Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the airline industry on compensation to those affected by the volcanic ash explosion; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State discussed the issue of financial assistance to cover their losses arising from the disruption due to the volcanic ash cloud with UK airlines at a meeting on 1 June. Since then, he has written to UK airlines and other air transport representative bodies informing them of the Government's decision not to provide financial assistance in these circumstances. It must be for businesses to meet their own operating risks and the costs of their legal liabilities. The severe pressure on public finances also makes assistance unaffordable.
The Government expects air carriers to honour their obligations under the EU Denied Boarding and Cancellation Regulation 261 to provide assistance to passengers stranded abroad and to those wishing to claim a refund for cancelled flights.
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information his Department holds on the number of people aged between 60 and 64 in the Tyne and Wear concessionary travel scheme who received free bus travel in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) what information his Department holds on the number of people (a) of eligible age and (b) otherwise eligible in (i) England and (ii) the Tyne and Wear concessionary travel scheme who received free bus travel in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Norman Baker: According to Office for National Statistics figures, taken at the mid-point of 2009, there are 11.5 million people aged 60 and over in England and 247,000 people aged 60 and over in Tyne and Wear, of which 64,000 people are aged 60 to 64. The Department for Transport does not have any figures for the number of people eligible for concessionary travel by virtue of their disability.
The last information held by the Department was that as of 6 April this year, almost 10 million smartcard concessionary passes had been issued since the introduction of the England-wide concession in April 2008, of which Nexus had issued 302,827 passes. This includes passes issued to both eligible older and disabled people. The Department holds no data about passes issued prior to
April 2008, nor about how many of the passes issued are replacements or have subsequently been surrendered or withdrawn.
Mike Penning [holding answer 8 September 2010]: I expect my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to determine this application from the Environment Agency and a related application from the Mostyn Docks Ltd. as soon as possible. Consideration of this case has taken some time partly in order that parties to the public inquiry should also be allowed the opportunity to comment on the report into the investigation of the grounding of the cargo vessel Thunder at the approaches to the Dee estuary.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which IT contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last five years have been abandoned; and what the monetary value of each such contract was. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to implement the recommendation of the North Committee report on road safety and the drink-driving limit and bring forward legislative proposals for a reduction on the level of alcohol permitted for people to drive; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: Sir Peter North's report covers a wide range of issues and makes 51 detailed recommendations, which we need to consider carefully with other Government Departments. In doing so it is important that we fully investigate the economic impact of any suggested changes to the law, taking account of the current financial and economic situation. We aim to respond to the report by the end of the year.
The Highways Agency's previous winter service vehicles comprised 'Foden-Telstar' spreaders, which were between 12 to 17 year olds, thus requiring increasing amounts of maintenance to keep them operational. The equipment was falling behind with modern alternatives, which
allow flexibility to adapt to different treatment techniques and materials, providing a more effective and efficient winter service with less environmental impact.
|(1) Of which £6 million has been spent between April 2010 to August 2010.|
Traffic officer vehicles are provided on a lease basis and the Highways Agency is charged a combined monthly fee that includes lease and maintenance. The total lease/maintenance cost of the vehicles in financial year 2009-10 was £3,757,000.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to improve (a) access to and (b) safety on public transport for people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport seeks to improve access to and safety on public transport, including for disabled people. For example, free off-peak local bus travel throughout England has given the opportunity for greater freedom and independence to around 11 million older and disabled people.
By law, all newly built or refurbished public transport vehicles must be accessible to disabled people. Over a third of all trains are already accessible, as is half the bus fleet. Deadlines have been set for when all trains, buses and coaches must be accessible. Disability legislation also covers infrastructure, such as bus and railway stations. These are becoming more accessible as buildings
are built or renovated. Transport operators also have a legal duty to consider the needs of disabled people when publishing service information and providing booking and other facilities.
We are also seeking to ensure that those who travel have the confidence and basic skills to do so; that transport staff have the appropriate training to help people; and that passengers can travel in a safe environment. For example, just over 1,000 stations are currently accredited under the Secure Stations Scheme, and there are increasing numbers of help points and CCTV cameras on our public transport systems.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of a (a) fatality, (b) serious injury and (c) slight injury caused by a road accident. 
Mike Penning: The information requested can be found in Table 2a in article 2 in "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2008 Annual Report", copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. Estimates using 2009 data will be published on 23 September 2010 in "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2009 Annual Report."
