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Jonathan Shaw: All grades of staff at DEFRA can apply to work flexibly, including working from home. However this is not an entitlement and should be done according to the business needs and with the line managers approval. Since requests to work from home are submitted on an informal basis, we do not monitor applications at the moment and therefore cannot provide a figure for the number of employees working from home.
Home working is not an automatic entitlement. Requests will be considered by line managers and although they may be agreed with the employee, the continuation of a home working agreement is dependant on regular review and is at the discretion of the line manager.
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA's 2004 Spending Review target for relocating posts away from London and the South East by March 2010 is 390. By the end of December 2007, we had relocated 337 posts. Our latest forecast is that we will relocate a total of 1,035 posts by March 2010. This increase is largely due to the inclusion of DEFRA-sponsored Levy Bodies, which account for an increase of some 500 posts.
|Financial year (April to March each year)||Total cost of sick pay|
The data cover all staff in core-DEFRA and those executive agencies covered by the core Department's terms and conditions (i.e. Animal Health, Marine and Fisheries Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Government Decontamination Service and Pesticides Safety Directorate (who merged with the HSE on 1 April 2008)).
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how long on average his Department took to answer (a) ordinary written and (b) named day questions in each of the last three years. 
Jonathan Shaw: Our database records information by parliamentary Sessions, and it is not maintained in such a way to enable the Department to extract the information requested without incurring disproportionate costs.
|Parliamentary Session||Total named day questions tabled||Number answered on time||Percentage answered on time|
|Parliamentary Session||Total written questions tabled||Number answered on time||Percentage answered on time|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department will have responsibility for monitoring voluntary breeding schemes which are not supported by the Kennel Club; 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what definition he uses of dog code, as used in his Department's guidance on the Animal Welfare Act 2006. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Dog Code will, in common with all other codes of practice made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, give practical guidance to owners and others responsible for dogs on provisions made by or under the Act.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his latest estimate is of the percentage change in domestic energy efficiency in each English local authority since 1999-2000; and if he will set out performance figures for each authority against their domestic energy reduction target. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government hold data on overall improvements in energy efficiency reported by energy conservation authorities in England for the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2007. The data on overall progress provided by authorities each year are placed in the Library of both Houses of Parliament and are published on the DEFRA web site.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what response his Department has made to the National Audit Office report on the state of flood defences; and what recent work the Environment Agency has undertaken to implement the reports recommendations. 
Mr. Woolas: The National Audit Office (NAO) report published on 15 June 2007 draws on information which is now over two years old. The Environment Agency has made substantial progress prior to and since the NAO report was published.
Since February the Environment Agency has made more progress against both the Public Accounts Committee Actions and the NAOs recommendations. The Environment Agencys Annual Report and Accounts will be laid in Parliament before the summer recess and will demonstrate progress across all its flood risk management activities including some of those covered by the NAO report.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural (1) Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the impact of flooding where the Rivers Vyrnwy and Severn meet in the Llandrinio area; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the Environmental Agency's proposals to allow more flooding in the Llandrinio area as a flood mitigation measure for those living down stream; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency is conducting an assessment of the benefits and constraints in delivering future flood risk management activities along the River Severn under a catchment flood management plan (CFMP).
Further detailed studies will be undertaken in due course for the Severn and Vyrnwy Confluence, as a result of the CFMP highlighting the possibility of delivering wider benefits via water storage. Work will only be carried out on the ground when further detailed studies have taken place in consultation with the local stakeholders, community and key landowners.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the Environment Agency to publish its temporary flood defence policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Following the summer 2007 floods, the Environment Agency has undertaken a strategic review of the use of temporary defences generally and their specific use at Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire.
The recommendations of the review are that the Agency should in future stop using temporary defences as an alternative to permanent defences; where local commitments already exist, the Agency should continue to use temporary defences, working with other partners to share the responsibility, and that they should not provide temporary defences as a strategic service.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much food waste his Department generated in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
|Weight of composted waste (tonnes)|
Mr. Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of the Warm Front Scheme and the performance of eaga, with particular reference to the value for money of their pricing structures. 
I can also assure him that all pricing processes were overseen by DEFRAs independent quality assessors, White Young and Green, to ensure the prices charged by the scheme are fair and reflect the market rate. These quality assessors have since undertaken reviews of Warm Front pricing which demonstrate that Warm Front charges continue to offer value for money.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to make cigarette manufacturers responsible for the costs of removing cigarette butts from public places. 
Jonathan Shaw: Local authorities have a duty under section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep land clear of all forms of litter and refuse. Decisions on taxation are for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the benefits of constituting the proposed Marine Management Organisation as (a) a non-departmental public body and (b) an executive agency. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Marine Bill consultation in 2006 set out the status options which were considered for the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), including Executive agency. Careful consideration was given to the most appropriate status for the MMO, and responses to that consultation were taken into account.
Non-departmental public body (NDPB) status was indicated by the Cabinet Office as the most appropriate given the functions that the new body is designed to deliver, together with the fact that those services will be delivered by the MMO on behalf of the Government and not just on behalf of DEFRA. This includes the role the MMO is intended to take on under the new marine planning regime set up under part two of the draft Marine Bill (which excludes policy making and adoption of marine plans). NDPB status will inspire confidence in other Government Departments and marine stakeholders that the MMO will act in an independent impartial manner.
Creating the MMO as an Executive agency of DEFRA would not give confidence to other Government Departments or stakeholders that the body had the necessary independence from individual Ministers/policy areas to effectively carry out marine planning and licensing functions.
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