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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department last met the Shareholder Executive to discuss the future of the Met Office; and when he expects the next such meeting to take place. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: MOD officials met with the shareholder executive and discussed the future of the Met Office on 23 February 2010. MOD officials and the shareholder executive meet on a regular basis to discuss the future of the Met Office.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Secretary of State for Defence has no current plans to meet representatives from the private weather sector to discuss the future of the Met Office. However, Shareholder Executive officials have met private sector weather companies as part of the Met Office Operational Efficiency Programme review.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Programme Asset Portfolio Document published in December 2009 outlined that the Met Office should pursue a range of value enhancing opportunities in terms of commercial business growth, improvement to its business model and efficiency through cross-government collaboration. There remains an option in the medium term that status should be kept under review as conditions and opportunities change.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2010, Official Report, column 209W, on the Ministry of Defence Guarding Service Agency, if he will ensure that the Ministry of Defence Police remains part of the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The agency status of the MOD Police and Guarding Agency is currently under review. Any changes to the structure of the agency would require ministerial agreement and also consultation with the trade unions and staff associations.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, as part of the programme to develop a successor to the Trident nuclear weapons system, his Department is carrying out any studies into the feasibility of using Astute class submarines as a platform for the launch of nuclear armed cruise missiles. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: No. The 2006 White Paper "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (Cm6994) concluded that a submarine launched ballistic missile system was the most cost-effective replacement for our existing nuclear deterrent. Cruise missiles have a number of disadvantages compared to ballistic missiles including smaller range and payload and increased vulnerability, and we are planning to replace the Vanguard class of SSBN by a new "successor" class of ballistic missile submarines.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many performance reviews were undertaken in respect of staff of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years; in how many cases performance was rated as unsatisfactory or below; how many staff left as a direct result of such a rating; and what percentage of full-time equivalent staff this represented. 
Dan Norris: DEFRA and its Executive Agencies have undertaken annual staff performance reviews for all permanent staff over the last five financial years. These comprise formal reviews at mid-year and end-year and informal reviews on an ad hoc basis. Staff appraisal information is held as individual records; this means that collated data cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
A review of 'unsatisfactory' or similar rating does not directly lead to dismissal: DEFRA and its Executive Agencies have a specific process in place to manage under or poor performance which can be implemented at any time of the year and is not necessarily triggered by the performance marking.
|(1) Suppressed on grounds of confidentiality|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of staff of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies managed out in the last five years who remain working in the public sector. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) works of art and (c) new vehicles in each of the last two years. 
|New furnishings||Works of art||New vehicles|
Lion House, Alnwick
Dragonfly House, Norwich
Foss House, York
Refresh of the London Estate (smart-working programme)
Various Animal Health refurbishments.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to the public purse of international travel undertaken by his Department has been since May 2007. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what average time his Department took to answer questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day in the last 12 months. 
Dan Norris: It is not possible to provide an average time taken to answer parliamentary questions. During the period 1 January to 31 December 2009 DEFRA received 562 named day questions, 327 of which were answered on the named day and 2,387 ordinary written questions, 2,148 of which were answered within 10 days.
With effect from the current Session of Parliament, each department will provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics on the time taken to answer written questions. This implements recommendation 24 of the third report from the Procedure Committee, Session 2008-09.
Huw Irranca-Davies: There is no statutory duty on local authorities, or anyone else, to control foxes in their areas. In so far as authorities are owners and occupiers of property, they have the same powers to control foxes as any other owner or occupier. They also have a general discretionary power under the Local Government Act 2000 that enables them to take any action to promote social, economic or environmental well-being as long as there is no specific statutory prohibition.
Huw Irranca-Davies: Natural England has published an advisory leaflet on urban foxes that describes a number of different approaches to control that are suitable in urban situations. The leaflet is available on the Natural England website or by contacting its Wildlife Management and Licensing Service.
If a local authority requested advice from DEFRA, we would recommend non-lethal methods to resolve fox problems (as territories made vacant by culling resident foxes are rapidly colonised by new individuals) and suggest the authority seeks further technical advice from a wildlife management adviser in Natural England if required.
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA occasionally receives complaints regarding urban foxes among a large quantity of correspondence about foxes more generally. This information has been held only since 2007 and it would not be reasonable or cost effective to undertake a manual search of our records to distinguish those cases that are specifically complaints about urban foxes.
Huw Irranca-Davies: The UK has strict controls on importing rabies susceptible animals from other countries-six-months quarantine for some cases, or vaccination followed by a six-month waiting period for certain travelling pets. These controls offer good protection against a rabies outbreak, whether in domestic animals, livestock or wildlife, including urban foxes.
DEFRA, with the Food and Environment Research Agency and other partners, maintains contingency planning arrangements for a rabies outbreak in wildlife, which are currently being reviewed and updated. Measures to tackle the disease in urban foxes would include targeted vaccination programmes, although specific control measures would be determined by expert veterinary and other advice in response to any rabies incident.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to reply to the email from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 11 January 2010, on litter and fly-tipping. 
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2010, Official Report, column 394W, on parrots: animal welfare, if he will bring forward proposals to establish minimum cage sizes and standards for parrots. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We consider that the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to provide for the welfare need of animals, including a suitable environment, are sufficient to ensure the proper welfare of pet parrots. Therefore we have no plans to bring forward further proposals.
The project is intended to provide clarity and guidance to those in local authorities and industry involved in waste management. In particular we shall be developing a more explicit hierarchy of energy recovery, seeking to define more clearly what constitutes "the right energy from the right waste". End-of-waste fuels are one of the materials the project will consider.
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the three month period for consideration of comments made on the draft end-of-waste protocol under Article 8(2) of the Technical Standards Directive (98/34/EC) will conclude; and if he will make a statement. 
Dan Norris: On 23 and 26 November 2009 the European Commission and Austria respectively commented under article 8(2) of the technical standards directive on the draft end-of-waste protocol for fuel produced from waste lubricating oil that the UK notified under article 8(1) of the directive. The UK responded to both sets of comments on 15 February 2010. In doing so, it was confirmed that the UK intended to adopt the end-of-waste protocol on the basis notified to the Commission on 27 August 2009 and that the UK would communicate the definitive text to the Commission in compliance with article 8(3) of the directive. The Environment Agency expects to publish the definitive text before the end of March 2010.
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