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has commissioned recent research into the likely effects on the number of people (a) killed, (b) seriously injured and (c) slightly injured in road accidents of changes in the level of expenditure on road safety measures. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has not commissioned specific recent research. However the STATS19 collision and casualty data received by the Department are routinely monitored to identify any emerging trends, which in turn is used to inform policy decision making.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) children and (b) adults were (i) killed, (ii) seriously injured and (iii) slightly injured in road accidents in each of the last five years. 
|Reported child and adult road casualties by severity: GB 2005-09|
|Number of casualties|
|(1) Includes cases where age is not recorded|
Concessionary travel in Tyne and Wear is administered by Nexus, Tyne and Wear's Passenger Transport Executive. The Department regularly meets the Passenger Transport Executive Group to discuss transport issues, including concessionary travel.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what terms and conditions of employment stipulated by the Agricultural Wages Board are not covered by (a) minimum wage legislation and (b) legislation relating to paid holidays. 
Mr Paice: The majority of the terms and conditions currently set by the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), such as a minimum rate of pay, holiday entitlement, sick pay and rest breaks will in future be covered by the minimum entitlements for such matters specified under the National Minimum Wage Act, or specified by other relevant employment legislation such as the working time regulations or the statutory sick pay rules.
Specific rates of pay for overtime
Stand-by duty and night allowance
Entitlement to bereavement leave
Birth or adoption grant (currently of £60 per child)
Apprentice under the age of 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship
Workers of compulsory school age
Students on a work placement of less than one year.
Specific provision for these categories of workers is not made under the national minimum wage legislation. However, such persons are entitled to employment rights and protections under the working time regulations, and the legislation dealing specifically with the employment of children and young people.
It is also important to note that the terms of a worker's employment contract which exist at the time the AWB is abolished will continue to apply until such time as the contract is varied by agreement between the employer and the worker, or until the contract comes to an end. This is the case whether the terms are written, verbally agreed or implied by custom and practice. If an employer makes changes to the terms of employment without the worker's agreement, this constitutes a breach of contract. The worker may have a claim for breach of contract, unfair dismissal or unlawful deduction of wages if the change relates to pay.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA Ministers have been in contact with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers over a range of issues, including the future of the Agricultural Wages Board. Officials from DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government are working together to ensure that the necessary transitional arrangements are managed effectively.
|Full-time male regular workers||Full-time female regular workers||Part time male regular workers|
|Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year||Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year||Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year|
|Date( 1, 2, 3)||£/hour||£/hour||%||£/hour||£/hour||%||£/hour||£/hour||%|
|Part time female regular workers||Casual male workers||Casual female workers|
|Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year||Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year||Average earnings per hour||Change from the previous year|
|Date( 1, 2, 3)||£/hour||£/hour||%||£/hour||£/hour||%||£/hour||£/hour||%|
|(1 )On 31 December 1990, the interview-based Wages and Employment Inquiry was terminated and replaced on 1 January 1991 with the postal Earnings and Hours Survey of Agricultural and Horticultural Workers. Therefore, figures for 1990 and 1991 may not be directly comparable.|
(2 )For the period 1991 to 1997, figures for males relate to average earning for the 12 month period ending in September. For females the figures relate to the average over the three month period from June to September for the period 1991 to 1994 and for the 12 month period ending in September for 1995 to 1997. Between 1991 and 1997 information was only collected for full-time workers.
(3 )From 1998 to 2002, the Earnings and Hours survey was changed from a quarterly to an annual survey so results for these years are only based on pay rates for the month of September each year. In all other years (except those specified in (1)), pay rates have been averaged across the four quarters to give overall annual averages.
Results are based on a small sample survey so are subject to a degree of sampling variation. An indication of the sampling variation can be found from the latest statistical notice:
Defra Earnings and Hours Survey of Agricultural and Horticultural Workers-England and Wales.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on the use of cloned animals in food production; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government are mindful of the interest surrounding this emerging technology and its use in food production. The European Food Safety Authority has noted that, whilst relatively limited data are available, the available evidence indicates that food from healthy cloned cattle and pigs and their offspring does not present any risks to consumers. Food derived from cloned animals is nevertheless subject to the European regulation on novel foods and cannot be marketed without an authorisation under that regulation. The
Food Standards Agency has advised that this is also the case for food from the descendants of cloned animals. To date no applications for authorisation have been made and no authorisations have been issued.
