha)|
|Number of sales in West Yorkshire||West YorkshireLand only||EnglandLand only|
Based on data supplied by the Valuations Office
These estimates are based on land sales and, as a result, do not represent the value of all land in West Yorkshire. The volatility of the average sale prices in West Yorkshire from 1998 to 2004 is likely to be due to the relatively small number of sales on which the estimates are based.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he has made a recent assessment of the market impact of the importing of fish and shellfish into the UK for (a) retail and (b) consumption from (i) European Union and (ii) non-European Union countries which would have been illegal had they been landed in the UK; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the annual volume of imported fish from (a) other European Union and (b) non-European Union countries into the UK for consumption which would not have been caught legally had they been landed in the UK. 
Jonathan Shaw: Information on the volume and value of imports of fish and fish products broken down between European Union and non-European Union countries is published in Chapter 4 of the annual United Kingdom Sea Fisheries Statistics Tables published by the Marine and Fisheries Agency. Copies of the latest edition with data for 2006 have been placed in the Libraries of the House. A further breakdown between those for retail and direct consumption is not available, and an assessment with regards to whether the imports would have been regarded as illegal if they had been landed in the UK, has not been carried out.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has considered the merits of ensuring that minimum fish and shellfish sizes applied to UK fisheries landings are also applied to imports of fish and shellfish from (a) European Union and (b) non-European Union countries. 
Jonathan Shaw: My Department has not undertaken a consideration along the lines suggested. However, we do apply the EU rules equally to UK fishermen and of those from other member states landing into ports in England and Wales.
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what limits have been placed on the pesticides used on food imported (a) from within the EU and (b) from outside the EU. 
Mr. Woolas: There are well established regulatory controls governing the use of pesticides within the European Community, involving a combination of national authorisation systems and authorisations based on harmonised standards under Council Directive 91/414/EEC.
Food marketed in the UK, whatever its country of origin, must comply with relevant maximum residue levels (MRLs) laid down in the Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Crops, Food and Feeding Stuffs) (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 (as amended). Separate but similar legislation applies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Fully harmonised MRLs are due to be introduced by Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 around mid-2008.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many commercial valuations his Department has made of Gleathorpe Cottages, Meden Vale, Nottinghamshire in 2007. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Department has instructed only one firm of residential surveyors to value the residential properties at the former ADAS Farm, Gleadthorpe for the purposes of calculating offers to the tenants under the right to buy. I understand that ADAS may have instructed three firms of surveyors to provide valuations for their own purposes.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons 30 November has been set as the deadline for the sale of Gleathorpe Cottages, Meden Vale, Nottinghamshire. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Department has not set a deadline for the sale of the cottages. Right-to-buy offers have been made to 13 of the 15 tenants providing the opportunity to acquire the property they occupy at the maximum discount available under the right-to-buy provisions. The Department has asked that the tenants respond by 30 November indicating whether they wish to take up the offer to buy under the right-to-buy provisions.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average length of occupancy is of former ADAS Consulting Ltd. workers resident in Gleathorpe Cottages, Meden Vale, Nottinghamshire. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Department is not in receipt of the full tenancy history of the cottages at Gleadthorpe because the occupational arrangements have been created over time by ADAS and its predecessor agency. The Department has been able to ascertain from the available records that the average occupation for the known tenancies is 20 years and that 13 of the 15 residential tenants have been in occupation in excess of 10 years.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 868W, on home energy efficiency scheme, who is responsible for paying the administration fees for warm front vouchers; and what the procedure is for making those payments. 
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what definition he uses of premises in animal health controls, especially in regard to (a) different physical areas, separated by land under different ownership but owned by one individual or business, and (b) two notional premises but within the same ownership and on adjoining pieces of land within a ring fence. 
Jonathan Shaw: Legislation controlling foot and mouth disease and avian influenza defines premises as any land, building or other place, and bluetongue legislation defines premises as any place. The extent of a premises depends on a number of practical factors for the purposes of disease control, but not on the ownership of the land.
However, when imposing restrictions on, for example, farms where disease is suspected, the degree of common management is fully considered when establishing the physical extent of the restrictions over different parcels of land, which may then be defined as the same premises.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Fallen Stock Disposal Scheme. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Government are satisfied with the effectiveness and efficiency of the arrangements for collecting and disposing of fallen stock under both the continuing National Fallen Stock Scheme and the temporary Culled and Fallen Stock Disposal Scheme. The temporary scheme was set up on 24 October to assist farmers facing movement restrictions in the foot and mouth disease Restricted Zone. It closed on 19 November when the Zone was lifted.
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