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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Shareholder Executive as part of the Governments Trading Fund Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Ministry of Defence officials with responsibility for the Departments Trading Funds were represented on the Trading Funds Assessment Steering Group. There were discussions on the Assessment between officials and Shareholder Executive officials and MOD Ministers.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Ministry of Defence officials with responsibility for the Departments Trading Funds were represented on the Trading Funds Assessment Steering Group alongside officials from other Trading Fund owner Departments, HM Treasury, the Office of Fair Trading and the Office of Public Sector Information.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications for export refunds within the Common Agricultural Policy there have been for (a) pigmeat, (b) milk and milk products, (c) poultry, (d) beef and veal and (e) eggs under the EC regulation currently in force in the last 12 months. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 9 March 2009]: Commission Regulation 800/1999, which came into force on 15 April 1999, currently governs export refunds within the common agricultural policy. Since this date, the following number of applications for export refund have been made in the UK.
[holding answer 10 March 2009]: The welfare of all farmed animals is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a Duty of Care to animalsthis means that anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to
make sure the animals needs are met. The Act is backed up by detailed regulations for farmed animals and species-specific welfare codes.
Animal Health carries out welfare inspections on farms to check that legislation and the welfare codes are being followed. In addition to spot checks and planned visits, Animal Health follows up all complaints and allegations of poor welfare on specific farms as a matter of urgency. In 2008, Animal Health carried out a total of 10,159 animal welfare inspections on farms.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effects of recreational bee keepers and their practices on the bee population. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 9 March 2009]: Recreational beekeepers, who form a substantial majority of beekeepers in the UK, play an important role in helping to combat the decline in the honey bee population, both in terms of ensuring that they practice good husbandry to maintain and increase bee numbers, and through recognising the risks of spreading pests and diseases to other beekeepers if they fail to take action. The recent National Audit Office report highlighted the large numbers of recreational beekeepers who are unknown to the authorities and so who could be unaware of the risks of spread of pests and disease. An additional £2.3 million funding was announced by the Secretary of State in January to support implementation of the initial phase of a 10 year plan to protect and improve the health of honey bees. This involves new work aimed at gaining a more accurate picture of the numbers and distribution of beekeepers and the status of the health of their colonies and increasing significantly the proportion of beekeepers registered on the National Bee Units Beebase database in England.
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 9 March 2009]: There have been no discussions in recent years at a ministerial level on the problems affecting bee health. At official level DEFRA is working closely with other EU member states and has been in regular contact with our United States counterparts about colony collapse disorder. Members of the National Bee Unit are involved in an EU Consortium of Bee Researchers, COLOSS, which has been established to facilitate the exchange of information about abnormal colony losses and a project funded by the European Food Standards Agency which is collecting data from bee surveillance programmes currently run by EU member states.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the details of the new bee health research programme to consider the wider problems facing pollinators to be finalised; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 9 March 2009]: Negotiations with other potential funders are still continuing but we hope to conclude these in the next few weeks. Details of the programme will be published on the DEFRA website once these have been finalised.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the international trade in honeybees on the spread of pests and diseases in the UK bee population. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 9 March 2009]: International trade in honeybees poses a risk of movements of pests and diseases. Consequently, imports are only allowed from a limited list of non-EC countries. Imports of honeybees into the UK are controlled by EC legislation which includes a requirement for each consignment to be accompanied by a health certificate issued by the relevant authorities in the exporting country. Imports from countries outside the Community are also subject to post import controls aimed at reducing the risk of introduction and spread of exotic bee pests, in particular, the small hive beetle and tropilaelaps mites, both of which are notifiable.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff of the National Bee Unit were responsible for research into bee health in each of the last 10 years. 
Jane Kennedy [ holding answer 9 March 2009]: The information is not available in the form requested. Depending on the project, bee health research can involve any of the staff in the National Bee Unit, the bee inspectors and a range of researchers from various other disciplines within the Central Science Laboratory.
|Seasonal bee inspectors employed by the National Bee Unit|
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff in his Department have been (a) investigated,
(b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to his Department in each year since 1997. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: No DEFRA employees have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended, or (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers, and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to the Department.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department were disciplined for (a) bullying and (b) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Seven employees have been disciplined for bullying and harassment in the last three years. One employee was disciplined in 2007, five employees were disciplined in 2008, and one employee has been disciplined in 2009.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of letters sent by his Department were given to (a) the Royal Mail and (b) another postal services provider for delivery in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: From information held centrally, the core-Department has not used any postal service provider other than Royal Mail in the last 12 months. For the period 1 February 2008 to 28 February 2009 inclusive, the core-Department gave the Royal Mail 2,037,695 letters.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a local authority which has adopted an alternate weekly collection of household waste will be deemed to have successfully implemented a waste management and strategy and initiative for the purposes of scoring a potential bid to become a pilot. 
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department has allocated for each category of research into improving the UKs food security in each of the last four years. 
[holding answer 23 February 2009]: Between 2005-09, DEFRA has invested in research activities associated with UK food security. Industry have joint funded some of the work within the LINK
programme. The LINK Programme is a co-ordinated research and innovation framework programme funded in equal share (50:50) by DEFRA and industry. Its aim is to develop near-market products and practices, for subsequent progression to the market place under full industry funding.
|Sustainable farming and food||Animal health and welfare|
|(1) These figures are taken from the DEFRA Science Information System database.|
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make an assessment of the registers held by the Environment Agency of reports on incinerator bottom ash for the purposes of determining whether its composition exceeds permitted levels for harmful substances. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 12 February 2009]: Monitoring data on certain heavy metals, loss on ignition (the change in weight recorded when the ash is heated to a high temperature) and the total organic carbon in incinerator bottom ash is provided by the incinerator operators. This is placed upon the Environment Agency public registers. These data are checked by the Environment Agency upon receipt. Limits are set on loss on ignition/total organic carbon to ensure that the incinerator is operating efficiently. No breaches of these limits have been reported hence no enforcement action has been taken. Limits are not set on the heavy metal content of the ash as a permit condition. The operator is expected to carry out more detailed analysis before the ash can be disposed of.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will consult (a) stakeholders, (b) experts and (c) other bodies on procedures for H14 ecotoxicity testing of incinerator bottom ash. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 12 February 2009]: Incinerator bottom ash is not tested directly for ecotoxicity as this would involve unnecessary expense and unwarranted animal testing. Instead, chemical analysis is undertaken using standard methods and the ash is assessed for ecotoxicity by reference to the criteria for levels of dangerous substances given in the Environment Agencys Technical Guidance WM2 Hazardous waste: interpretation of the definition and classification of hazardous waste, 2nd edition, version 2.2. The Environment Agency has been working with the Environmental Services Association to ensure that the procedures used to assess incinerator bottom ash are both robust and technically appropriate.
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