Looking forward, European Union Agriculture Ministers have collectively asked the European Commission to produce a detailed report on cloning by the end of 2010 and this will provide further basis for evidence-based decision making at EU level. We will be looking carefully at the Commission's report as we consider this subject further.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to protect the (a) corncrake, (b) bittern, (c) black grouse, (d) black-tailed godwit, (e) cirl bunting and (f) turtle dove population; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: All six species (including their nests, eggs and young) are fully protected by domestic legislation in England: the corncrake, bittern, black-tailed godwit, cirl bunting and turtle dove through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), and the black grouse (which is a quarry species) through the Game Acts. The corncrake, bittern, black-tailed godwit and cirl bunting are listed on Schedule 1 of the 1981 Act, so special penalties apply to those who disturb these species whilst at, on or near their nests. The corncrake and bittern are on Annex 1 of EU Directive 79/409 on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Where present in appropriate numbers, these species are recognised as interest features of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and part of the qualifying interest of special protection areas. Many also occur on reserves managed by Natural England and/or its non-governmental organisation partners.
As a result of recent or historic population declines, all six species appear on the UK 'Red' list of 'Birds of Conservation Concern' meaning they are of high conservation concern, and all are recognised as priority species by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Effective conservation action for these species is a thus seen as a high priority, both for Government through its agencies (notably Natural England) and for non-governmental organisations such as the RSPB, with which we work in close partnership.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the reasons for recent changes in the number of bovine tuberculosis herd incidents. 
Mr Paice: There has been a welcome recent fall in the number of herds disclosing with reactors and a resulting reduction in the number of cattle being compulsorily slaughtered. This is part of a downward trend that has been observed for some time but we have seen similar declines over the last nine years only to then see disease levels rise again. It is not possible (and will not be for some time) to know with any certainty what may be causing these changes and whether they are therefore temporary or permanent.
The fact remains that incidence of bovine TB in parts of England is still far too high and we continue to take the fight against the disease very seriously, not least because of the serious impact it has on farmers.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to reduce the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in badgers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The coalition has committed, as part of a package of measures, to develop affordable options for a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine TB.
Richard Benyon: The potential for using responsibility deals for all types of waste is being explored as part of the ongoing Review of Waste Policy, the initial findings of which will be available in spring 2011.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Roger Williams) of 14 June 2010, Official Report, column 252W, on carbon emissions: business, whether preliminary information is yet available on the number and proportion of UK-listed companies which have reported on their greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to her Department's guidance in 2009-10. 
Mr Paice: No further information is available on the number and proportion of UK-listed companies which have reported on their greenhouse gas emissions using the guidance published by DEFRA and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It is expected that some information will become available from reports on the findings of surveys of businesses, which are due to be published in October 2010.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets she has set for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from peatland and wetland; and if she will make a statement. 
The Climate Change Act 2008 introduced a system of national carbon budgets, which place caps on the total quantity of greenhouse gas emissions emitted in the UK over a specified time. Each
carbon budget covers a five year period, with the first budget running from 2008-2012. DEFRA policy areas are currently responsible for an estimated 15% of UK emissions, and DEFRA is committed to sustainably reducing these emissions in order to help the UK meet its carbon budgets.
There are no specific targets set for emissions from peatland and wetland, but we are continuing to examine options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any reductions would count towards the overall UK carbon budget.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on the consideration of regionalisation in the review of the common fisheries policy; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: One of the UK's key priorities for common fisheries policy (CFP) reform is to move away from the current centralised system that attempts to micro-manage fishermen's daily activities. Genuinely strategic decisions should continue to be taken at EU level, but more responsibility for implementation can, and should, be devolved to member states, and those closest to the fisheries.
In order to pursue this agenda, the UK is engaging with other member states, the European Commission, European Parliament, industry, and major non-governmental organisations in order to establish a way forward that delegates the maximum responsibility to those closest to the issues, whilst complying with the relevant treaty obligations.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many payments to suppliers were made by (a) her Department, (b) its agency and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) within 30 days of, (ii) over 30 days after, (iii) over 60 days after and (iv) over 90 days after the date of invoice in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Richard Benyon: The following table shows the number of payments to suppliers made by (a) the core Department, (b) all but one of the executive agencies and (c) the main non-departmental bodies, for the financial year 2009-10.
|Fiscal year 2009-10|
|Number of payments|
|< 30 Days||30 to 60||60 to 90||>90||Total|
Rural Payments Agency aims to comply with current Government guidance in terms of prompt supplier invoice payment where the target is to pay 80% of correctly rendered invoices within five working days.
