Songbirds

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has commissioned on the predation of songbirds in each of the last five years; at what cost; and from whom. [112721]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 19 June 2012]:There are two relevant studies that have been commissioned in the last five years.

The five-year Sustainable Arable Farming for an Improved Environment (SAFIE) project reported in June 2007. This was a collaborative project with funding from the Home Grown Cereal Authority (HGCA), DEFRA, English Nature and the Scottish Executive with a total cost to DEFRA of £1.483 million. It was a wide ranging project looking at practical techniques for increasing the biodiversity value of farmed land but it included a limited assessment of the impact of nest predation on three bird species (skylark, yellowhammer and yellow wagtail). The project found that 22% of nest

3 Sep 2012 : Column 112W

studies were lost to predation by badger, weasel, stoat and brown rat. The final report for the SAFIE project is available on the HGCA website.

In 2008, DEFRA commissioned the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to produce an evidence based review of the causes of decline in wild birds in England. The cost of this research was £63,015 and the final report is available on the DEFRA website.

This review found that, in common with many other studies, habitat change was the principal driver of bird declines. The review identified predation as potentially important for a small number of songbirds such as bullfinch or spotted flycatcher.

Common Fisheries Policy

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the oral statement of 12 July 2012, Official Report, columns 468-70W, on balance of competences, what the timetable is for her Department's work to review the EU's existing competences on fisheries. [118307]

Mr Paice: The sequencing and timetable of work by individual Departments is now being determined. Detailed work by Departments on some areas will begin in autumn this year and work will continue into 2014. More information will also be available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website.

Endangered Species

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many globally threatened species were present in (a) England, (b) the UK and (c) the British Overseas Territories in each of the last five years. [115498]

Richard Benyon: Yearly estimates of globally threatened species present in the UK, England and the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are not undertaken. The best available information, taken from the list of globally threatened species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is that there are: 194 in the UK (2005-10); 54 in England (2010); and 517 in the UKOTs (2008).

Environment Agency: Fines

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value is of outstanding fines imposed by the Environment Agency on businesses which have remained unpaid for more than (a) six and (b) 12 months. [117709]

Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency has power to impose civil sanctions upon both businesses and individuals which require payment of financial penalties. The Environment Agency as yet has no unpaid financial penalty orders against businesses.

However, fines for environmental offences are imposed by the courts. The Environment Agency holds a national database which records all convictions for environmental offences and the fines and costs imposed by the courts in consequence of those convictions, but rely upon the court service to undertake recording and enforcement of unpaid fines.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 113W

Ex-gratia Payments

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the monetary value of ex-gratia payments made through schemes administered by her Department in the last two years. [116808]

Richard Benyon: The Department does not estimate a value for possible claims that may be settled by means of ex-gratia payments. It deals with claims on a case-by-case basis; any ex-gratia payments made are then included under losses and special payments which are published in DEFRA's Annual Report and Accounts.

Farms: Crown Estates

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of The Crown Estates New Farm Business Tenancy lease in helping farmers mitigate the effect of marketplace volatility. [115477]

Mr Paice: No assessment has been made by DEFRA of the new arrangement for Farm Business Tenancy agreements, which was introduced by the Crown Estates in 2011. However, I understand, under the arrangement, the lease creates a direct link between rental and commodity prices and that this approach has been widely welcomed by tenants, their representatives and the industry alike.

Fishing Vessels

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2012, Official Report, column 425W, on fishing vessels: scallops, how the UK complies with the European Commission control regulation stating that lists of over 15 metre vessels must be kept on a central website and on FIDES; and where such information is kept. [118255]

Richard Benyon: The Western Waters regime sets requirements for the production of lists of vessels in terms of all vessels over 15 metres overall length that can fish in the areas covered by the regime, with a separate requirement to list all vessels over 10 meters overall length that can fish in the Biologically Sensitive Area off the coast of Ireland. The Marine Management Organisation's (MMO) website contains regularly updated lists of all UK registered fishing vessels exceeding 10 metres overall length at:

http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/fisheries/statistics/vessel.htm

