|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
17 Dec 2007 : Column 993Wcontinued
There are no records kept of the numbers of non-CITES listed birds moved into the UK from within or outside the EU.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of levels of tuberculosis transmission from cattle to other animals; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 13 December 2007]: We have not sought to assess the levels of transmission of tuberculosis (TB) from cattle to other animals for three reasons:
(i) While TB is primarily a respiratory disease in the majority of mammalian species including cattle, the relative importance of different routes of transmission among and between species is unknown;
(ii) Small numbers of many wild and domesticated mammalian species have been shown to be infected with bovine TB, however, most are spill-over end hosts and there is no evidence that they can transmit infection to other species; and,
(iii) Being infected with a disease does not mean that the individual is necessarily infectious to others. The reasons for this are usually immunological (the animal may contain the disease effectively) or behavioural (e.g. the species may be solitary). The current TB testing and slaughter regime applied to cattle ensures that in reality, the number of infected cattle which remain in herds long enough to become infections is extremely low and very few develop clinical signs of the disease.
The principle species affected by bovine TB in GB are cattle and badgers and research from the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB has provided evidence
which confirms that there is a cycle of disease between the two. However, it has not been possible to quantify the relative contribution of cattle or badgers to the level of the disease and this will vary between areas.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will ensure that compensation paid to farmers for cattle slaughtered as a result of contracting bovine tuberculosis reflects the market values of different types of cattle. 
Jonathan Shaw: Since February 2006, cattle compensation for bovine tuberculosis-affected animals in England has been determined primarily using table values, based on contemporaneous livestock market sales prices, for 47 specified categories of cattle.
To support the system, significant amounts of sales data are continuously collected by an independent service provider from a large number and wide range of sources across Great Britain. Information from around 99 per cent. of open sales is captured, and details of about 100,000 individual transactions are collected each month. In 2006, nearly 8,000 cattle sales were included in the table valuations, comprising 1.23 million head of cattle.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings he has had with environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to discuss the international meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held in Bali; and whether the Government has provided financial support to assist such NGOs to attend the Bali meeting. 
Mr. Woolas: On 3 December, the Secretary of State and I held a roundtable discussion on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali, with chief executive level representatives from the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and business community.
Financial assistance has been provided to a small number of individuals who are supporting the work of Her Majesty's Government in Bali. However, no funding has been provided to organisations in order for them to attend the Bali conference.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 15 November 2007 on DEFRA Winter Supplementary Estimate, Departmental Expenditure Limit and Administration Budget Changes, if he will give a detailed breakdown of the (a) £80,000,000 in respect of professional services and (b) £10,000,000 in respect of the outsourced IT contract; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Both transfers from Programme Budget to Administration Budget were required in response to HM Treasurys request for a tighter application of the existing classification rules across the whole of Government. The figure was supported by an analysis of the Programme spend in current and previous years with organisations that provide those services. That analysis is currently considered to be commercially sensitive.
Part II of the DEFRA winter supplementary estimate shows which business areas of the Department made the transfers.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines issued to staff maintaining his Departments and its agencies corporate identity; and what the estimated annual cost is of (a) producing and (b) complying with such guidelines. 
Jonathan Shaw: My Departments corporate identity guidelines are not produced in hard copy. They are available to staff through the Departments intranet service. There are no ongoing costs for producing the guidelines. In 2006-07, the guidelines were refreshed for the first time since the Department was established in 2001. The cost of the refresh was £27,500. The refresh has provided a modernised and simplified approach to use of the corporate identity. The guidelines are used across the Department and by a range of stakeholders. It would not be possible to calculate the cost of complying with them.
A copy of the guidelines will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department and its agencies spent on staff working on (a) marketing and (b) branding in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: Within the Communications Directorate in core DEFRA, it is expected that the staff costs for branding and marketing in the current financial year 2007-08 including national insurance and pensions will be £1,075,000. This covers 17 full-time equivalent staff working on marketing communication activities for key areas such as climate change, waste, animal disease prevention, water saving, biodiversity and protecting the natural environment.