It is against this target that RPA measures its supplier invoice payment performance. RPA does not measure payment performance for other time periods and does not have this information readily available.
(i) 7,090 within 30 days;
(ii) 711 over 30 days;
(iii) 270 over 60 days;
(iv) 343 over 90 days from the invoice date.
During the year 2008-09 EA paid over 98% of invoices from suppliers within 30 days. Creditor days, calculated on an average basis for the year, according to the formula in the Companies Act 2006 (Directors Report) were 9.8 days for 2008-09.
Agricultural Wages Board for England And Wales
Agricultural Wages Committee.
Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities had a two-weekly refuse collection service in 2009-10; and whether her Department provided financial incentives to those authorities to establish such services. 
Richard Benyon: A list of English local authorities that provided alternate weekly collection (AWC) services in 2009-10 will be placed in the Library of the House. Data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not currently available for 2009-10.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to local authorities which operate alternate weekly waste collections of introducing weekly waste collections. 
Richard Benyon: The Government believe in localism and it is for local authorities to determine what waste collection system works best for their local areas in consultation with their residents. As part of the Government's review of waste policies, we want to help councils to deliver the quality and frequency of services their customers want while delivering our commitment to move towards a zero-waste economy.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department provides assistance to (a) the government of Gibraltar and (b) the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society to protect the (i) UK-Gibraltar and (ii) Southern Waters Site of Community Importance under the EU Habitats Directive; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The UK is ultimately responsible for the implementation of the birds and habitats directives in Gibraltar. However, domestic implementation, in the first instance, rests with the Government of Gibraltar. DEFRA provides administrative support for correspondence between the European Commission and the Government of Gibraltar in regard to obligations under the birds and habitats directives. DEFRA also facilitates the provision of technical assistance from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) at the request of the Government of Gibraltar.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial penalty her Department incurs if it withdraws from an (a) Entry Level Stewardship and (b) Higher Level Stewardship Scheme agreement. 
Mr Paice: Withdrawal from an agreement before the end of the agreement period without legitimate excuse would be a breach of contract. The agreement-holder may be entitled to breach of contract remedies (including damages). Furthermore, under EU law, payments made under an agreement must be reimbursed in full where one party withdraws early. DEFRA would bear these costs if it withdrew from the agreement before the end of the agreement period.
Agreements that run beyond 2015 are subject to review in 2012 because under the current EU legal framework, the EU Commission (which part funds the payments) does not have legal authority to make payments beyond that point. If the current EU legal framework was not replaced by a new framework for payments beyond 2015, DEFRA would be entitled to withdraw from agreements extending beyond that period with no liability for breach of contract or reimbursement costs.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the cost to her Department of terminating (a) Entry Level Stewardship and (b) Higher Level Stewardship Scheme agreements before they end. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA is working closely with representatives of local authorities across England, the Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy, landowners and other members of the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group to better understand the causes of fly-tipping, and the best approach to reducing incidences of fly-tipping at a local level.
DEFRA works with organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy to support local authorities with training, guidance and advice on their fly-tipping prevention strategies. DEFRA also funds the Flycapture system which records information on fly-tipping incidents dealt with by local authorities as well as enforcement action taken, allowing DEFRA and local authorities to assess the scale of the problem and prioritise action.
We will be considering how best to target our future activity on fly-tipping as part of the current review of waste policies. Local authorities, including those in the Coventry area, and other interested parties have been invited to submit views on this, and waste policy and delivery in England more generally, as part of a Call for Evidence. I would encourage all those with an interest to submit comments via the DEFRA website at:
Mr Paice: To meet the growing demand for more food with a local and regional provenance, our food and drink producers' access to market must be improved. We are providing funding under the Rural Development Programme for England for a range of measures aimed at supporting delivery organisations in the region, individual food producers and retail outlets, food hubs and farmers' markets.
I welcome the fact that retailers have put in place policies aimed at increasing the availability of regional and local food on their shelves. This provides opportunities for UK farmers to capture a greater market share by becoming more competitive.
