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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the National Flood Emergency Framework set out in the Pitt Review on the summer floods of 2007; and when he expects the framework to be implemented. 
Mr. Woolas: DEFRA is preparing the timetable and a project plan with support from the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) and have drawn together a Project Board and terms of reference with a view to implementing a National Framework for flooding over the coming two years.
Mr. Woolas: Between 1 November 2006 and 31 May 2008 the Environment Agency spent approximately £720 million in England on flood defence related activity including asset maintenance, flood warning, mapping, development control and capital projects. The total capital expenditure was around £316 million, the majority being used to build new defences and improve existing ones.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of public awareness of the need for flood kits and practical home improvements in case of a flood; and if he will make a statement. 
According to DEFRAs own research, only about one-third of flooded households and less than one in 10 non-flooded households have taken any
measures to mitigate the effects of flooding and very few have purchased protection measures for their home.
DEFRA has funded six pilots (at a cost of £500,000) to examine the feasibility of developing a grant scheme for householders on flood resilience. These pilots have just completed and we are expecting their final reports in the near future.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the implementation of a telephone flood warning scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency has delivered a telephone flood warning service since 1996. Floodline Warnings Direct (FWD), implemented in 2006, sends flood warnings by telephone, fax, text, pager, or e-mail to customers registered on the system.
The Pitt Review interim report recommended that the Environment Agency should work urgently with telecommunications companies to roll-out opt-out telephone flood warning schemes to all homes and businesses liable to flooding, including ex-directory households.
The Environment Agency is working closely with British Telecom and Ofcom to progress efforts to transfer data from the Emergency Services Database to Flood Warnings Direct. This database has been identified as the most appropriate information source to deliver an opt-out approach for Flood Warnings Direct.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for the development of the (a) draft and (b) final National Flood Emergency Framework. 
Mr. Woolas: DEFRA is preparing the timetable and a project plan with support from the civil contingencies secretariat (CCS) with a view to implementing a National Framework for flooding over the coming two years.
While an initial document is expected to be ready to share before the end of the year, the timetable has yet to be finalised. We must ensure that not only a document is produced, but moreover, that each attribute of the framework is delivered during this time frame.
Mr. Woolas: In response to the Interim Pitt Report, the Government have agreed to set up a Natural Hazards team, dedicated to reducing the disruption caused by natural events to national infrastructure.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions resulted from illegal disposal of plastic foam insulation containing ozone-depleting substances in each year since 2004. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency have advised that there have been no prosecutions resulting specifically from the illegal disposal of foam insulation containing ozone-depleting substances since 2004.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) his Department and (b) the Rural Payments Agency has power to impose further sanctions on farmers convicted for cruelty to farm animals. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 16 June 2008]: Anyone may take a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. On conviction, the maximum penalties available for an offence of unnecessary suffering are a fine of £20,000 or six month's imprisonment, or both. The maximum penalties for failing to provide for the welfare of an animal are a fine of £5,000 or six month's imprisonment, or both.
The court may, in addition to any other punishment on conviction, deprive a person of ownership of an animal. The court may also disqualify the person convicted from having custody of any animal for such a period as it thinks fit. This could mean a lifetime ban from keeping animals. Additionally, DEFRA may refuse authorisation to transport animals to farmers within three years of conviction for such an offence.
If Animal Health finds that animal welfare is compromised on the farm of a single farm payment claimant, they may report this as a breach to the RPA (in England), who may apply a penalty reduction in the calendar year in which the breach occurred. While civil (via cross compliance) and criminal proceedings could arise out of the same offence, penalties cannot be applied retrospectively by the RPA in response to the conviction of a claimant for animal welfare offences.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) for what reasons the proposed Marine Management Organisation will not have responsibility for the registration of fishing vessels; 
(2) what consideration he has given to transferring (a) regulation of offshore oil and gas licensing, (b) regulation of ship-to-ship oil transfer, (c) regulation of merchant shipping and (d) registration of fishing vessels to the proposed Marine Management Organisation; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The proposed Marine Management Organisation will be the Government's regulator of most activities in the marine environmentwith some exceptions, as set out in the policy document published alongside the draft Marine Bill.
The Marine Bill White Paper published in March 2007 explained that the current system of licensing oil and gas infrastructure and activity works well, and there is no compelling evidence that integrating it with others would achieve any benefits. The Government therefore intend the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) to remain responsible for delivering this service.
Similarly, careful consideration has been given by DEFRA and the Department for Transport (DFT) to the relationship between the MMO and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)an executive agency of the Department for Transport, responsible throughout the UK for implementing the Government's maritime safety policy, including the co-ordination of search and rescue at sea, ensuring that ships meet UK and international safety rules, and the environmental control of shipping in UK waters.
It is important to maintain the MCA as a separate organisation with a clear, single focus on shipping and maritime safety. The regulation of merchant shipping (including ship-to-ship oil transfer) sits firmly within the MCAs remit.