A separate listing of vessels specifically related to the regime is not provided as it is UK policy that every vessel over 10 metres overall length can fish within the western waters by virtue of their UK fishing licence. The list of vessels produced by the MMO forms the basis of the UK submission to the FIDES reporting system as required by the regime.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 114W

Floods

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Environment Agency staff were required to stay overnight in areas of flood risk to deal with the flooding events in June and July 2012; and from which offices they were deployed. [118266]

Mr Paice: The majority of staff deployed for the six flood events this summer were deployed within their own region. Using the Environment Agency inter-regional aid arrangements it deployed 32 members of staff from the following offices: Shrewsbury, Henley in Arden, Nottingham, Solihull, Bridgewater, Peterborough and Oxford. They travelled to: Sale, Newcastle, Preston, Warrington, Leeds.

During major events the Environment Agency manage its resources nationally. Resources are deployed against the current incident picture and using the best intelligence available, for example the Flood Guidance Statement issued by the Flood Forecasting Centre.

The Environment Agency has a single Agency approach to its response to ensure resources are used efficiently and effectively; This includes all facets of its responses from media staff to field staff deployed on the ground.

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to the public purse was of food and accommodation for Environment Agency staff deployed to areas of flood risk in June and July 2012. [118267]

Mr Paice: The cost of food and accommodation for Environment Agency staff deployed to areas of flood risk during the period 1 June to 31 July 2012 was £3,324.

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Environment Agency staff were required to travel and stay overnight to deal with the flooding events in June and July 2012; by which means they travelled; and what the cost to the public purse was of this travel. [118268]

Mr Paice: The majority of Environment Agency staff deployed for the six flood events this summer were deployed within their own regions. Using the Environment Agency inter-regional aid arrangements it deployed 32 members of staff. The following table shows how they travelled and covers the period 1 June to 31 July 2012:

 Mode of travelNumber of staff required to travelCost of travel (£)

1.

Agency vehicles

31

2,046

2.

Flight (Exeter to Manchester)

(1)1

298

3.

Train

(2)1

132

(1) Outward journey. (2) Return journey.

The Environment Agency continually reviews its travel policy to ensure that it reflects value for money, best use of staff time and commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The current policy came into effect on 1 June 2010. It states that:

3 Sep 2012 : Column 115W

'under normal operating circumstances travel by air will not be permitted for journeys within England and Wales'

and that

'all requests for air travel must have a good business justification and will be personally scrutinised and approved'

by senior managers. To be considered, staff must provide details of alternative travel options, costs and duration. All staff are actively encouraged to consider other means of transport.

The current travel policy encourages a hierarchy of options for all travel, starting with not travelling at all.

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what additional payments and benefits are payable to Environment Agency staff deployed to areas at risk of flooding at times of high risk. [118312]

Mr Paice: During ongoing incidents, the following pay and benefit arrangements may apply:

Staff eligible for overtime (Grades 1 to 4) claim overtime at 1.5 times their standard hourly rate, except for Sundays and anytime between 12 am and 6 am on weekdays when they receive overtime at two times their standard hourly rate.

Staff above the overtime threshold (Grade 5 and above) are eligible to claim overtime at the fixed rate of £24.37 per hour. This rate applies at any time of the day or week.

Senior managers receive no additional benefits for taking part in ongoing incident responses.

On some occasions, and in agreement with the relevant managers, time off in lieu may be taken as an alternative to claiming overtime.

The Environment Agency and DEFRA are reviewing these arrangements.

Floods: Greater London

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the proposed Salmons Brook Flood Alleviation works on Enfield, Southgate constituency in terms of (a) effectiveness, (b) value for money, (c) effect on the local environment and (d) sustainable development. [117894]

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the proposed Salmons Brook Flood Alleviation works on Enfield North constituency in terms of (a) effectiveness, (b) value for money, (c) effect on the local environment and (d) sustainable development. [117933]

Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency has made an assessment of the Salmons Brook Flood Alleviation works as follows:

(a) Effectiveness

The whole scheme will reduce the likelihood of flooding to 1,393 properties, with 552 properties protected against a flood with a one in 75 (1.3%) chance of occurring in any one year. These benefiting properties are virtually all in Lower Edmonton and Edmonton Green.

