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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Wales

Departmental Policy Advisers

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many special advisers (a) she and (b) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (i) has appointed and (ii) plans to appoint. [325]

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) political appointments and (b) other personal appointments she has made since her appointment; and at what estimated annual cost to the public purse. [362]

Mrs Gillan: I refer the hon. Members to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2010, Official Report, column 32WS.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Departmental Pay

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid in bonuses to civil servants in her Department in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [2175]

Richard Benyon: An element of DEFRA's overall pay awards is allocated to non-consolidated variable pay related to performance. These payments are used to drive high performance and form part of the pay award for members of staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, for example by exceeding targets set or meeting challenging objectives.

Non-consolidated variable pay awards are funded from within existing pay bill controls, and have to be re-earned each year against pre-determined targets and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs. The percentage of the pay bill set aside for performance-related awards for the SCS is based on recommendations from the independent Senior Salaries Review Body.

The following table provides details of how much was paid in non-consolidated performance pay in DEFRA and its Executive Agencies in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Data for DEFRA covers staff at grade 6 and below in core-DEFRA and those Executive Agencies covered by the core-department's terms and conditions at the time i.e. Animal Health, Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Marine and Fisheries Agency. It also includes senior civil servants in core DEFRA and its Executive Agencies (Animal Health, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine and Fisheries Agency, Rural Payments Agency, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture
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Science and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). FERA was created on 1 April 2009. Data for 2008-09 relates to its predecessor, the Central Science Laboratory.

£

2008-09 2009-10

DEFRA

3,072,554

3,021,583

Rural Payments Agency

507,572

464,308

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

47,409

253,853

Food and Environment Research Agency

264,280

378,777

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

773,747

798,000


Fisheries: Quotas

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she had (a) with the government of (i) Norway, (ii) Iceland and (ii) the Faroe Islands and (b) at EU level on fishing quotas in relation to the North Sea. [2382]

Richard Benyon: Neither I nor the Secretary of State have had recent, direct discussions with the Governments of Norway, Iceland or the Faroe Islands on North sea fishing quotas. DEFRA officials, however, have recently taken part in discussions and negotiations on this matter with these countries, and participated in internal EU meetings this year as follows:

In addition, on 28 to 30 May this year, DEFRA officials also took part in negotiations, involving delegations from the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, on the management of mackerel stocks.

Forests

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria are being used by Forestry Commission England to assess the biodiversity and public benefits of the public forest estate as part of a portfolio analysis. [2018]

Mr Paice: The Forestry Commission is using a range of attributes, each of which has either an individual or range of values. These give a points score to every area of woodland greater than 0.5 hectares on the public forest estate. These points are then used for the analysis.

For Natural Environment, which includes biodiversity, the attributes being scored are:


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For Quality of Life, which includes direct public benefits, the attributes being scored are:

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are for a repositioning exercise of the public forest estate and programme of land sales by Forestry Commission England. [2019]

Mr Paice: The Forestry Commission is conducting a study into the future long-term sustainable role for the public forest estate. It is expected to make recommendations later this year about any necessary changes to improve its ability to deliver relevant priorities in the Strategy for England's Trees Woods and Forests and contribute to other Government objectives. The outcome of the study and the future role of the Forestry Commission will inform any repositioning.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Public Forest Estate Strategic Plans will be revised to meet the English forestry strategy. [2020]

Mr Paice: Strategic plans are prepared at a forest district level. The current arrangements, put in place following the review of the approach in 2008, is that forest districts may delay their revision in order to take into account the evolving operating environment. This included when to convert woods and forests to open habitats, published in March 2010, and the results of the ongoing study of the long-term role of the public forest estate in England, expected later this year. Currently more than half the forest districts have competed a revised plan.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to produce the Public Forest Estate implementation plan for the Government's policy on when to convert woods and forests to open habitats in England. [2021]

Mr Paice: When the Forestry Commission published the policy on when to convert woods and forests to open habitats in England they indicated that they would develop the delivery mechanisms and publish a strategy for open habitats on the Forestry Commission Public Forest Estate during 2010-11.


