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1 Sep 2008 : Column 1482Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to hold discussions with the European Commission to initiate a vaccination of cattle strategy against bovine tuberculosis. 
Jonathan Shaw: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has discussed vaccination of cattle in a phone conversation with Commissioner Vasilliou. They agreed to keep in touch on the issue but no further discussions are planned at this time. DEFRA officials have also had initial discussions with Commission officials on cattle vaccination and will continue to engage with the Commission as any cattle vaccination strategy is developed.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy on amending the Linking Directive of the European Emissions Trading Scheme to enable the inclusion, under the scheme, of carbon credits from forest projects in the developing world. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 17 July 2008]: We are currently consulting on changes to the European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) in light of the European Commission's proposed climate and energy package. Credits from reforestation and afforestation projects require a robust monitoring system, an understanding of the potential impact on the EU ETS allowance price, and assurance that non-permanent credits would not damage the environmental integrity of the scheme, before they can be included in the EU ETS.
It is not currently possible to credit projects that seek to avoid deforestation as this is not provided for within the scope of the Kyoto protocol. However, we recognise the importance of addressing this issue and we are working through the international climate negotiations for an agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation for post-2012. I welcome the provision contained in the European Commission's proposal for new crediting mechanisms under an international agreement which would give the flexibility to include credits from avoided deforestation and other land use activities in future phases of the EU ETS.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of spending from the public purse on research into climate science in the last three years. 
Mr. Woolas: Government expenditure on research which relates to climate change in 2006-07 (latest available figure) was approximately £139 million. The majority of this amount was provided through the research councils. DEFRA's total expenditure on climate change research (including projects of a cross-cutting nature which are of relevance to climate change) over the last three years was £79.4 million (£23.7 million in 2005-06, £24.7 million in 2006-07, and £31.0 million in 2007-08). DEFRA's spend on climate science research over the last three years totalled £52.7 million (£15.7 million in 2005-06, £17.4 million in 2006-07 and £19.6 million in 2007-08).
The UK's leading role in delivering climate change policy has been built on its world-leading research and DEFRA is committed to continuing support in this area.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of (a) the number of computer devices left on overnight in his Department when not in use and (b) the cost per year of leaving computer devices on overnight when not in use in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply of 6 May 2008, Official Report, columns 721-22W, on departmental ICT.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) his Departments agencies have taken early retirement in the last two years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The number of staff in DEFRA and its agencies who have taken early retirement in the past two years is shown in the following table.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) planning applications and (b) licensing applications his Department has submitted in the last 24 months. 
Jonathan Shaw: Departmental records show that the Department, including its executive agencies, has (a) submitted 30 planning applications and (b) made one licensing application in respect of its property holdings.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) art and (c) new vehicles by his Department in each of the last three years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The information requested is given in the following table.
|Financial year||Furniture e xpenditure||Art e xpenditure|
It is the policy of DEFRA, its agencies, non-departmental public bodies and, where appropriate, its sponsored organisations to make financial redress in accordance with the guidance set out in Chapter 4.12, Annex 4.14 of HM Treasury's publication Managing Public Money.
The capital expenditure on vehicles, as disclosed in DEFRA's Resource Accounts, for the last three financial years, is as follows:
|Core Department Vehicle Capital Expenditure (£000)|
As indicated, the expenditure is for vehicles purchased by the Core Department only. Information for DEFRA's Agencies and NDPBs is not held centrally by the Department, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has a standard retirement age; and how many employees have been asked to retire on reaching 65 years of age in each year since 2000. 
Jonathan Shaw: When the new age legislation came into force on 1 October 2006, the Department, along with all of its Agencies, changed its retirement policies. With the exception of Animal Health and the Central Science Laboratory, there is no longer a set retirement age for employees below the senior civil service. Members of staff can work as long as they wish subject to the normal performance, conduct and attendance requirements.
Animal Health and the Central Science Laboratory currently have a retirement age of 65. However, employees are entitled to request to work beyond 65.
The current retirement age for members of the senior civil service is 65. If an employee wishes to stay beyond 65 they can do so, provided it has been agreed by the Permanent Secretary or the relevant agency chief executive.