(b) Value for Money

The proposals have an estimated development and construction cost of £15.3 million and a benefit-cost ratio of 6.2 (which means for every £1 invested, £6.20 of benefit would be obtained).

3 Sep 2012 : Column 116W

(c) Effect on the local environment

The scheme as a whole has had a full Environmental Impact Assessment. This demonstrates that overall the scheme will have a positive impact on wildlife habitats, and will comply with the Water Framework Directive.

(d) Sustainable development

The scheme is consistent with the aims of sustainable development in that it will reduce the risks to people and the developed environment from flooding, while minimising the impact on natural river processes and wildlife habitats. Any impacts on the natural river and wildlife habitats have been mitigated within the overall scheme.

Public Forest Estate

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will rule out the use of private finance initiatives for the future funding of the public forest estate. [117439]

Richard Benyon: The Independent Panel on Forestry (IPF) published its final report on 4 July. We agree with the panel that the way that the estate is cared for and managed should evolve to meet the challenges ahead of us. We need a new model that is able to draw in additional sources of finance, make best use of Government funding and a means to facilitate wider and more comprehensive community support. Government will now need time to properly consider the work of the panel; we will respond more fully to it by January 2013.

Fuels

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) her Department and (b) its executive agencies spent on petrol and diesel costs in each of the last five years. [116545]

Mr Paice: Core DEFRA, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) are unable to identify fuel directly purchased by the organisation. Drivers are reimbursed on a mileage basis, and the payment covers both fuel costs and other expenses such as wear and tear. Any hire car costs recorded for these organisations cannot be divided into fuel and other costs.

Direct fuel costs for the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) are summarised in the following table. The costs are fuel purchased for hire cars (petrol and diesel costs are not separately identifiable) and diesel purchased for their research vessel:

£
 =Hire cars (petrol and diesel)Research vessel (diesel)Total expenditure

2007-08

116,000

541,000

657,000

2008-09

93,000

626,000

719,000

2009-10

111,000

604,000

715,000

2010-11

138,000

664,000

802,000

2011-12

115,000

929,000

1,045,000

3 Sep 2012 : Column 117W

Direct fuel costs for the Rural Payments Agency are summarised in the following table. Information prior to 2009-10 is not available as fuel costs were not recorded separately from other costs. It is not possible to identify petrol and diesel costs separately.

 Total expenditure (£)

2007-08

n/a

2008-09

n/a

2009-10

148,183

2010-11

172,026

2011-12

213,154

Game: Animal Welfare

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to ban the practice of caging breeding game birds. [115586]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA's Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes contains guidance on the most appropriate way to house gamebirds. It recommends that barren raised cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched. We have no plans to ban the use of cages.

Game: Birds

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to ban the farming of birds for sport shooting; and if she will make a statement. [118284]

Mr Paice: The Government have no such proposal. I am satisfied that the existing legislation and code of practice provide the necessary protection for the welfare of gamebirds reared for sport shooting.

The welfare of gamebirds for sport shooting is a devolved matter and separate regulations can be brought forward by the Welsh Government, if they so wish.

Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department and its agencies have made on implementation of the Manchester Declaration of 2005. [116363]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA is supporting the Government's approach to "Digital by Default", as recommended by the UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox in her report published in November 2010. DEFRA's digital strategy will be published alongside the Government's digital strategy in December 2012.

The Manchester Declaration has been superseded by the Malmo Declaration and eGovernment Action Plan (2011-15) and the broader Digital Agenda for Europe. DEFRA and its agencies are working and contributing to its implementation, including representatives on appropriate working groups. The UK Cabinet Office is leading the UK contribution to the eGovernment Action Plan.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 118W

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to answer the letter sent to her by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 8 June 2012 with regard to Ms M Bloom. [118258]

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), replied to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 14 July.

Nature Conservation

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on biodiversity conservation in (a) England and (b) the British Overseas Territories in 2011-12. [115497]

Richard Benyon: Details of DEFRA spend on biodiversity conservation in England in 2011-12 are provided in the following table. These figures represent DEFRA programme spend and spend by the wider DEFRA network but do not include staff costs. They also include total agri-environment scheme expenditure and the DEFRA biodiversity research programme, of which a major share is judged to be spent on biodiversity in England.

