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Sir Stuart Bell: The Church Commissioners are not responsible for churches. Their legal obligations relate to the management of historic assets to meet their pension commitments and provide other financial support for the Church, and the administration of the legal framework for pastoral reorganisation and helping dioceses settle the future of closed church buildings.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how many churches were transferred into usage as (a) restaurants, (b) bars and (c) gymnasia in each of the last five years. 
Sir Stuart Bell: In the last five years the Commissioners have transferred one church into restaurant use by Deed of Variation. This was in 2004. No church buildings have been transferred into use as bars or gymnasia in the last five years.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how many church buildings were sold in each year since 1997; and what the annual total value of sales was in each year. 
|Year||Number of church buildings sold|
|Number of churches closed for regular worship|
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has conducted into the potential acceleration of Greenland ice cap melt in light of the accelerated rate of Arctic summer ice melt of 2007 and 2008. 
My Department funds research on melting of the Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet through the Integrated Climate Programme, which is undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC). This programme is jointly funded with the MOD. We also liaise with other research groups in the UK on these topics.
With regard to the implications of sea ice melt for the Greenland ice sheet, a MOHC study has examined the impacts of long-term deglaciation of the Greenland ice sheet using a greenhouse gas concentration scenario where the Arctic becomes free of sea ice during the summer. This experiment incorporated a model of sea ice so that interactions between sea ice and Greenland land ice melt were included.
The results showed a maximum contribution from the melting Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise of 5 mm per year, which is within the uncertainty range already considered in projections of sea level rise around the UK coastline. However processes involving rapid movement of ice within the ice sheets are not included in this, or other current ice sheet models, as the dynamics are still poorly understood. Further work is needed to improve these models and thus estimates of sea level rise.
The UK also monitors changes in the Greenland ice sheet directly. Observational measurements of the rate of change of its volume have been carried out by UK research groups over the last 15 years, using satellite radar remote sensing. Recently scientists at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), part of the Natural Environment Research Council, have developed a new, more accurate technique for determining ice cap changes, using satellite laser technology. Significant research on the fundamental physics of glaciers and ice sheets is being carried out by BAS and other UK research groups, often in Antarctica.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of the contract awarded by his Department to IBM for the disposal of all redundant electrical and electronic equipment in each of the last five years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Prior to 2004, DEFRA awarded the contract for the disposal of redundant IT hardware, software and fax machines to Northern Realisation Ltd. This contract was at zero cost to the Department.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department are responsible for branding activity; and what the cost of employing such staff was in 2007-08. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Three members of staff undertake some work on branding as part of their wider responsibilities. It is not possible to calculate accurately what the cost of the branding activity might have been in 2007-08.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff in his Department assist special advisers; and what the cost of employing such staff was in each of the last three years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: In 2006 and 2007, the number of full-time staff assisting the advisers was four (one higher executive officer, one executive officer and two administrative officers). Since the end of August 2007, this number has reduced to three (one HEO, and two EOs). This figure has further reduced since September 2008, and currently stands at one HEO and one EO. Civil servants only provide administrative support of a non-political nature in accordance with the "Code of Conduct for Special Advisers".
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much of the £50 million originally left unallocated in his Department's budget for 2007-08 has now been allocated; and for what purposes; 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Questions for written answer were tabled to his Department in Session (a) 2002-03, (b) 2003-04, (c) 2004-05, (d) 2005-06, (e) 2006-07 and (f) 2007-08 to date; and how many were (i) answered substantively and (ii) not answered on grounds of disproportionate cost. 
(f) 6,012 (to date)
The Department strives to answer all questions in full rather than use a disproportionate cost answer. However there have been occasions when it has not been possible to do so. Separate records of the number of questions not answered on the grounds of disproportionate cost are not kept.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what varieties of GM crops approval for import into the EU has been recommended by EU scientists but not yet agreed by the European Council or Commission. 
Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 17 November 2008]: Listed as follows are the GM crop lines which are awaiting possible approval for EU import and for which the European Food Safety Authority has published a favourable overall opinion. MON863xMON810 maize, MON863xNK603 maize and T45 oilseed rape already have EU import approval but further applications have been made to extend the scope of the permitted uses. Of the other products listed, the only one for which approval is being sought for cultivation in the EU is the EH-92-527 Amylopectin Potato.
EH92-527 Amylopectin potato
T45 oilseed rape
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 November 2008]: It is not possible to separate the costs of enforcing and inspecting the six-day rule from the range of measures designed to limit the spread of livestock disease.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent by his Department on Plain English Campaign training courses for its staff in each year since 2005. 
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has allocated to (a) research and (b) training on soil and water management in each of the last five years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA has spent approximately £5 million per annum over the last five years on research on the risks and threats to soil and water and how we can ensure that these resources are protected for the benefit of this generation and future generations.
The Department also funds the Catchment Sensitive Farming Programme through which farmers are given guidance on soil and water management. In addition, Natural England and the Environment Agency provide some guidance and training to farmers.
Budget allocations for spending relating to water management are decided by each individual sponsor and the Environment Agency. Capturing information relating specifically to water management would involve a disproportionate cost to the Department.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna in protecting tuna stocks; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: In 2007 the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was the subject of an independent review that it commissioned itself. While the findings of this report were, in certain areas, critical of ICCAT, many of the recommendations were positive and constructive. At the 2008 annual meeting of ICCAT UK will work closely with the EU and other contracting parties to adopt measures that will increase the effectiveness and credibility of ICCAT as one of the main Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOS).
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