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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of bullying have been reported in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last 12 months. 
The Department has in place an internal equal opportunities complaints procedure on how to address bullying in the work place. In the last three months, DEFRA has reorganised support mechanisms available to staff who perceive bullying in the workplace, re-launching an in-house trained pool of harassment, bullying and support advisors and an in-house mediation service.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much the Environment Agency has allocated for land drainage works in each of the last five years, broken down by county; 
John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what acreage of land was given over to oil seed rape production in the County of Durham in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005, (d) 2006 and (e) 2007. 
|Area of oilseed rape (hectares)|
| Source: June Agricultural Survey|
The project concentrated initially on developing research procedures and evidence standards. Five lost way claims were lodged in Cheshire with the county council during a county-wide pilot of a claiming process. None of these have yet reached the stage of being recorded on the definitive map and statement.
It is a matter for Natural England to propose in its corporate plan what priority to give to individual projects in the light of the financial settlement it has received. In the case of the Discovering Lost Ways Project, Natural England has recently concluded a fundamental review to ensure that its investment in the project is cost-effective, and that the approach delivers the best prospect of lasting progress in this area. I have
recently been advised of these recommendations. Natural England will announce shortly how it will take the project forward.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent deaths of fish on the River Colne; how many fish have died; and what steps he has taken to determine the cause of death. 
Jonathan Shaw: On 8 February 2008, the Environment Agency received reports of fish deaths on the River Colne (which flows through Huddersfield in West Yorkshire) and investigated immediately. Initially, only stone loach were affected. However, as the event progressed, larger fish including trout and grayling were also found to be dead or dying. Samples were taken by Environment Agency officers and these are currently being analysed at its laboratory. Early analysis has not detected any pollutant which would have caused a fish kill. However, the Environment Agency believes that a spillage of pollution probably entered the river on 7 February and was slow-acting in nature.
A follow-up survey found 893 dead stone loach, two dead minnows, 57 dead trout and 10 dead grayling in 1.1 km of river. The survey reported live fish and invertebrates in the affected reaches indicating that life in the river is recovering.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department is working with other Departments to encourage recognition of the services provided by rural community councils. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Government recently recognised the importance of the rural community councils (RCCs) by announcing new funding worth over £10 million to the network over the next three years. We are keen to ensure that rural interests are taken fully into account in policy making and delivery across all Departments and at all levels of government. Where appropriate, DEFRA will continue to raise the potential contribution of the RCCs, as it has (with the Department for Communities and Local Government) in relation to local area agreements and the delivery of public service agreement 21, on building more cohesive, empowered and active communities.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made as part of the feasibility study for a rural affordable housing fund since August 2007. 
[holding answer 26 February 2008]: As part of its preparations for the comprehensive spending review (CSSR), during the summer of 2007, DEFRA asked the Housing Corporation to provide advice on the feasibility of a potential revenue funding programme to support activity to improve the delivery
of affordable rural housing at local level. We always made it clear that this would be considered in the light of the CSR settlement.
That advice has now been carefully considered. However, given the Government's undertakings on increases in housing supply generallywhich will benefit rural as well as urban areaswe have concluded that the value of a small Challenge Fund would not be enough to merit a switching of resources away from other priority areas of DEFRA's business.
The Government have already set out proposals to increase the supply of housing and will be allocating £8.4 billion across the regions over the next three years. The Housing Corporation will be tasked with spending this money most effectively. The Government's, long-term housing supply and affordability public service agreement (PSA) target specifically covers rural as well as urban affordability.
In addition, the Housing Green Paper sets out the Government's intention to establish a national target for rural affordable housing. The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) is in the process of developing this target, based on advice from the regional assemblies and the Housing Corporation. It is much more important to ensure that these measures work for rural areas, rather than to focus attention on small packets of funding from DEFRA.
Together with CLG, we remain committed to addressing the affordable rural housing problem. At a national level, the policies and funding to deliver are largely in place, but we want to ensure that it feeds through into delivery.
That is why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) to carry out a review to find out how land use and planning can better support business and deliver affordable housing in rural areas. The hon. Member will report to both DEFRA and CLG in the summer.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2008, Official Report, column 1295W, on Scottish Fisheries Council, when he was first informed that the Scottish Executive was establishing this body; and if he will make a statement; 
DEFRA was alerted to the establishment of the Scottish Fisheries Council last autumn. The Scottish Fisheries Council was set up to advise Scottish Ministers on their devolved responsibilities. It has no role in relation to English fisheries or reserved UK responsibilities. I would therefore not expect to be involved in discussion of its deliberations, unless there is a particular issue arising from it which my Scottish Executive counterpart wishes to draw to my attention. DEFRA
continues to liaise closely with the Scottish Executive and other devolved administrations over UK fisheries policy. I last met devolved Administrations' Fisheries Ministers on 6 February, but the Scottish Fisheries Council was not discussed.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the treaty of Lisbon on the Governments legislative proposals within the draft Marine Bill 
Jonathan Shaw: The text of the new Treaty was intended to clarify EU competence for conservation of marine biological resources. The proposals for the draft Marine Bill will not amend EU competencies so we do not envisage any changes to the proposals under the Bill.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints of (a) sexual harassment and (b) sexual discrimination have been made by staff in (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
The internal formal equal opportunities complaints procedures, including support mechanisms available to
staff who perceive harassment and discrimination, are on DEFRAs intranet site and all staff have access to them.
Under the above procedures, in the last 12 months, a number of complaints have been made by staff; due to the small number of cases, the precise number of complaints cannot be provided on grounds of confidentiality.
In the last three months, DEFRA has reorganised support mechanisms available to staff who perceive sexual harassment and discrimination, re-launching an in-house trained pool of harassment, bullying and support advisers and an in-house mediation service.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value was of each grant provided by his Department, its associated agencies and non-departmental public bodies to (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, (b) Shropshire county council and (c) Telford and the Wrekin borough council in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and what grants have been planned for 2008-09. 
Jonathan Shaw: The value of grants provided by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to each of these councils in 2006-07 and 2007-08, or planned for 2008-09, is given in the following table.
|Grant description||Shropshire county council||Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council||Telford and the Wrekin borough council|
|(1) Waste performance and efficiency grant (WPEG)|
(2) The waste performance and efficiency grant under Shropshire county council is an aggregate allocation for the county council and all the district councils in the Shropshire area (including Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council). WPEG was linked to local area agreements in 2007-08; allocations for all county and district councils were therefore paid as an aggregate sum for collective investment. Telford and the Wrekin is a separate unitary authority.
(3) Two bids being assessed.
(4) Not yet known.
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