Estimated public expenditure by DEFRA network organisations on biodiversity conservation in England
£ million
 2011-12

DEFRA: Agri-environment schemes(1)

413.1

  

Other DEFRA expenditure:

 

Biodiversity programme

2.7

Research(1)

7.8

  

Environment Agency

25.3

Forestry Commission

18.0

Natural England

25.3

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

3.2

DEFRA network total(1)

495.4

(1) Total scheme and research expenditure, consisting largely of work related to biodiversity in England. (2) Totals may not add due to rounding. Note: Figures are provisional estimates pending finalisation of accounts.

Natural England spend in previous years included the general grant to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which is no longer reported in these estimates. However, both AONBs and National Parks continue to spend part of their DEFRA funding on biodiversity conservation.

DEFRA spend on biodiversity conservation in the British Overseas Territories in 2011-12 is estimated to be £2,969,140. This includes commitments under the Darwin Initiative and support for projects to address invasive non-native species. It also includes spend by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. It does not include spend by others, for example the Governments of the Overseas Territories themselves, which are principally responsible for biodiversity conservation in their territories.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 119W

Otters: Kent

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the size of the otter population in Kent; [115763]

(2) whether she has plans to reintroduce otters to Kent. [115764]

Richard Benyon: Since the publication of the last National Otter Survey report covering 2009-10 otter signs have been found in Kent confirming that the species is now present throughout England. This demonstrates the slow but gradual recovery of otter populations over this period, moving from west to east.

It is currently not possible to estimate otter abundance from the quantity and distribution of otter signs and sightings. Research investigating the possibility of assessing numbers of otters from DNA or chemical analysis of spraint (otter faeces) is ongoing.

There are no plans to reintroduce otters into any county; they have returned naturally.

Parliamentary Private Secretaries: Visits Abroad

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on which occasions her parliamentary private secretary has travelled overseas with her or on her behalf since May 2010. [115343]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 120W

Richard Benyon: Since May 2010, there have been no occasions on which the parliamentary private secretary of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), has travelled overseas with her or on her behalf.

Performance Appraisal

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) black and minority ethnic staff, (b) employees with disabilities, (c) employees aged over 50 and (d) part-time employees in (i) her Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) its non-departmental bodies received each performance mark in each year between 2008 and 2011. [117350]

Richard Benyon: The percentage of (a) black and minority ethnic staff, (b) employees with disabilities, (c) employees aged over 50 and (d) part-time employees in core DEFRA who received each performance marking between 2008-11 is given in the following tables. Top performers received a performance mark of 1. The information requested for DEFRA agencies and NDPBs could be provided only by incurring disproportionate costs.

Moderation statistical analysis shows individual categories of marks by diversity grouping in percentages only.

Table 1: Core DEFRA 2008-11 Performance Management Scheme moderation marking for staff grades below senior civil service (SCS)
MarkAge50+ (percentage)Disability (percentage)Working patternPart-time (percentage)EthnicityBlack, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)(percentage)Total staff number moderated

2008-09

     

1

7

6

9

4

2

16

13

20

17

3

40

42

44

47

4

26

25

20

22

5

10

14

7

11

Total

2,145

      

2009-10

     

1

4

5

4

4

2

12

15

17

15

3

65

60

69

63

4

19

20

10

19

Total

2,116

      

2010-11

     

1

4

4

4

3

2

13

18

20

17

3

66

59

66

65

4

17

19

11

15

Total

2,168

Table 2: Core DEFRA 2008-11 Performance Management Scheme moderation marking for senior civil service staff (SCS)
MarkAge50+ (percentage)Disability (percentage)Working patternPart-time (percentage)EthnicityBAME (percentage)Total number of staff moderate d

2008-09

     

1

18

2

39

3

36

3 Sep 2012 : Column 121W

3 Sep 2012 : Column 122W

4

7

Total

142

      

2009-10

     

1

15

2

34

3

43

4

8

Total

147

      

2010-11

     

Total

154

The figures for staff declared as disabled, BAME, or working part-time could not be given on confidentiality grounds, as they could lead to the identification of individuals. The percentage breakdown for the 50+ age group for 2010-11 could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure the system of relative performance management in her Department, its Executive agencies, and non-departmental public bodies does not deliver discriminatory markings to those with protected characteristics. [117352]

Richard Benyon: There are several relative performance management systems operating across core DEFRA and a number of its Executive agencies and NDPBs. Details of the steps taken within each system to mitigate the risk of discriminatory markings is detailed as follows:

Core DEFRA (including the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) use a system based on a model developed by Civil Service Employee Policy.

