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15. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the process for making single farm payments in 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: Continued improvements in its systems and processes have enabled the Rural Payments Agency to make good progress towards its 2008 single payment scheme targets. Latest figures show that just under £1.1 billion (67.4 per cent.) has been paid to 84,039 claimants (78.9 per cent.)
16. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the amount of land designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty in West Sussex which will be excluded from the proposed South Downs National Park boundaries. 
17. Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations his Department has received on water drainage charges for places of worship; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Secretary of State has received a range of representations from various groups regarding surface water drainage charges. The Government are, however, very aware of the problem of affordability faced by some customers as a result of the switch to site area charging for surface water drainage and are looking at what can be done.
18. Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on the publication of soil guidance values on asbestos. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA officials have been in regular communication with the Environment Agency about the ongoing development of contaminated land guidance. The Environment Agency has been working closely with the Health and Safety Laboratory and the Health and Safety Executive to develop guidance on the investigation and analysis of asbestos in soil which it plans to consult on in the first half of 2009. It is likely that this guidance will supersede the proposed Soil Guideline Value.
Huw Irranca-Davies: My aim is to achieve the vision, set out in Fisheries 2027, of a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable inshore fishing fleet. The measures announced in December to help stabilise the fleet were a critical first step to delivering this. The Sustainable Access to Inshore Fisheries project will build on this foundation, beginning by developing a robust evidence base on the benefits of inshore fishing to help inform long term decisions.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department takes to encourage consumers to purchase meat and dairy products produced (a) locally and (b) in accordance with (i) animal welfare and (ii) environmental regulations. 
Jane Kennedy: While the Government believe that buying locally produced food is a matter of personal choice for consumers, we recognise that it can bring benefits to producers and consumers alike. We have helped to facilitate this choice by providing funding for a range of measures to help regional and local food producers, such as meet the buyer events, the encouragement of food hubs and shared distribution facilities, and training. Support is also available under Rural Development Programme for England for activities linked to the promotion of quality regional and local food, the use of native English breeds of cattle in environmental stewardship schemes and for activities linked to promoting the environmental sustainability of the livestock sector.
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 12 January 2009]: As at 31 December 2008, single payment scheme (SPS) 2008 payments of over £967.6 million have been made to 69,187 claimants. This equates to 59.3 per cent. of an estimated fund value of £1.63 billion, paid to 64.99 per cent. of the estimated number of claimants of 106,500.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on visits by its staff to Brussels in 2007-08; and how many such visits were made by (a) air and (b) rail. 
|Air spend||Rail spend|
|Number of air tickets||Number of rail tickets|
All travel by civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Civil Service Management Code and departmental travel policy, which specifies the use of rail travel from London to Brussels, and London to Paris. Staff travelling outside of London are encouraged to explore rail over air travel where possible.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) name and (b) address of each regional climate change partnership is; and whether such bodies are classified as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
The Regional Climate Change Partnership is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act), as it is not included in Schedule 1 of the FOI Act. It also does not appear to meet the necessary criteria, as laid out in the legislation, for a public body to be added to the FOI Act via a Section 4 Order.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contracts (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have which allow contractors to store personal data of UK citizens overseas; for which contracts this applies; in which countries the data for each contract are held; and how many people have their data stored overseas in the case of each such contract. 
DEFRA has no contracts which allow the contractor to store personal data of UK citizens overseas. The DEFRA Agencies have one contract which relates to the control of animal disease outbreaks
and allows for personal data to be stored in the Republic of Ireland. At present, information on less than 10 individuals is so held under this contract.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department appointed a senior information risk owner in accordance with the report, Data Handling Procedures in Government and the accompanying document Cross-departmental Actions: Mandatory Minimum Action; and what grade the person holds within the Department. 
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many legal proceedings naming his Department as a defending party were (a) filed, (b) concluded and (c) dismissed in (i) each of the last five years and (ii) 2008 to date. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The number of legal proceedings naming the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as a defending party (a) filed, (b) concluded and (c) dismissed in 2008 are 58, 25 and 10, respectively.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many special advisers were employed in his Department at each pay band on 30 November 2008; and what his Departments total expenditure on special advisers was in 2007-08. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government are committed to publishing an annual list detailing the number and costs of special advisers. Information for 2007-08 was published by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102WS.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what records his Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. 
The core-Department's financial system has an expenditure category for hospitality. The system has no expenditure category for alcohol for official hospitality. The core-Department's catering services provider does not hold a licence to serve alcohol. As a general rule, expenditure on alcohol for hospitality purposes is not allowed. Were alcohol to be purchased for hospitality purposes it should be acquired through formal purchase order, or through the Government
Procurement Card, both of which methods are subject to formal authorisation procedures. All expenditure, including that on hospitality, has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 10 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The core-Department's terms of payment for all valid, correctly rendered invoices submitted to the correct address(es) are 'within 30 days' or as otherwise contractually agreed, irrespective of organisational size.
DEFRA, along with other central Government Departments, is aiming to pay all suppliers as soon as possible with the aim of bringing forward all approved payments to within 10 days. DEFRA is compiling 10 day payment performance figures for the month of November 2008 for BERR who will publish the data for November and December in due course. Commencing April 2009, 10 day payment performance will be reported quarterly.
For the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 the core-department's financial system records 10 day payment performance as 23.6 per cent. and 30. per cent. respectively (in comparison to 89.8 per cent. and 92 per cent. for 30 day payment performance).
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency on waste management (i) for recycling and (ii) for landfill in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the overall budget this represents in each case. 
Jane Kennedy: For the year 2007-08 we estimate that the internal cost of waste management for DEFRA, which includes its offices, depots, laboratories, sites etc, was in the region of £126,280 for that sent to recycling and £160,720 for that sent to landfill.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 97W, on domestic waste: waste disposal, if he will publish the project specification of each of the three EU Interreg programmes listed. 
Jane Kennedy: I am arranging for the information requested to be placed in the Library of the House. The Franco-British Interreg 3A programmes are the responsibility of the Government office for the south east, while the managing authority responsible for the Interreg 4A programme is the Haute Normandie Regional Council.
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