Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Nov 2009 : Column 799W—continued


Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations govern the on-farm burial of (a) camelids and (b) companion sheep or cattle. [297027]

Jim Fitzpatrick: On-farm burial has been banned since 2003, when it was introduced as part of a wider set of controls on animal by-products by the EU Animal By-products Regulation 1774/2002. This Regulation is implemented in England by the Animal By-Products Regulations 2005, and by similar legislation in the rest of the UK. The ban applies to both camelids and companion sheep or cattle.

Scientific evidence shows that the degradation process essential to ensure reduction of BSE/TSE infectivity cannot be guaranteed by burial. Even after burial scrapie infected material can persist in the soil for years and present a source of infection. Improper burial can also cause pollution problems and lead to the spread of other diseases that threaten animal and public health.

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of coal were held in stock at each coal-fired power station in (a) January and (b) June 2009; and how many days supply of coal each figure represents. [296482]

Mr. Kidney: I have been asked to reply.

Data on coal stocks held at individual power stations are commercially sensitive. However we have figures for total stocks held at generators. At the end of January 2009, 13.3 million tonnes of coal were held at UK electricity generators and at the end of June 2009 18.3 million tonnes were held.

These stocks represent theoretical supplies for 63 days and 86 days respectively. The number of running days is for illustrative purposes only and assumes the power station would be operating continuously throughout the period. In reality plants are unlikely to operate non-stop for this length of time.

Common Fisheries Policy

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what priorities the Government has set for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy; and if he will make a statement. [296470]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The European Commission published a Green Paper on CFP reform on 21 April 2009 to trigger the CFP reform process and prompt debate across the EU. That paper presents a Vision for
3 Nov 2009 : Column 800W
EU fisheries in 2020 and presents ideas for making the Vision happen. Member states are asked to respond to the Green Paper and send these to the Commission by the end of 2009. We are in the process of developing a full UK response.

The UK agrees with the main elements of the Vision which include recovered fish stocks, fish stocks exploited at sustainable levels, a financially robust industry, fishers more involved in technical decision making, better compliance with the rules and improved fisheries governance across the globe.

The UK has similarly laid its own vision for future fisheries-"Fisheries 2027" which is closely aligned with the Commission's Vision. Since then the UK has set out clearly the key elements of that Vision, specifically at the May Council of Fisheries Ministers. These key elements are:

Ecological sustainability should be at the heart of delivering that Vision.

Departmental Postal Services

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which companies are under contract to his Department to provide mail services; and when each such contract expires. [296078]

Dan Norris: DEFRA's mail services are provided by the Royal Mail. This arrangement is in place until end March 2011, pending retendering of the pan-government framework arrangements operated currently by Buying Solutions. DEFRA will consider its arrangements with the Royal Mail in light of this exercise.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to implement the efficiency recommendations of the Operational Efficiency programme relating to his Department; and what training is available to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department in respect of the delivery of value for money savings. [296008]

Dan Norris: DEFRA has adopted a three stage approach to achieving costs reduction savings under the Operational Efficiency Programme entailing benchmarking of our corporate services, functional reviews informed by the benchmarking results by April 2009 and implementation of review findings. Work under the programme is dovetailing and building upon more general action which the Department has been taking to achieve greater value for money (VFM). For example, our Workplace Support Initiative which will bring much of the DEFRA estate into a single Facilities Management contract saving £6 million per year in 2010-11 compared to the preceding year, rising to £11 million per year by 2013-14. The Department has a wide range of learning and development opportunities many of which underpin the drive for VFM.

3 Nov 2009 : Column 801W

Departmental Telephone Services

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many helplines his Department operates; and how much his Department has received from the operation of such helplines in each of the last three years. [294979]

Dan Norris: DEFRA operates one general helpline from which it receives no income.