The steps taken to mitigate the risk of discriminatory markings are:

training managers on the consistent application of the performance management process;

provision of an e-learning package on unconscious bias for managers;

provision of online guidance, including from the Employers Forum for Disability for staff;

specific guidance on making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, which includes how this relates to performance management;

the use of consistency sampling to help ensure objectives are appropriate for staff;

publish the breakdown of performance markings by business areas and diversity characteristics on the intranet to ensure openness and transparency;

a validation process for performance ratings across grade bands and peer groups;

continuing review and updating of the DEFRA’s Equality Impact Assessment of the Performance Management system;

undertake a diversity analysis of mid and end-year performance ratings and develop actions to address any issues raised by the results;

a process which allows for appeals against operation of the performance management process; and

work with the Department's diversity networks to address any issues arising from the operation of the system.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has the following steps in place to mitigate the risk of discriminatory markings in its performance management system:

clear objective setting, ongoing reviews and feedback to ensure that staff understand the standards that are expected of them;

heads of function scrutinise the allocation of the performance markings to ensure consistency of markings that are awarded;

results are published for business areas and by grade and gender on the intranet to ensure openness and transparency;

training for managers on consistent application of the procedure; and

work with trade unions and equality impact assessments when any changes are made to the appraisal system.

The Environment Agency (EA) has the following steps in place to mitigate the risk of discriminatory markings in its performance management system:

review is carried out to analyse the ratings people receive to ensure consistency and fairness of application in the system. Ratings are reviewed by gender, age, race/ethnicity and grade to assess the possibility of any discriminatory marking;

an indicative view of ratings in the third quarter of the performance year are subject to a peer review process to ensure consistency. If there are any areas that require further investigation, this is done immediately;

the same peer review process takes place at the end of the final quarter, before final management approval for ratings is given; and

an appeals process, which allows individuals to appeal should they believe their rating is incorrect.

The remaining Executive agencies and NDPBs do not currently operate a relative performance management system.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what box marking staff who have taken redundancy from her Department of each (a) ethnicity and (b) age received in the last performance assessment before they left her Department between 2008 and 2011; and how many such staff had a disability. [117353]

Richard Benyon: The information requested could be provided only by incurring disproportionate costs.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 123W

Plastic Bags

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags. [118230]

Richard Benyon: We are looking carefully at all options to make sure that we further reduce the use of single use carrier bags, and are monitoring closely the results of the charging scheme in Wales and the outcome of the Scottish consultation on a charge. Wales introduced a minimum 5p charge on carrier bags in 2011.

We expect retailers to take responsibility and cut down on the number of single-use carrier bags they hand out, but the ability to take action also lies with consumers who can decline to accept them in favour of reusable alternatives. We will be exploring the reasons behind the recent increase in distribution with retailers.

Plastics: Recycling

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the capacity for collecting and locally sorting waste plastic packaging; and what account she took of that capacity in developing the national plastic packaging recycling targets for 2013 to 2017; [117752]

(2) what assessment she has made of the scale of improvements required in local collection and sorting facilities to achieve the Department's plastic packaging recycling targets for 2013 to 2017. [117753]

Richard Benyon: An assessment of the capacity for collecting and locally sorting waste plastic packaging was made as part of the impact assessment which accompanied the consultation on recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013 to 2017, which closed on 10 February. Decisions on the final targets took this into account.

Data provided in response to the consultation suggested that there was at least 250kt of available sorting capacity at materials recovery facilities in the UK against a requirement of around 600kt, not taking into account any additional planned developments over the period 2013-17.