Research shows consumers are increasingly concerned about the origins of their food, and the Government are committed to clearer origin labelling to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices about the food they buy.
We are also committed to ensuring that food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British or equivalent standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall costs.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contribution her Department has made to the Strategic Defence and Security Review in respect of UK food security. 
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the minimum number of days supply of food required for the UK to maintain an acceptable level of food security; 
Mr Paice: We do not hold information on the total food held in the country. However in the 2008-09 marketing year (the latest actual figures available), the UK cereal closing stocks at 30 June 2009 were 4.169 million tonnes of cereals, representing around 73 days of consumption for that year. For the year ending 30 June 2010, forecast estimates equate to around 67 days. The average of cereal stocks held between 2003-04 and 2007-08 were typically equivalent to 50 to 55 days worth of consumption.
We work closely with the food industries on food supply chain resilience, and in 2009 DEFRA published a comprehensive assessment of UK Food Security (updated in January 2010) which shows that the UK enjoys a high level of food security. The assessment analyses a wide range of indicators (including on cereal stocks as mentioned above) and evidence for assessing UK food security structured around six themes:
global resource sustainability;
UK availability and access;
UK food chain resilience;
food security at household level; and
safety and confidence in our food supply.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made in introducing an accurate country-of-origin labelling scheme for food products; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: As set out in our Structural Reform Plan, we want to ensure that consumers have confidence in origin claims that are being made. We know that consumers are particularly concerned about dairy and meat products. We are working with the food industry, retailers and others to encourage better labelling, greater compliance with Government best practice guidance and developing clear principles that can be followed. I have written to key organisations in the food industry and retailers, seeking collaboration to taking this forward.
Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to bring forward proposals to require the separation of food waste in municipal waste collection. 
Richard Benyon: The Government believe that local authorities, working with local communities, are best placed to decide on the most appropriate options for waste management, including collection. For example, there are differences in what suits urban areas compared to suburban or rural areas in terms of the most appropriate waste collection types and frequencies.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which (a) individuals and (b) organisations she (i) consulted and (ii) plans to consult before making a recommendation on the introduction of mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting under section 85 of the Climate Change Act 2008; 
(2) what account her Department plans to take of the outcome of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills consultation on the future of narrative reporting in making its recommendation on the introduction of mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting under section 85 of the Climate Change Act 2008. 
The Secretary of State will take a decision on mandating GHG emissions reporting on the basis of the evidence being gathered for the report to be laid before Parliament by 1 December 2010, on the contribution that reporting makes to the UK meeting its climate change objectives. In taking the decision, the Secretary of State will take into account the outcome of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills' (BIS) current consultation on the future of narrative reporting. DEFRA continues to work closely with BIS and the Department of Energy and Climate Change in coming to a decision.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2010, Official Report, column 90W, on hazardous substances: waste disposal; for what reasons she has no plans for a public inquiry; and if she will hold a public inquiry following the Dutch court judgement on 23 July 2010 on Trafigura. 
Richard Benyon: The UK was not involved in this incident in Cote d'lvoire. The vessel involved was a not a UK vessel, the waste did not come from the UK and the cargo was not loaded in the UK. It does not appear to be appropriate, therefore, for a public inquiry to be held in the UK.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to eliminate Japanese knotweed, with particularly reference to Manchester, Gorton constituency. 
Richard Benyon: We have no plans to attempt eradication of Japanese knotweed. The cost of a national eradication programme using current techniques would be prohibitively expensive (estimated to be at least £1.5 billion) and is likely to be unsuccessful given the widespread distribution of this invasive species.
DEFRA has been one of the main funding partners in a long-running project researching the possibility of identifying a biological control agent for Japanese knotweed. A controlled release of the highly specialist psyllid Aphalara itadori is now under way to help control this plant. If successful, this insect should restrict its growth, slow its capacity to spread vigorously and enhance the effectiveness of management effort, although it would not eradicate it altogether.
As with other species, management of Japanese knotweed is primarily the responsibility of the landowner. Strategic, widespread control is currently not the sole responsibility of any statutory organisation.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were (a) proceeded against and (b) convicted of an offence under the provisions of the (i) Badgers Act 1991, (ii) Deer Act 1991, (iii) Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 and (iv) Hunting Act 2004 in (A) 2008 and (B) 2009; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the provisions of the Badgers Act 1991, Deer Act 1991, Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 and Hunting Act 2004 in 2008 can be viewed in the table.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts of selected offences related to wild mammals and the Hunting Act 2004, England and Wales, 2008( 1, 2, 3)|
|Statute||Offence description||Proceeded against||Found guilty|
|(1) Excludes convictions for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008.|
(2) The 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.