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Incinerators

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to provide guidance to local authorities on the use of incinerators for municipal waste; and if she will make a statement. [1911]

Richard Benyon: A cross-Department energy from waste (EfW) project led by DEFRA and the Department of Energy and Climate Change was established last year. The overarching aim of the project is to consider the role of EfW in waste management and renewable energy generation. As part of that, the project is considering the current state of the EfW market, the relationship between EfW technologies and feedstock choice, the contribution EfW can make to the green economy and how best to communicate EfW policy. We intend to bring forward policy proposals towards the end of 2010.

It is the responsibility of local authorities not central Government to decide how waste is best managed in their respective areas. Local authorities need to be free to adopt such technologies as part of an integrated waste management solution if they deem it appropriate.

Wood: EU Action

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy in discussions at EU level to support the introduction throughout the EU of severe penalties on those responsible for importing illegally logged timber. [2131]

Mr Paice: The UK is negotiating legislation to eliminate the flow of illegal timber onto the EU market-commonly called the Due Diligence Regulation. Agreement on this at an EU level is expected in July. Inclusion of a prohibition to prevent illegal timber from entering the EU market would be an important component of this regulation which we are working to achieve. Infringements of the final regulation will need to be sanctioned by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties. The UK will put in place such penalties, and will encourage colleagues in the EU to do the same.

Wood: Imports

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take to prevent the importation into the UK of timber obtained from illegal logging. [2335]

Mr Paice: The UK is negotiating legislation to eliminate the flow of illegal timber onto the EU market-commonly called the due diligence regulation.

Agreement on this at an EU level is expected in July. Inclusion of a prohibition to prevent illegal timber from entering the EU market would be an important component of this regulation which we are working to achieve.

The UK is also providing support to voluntary bilateral trade agreements between timber producing countries and the EU. These agreements require timber imports from signatory countries to be licensed to prove that they have been legally harvested.


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Scotland

Departmental Pay

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was paid in bonuses to civil servants in his Department in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [2172]

David Mundell: All staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from the Scottish Government or the Ministry of Justice. Staff may be eligible for non-consolidated performance payments in different ways. Firstly, through end of year performance payments under their parent bodies' performance management arrangements. The Scotland Office does not itself make the end of year awards and does not hold information centrally on end of year non-consolidated performance payments made to its secondees.

Secondly, under the Special Bonus Scheme of the Scottish Government and the Reward and Recognition Scheme of the MoJ, the Office may directly authorise non-consolidated performance payments (or in the case of the MoJ scheme, small and instantaneous awards, e.g. vouchers) in recognition of special effort, achievement and commitment. The following table shows the number and cost of non-pensionable payments made under these schemes.

Financial year Total number of payments Total cost of payments (£)

2008-09

8

2,900

2009-10

17

2,925


Departmental Reviews

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2010, Official Report, column 137W, on Government departments: reviews, what reviews his Department is undertaking; and what the (a) purpose and (b) timescale of each is. [2578]

David Mundell: My Department is not undertaking any reviews. It will contribute to other reviews being undertaken across Government in accordance with its policy responsibilities.

Women and Equalities

Union Flag

Ian Austin: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what her policy is on flying the Union flag each day from each official building for which the Government Equalities Office is responsible. [1822]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office is based in a building Eland House occupied by Communities and Local Government. CLG's policy is to fly the flag 365 days a year.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Anderson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in the Government Equalities Office and its agencies. [500]


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Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office is not proposing to cut any staff numbers in 2010-11.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) the Government Equalities Office and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type in that office. [543]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office is a small policy department and our main function is supporting Ministers, for example in developing legislation, rather than delivering front-line services. GEO employed on average130 staff in 2009-10 in this role, at a cost of £7.4 million. The Government Equalities Office does not have any agencies.


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