It was also suggested that there was significant spare capacity within the existing collection infrastructure, so that additional infrastructure is unlikely to be needed until 2016-17.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons her Department has proposed plastic packaging recycling targets that differ from those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Packaging. [117754]

Richard Benyon: The analysis conducted as part of the impact assessment, which accompanied the consultation on recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013-17, showed that the proposed targets had the greatest net benefit.

The Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) is an important source of advice. The Government considered its views, along with a wide range of other relevant organisations and people. The formal ACP consultation

3 Sep 2012 : Column 124W

response supported the option for higher targets, which would put the UK in the top quartile for plastic recycling in the EU.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the potential level of plastic packaging that may be exported to meet recycling targets for 2013 to 2017; and if she will estimate the economic value of those exports. [117755]

Richard Benyon: The impact assessment, which accompanied the consultation on recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013-17, assumed the existing split between UK reprocessing and export would be maintained for the period 2013-17.

On that basis we expect the revenue generated by the export of plastic packaging for recycling over the period to be approximately £110 million.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answers of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 333W and 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 21W, on publications, how much her Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) consultation documents and (c) publications since May 2010. [117824]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA does not keep central records of expenditure on the publication of circulars, consultations and other publications; it would be disproportionate to do so.

Ragwort

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many enforcement notices have been served under the Weeds Act 1959 in respect of ragwort in each of the last five years; and upon whom. [117625]

Richard Benyon: The figures for enforcement notices served (under Weeds Act 1959) in the last five years are as follows:

Notices served
 Number

2006

19

2007

52

2008

39

2009

40

2010

24

2011

46

It is not possible to provide separate figures for the different weeds specified in the Weeds Act, but of these enforcement notices, around 95% relate to ragwort.

We are unable to disclose names and addresses of those upon whom enforcement notices have been served due to the Data Protection Act.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial

3 Sep 2012 : Column 125W

support

(a)

her Department and

(b)

the Rural Payments Agency provided to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in each of the last three years; and what such funds were for (i) agricultural-environmental and (ii) other purposes. [112928]

Mr Paice: I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer given by my Noble Friend, Lord Henley to Baroness Byford, on 6 June 2011, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA61, for details pertaining to funding provided to the RSPB in the financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

For financial year 2011-12 core DEFRA provided payments to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds with a total value of £811,930. To identify which funds were for (a) agricultural-environment and (b) other purposes would incur disproportionate cost.

The Rural Payments Agency has made no direct payments to the RSPB during the past three years. However, the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) have made payments to RSPB on behalf of the RPA. The following is the only analysis of spend made to the RSPB by SGRPID and is shown by category in the following tables.

Payments made by SGRPID to RSPB in the scheme years 2009-11: MLC 150/0007
Single Farm Payment Scheme (SFPS)
£
 Scotland elementEnglish elementNorthern Irish elementWelsh elementOverall total

2009

384,254.26

386,666.11

8,342.88

39,491.28

818,754.53

2010

452,737.42

422,514.98

9,775.67

33,785.33

918,813.40

2011

136,831.50

869,568.32

5,090.81

34,026.02

1,045,516.65

Total

973,823.18

1,678,749.41

23,209.36

107,302.63

2,783,084.58

Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS)
 £

2009

13,684.16

2010

12,380.48

2011

9,951.35

Total

36,015.99

Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS)
 £

2009

77,320.80

2010

78,690.72

2011

85,783.55

Total

241,795.07

Land Management Contract Menu Scheme (LMCMS)
£
 Management of rush pasture (214)Animal health and welfare (215)Total

2009 only

3,716.25

650.00

4,366.25

Total

3,716.25

650.00

4,366.25

Rural Priorities (RP) and Agri-Environment Legacy
£
 ForestryAgri-environment legacyTotal

2009

0.00

19,540.12

19,540.12

2010

290,414.58

172,824.41

463,238.99

3 Sep 2012 : Column 126W

2011

29,106.92

527,642.28

556,749.20

Total

319,521.50

720,006.81

1,039,528.31

Scottish Forestry Grants Scheme (SFGS)
 £

2009 only

883.00

Total

883.00

Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS)
 £

2009 only

2,374.75

Total

2,374.75

Leader
 £

2009-10

53,670.36

2010-11

137,212.66

2011-12

50,066.63

Total

240,949.65

Skills Development Scheme
 £

2009 only

1,804.22

Total

1,804.22

Rural Areas: Weather

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Commission for Rural Communities is monitoring the effects on the rural economy of adverse weather during summer 2012. [118003]

Richard Benyon: The Commission for Rural Communities is not monitoring the impacts of adverse weather on the rural economy.