Animal Health and the Rural Payments Agency, both Agencies of DEFRA, operate the Pets Travel Scheme Helpline and the British Cattle Movement Service Helpline respectively and receive no income from them.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will consider the merits of securing accreditation of his Department's helplines to the Helplines Association's quality standard; and if he will make a statement. [295725]

Dan Norris: DEFRA's Helpline is currently accredited to ISO 9001. Additional and future renewal accreditations will take account of the full range of quality standards relevant to its operation.

Departmental Travel

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) car hire, (b) train travel, (c) air travel, (d) hotels and (e) restaurant meals for (i) Ministers and (ii) staff in his Department in each of the last five years. [289995]

Dan Norris: From information held centrally, the core-Department's expenditure on (a) car hire since 2005-06 is:










2009-10 (to date)


On the train travel and air travel the expenditure is:

Air Train

July 2006 - March 2007







April 2007 - March 2008







April 2008 - March 2009







April 2009 - August 2009







3 Nov 2009 : Column 802W

Information on the split of car-hire expenditure between Ministers and staff could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

On hotels, the expenditure is:


April 2006 - March 2007


April 2007 - March 2008


April 2008 - March 2009


April 2009 - October 2009


Information on the split of hotel expenditure between Ministers and staff could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The core-Department's financial system records the following expenditure for UK and overseas subsistence but restaurant meals expenditure for Ministers and staff could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

UK Overseas

April 2006 - March 2007



April 2007 - March 2008



April 2008 - March 2009



April 2009 - September 2009



Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively. The Cabinet office publish an annual list of overseas travel over £500 undertaken by Ministers. The 2008-09 list was published on 16 July and can be viewed at:

The Department for Transport publish an annual written ministerial statement on the cost of ministerial cars. The latest one can be viewed at:

Food: Packaging

Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to bring forward proposals for sanctions on companies using excessive packaging on their products; and if he will make a statement. [295592]

Ian Lucas: I have been asked to reply.

The UK's Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended) aim to ensure that all packaging is manufactured to ensure that the weight and volume are limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.

These regulations are enforced by Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) in local authorities. TSOs investigate complaints about companies using excessive packaging on their products and the regulations contain penalties that the courts can impose if those companies are found not to have complied.

3 Nov 2009 : Column 803W

Green Alliance: Finance

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments his Department has made to (a) Green Alliance and (b) Friends of the Earth in the last 12 months. [294909]

Dan Norris [holding answer 26 October 2009]: The core-department's financial system records that in the last 12 months no payments have been made to Friends of the Earth and payments totalling £103,810 have been made to Green Alliance. Of this sum, £63,962.50 is expenditure on a research study into the Role of Restrictions on Landfill in UK Waste Policy, and £39,847.50 is for grant expenditure on Strategic Relationship Management: Third Sector Strategy. DEFRA's Third Sector Strategy can be viewed at:

Japanese Knotweed: Weed Control

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to eradicate Japanese knotweed; what consideration has been given to the introduction of psyllid species as part of such measures; and if he will make a statement. [296722]

Huw Irranca-Davies: We have no plans to attempt eradication of Japanese knotweed. The cost of a national eradication programme using current techniques would be prohibitively expensive, estimated in the 2003 DEFRA Review of Non-native Species Policy to be in the region of £1.56 billion.

DEFRA has contributed over £240,000 to a five-year scientific research project in collaboration with Cornwall council, the Environment Agency, the Welsh Assembly Government and others, into the natural control of Japanese knotweed. This study has identified the psyllid 'Aphalara itadori' as highly specific to Japanese knotweed and a potential natural control agent. If successful, the control agent would limit the growth and natural spread of Japanese knotweed, and enhance the effectiveness of its management, but would not eradicate it.

The psyllid has been tested against 87 plant species present in the UK, including all the members of the same genus, whether or not they are native, and all our native members of the same family, plus important crops and ornamentals.

Applications have been submitted for licences to release the psyllid to the wild in England and Wales and the licensing authorities are giving careful consideration to the scientific evidence. This regulatory process has also included a public consultation by DEFRA's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), which was launched on 23 July. The consultation responses are currently being considered before the proposed licensing decisions are put to Ministers for approval.

Next Section Index Home Page