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Each year I host events (including the annual Royal Garden Party) at Hillsborough to acknowledge the significant contribution a wide range of people make to life in Northern Ireland and beyond. These as usual include representatives from the voluntary
and business sectors, the police and armed forces. Each year the Northern Ireland Office publishes a list of receptions held and the overall costs of those events.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many public consultations his Department has carried out in the last 12 months; for how long each consultation was open; how many responses were received to each consultation; and what the cost was of conducting each consultation. 
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department were recorded as having been on sick leave for over 12 months on 31 December in each of the last five years. 
The Wales Office is a small Department with less than 60 staff and therefore has had a very small number of staff on long term sick. In line with Cabinet Office guidance, we are unable to answer this question figuratively. This is in order to protect the privacy of individuals.
Jane Kennedy: The existing link between Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and environmental standards is provided by the requirements set under cross compliance. These standards are also a condition of entry to environmental stewardship which rewards farmers for additional positive management of the farmed environment under the rural development programme in England.
The Common Agriculture Policy Health Check decision in November 2008 abolished the set-aside mechanism from January 2009. The UK supported this action on the condition that adequate measures were put in place to mitigate adverse environmental consequences. We were successful in achieving a new legal basis which allows member states to use cross compliance for this purpose.
Within this context, the Secretary of State asked Sir Don Curry to bring together key stakeholders to consider the impact of the loss of set-aside including investigating mitigation. Sir Don reported last July, since when we have been considering the details of how mitigation might be put into practice. We expect to be in a position to consult on possible mitigation measures shortly.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK producer organisations have been funded from EU budget line 05 02 08 03 in 2008; and how much has been awarded to each. 
|UK producer organisation||£|
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what expenditure is funded under EU budget line 05 02 08 10, Free Distribution of Fruits and Vegetables; which UK bodies received support under this line in 2008; and whether disbursements have been made from this budget line to (a) political bodies and (b) trades unions. 
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much late payment compensation has been paid under the Single Farm Payment scheme since its establishment; and what guidance his Department provides to farmers on the procedure for claiming such compensation. 
This has been in the form of interest payments made to farmers who have received their full SPS payment after the 30 June closing date of the regulatory payment window for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 scheme years. The payments have been made under conditions set out by the Secretary of State, which are published on the Rural Payments Agencys (RPA) website.
It is not necessary for farmers to claim interest as RPA makes interest payments once each final payment is made to the farmer for that scheme year, including payments made where entitlement adjustments have been completed.
Jane Kennedy: Disposing of portable batteries and accumulators can have a detrimental impact on the environment and on public and animal health. Some batteries contain hazardous substances such as cadmium, mercury and lead. Batteries disposed of incorrectly can lead to such heavy metals leaking into the ground, causing soil and water pollution and endangering wildlife
Further impacts may arise indirectly from the disposal of batteries, as they contain a range of metals that can be re-used. Disposing of such materials in landfill means that more resources have to be used to mine new metals.
The UK is currently transposing the EU Directive on Batteries and Accumulators, which aims to reduce the negative environmental impact of waste portable batteries. This includes regulations that ban chemicals such as mercury and cadmium (above trace levels) in new batteries. In addition, the UK is working to implement the directives requirements that we collect and recycle 25 per cent. of portable batteries by 2012 and 45 per cent. by 2016, which will dramatically reduce the amount going to landfill.
Jane Kennedy: The following table indicates the number of in-vessel and windrow composting sites that are licensed in each Environment Agency region to date. Prior to standard permits being introduced, the Environment Agencys permit recording system did not distinguish between in-vessel and windrow composting and it would therefore incur disproportionate cost to collate figures for in-vessel alone.
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