DEFRA continues to keep a close eye on the effects of adverse weather on the rural economy and communities through its established rural networks. In addition, the Environment Agency and the Met Office continue to monitor water flows and possible flooding situations.

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effects on the (a) rural economy and (b) farming industry of the adverse weather during summer 2012. [118004]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA officials are in regular contact with the farming industry to understand the impact of the adverse weather. In addition, the Environment Agency and the Met Office have been monitoring water flows and possible flooding situations.

In respect of the rural economy, DEFRA continues to work across Government to ensure that measures designed to support economic growth are having proportionate and positive impacts in rural areas. Last year's Rural Economy Growth Review included targeting £100 million of Rural Development Programme for England funding towards stimulating growth.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 127W

For crops, many are still some way away from harvest and an improvement in weather can have a very positive impact. Also, the effects are not uniform across the country or across any particular crop type or soil type. But it is too early to write off the crop, as sustained warm weather could turn things around.

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will consider providing financial assistance to rural businesses and traders affected by the cancellation of country shows and events during summer 2012. [118005]

Richard Benyon: Like previous Governments, it is not this Government's policy to compensate for damages from extreme weather events. That said we are ensuring that taxpayers' money is being spent on long term solutions to support rural communities and rural businesses.

Rural Growth Networks

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding arrangements for the Rural Growth Networks will be finalised before the end of August. [117831]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA is currently working with each of the Rural Growth Networks to develop a sufficiently detailed delivery plan that will set out their funding requirements and ultimately provide us with the clearly defined milestones needed. This will give us the basis for drawing up formal funding agreements and we are aiming to have agreed these by August. Ahead of a formal funding agreement being in place and to help the networks develop their delivery plans, each network has been offered an advance of up to £50,000 of development funding (which forms part of the total amount of funding that will be offered).

Scallops

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Marine Management Organisation uses a calendar day or a 24-hour period to assess a day of fishing within the Western Waters scallop regime. [117638]

Richard Benyon: Under the Western Waters scallop regime, the Marine Management Organisation calculate a day as a continuous period of 24 hours or part thereof, during which a fishing vessel is present within ICES Area VII and fishing for scallops, as defined in the UK fishing licence.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Marine Management Organisation introduced its current method of assessing a day of fishing within the Western Waters scallop regime. [117648]

Richard Benyon: The Marine Management Organisation moved over to use a 24 hour period for the purposes of monitoring effort uptake at the vessel level under the Western Waters scallop regime. The UK adopted a new management approach for this fishery when quarterly limits were introduced from 17 February 2012.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 128W

Staff

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff of her Department were in the civil service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [116809]

Richard Benyon: On 4 July 2012 three core DEFRA employees were recorded on the Department's redeployment register. None of these employees had been on the register for more than six months at this date.

Sustainable Development

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government plan to publish departmental sustainable development headline indicators. [118310]

Mr Paice: A new set of sustainable development indicators were published for consultation on 24 July 2012.

Water Charges

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to ensure households are on the best value water tariff. [117954]

Richard Benyon: The independent regulator Ofwat regulates prices for water and sewerage services. Every five years Ofwat sets price limits for the water and sewerage companies. This is the amount they are able to charge customers and this process is known as a Price Review. At Price Review, Ofwat sets a five year price cap to which the rate of inflation is added annually.

The most recent, in 2009, set price limits for 2010-15. Price limits are determined by working out how much revenue each company must collect from its customers to run their businesses efficiently, for example in order to supply the water and build and maintain infrastructure.