(3) 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 the courts and police forces. 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.
Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.
Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to increase public awareness of the effects of illegal logging on the climate and rainforest. 
Mr Paice: Awareness of the effects of illegal logging is important as UK consumers have every right to know how their purchases impact on other parts of the world, and that responsible UK companies are able to trade on a level playing field with others in the timber trade. Agreement was recently reached on the EU Timber Due Diligence Regulation, which aims to eradicate illegal timber from the EU market, attracting media interest, notably from the BBC and The Sunday Times.
We will seek to take advantage of future opportunities to publicise the work we are doing in this area, and to reiterate the Government's commitment to tackling illegal logging. We work closely with non-governmental organisations and the timber industry, and will use these relationships to further increase public awareness of the effects of illegal logging.
Tropical deforestation has negative repercussions for actions to combat climate change, halt biodiversity loss and foster development in some of
the world's poorest communities. Therefore it is vital that UK efforts to combat deforestation are co-ordinated. As well as cross-departmental co-operation at official level, regular trilateral meetings between the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the Secretary of State for International Development ensure that action to tackle deforestation is co-ordinated across Government.
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she next plans to publish guidance on design standards and legal requirements for gates and stiles on public rights of way. 
Elizabeth Truss: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost to the public purse was of fines issued by the European Union to the Rural Payments Agency and its predecessors for failures related to weaknesses in mapping and insufficient checks on claimants in each year since 1993. 
|Scheme||Scheme years||Value of disallowance (£ million)||Summary of reason for disallowance|
Mr Paice: A consultation on the legislation relating to dog control and encouraging responsible dog ownership recently closed, and we will need to review the responses to this before considering any future action. In addition, action can be taken under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 against those who fail to look after their animals.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk of flooding in the Medway towns from a surge tide coinciding with a spring tide; and what assessment she has made of likely changes to that level of risk over the next fifty years. 
Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency assessment of flood risk is the likelihood of flooding occurring in any given year expressed as a percentage. The Environment Agency has assessed the tidal flood risk to the Medway Towns, considering a 5% (1 in 20 year event), 0.5% (1 in 200 year event) and 0.1% (1 in 1000 year event) chance of flooding, now and in 50 years time.
|Event type||Number of properties at risk|
Mr Paice: Despite international wheat prices rising by some 50% since the start of July, a global wheat shortage is unlikely due to high levels of stocks being carried globally from previous record crops. In the UK, wheat accounts for less than 10% of the cost of a typical loaf of bread, and cereal feed costs account for up to 15% of the retail value of pork and chicken. In the absence of a sustained surge in grain prices, or sharp rises in energy prices, the overall effect on consumers should be limited. The Department will continue to monitor the situation.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made in her Department's joint study to assess options for a Chinese timber legality verification scheme. 
Mr Paice: Studies on markets and comparisons of timber legality verification systems have been completed. We are currently working in collaboration with the Chinese Government on the preliminary recommendations for options to develop a system to verify the legality of China's timber imports and exports.
David Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the UN Secretary-General on negotiations towards an international arms trade treaty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hague: Whilst I have not yet discussed the arms trade treaty negotiations with the UN Secretary-General, I look forward to doing so at the General Assembly. This Government have made clear their continued support for the UN process towards an international arms trade treaty. The UK played a full and active role in the first phase of the UN negotiations which took place in New York in July 2010.
David Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken in relation to the treatment of the Generation 88 Burmese activists Htay Kywe, Mie Mie and Zaw Htet Ko Ko. 
Mr Hague: The arrest in 2007, of Htay Kywe, Mie Mie and Zaw Htet Ko Ko and their subsequent long term imprisonment, were actions by the military Government of Burma designed to keep the leaders of the 1988 Generation Students movement out of politics. We are aware of reports that Zaw Htete Ko Ko is suffering from medical problems and that many detainees suffer ill treatment and are held in harsh conditions far from their families. The Coalition Government have sustained international attention on the plight of all political prisoners in Burma and the Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), publicly endorsed Amnesty International's campaign for the release of the three leaders. In my meetings with ASEAN and other regional Ministers, I have specifically raised the UK's continuing concern over political prisoners. Our embassy in Rangoon is monitoring these specific cases closely and our ambassador in Rangoon repeatedly raises the need for the release of all political prisoners with ministers in the Burmese military government and will continue to do so. We will raise the issue of Burma's political prisoners in the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council and other multilateral meetings.
David Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken in relation to the arrests of the Burmese ethnic Karenni political activists Khun Bedu, Khan Kawrio and Khun Dee De. 
Mr Hague: The arrest in May 2008, of Khun Bedu, Khun Kawrio and Khun Dee De by the military regime of Burma and their long prison sentences are part of a concerted effort to suppress the legitimate demands of Karenni and other ethnic communities. The Minister responsible for our relations with South East Asia, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), raised Burma at the EU-ASEAN meeting on 26 May 2010, at which the Burmese Foreign Minister was present. He made it clear that the continued detention of all political prisoners is unacceptable and that a process of inclusive dialogue and reconciliation with the ethnic groups is essential for the future stability of Burma.
G8 leaders released a statement urging the regime to release without delay all political prisoners, with strong UK support. Our ambassador in Rangoon also repeatedly raises the need for the release of all political prisoners with ministers in the Burmese military government, and will continue to do so.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many payments to suppliers were made by (a) his Department, (b) its agency and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) within 30 days of, (ii) over 30 days after, (iii) over 60 days after and (iv) over 90 days after the date of invoice in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Number of invoices processed in August 2010||Paid within 30 days (from the date of the invoice)||Paid between 31-60 days||Paid between 61-90 days||Paid over 90 days|
|(1) Of which 61 were paid within 10 days.|
These payment times are measured from the "date of the invoice" however the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), its agencies and non-governmental public bodies all support the Government's Prompt Payment Initiative which measures performance from date of the receipt of a valid supplier invoice.
In accordance with the prompt payment guidelines for Government Departments the FCO paid 1,712 supplier invoices in August under this initiative of which 97.4% were paid within 10 days of receipt, FCO Services paid 96% of their invoices and British Council paid 90% of their invoices within the 10-day threshold.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of pension contributions incurred by (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which he is responsible in (A) Scotland, (B)
Wales, (C) region of England and (D) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2010-11. 
|£ m illion|
Provisions made for staff leaving the FCO as a result of early retirement exercises are not included in the above figures. Further information on such costs is available in the FCO Resource Accounts published each year by the FCO and the annual reports published by the British Council, the Westminster Fund for Democracy and the BBC World Service.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was paid by his Department in rent for properties in (a) total and (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK in each of the last five years. 
Expenditure has increased in the south-east region due to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) successfully relocating a number of roles from our London offices to the Milton Keynes area in line with the recommendations of the Lyons Review. As of March 2010, 442 roles had been moved from central London.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on incidents of anti-Semitism in France since July 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: On 6 September 2010 French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux stated that there had been 47 actions and 190 threats of anti-Semitism recorded for the first three months of 2010. The Minister reiterated the French Government's condemnation of any act of anti-Semitism. We do not have more recent statistics.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the establishment of facilities in Syria for the production of missiles to be supplied to Hezbollah; what reports he has received on the source of funding for the facility; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received reports on the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, with particular reference to Scud missile transfers. 
During my recent visit to Lebanon I raised the issue with Prime Minister Hariri and underlined the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which calls for the disarmament of all armed groups.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) reports of and (b) representations on the recent blog post by HM Ambassador to Lebanon on the death of the late Sheikh Fadlallah he has received; whether he has taken any steps in consequence; whether he has discussed the matter with his counterparts in (i) Israel, (ii) Lebanon, (iii) Egypt and (iv) the United States; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the present locations of Hezbollah military capability in Lebanon, with particular reference to infrastructure located alongside civilian installations. 
Alistair Burt: We are concerned by Hezbollah's own claims that it possesses significant military capabilities. We assess that since the end of the 2006 Lebanon conflict Hezbollah has replenished its holdings of both short and long-range rockets and missiles.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the capacity of the UNIFIL mission to fulfil its mandate in respect of asserting the return of the effective authority of the government of Lebanon (a) south and (b) north of the Litani River, with particular reference to monitoring Hezbollah military activity. 