Individual records of spend for DEFRAs non-departmental public bodies, agencies and financially sponsored organisations are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department and its agencies spent on managing their corporate identities in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: In 2006-07, the guidelines were refreshed for the first time since the Department was established in 2001. The cost of the refresh was £27,500. The refresh has provided a modernised and simplified approach to use of the corporate identity. The guidelines are used across the Department and by a range of stakeholders. It would not be possible to calculate the cost of complying with them.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for changing gates on footpaths across farmland in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Disability Discrimination Act now ensures that private or public landowners, who are service providers, will also be subject to the new provisions of the Act. They are required to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or provide a reasonable means of avoiding physical features, e.g. stiles, which act as barriers to disabled people accessing their services. However, the Act and its implications for rights of way are complicated and in many cases the full extent of its application will need to be established by case law.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what obligations there are on local authorities to display information on behaviour to be adopted when walking across farm land; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: There are no obligations on local councils to display signs on behaviour in the countryside when walking across farm land. However, the Countryside Code, which applies in England and Wales and has been widely publicised, makes it clear what the responsibilities are for both the public and the people who manage the land.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research he has commissioned on the compliance with fisheries rules and regulations; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps he is taking to improve the level of compliance with fisheries regulations; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if he will make a statement on reforming the system of penalties for violations of fisheries rules and regulations; 
(4) how many boat (a) owners and (b) skippers were convicted for a violation of fisheries rules in each year since 1997, broken down by violation; 
(5) what sanctions were imposed on boat (a) owners and (b) skippers who were convicted for a violation of fisheries rules in each year since 1997, broken down by violation. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has recently commissioned research looking into compliance with the reduced margins of tolerance set out in the cod recovery plan. We have forwarded the results of this work to the Commission in support of our request for an across-the-board review of the rules relating to margins of tolerance.
More generally, my officials keep the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) under constant review to ensure that they achieve their enforcement objective in a way that imposes the minimum burden upon both fishermen and administrations. The first step in achieving compliance is to ensure that the rules in place are necessary, can be easily understood and can be effectively enforced. When enforcing the regulations resources are targeted using risk-based systems and sanctions are imposed at levels that act as a clear deterrent to others. We shall be using the forthcoming review of the Control Regulation as an opportunity to re-examine the whole body of CFP control rules to ensure that these objectives are met.
Following earlier discussion with the fishing industry, DEFRA is currently consulting stakeholders over the introduction of a system of administrative penalties for fisheries offences with effect from April 2008. We believe that such a system can deal more rapidly and effectively with fisheries offences, will increase transparency and reduce costs and uncertainty for fishermen and will offer a more appropriate non-court means of disposal for minor offending.
I have arranged for detailed information on the compliance with fisheries rules and regulations to be placed in the Library of the House.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 41W, on the Fisheries Protection Squadron, whether consideration has been given to contracting the Fisheries Protection Squadron for up to 960 patrol days. 
Jonathan Shaw: In preparation for the new Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) agreement 2008-13, it was not considered necessary to contract the Fisheries Protection Squadron (FPS) for 960 days.
The current agreement allows a range of 700-950 patrol days per year. The annual requirement for patrol days has been reduced annually to reflect, among other things, the improved capability and performance of the River class vessels since their introduction. The current year (2007-08) requires the provision of 800 days, which includes the use of Hunt class vessels.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times on-board observers have visited UK fishing vessels in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: During 2007, UK vessels participated in a number of different schemes that required observers to be on board. Several observer-accompanied trips were undertaken by UK vessels in the cod recovery zone as part of a pilot scheme, both to test their effectiveness and confirm the extent to which the vessels were able to avoid cod.
In addition, scientific observers from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Science (CEFAS) have participated in 405 sampling trips and a further 20 trips under the Fisheries Science Partnership. These research trips all took place on board UK fishing vessels.
This relates only to observers and not to Marine and Fisheries Agency and Royal Navy British Sea Fishery Officers who, as part of their duties, routinely board vessels operating in UK waters to ensure that they are complying with relevant regulations.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which 20 areas are most at risk of flooding; and which region each is in. 
Mr. Woolas: Risk is defined in flooding terms as a combination of probability and consequences. There is as yet no national assessment of risk on this basis which can be used to give a reliable ranking as requested. However, the local authority areas in England identified by the Environment Agency's 2006 National Flood Risk Assessment as having the most properties in areas considered to have a significant probability of flooding, (i.e. greater than one in 75 or 1.3 per cent. chance in any one year) are given in the following table.
The actual probabilities of flooding for these properties will vary within the one in 75 and higher probability band and the table should not be regarded as a reliably accurate ranking of areas' vulnerability to flooding. It must also be recognised that this estimation is a complex process and, although techniques are developing rapidly from research to operational methodology, it is subject to further improvement which may lead to changes in probability assessments in the future.
|Local planning authority||Government region|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|