DEFRA and DfT officials are currently considering whether the MMO should take on responsibility for the registration of fishing vessels which is currently delivered across the UK by MCA alongside the registration of non-fishing vessels.
Part 1, chapter 3 of the draft Marine Bill provides flexible arrangements to enable the delivery of marine functions by the MMO. This provides a flexible tool which could enable any Secretary of State to enter into an arrangement with the MMO to deliver any marine functions in the future were this considered the most effective and efficient delivery mechanism.
The MMO will need to develop effective working relationships with a range of other bodies with responsibilities in the marine areaincluding the MCA and BERR. We envisage Memoranda of Understanding being drawn up between the MMO and these other bodies to clarify how they will work together.
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA is seeking to follow best practice in establishing the Marine Management Organisation, taking into account the lessons learned from the establishment of other non-departmental public bodies, including Natural England. This includes ensuring appropriate expertise is available and may include the use of consultants if appropriate.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he plans to take to protect staff of the proposed Marine Management Organisation from personal litigation arising from their discharge of Government functions; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the implications for staff of the proposed Marine Management Organisation of being post holders in the organisation rather than Crown servants; and if he make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The proposed Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will be an Executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) and its staff will be public servants. Staff within core Departments and the Marine and Fisheries Agency delivering functions that will transfer to the MMO are civil servants.
Staff transferring to the MMO would do so under the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice using TUPE principles and there would therefore be no detriment to pay or terms of employment at the point of transfer. Any future changes would only happen through proper consultation with the relevant trade unions.
The staff of the MMO will have the opportunity to work within an organisation making a significant contribution to the sustainable management of our seasthrough the first marine planning system of its kind in the world, streamlined, modern and fit for purpose licensing regimes and effective, joined up enforcement. The Marine and Fisheries Agency is working to prepare itself as an organisation and its staff to form a solid foundation for the MMO.
When acting in the course of their duties for the MMO employees will be unlikely to face personal litigation, in the same way that civil servants are unlikely to. Decisions taken are on behalf of the MMO so any potential claim would lie against the MMO not an individual officer. Civil servants only enjoy immunity where Crown immunity applies in specific circumstancesthey have no general immunity.
The draft Marine Bill does however give specific immunity to Marine Enforcement Officers appointed by the MMO and other enforcement officers. These officers need to be protected when they carry out inspections and investigations out at sea and on land to prevent their freedom to perform their duties being hampered by a fear of legal action being taken against them. The immunity applies so long as the enforcement officers are acting lawfully within their powers.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will support proposed EU legislation to ban crop protection products that are carcinogens, mutagens, reprotoxic, endocrine disrupters or bio-accumulating toxins. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government agree that plant protection products should be properly controlled, and supports much of the proposed regulation, particularly where it would improve harmonisation and help level the playing field in pesticide availability. The Government are, however, concerned that these proposals for hazard cut-off criteria could remove some active substances which are very important for agriculture and horticulture, but without securing any meaningful benefit in terms of consumer safety. We are pressing for changes to address these concerns.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department is providing to pig farmers and the pig industry; and what account he has taken of soya and grain prices in determining the level of such support. 
Jonathan Shaw: The economic difficulties faced by pig producers in the last year have been driven by a number of factors, in particular the rising cost of feed ingredients. On feed, the UK has supported the Commissions measures aimed at reducing market pressure, including the suspension for a further year of import duties on feed grains, the re-selling of the remaining intervention stocks of grain and the removal of the requirement for farmers to set-aside land for the 2008 harvest.
DEFRA has been supportive of the pig industry and we worked together to reopen markets outside the EU following the FMD outbreak in 2007. DEFRA also provided, after that outbreak, a £12.5 million aid package to the livestock farming sector, including £2 million to promote the marketing of pork and other red meat.
However, the long-term sustainability of the pig sector will depend on its ability to compete successfully in the market place, with performance, quality and welfare standards as essential factors. The price for pig products is a matter for the market to decide, as long as competition law is being complied with.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with Scottish counterparts on assisting pig farmers with input costs; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: My Department is in regular contact with Scottish counterparts on issues affecting the pig and livestock issues, including UK support for Commission measures to ameliorate market pressures on the cost of feed.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether the £34.5 million commitment to implement the recommendations of the Pitt Review on Flooding is in addition to or included in the cost of implementing the urgent recommendations of the Pitt Review; 
Mr. Woolas: The initial provision of £34.5 million has been set aside to fund work arising from the Pitt Review. This will not necessarily cover all the recommendations, and is subject to further review. We will determine how this should be spent when we see the final Pitt Report and the priorities which it contains.
None of the £34.5 million has so far been allocated. The costs spent to date on implementing the urgent recommendations have been absorbed by the bodies to which they fell so it is not possible to provide a precise figure.
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