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Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure sufficient agriculture engineers are trained to service the UK agricultural and food industry markets. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The issue of improving skills in the farming industry is best managed by the industry itself. Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the Environmental and Land based industries, which includes the agricultural sector, has the role of representing the needs of the industry to Government.
DEFRA is working with a number of industry stakeholders, including Lantra, on an industry led action plan called Skills for Farming. This action plan has recently been discussed directly with the Secretary of State and work is ongoing. The action plan will cover all skill areas in the industry, including technical skills, as well as business, environmental management and low carbon farming skills.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on administering non-compliance penalties issued under the Single Payment Scheme in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Penalties, reductions and exclusions may be applied to Single Payment Scheme applications for a number of reasons if an application is found to be non-compliant. In answering this question we have taken 'non-compliance penalties' to mean all cases where a reduction has been made to farmers' payments under the Single Payment Scheme.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he made of the costs associated with the Rural Payments Agency's practice of resizing fields in each of the last three years. 
In addition to the business as usual costs, RPA has projected a budget of £21.4 million (covering the period January 2007 to April 2010) to complete the programme of work which includes updating the RLR data with the latest mapping information and confirming the link between each land parcel and a specific claimant.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the average amount of personal debt incurred by farmers due to late Single Payment Scheme payments; 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Since the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was introduced in 2005, the timing of payments to English farmers has improved year on year. That progress continued under the 2009 scheme when over 80 per cent. of farmers received payment on the opening two days of the regulatory seven month payment window.
Regrettably, some farmers are paid after the end of the payment window, but only under the 2005 scheme has the amount concerned exceeded the 4 per cent. 'franchise' in EU regulations that triggers late payment penalties. The 4 per cent. franchise exists in acknowledgment that some claims are particularly complex or involve legal issues, such as probate, which take additional time to resolve. Payments made after the end of the payment window may have an impact on individuals' financial position, but the Department is not aware of any data that would identify specifically related cases of debt. In order to minimise any such impacts, the Rural Payments Agency will continue its efforts to make outstanding payments as early as possible and pay interest in lieu of compensation, above a deminimis of £50, in cases where this is not possible until after the end of the payment window.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department (a) has been required and (b) is likely to be required to pay in financial penalties for non-compliance with European Commission requirements in respect of the Single Payment scheme in each year since 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To date, financial penalties of order of £64 million for late payments and £5 million for a shortfall in cross-compliance inspections have been imposed in respect of the 2005 Single Payment scheme. In addition, provisions have been made in DEFRA's accounts for potential 'disallowance' totalling £205 million in respect of the 2005 and 2006 Single Payment schemes combined. However, the European Commission has yet to complete its deliberations on this issue. No penalties/disallowance have been imposed or provisions made in respect of subsequent scheme years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the financial implications for farming incomes in Wales of the interpretation by
(a) the European Court of Auditors and (b) the European Commission of the rules regulating EU agri-environmental schemes. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Welsh agri-environment schemes are funded by the Rural Development Plan (RDP) for Wales. The RDP for Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government and as such, any decisions on the implications for farming incomes in Wales are a matter for them.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the reasons for trends in the number of cases of people attacked by dogs in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many arrests have been made for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in (a) Merseyside and (b) England since the Act came into force. 
The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery. Offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are not notifiable offences and do not form a part of the collection.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) genetic and (b) other factors affecting the likelihood of different breeds of dogs being involved in attacks on people. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We have made no such assessment. However in April this year we commissioned new research into dog aggression against humans. The project will last for 15 months and will entail an analytical study into the risk factors associated with past aggressive dog behaviour towards people.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people have been convicted for offences related to attacks by their dogs on (a) children and (b) other people in the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Information from the court proceedings database held by the Ministry of Justice provides information on the number of defendants proceeded against and found guilty for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The database does not hold specific information on offences beyond descriptions provided by the statutes under which prosecutions are brought, and for this offence cannot separately identify whether the individual attacked was a child or adult.
|Defendants found guilty for selected offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, England and Wales, 2003 to 2007( 1, 2)|
|Offence description||Section of the Act||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007|
|(1) The number proceeded against and number found guilty statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police forces and the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice (Ref: IOS 578-09).|
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dogs have been seized and put down in (a) Southport constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) England in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to give the Fire Service a statutory duty to carry out flood rescues as recommended in the Pitt Report. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Following completion of the Flood Rescue National Enhancement Project, for which £2,000,000 has been allocated from DEFRA's funding to implement Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations, the Government will assess the improved flood rescue capability. We will also consider whether there is a need for a statutory duty to underpin the role of any of the agencies involved.
Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of maps issued have been returned due to error during the course of the 2009 update of the Rural Land Register; what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of work arising from maps returned due to error; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 1 December 2009]: The Mapping Update project was undertaken to update the land information held on the Rural Land Register (RLR) by improving the quality of data and providing farmers with an accurate and up-to-date record of their land in respect of subsidy claims.
As at 27 November 2009, more than 107,000 maps have been sent to farmers and we have received 44,360 requests for changes. This represents some 41 per cent. of the maps issued and remains within the project's expectations.
The cost of making the requested edits and re-issuing maps is included in the overall RLR programme cost of £21.4 million was set out in my answer to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1167W.
While the latest Ordnance Survey data and recent aerial photography have been used, the maps will not show any changes to the land carried out more recently by farmers and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) ask farmers therefore to confirm that the maps are correct, or what changes are necessary.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of ships departing from UK ports carrying live animals have been subject to inspection for animal welfare purposes in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: All livestock vessels (other than roll-on, roll-off vessels which are exempt from the need to be formally approved) are inspected and approved prior to use. This is a requirement of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. It is not possible to provide figures for the previous five years since these data are not available centrally.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure the Tame River catchment meets the requirements of the EC Water Directive. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The consultation on the Humber River Basin Management Plan, which covers the River Tame catchment, ran from 22 December 2008 to 22 June 2009. The responses were used to further develop the plan which was sent to Ministers for approval on 22 September 2009.
There are a number of pressures on the Tame catchment, such as physical modifications due to urbanisation, flood protection, point source discharges from sewage works and diffuse run-off from urban areas.
Improvement to the quality of the final effluent from sewage treatment works, to reduce levels of nutrients in the catchment, including phosphorus via the Asset Management programme.
Targeted pollution prevention campaigns around industrial areas throughout the catchment.
Targeted discussions with local authorities on their contribution to the required actions.
Investigations into sources of poor water quality in water bodies and the impact of any abstractions within the catchment. Projects include "It's a Washout"-a study on identifying and tackling areas of urban diffuse run-off in the Upper Tame catchment.
Tackling diffuse pollution across the catchment with the use of projects involving local communities, local authorities and water companies.
Initiatives include the Washwood Heath Brook improvement project and the Thimble Mill Brook improvement project.
Tackling historic industrial pollution issues, for example, the leaching of heavy metals from contaminated land to the Rough Brook and also at Bentley Mill Way.
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