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Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent changes have been made to his Department's strategy on security of food supply within the UK; and what factors prompted such changes. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 6 October 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the discussion paper published in July entitled Ensuring the UK's Food Security in a Changing World which described the current trends, and set out the challenges facing the food supply chain in the future, including high energy prices, poor harvests, rising demand, the use of biofuels and export bans.
No recent changes have been made to the Department's strategy on UK food security. However, DEFRA is currently consulting on the questions raised in July's paper. We will publish the results of the consultation and the Government response in due course.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the results of the consultation upon food security are expected to be published; and when the Government expects to make a response. 
Jane Kennedy: In July 2008 DEFRA published a discussion paper entitled Ensuring the UK's Food Security in a Changing World which described the trends leading to the current global situation, set out the challenges facing the food supply chain in the future, and discussed whether the UK food supply chain is sufficiently resilient to withstand short-term shocks and longer-term challenges. Its purpose was to encourage public debate on what more needs to be done with relation to food security in the UK and the rest of the world. DEFRA is currently engaging with stakeholders on the questions raised in July's paper. It is intended to publish initial conclusions before the end of the year.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of food consumed in the UK in the last period for which figures are available had been imported; what information he holds on the land area used to produce this food; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: In 2006, 51 per cent. of food consumed in the UK was imported to the UK. This is based on the value of unprocessed food. The UK imports food from a diversity of countries in Europe and around the world, with a variety of production systems and land requirements.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much farming land in the UK was not used for food production in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: Results from the UK June surveys of agriculture showed that the total area of agricultural land not used for food production in 2008 was 1.2 million hectares. This accounts for 7.0 per cent. of the total area of land on agricultural holdings. Results are provisional and will be revised in December 2008.
|(1) Miscanthus, short rotation coppice and borage areas are for England only.|
(2) Food crops which can be grown for non-food purposes (e.g. oilseed rape for bio-energy) are not collected separately in these surveys so are included in the main crop area.
(3) 2007 data as 2008 results will not be available until December 2008.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect on food prices of the European Commission's amendment to Regulation 91/4/14. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 6 October 2008]: In May 2008 the Pesticides Safety Directorate published an assessment of the agronomic impact of the restrictions set out in the Commission Proposals. This has recently been developed into an economic assessment by Sean Rickard, Senior Lecturer in Business Economics at Cranfield University School of Management, which is available at the Cranfield university website.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2008, Official Report, column 1473W, what area of (a) lowland heathland and (b) acid grassland restoration has been undertaken by (i) Forestry Commission England, (ii) other Government departments and (iii) non-governmental organisations; and in which geographical areas this restoration has taken place. 
|Lowland heathland and dry acid grassland on the Forestry Commission estate in England: restoration from woods and forests to April 2008|
|Forest district||(a) Lowland heathland restoration since 1990||(b) Lowland dry acid grassland restoration since 2004( 1)|
|(1) FC only started recording lowland dry acid grassland in the database in 2004.|
(a) 11,664 ha are currently under options to improve or restore lowland heathland in the higher level scheme (which has run since 2005). A regional breakdown of this figure is presented in the following table. A further 865 ha has also been improved or restored in Hampshire through Natural England's Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund over the last three years.
|Region||Area of lowland heathland under restoration options in HLS|
(b) 744 ha are currently under options to restore or recreate lowland dry acid grassland in the Higher Level Scheme since 2005. There is no regional breakdown of this figure currently available. A further 125 ha have also been improved or restored in Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Durham through Natural England's Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund over the last three years.
The Government currently do not have details on the combined contributions of non-governmental organisations towards the delivery of the habitat restoration targets. Estimates of progress towards the delivery of Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) targets, incorporating information from a range of sources and stakeholders, will be available in early 2009 following completion of the 2008 BAP reporting round.
Huw Irranca-Davies: The global ban on international commercial trade in ivory remains firmly in place. The UK fully supports this and is absolutely clear that illegal and unsustainable trade in ivory should not be permitted.
However, we draw a distinction between one-off sales of ivory which is legally held by governments, for the benefit of their wildlife conservation programmes, and a general return to commercial trading in ivory, where we are not convinced that current conditions will ensure proper protection for elephants.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for the recovery of plastics and other waste material from closed landfill sites for the purposes of recycling; and if he will make a statement 
[holding answer 17 September 2008]: The Government have no plans to recover plastics and other materials from closed landfills for recycling. However,
the Government aim to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills by encouraging waste prevention, re-use and recycling.
Jane Kennedy: The EU Animal By-Products Regulation (1774/2002) requires fallen stock to be disposed of without undue delay by rendering or incineration and there is a good service in place through the National Fallen Stock Scheme which ensures fallen stock are collected for disposal speedily and safely.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the performance of the National Rights of Way Casework Team against its targets for reviewing representations. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Defra regularly reviews the performance of the National Rights of Way Casework Team and has recently acknowledged that the new transport work for the Department for Transport being carried out by the Government office north east is having an impact on the rights of way casework. Officials are discussing, with Government office north east, the problems of meeting targets for the issuing of decisions on Schedule 14 appeals and what needs to be done to ensure the level of service is improved.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance he has given to (a) the National Rights of Way Casework Team and (b) surveying authorities on how to determine whether modifications to the definitive map of rights of way have been made as soon as reasonably practicable. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Section 53(2)(a) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires modifications to the definitive map and statement, the legal record of all rights of way to be made, "as soon as reasonably practicable". Defra has issued no guidance as to what timeframe "as soon as reasonably practicable" constitutes, as every case will be judged by individual circumstances. If a person believes that a highway authority is not fulfilling its duties under section 53(2), he can challenge its actions through the local government ombudsman, who has the power to investigate complaints of maladministration.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many appeals have been made to him under Schedule 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; how many appeals have been allowed; what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average time taken for a decision to be issued is; and what the longest time an appeal has remained without the issue of a decision is. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Prior to the establishment of the National Rights of Way Casework team in July 2005, work was carried out under Schedule 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 by the regional Government offices. There are no detailed central records of the Schedule 14 work carried out by those offices and the information requested could be gathered only at a disproportionate cost. However, as a guide a report estimated that the regional Government offices collectively received between 50 and 70 Schedule 14 appeals every year prior to 2005. Since 2005, the National Rights of Way Casework team has determined 150 appeals, of which 76 have been upheld. The additional information on appeal handling times can be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
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