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DEFRA and its Agencies closely monitor sickness absence in line with their sickness absence policies and by benchmarking sick absence rates against Cabinet Office figures for the civil service. Policies and good working practices are in place to reduce both long term and frequent short term sick absences. These include facilitating timely employee access to occupational health advice, medical or wellbeing interventions. Additionally, managers hold return-to-work interviews to discuss employees' reasons for absence, including any work-related issues connected with their absence. Where necessary, action plans will be agreed to improve employees' attendance at work.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the travel guidelines issued to staff of each of his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies. 
Dan Norris: The Department does not hold this information centrally. Its Agencies and NDPBs issue their own travel guidance to staff. We have requested that they forward their travel guidelines to you.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will extend the terms of reference of his Department's consultation on dangerous dogs legislation to include policy on dog breeding. 
The public consultation currently being conducted by the Home Office and DEFRA is aimed at considering whether current dangerous dogs legislation adequately protects the public. We will consider any suggestions for legislative changes that will help better protect the public from dangerous dogs. However, the health and welfare issues surrounding dog breeding have recently been considered by Professor Sir Patrick
Bateson in his independent inquiry into dog breeding along with the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare (APGAW) in their report into pedigree dog breeding. As we are currently considering both reports and need to gauge how the wider veterinarian and scientific communities respond to their recommendations, it would not be appropriate to extend the consultation on dangerous dogs to include health and welfare issues surrounding dog breeding.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on flood protection measures in (a) England, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) City of York constituency in (i) cash and (ii) real terms in each year since 2000. 
Figures have not been given in real terms as this would not give a meaningful comparison. A great deal of the programme is capital and the inflation rate on this would not have been in line with the retail price index.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the mean annual concentration was of (a) nitrous oxides, (b) nitrogen dioxide, (c) concentrations of particulates (PM10), (d) ozone, (e) carbon monoxide, (f) sulphur dioxide and (g) carbon dioxide recorded by monitoring stations in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport in each year from 2000 to 2009. 
Concentrations of CO2 are not subject to air quality monitoring-it is not an air quality pollutant and, therefore, not routinely monitored to identify small-scale variations in concentrations. Trends in background concentrations of CO2 are measured at Mace Head Research Station on the west coast of Ireland in order to monitor long-term trends in this important greenhouse gas.
|Monitoring station and pollutant monitored|
| Notes: 1. SO2: Data capture 72 per cent. in 2007. Data capture > 75 per cent. in all other cases. 2. CO: Data capture 17 per cent. for London Harlington in 2008, 69 per cent. for London Hillingdon in 2007. Data capture > 75 per cent. in all other cases. 3. PM10: Data capture 73 per cent. for London Harlington in 2009, data capture > 75 per cent. in all other cases, 2000-08 data are TEOM measurements x 1.3 for conversion to indicative gravimetric equivalent. 2009 Harlington data are FDMS-TEOM (April onwards). 4. Due to re-structuring of the AURN in 2007 we do not have data for Hillingdon carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and PM10 in 2008 and 2009. Harlington was established as a new AURN site in 2004. Glossary: SO2:Sulphur dioxide, an acid gas formed by the oxidation of sulphur impurities in fuel during combustion processes. CO: Carbon monoxide, a gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels. In urban areas the predominant source is traffic. PM10: Particulate matter, particles with a diameter of less than 10 microgrammes m-3. PM10 comes from a variety of natural and man-made sources such as sea salt and Saharan dust, and combustion processes. NOx: Oxides of nitrogen consisting of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NO is a product of combustion processes, it reacts with ozone or oxygen to produce NO2. O3: Ozone, a highly reactive oxidising agent that has a range of health and material impacts. A natural background level of ozone exists. Ozone is not directly emitted and man-made sources result from a series of reactions in the atmosphere. CO2: Carbon dioxide is a gas that is produced from the combustion of carbon containing fuels.|
Huw Irranca-Davies: After careful consideration of the evidence we have agreed to release the highly specialist psyllid - Aphalara itadori - to help control Japanese knotweed. Our intention is that as a long-term measure it will complement other actions aimed at managing this highly invasive non-native plant.
The psyllid will be released this spring at a small number of sites initially, and will be closely monitored before any further releases are made. We do not expect it to eradicate Japanese knotweed altogether but, if successful, it should in time stress the plant and reduce its invasive capacity as well as the effort and cost of managing it.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs of (a) 26 November 2009 on the Lancet study and (b) 11 December 2009 on EU negotiations on food labelling. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2010, Official Report, column 1353W, on fish: conservation, what his Department's definition is of sustainable resources; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Department considers sustainable sources of fish as those managed and harvested in ways that do not lead to overfishing or depletion of exploited populations, for example, which meet certain established standards, such as those of organic certification and the Marine Stewardship Council.
Huw Irranca-Davies: On 8 March, the Secretary of State launched an Act on CO2 campaign to raise awareness of the environmental impacts associated with buying peat-based composts and encouraging amateur gardeners to buy peat-free alternatives. At the same time, the Secretary of State announced an ambition for the compost sold in garden centres and DIY stores to be peat free by 2020.
We are now developing a detailed consultation on a future policy framework to further reduce the horticultural use of peat, including ambitions for the professional horticulture sector. We plan to publish the consultation later in the year.
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