|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
As there are a wide range of stakeholders and investors contributing to the Year of Food and Farming, there is a great sense of accountability by the
delivery group to partners. For this reason, a detailed final summary report will be produced later this year to outline the difference that the year will have made; where the money was spent and how it added value.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has expressed its interest to the Sector Skills Council for Central Government in taking part in the Pathfinder Apprenticeships Scheme. Following the evaluation of the pilot scheme, DEFRA will decide how best to incorporate apprenticeships into the corporate departmental skills strategy in 2009.
DEFRA recognises the importance of trying to increase the number of people in public sector with a NVQ at level 2 and 3. Core DEFRA and its agencies will be looking for ways to use the prospectus and work with the Learning Skills Council to increase the number of apprenticeships in the coming year.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme was in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: For the 2006-07 financial year the gross expenditure on the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme amounted to £67.044 million. The provisional accounts for 2007-08 financial year show an expenditure of £52.469 million.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2008, Official Report, column 768W, on cattle: imports, if he will break down the number of cattle imported in each year by country of origin. 
Please note these figures are obtained using VAT records and will exclude some EU trade for businesses which are below the VAT threshold. As a result, actual trade levels may be higher than those given.
|Country of despatch||Live cattle imports (Number of head)|
H M Revenue and Customs. Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis, DEFRA. 2007 data are subject to amendments.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many coastal cetacean strandings there have been in each (a) year since 2004 and (b) month in 2008; and how many of these are estimated to be the result of fishing activity in each such period. 
Jonathan Shaw: All data on cetacean strandings across the UK, up to and including 2007 data, are publicly available on the DEFRA website in the form of UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) Annual report.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the UK will be participating in the conference to be held in Reunion from 7 to 11 July on the EU and its overseas entities strategies to counter climate change and biodiversity loss. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 8 July 2008]: We welcome the conference on the EU and its Overseas EntitiesStrategies to Counter Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, which is being convened in Reunion as an official event under the French presidency of the European Union.
The United Kingdom is being represented at this important meeting by an official from the Department's international biodiversity team, accompanied by two colleagues from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international conservation.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to paragraph 3.22 of the National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, Cm 7291, which coastal areas of the UK he judges to be at the greatest risk; and what strategy he is pursuing to reduce the risk. 
Mr. Woolas: Sea level rise and increasing storm activity are the key elements of coastal risk. The combined effect of these are generally greatest along the Anglian and south east coastlines, where there are extensive areas of low-lying land and where the impact of rising sea levels is exacerbated as the land is also sinking due to tectonic plate movement. The soft nature of the cliffs on the south and east coasts means that these areas are also at greatest risk of erosion.
The Environment Agency works with local authorities and others with an interest through coastal groups to prepare Shoreline Management Plans. These cover the entire coast of England and Wales and define the coastal management policies for each section of coast. They inform the Local Development Frameworks which direct development and regeneration of coastal communities. Detailed strategies and investment schemes enable these policies to be put into practice.
Jonathan Shaw: All public servants that access the DEFRA infrastructure in the office are able to register for remote access. The number that have used the facility within the last month is approximately 2,000.
Apart from the IBM contract there are also IT assets owned by the Department. The value at time of purchase and current value of these is disclosed in the DEFRA published accounts which are available in the House Library.
Jonathan Shaw: There are no records of any vocational training resulting in national vocational qualifications being funded by the corporate centre in DEFRA in the past three years. This is a reflection of the current skills entry level for the core Department.
DEFRA recognises the importance of trying to increase the number of people in the private sector with NVQs and will be working with its agencies to consider ways to incorporate apprenticeships into the 2009-10 DEFRA departmental skills strategy.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2008, Official Report, column 776W, on flood control: planning, what his definition is of inappropriate development in flood risk areas; in what circumstances development in flood risk areas would be required; and where a development is to be constructed so it is resilient to flooding, which body determines the resilience of the structure and the products used. 
Planning Policy Statement (PPS)25, Development and Flood Risk, provides the policy framework for local planning authorities to avoid, manage and reduce flood risk to new development, guided by the advice of the Environment Agency, which must be consulted on all planning applications in these areas.
PPS25 sets out a sequential test to steer new development to areas at the lowest probability of flooding. Applying the PPS25 risk-based sequential approach, development would be inappropriate in flood risk areas where there are reasonably available sites in areas with a lower probability of flooding. Where the sequential test shows there are no lower risk alternatives, development vulnerable to flooding would only be appropriate if it passed the PPS25 exception test. The exception test is that the need for the development outweighs the flood risk, it is on previously developed land where this is available, it will be safe, and it will not increase flood risk elsewhere.
Local planning authorities determining planning applications should ensure that all new development in flood risk areas is appropriately flood resilient and resistant. Developers are responsible for ensuring the design and construction are carried out in a way which delivers appropriate flood resilience and satisfies the relevant planning authority. Government have produced a guide, Improving the Flood Performance of New Buildings, which developers and planners can refer to for help in identifying appropriate solutions.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential for re-creation of (a) lowland dry acid grassland, (b) lowland raised bog and (c) lowland heathland on land owned or managed by (i) the Forestry Commission for England and (ii) other departments or agencies. 
Joan Ruddock: The potential for re-creation of these habitats on land owned or managed by Government Departments is being assessed as part of the Forestry Commissions process for developing Government policy on restoration of open habitats from woods and forests in England.
For the land managed by the Forestry Commission in England a comprehensive assessment of potential is being carried out using existing records and new information that is being added to their Geographic Information System. This will be completed by October 2008.
As regards the Ministry of Defence (MOD) no formal assessments have been undertaken on the re-creation of these habitats across the estate. The MOD requires the use of a matrix of varied habitats to provide realistic landscapes to support military training. The restoration of natural habitats is not always consistent with this requirement. Opportunities for habitat restoration, are considered within the Integrated Rural Management Plans which MOD has committed to write for all sites with significant biodiversity interest.
The land owned or directly managed by Natural England is in the National Nature Reserve estate. These are declared because the habitats they contain are already of high biodiversity value, so management aims to maintain and enhance the existing habitats rather than significantly alter them.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) pensioner and (b) other households received support from the Warm Front scheme in each parliamentary constituency in the last five years. 
DEFRA has never had a funding stream allocated specifically for RHEs. In April 2006 DEFRA launched the Rural Social and Community Programme (RSCP) which provided investment funding for locally-defined priorities set by partnerships of local organisations. Some of these partnerships developed time-limited projects involving RHEs.
The RSCP came to a long-anticipated conclusion in March 2008. It was always very explicit that there would be no commitment to fund any projects under the RSCP beyond the two-year programme. Indeed, the guidance for those seeking funding under the RSCP noted that all projects should draw up an exit strategy to identify how they would develop beyond the time-limited period of that programme.
The work done by RHEs is now funded in a wide variety of ways across the country. The clear vision for the long-term funding of RHEs has always been that they should be supported at local level by the very local authorities and housing associations whose rural delivery they exist to support. I am pleased to note that in many areas across the country this is happening. Ultimately however, these are decisions for local delivery agents to take in the light of local needs and circumstances.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|