Three members of staff below the SCS in core DEFRA have retired on or on the day before their 65th birthday since October 2006, when new age legislation came into force. However, it is not possible to differentiate between those staff who have chosen to retire on reaching 65 years of age and any staff who may have been asked to retire.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff working in his Department were on secondment from
(a) the British Wind Energy Association, (b) RWE and (c) AEA at the latest date for which figures are available; and what the (i) name, (ii) job title, (iii) primary function and (iv) remuneration is of each such staff member. 
Jonathan Shaw: There are currently no staff working in DEFRA who are on secondment from RWE or AEA. Two individuals are on secondment from member organisations of the British Wind Energy Association (Shell and npower).
(i) We are withholding the names of the individuals as we consider that disclosure would not be fair and would, therefore, breach the first principle of the Data Protection Act 1998. (ii) and (iii) One individual works within the office of climate change at grade 6 and the other in the domestic climate change and energy directorate at grade 7. (iv) The individuals are not remunerated by DEFRA so we do not hold this information.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many departmental identity cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen by staff in (a) his Department and (b) each of its executive agencies in the last 24 months. 
Jonathan Shaw: The following table shows the number of electronic passes recorded as lost and stolen from core DEFRA and its agencies between 1 January 2006 to 1 June 2008. The table has been compiled from information that was readily available. All electronic passes reported as lost or stolen are cancelled immediately on the access control system making them invalid. Losses of paper escorted and unescorted visitor passes (which are not able to activate access control points) are rare and are not recorded.
Veterinary Laboratories Agency/Veterinary Medicines Directorate
Losses and thefts relating to passes issued to the Marine Fisheries Agency, the Government Decontamination Service and Pesticides Safety Directorate are included in the figures for DEFRA core Department. Figures do not include Animal Health as information is not available.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 9 May 2008, Official Report, column 1240W, on domestic wastes: contracts, when each of the projects will be placed in the Library. 
Joan Ruddock: I can confirm that projects WR0107, WR0112, WR0512 and WR0601 were placed in the House Library on 9 May.
Projects WR0103 and WR0104 are now also complete and I am making arrangements for them to be placed in the House Library as well. WR0106 is in the final stages of peer review, while project WR0506 is still ongoing and unlikely to be ready for a few months.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1658W, on domestic waste: waste management, and 9 May 2008, Official Report, column 1239W, on domestic wastes: contract, on what date his Department received the report Potential health risks to humans from birds, mammals and insects associated with UK waste management operations: Final Report; and what steps he has taken in response to the evidence in the report on the links between fortnightly and weekly rubbish collections and public health risks. 
Joan Ruddock: An early draft of research report WR0601 was submitted in December 2005. The report was completed in January 2006 and was published as part of the new science information system which went live on the DEFRA website in February 2007. This scoping report provided suggestions for further research, one area being further investigation of any health-related implications of changes to waste collection routines.
Further work was commissioned in 2006 by Wycombe district council with funding being provided by the DEFRA Waste Implementation Programme (WIP)(1). This work reported in February 2007 and is available electronically on the contractor's website. It provides a review of the potential for health impacts to occur from alternate week waste collection schemes, principally in comparison with weekly collection schemes, using the scheme operated by Wycombe district council as a case study. The study was carried out to investigate any issues relating to odours, insects, rodents and the risks of disease. The research literature consulted provided no evidence that alternate week residual and biodegradable waste collection will cause any significant health impacts for residents, or that any health impacts are likely to be significantly greater than those associated with weekly collections. This is consistent with wider studies of the health effects of waste management, which indicate that all methods of waste management can have at most a minor effect on health(2). The Wycombe study goes on to recommend some common-sense steps that can be taken to alleviate amenity issues (e.g. keeping containers clean, not shredding or chopping kitchen waste before disposal, keeping containers outdoors, avoiding shelter opportunities for rodents, waste wrapped or in containers etc.).
Subsequently, in July 2007, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) published guidance for local authorities on the design and implementation of alternate weekly collection services, in order to provide practical advice for waste managers and elected members within local authorities(3). This report references the Enviros 2007 report in commenting on health and amenity issues.
All further relevant research undertaken will be published on the DEFRA website.
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