Alistair Burt: UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) plays a vital and positive role in maintaining peace and security in southern Lebanon. However it faces a number of challenges in working to achieve this. These have recently been underlined by the attacks on UNIFIL peacekeepers south of the Litani river in early July and increased tensions on the Israel/Lebanon border.
I also discussed these points with the Lebanese Government, during my visit to the region on 13-14 July. We continue to support UNIFIL, and to press for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the comments of HM Ambassador to Lebanon on the death of the late Sheikh Fadlallah represent a change in British policy towards Hezbollah; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings on human rights policy he has had with non-governmental organisations since his appointment. 
Mr Hague: Overseas visits have precluded my holding such meetings so far but I am looking forward to seeing some of them this autumn. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have met a wide range of human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) since the new Government took office, including Amnesty International UK, Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, Global Witness, Saferworld, Article 19, Womankind and Minority Rights Group to discuss the government's human rights priorities. FCO Ministers have also met NGOs to discuss the specific situation in certain countries prior to their visits.
Mr Hague: The 2009 Annual Report on Human Rights was launched in March 2010. Over 50 staff in London were involved in writing the 2009 report, drawing on contributions from our overseas missions. During April 2010, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials distributed the report, responded to questions about it and sought feedback on its use. Staff in our missions around the world continue to monitor and report on human rights and this will contribute to the reporting I will lay before Parliament next year.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Prime Minister received assurances from the Indian Government on the separation of India's military and civil nuclear programmes before his announcement of civil nuclear co-operation. 
Alistair Burt: In negotiating its exception from the Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines, India reaffirmed a number of voluntary non-proliferation commitments, including the phased separation of its civilian nuclear facilities. Since 2008, India has made significant progress in this area, and a number of India's civilian nuclear facilities are now under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The UK Government urge India to continue this process of separation. UK export control arrangements will only permit trade in cases where the transfer of nuclear equipment, materials or technology is for civilian use only, and export licences will continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have received representations from any other government party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on the UK's proposed civil nuclear co-operation with India. 
Alistair Burt: The UK Government have not held detailed discussions with other states regarding our civil nuclear co-operation with India. Together with other nuclear supplier states, the UK continues to monitor the international transfer of sensitive nuclear goods and technology through the Nuclear Suppliers Group regime.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Iran on the imprisonment of members of the Baha'i community in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: I met with the Iranian ambassador on 18 August to discuss this and a range of other human rights concerns. I made it clear that the UK remains extremely concerned by the sentencing of the seven Baha'i leaders to 20 years imprisonment. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had already made it clear, in his statement of 11 August 2010, that we find these sentences entirely unacceptable, and that the UK and international community see it as unacceptable victimisation of the Baha'i faith by the Iranian state.
We will continue to remind Iran of the international commitments it has freely signed up to, and urge the Iranian Government to cease its harassment of the Baha'i minority, and to respect the rights of the many members of minority groups. These groups continue to face arrest and lengthy prison sentences, often on vaguely worded charges of acting against national security.
Alistair Burt: The Iranian ballistic missile programme continues to be of serious proliferation concern, primarily because of the missiles' potential utility as weapons of mass destruction delivery systems. Recent Iranian technical advances, including the launch of the Qiam missile in August, have increased the range of the missiles and reduced launch preparation time.
The international community has expressed serious concern about Iran's nuclear programme through six successive UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). UNSCR 1929 specifically prohibits Iran from undertaking activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the quality of all (a) enriched uranium and (b) 20 per cent. enriched uranium held by Iran. 
Alistair Burt: The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a number of reports on Iran, all making clear that Iran had shown no sign of suspending its enrichment-related activities and continued to stockpile uranium, as required by six UN Security Council resolutions and numerous IAEA resolutions. The estimates in his May report showed Iran had produced 2,427 kg of low enriched uranium since the start of operations in February 2007, and that Iran had also produced a total of 5.7 kg of uranium enriched to nearly 20%, a significant step towards weapons grade enrichment.
Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what documents the Government have made available to the United States in relation to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi since 20 July 2010; if he will place in the Library a copy of each such document; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: On 29 July the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provided to the Senate all related documents that had been previously released under the Freedom of Information Act in 2009. The FCO, Ministry of Justice and Scotland Office all released documents under the Act. Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library.
The FCO also drew the US Senate's attention to FCO, Ministry of Justice, and Scottish Executive correspondence that was released into the public domain on 1 September 2009. The web links to these documents are:
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