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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what programmes are taking place in Western Sahara under the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement; whether these programmes are in accordance with the wishes of the Saharawis; and how the Saharawi have been consulted in relation to those programmes. 
Information on the programmes taking place in Western Sahara is not readily available as analysis at this geographical level is not always possible from the data supplied by Morocco to the EU. However, at the behest of the UK, the Commission has asked
Morocco what programmes operate in this area and they have confirmed that money is spent on training programmes in Western Sahara. No information is available on whether or not the Saharawi have been consulted as this is an internal matter for the Moroccan Government.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many incidents of fly-tipping were reported in each local authority in the east of England in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of steps taken in response to such incidents; 
Dan Norris: DEFRA publishes the number of incidents of fly-tipping and the estimated cost of clearance as reported by local authorities to the Flycapture system with national, regional and local breakdowns on its website annually. Data for 2008-09 are the latest to be released under the official statistics protocols and can be found on the DEFRA website at the following address:
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department provides to supermarkets on how to use out of date food which is still safe to eat. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government do not currently provide specific guidance to supermarkets on what to do with "out of date" food which is still safe to eat. This would include food past its "best before" date, which indicates the period in which food is of optimum quality, but after which is still perfectly edible. It would also include food past its "display until" date, as these are used for stock control, and although retailers may remove food from sale once the "display until" date has passed, it has no bearing on food safety or quality. "Use by", however, is mandatory for food that will, after that date, become unsafe to eat and should be thrown away.
Where it is of sufficient quality, consuming food that has passed its "best before" or "display until" (but not past its "use by") date is, environmentally, a much better option than treating it using even the most advanced technologies. Organisations such as FareShare collect such good quality surplus food and redistribute it to vulnerable people in the community. Many supermarkets already support FareShare, and the Secretary of State has recently written to supermarket CEOs to ask them to think about how this support can be increased further still.
The Government are also collaborating with WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the food industry to improve the clarity and consistency of food date marks and storage and usage guidance. The aim of this project is to improve date labelling practice and consumer understanding, thus reducing food waste while increasing understanding of food safety.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount of previously forested land which has been permanently cleared in each of the last 10 years; and how much previously unforested land was planted for forestry in each such year. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The area of deforestation in England is not recorded centrally. However, an estimate is made for reporting emissions or removals due to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation under article 3.3 of the Kyoto protocol. The area of deforestation from 1999 to 2008 is given in the following table:
|Area of deforestation|
|New woodland creation|
|Year ending 31 March||Hectares (thousand)|
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps his Department is taking to assess the environmental impact of genetically modified crops in England; which research projects have been commissioned or completed since the conclusion of the Government-funded farm-scale evaluations that are designed to repeat or build on the research on the environmental impacts of those trials; and what scientific conclusions were reached; 
(2) if he will assess the implications for his Department's policies on genetically modified foods of the July 2009 editorial in Scientific American which asserts that it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for the Home Department and (b) police forces on the enforcement of provisions of the Hunting Act 2004. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: DEFRA Ministers have had no recent discussions with the Home Secretary or with police forces on the enforcement of the provisions of the Hunting Act 2004. Enforcement of the Hunting Act is a matter for the Home Office.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with international counterparts on negotiations on the reform of the International Whaling Commission. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: I discussed whaling and the reform of the IWC with the hon. Peter Garrett MP, Australian Minister for the Environment in June last year. In the same month I also met with the Icelandic Fisheries Minister where I called upon Iceland to respect the moratorium and halt commercial whaling operations.
At the International Whaling Commission's last annual meeting during which negotiations on the reform process continued, I met with a number of my international counterparts, including the Minister from Portugal.
More recently, I wrote to Japan's Environment and Fisheries Minister in October 2009 expressing our concern for their continued whaling and urging the Japanese Government to review its whaling policy.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent guidance has been issued to local authorities on the prevention of (a) illegal dumping and (b) other inappropriate methods of disposing of waste oils. 
Dan Norris: The Environment Agency and local authorities are the enforcement bodies in England for waste crime. DEFRA is working closely with these bodies to develop better prevention, detection and prosecution of illegal dumping offences.
Funding Keep Britain Tidy to provide local authorities with support and advice on their fly-tipping prevention strategies, including training workshops for individual local authorities. Over 70 authorities will have benefited from this training programme by the end of the financial year. Keep Britain Tidy has also provided all local authorities in England with a Knowledge Bank of best practice information and case studies, backed up with anti fly-tipping campaigning material.
Funding the Environment Agency's Waste Crime Innovation Programme which includes pilot work on new and innovative techniques for tackling fly-tipping, as well as a Landowner Partnership Programme, working with landowner organisations to tackle fly-tipping on private land.
Shortly to bring in new powers allowing local authorities and the Environment Agency to seize vehicles suspected of involvement in fly-tipping more easily.
Working to strengthen the waste carrier registration system and promote-through more user-friendly guidance-the waste duty of care so that the law is better understood and easier for authorities to enforce.
Dan Norris: Small waste oil burners which operate at below 0.4 MW net rated thermal input are regulated by local authorities under the local air pollution control system. Statistical data concerning all such regulation by local authorities are contained in annual reports available on the DEFRA website.
The guidance, which identifies what is considered to represent the best available techniques for minimising air emissions for the sector generally, was produced through a review by the local authority unit of the Environment Agency, in consultation with stakeholders. The standards in the guidance note apply where such burners use only waste oil which arises from the premises where they are located. If waste oil is brought in from elsewhere, the more stringent standards in the guidance on combustion of fuel manufactured from or comprised of solid waste in appliances between 0.4 and 3 MW is specified. Both these guidance notes will be re-examined as part of the three-year programme of reviewing all such guidance notes, which began in 2009.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much Natural England has spent on the administration of agri-environment schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England in each year of the programme; and how many (a) administration and (b) operational staff it employed on the administration of such schemes in each such year. 
Natural England was allocated £13,600,000 in 2008-09 to cover its direct costs associated with delivering the Rural Development Programme for
England (RDPE). In addition to this, £22,400,000 was allocated to Natural England to cover the costs of DEFRA's Genesis IT system, which is the IT system used to manage and administer the Rural Development Programme for England. These running cost includes depreciation, cost of capital and system support.
The number of staff employed on RDPE administration- related tasks is 334 and on operational activity is 128. Staff numbers have remained the same in 2008-09 and 2009-10. However, Natural England has already realised productivity gains of over 20 per cent. due to improvements in processes and the significant increase in volume of agreements that these staff are handling.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on plans for the transfer of private drains to water companies for 2011. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA regularly receives representations from a range of interested parties, including water and sewerage companies, drainage contractors and private sewer owners, about the proposed transfer of private sewers to the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.
On 15 December 2008, the Government announced that the transfer of all private sewers and lateral drains linked to the public sewerage system to water company ownership would take place from 2011. Transfer is the only comprehensive solution to the range of problems presented by private sewers.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints have been made against (a) Jobcentre Plus, (b) the Child Support Agency and (c) the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service by residents of the London borough of Bexley in the last five years. 
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