Encouraging innovation and ensuring that companies are more efficient and customer focused were key themes of the Water White Paper, published December 2011. It explained that Government are introducing a package of reforms to increase competition and innovation to drive cost-effective responses to future challenges to limit the future impact on customers' bills. The Water White Paper can be viewed at the DEFRA website.

Customers are able to choose to be metered according to their volumetric use of water and metering enables water companies to offer more innovative tariffs such as seasonal and rising block tariffs.

Following the Water White Paper, on 22 June the Government published guidance to enable companies to create social tariffs to reduce the charges of those customers who would otherwise struggle to afford to pay their bills in full. Companies will be able to offer social tariffs from April 2013.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 129W

Water: Meters

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department provides to water companies on (a) providing their customers with accurate information on the likely effect on their bills of installing a water meter and (b) complying with customers' requests to install a water meter. [118294]

Richard Benyon: In the Water White Paper, ‘Water for Life’, published in December 2011, we encouraged water companies to explain the likely benefits of metering to customers, promote payment plans and demonstrate sample bills. We encouraged companies to do more to actively promote metering to those who would benefit and make switching as simple as possible for those who choose to do so. We stated that this should form part of wider programmes designed to help those with affordability problems and link to advice on water efficiency. The Consumer Council for Water and water companies have calculators on their websites where customers can calculate whether they are likely to save money by opting to pay for their water according to its volumetric use.

Under the Water Industry Act 1999, all household customers have the right at any time to opt to pay via a meter. Water companies have to install a meter on request unless this is not reasonably practicable or would cause the company unreasonable expense. Customers are able to revert back to unmeasured charging within a year of switching to a meter if they choose to do so. The Government's Charging Guidance on ‘Water Industry Act 1999 Delivering the Government's Objectives’ stated that where companies are not able to install a meter they should offer customers the option to move to an assessed charge based on their likely water use.

Wildlife: Circuses

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent on impact assessments, circus inspections and other research and investigations in support of her proposed licensing regime for wild animals in circuses. [116461][Official Report, 17 September 2012, Vol. 550, c. 3MC.]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA's budget from July 2012 to October 2012 for the team tasked with taking forward the implementation of licensing regulations, as well as developing the case for a ban on the use of performing wild animals in travelling circuses, is £261,000.

Wood: Recycling

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations her Department has received regarding any possible health hazards associated with wood recycling. [117743]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA has not received any recent representations regarding possible health hazards associated with waste wood recycling.

Wood recycling and other waste treatment operations are regulated by the Environment Agency under the environmental permitting regime in order to prevent harm to human health and the environment.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 130W

Justice

Aiding and Abetting

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the use of the law on joint enterprise; [118381]

(2) when he expects guidelines on the use of joint enterprise law by the Crown Prosecution Service to be published. [118382]

Mr Blunt: Work on the guidance for prosecutors on dealing with joint enterprise cases is ongoing, and the CPS have informed my officials that it will be available shortly. Neither the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), nor I have had any recent discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions about this issue.

Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice to which registered charities his Department has made payments in the last three years; and what sums over what period have been paid in each case. [118155]

Mr Blunt: The Department makes payments to a large number of organisations, including registered charities, and voluntary and community groups. It would incur disproportionate cost to research each organisation, check whether it is a registered charitable organisation or not and disclose what payments were made in the past three years. Payments in the form of grants and contracts are made to organisations that provide a wide range of services, such as the provision of support for victims of crime, mediation services, work to reduce crime and debt advice.

In 2011-12, the core Department made grant payments totalling £50 million to various organisations. Information about organisations funded through MoJ victim and witness specific funding streams from 2011-14 is available on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/information-access-rights/transparency-data/victims-witnesses-funding-awards

In addition to these grants, the Department is providing Victim Support, the principal provider of support for victims and witnesses of crime, with grant funding of £38 million per year until 2014 to invest in long-term service provision focused on those victims and witnesses of the most serious crimes, those who are most vulnerable and those who are persistently targeted.

The Department also has a £2 million per year contract with The Salvation Army until 2013 to coordinate the provision of support services for victims of human trafficking.

Civil Disorder: Fixed Penalties

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many penalty notices for disorder were issued in each of the last five years; and how many were not paid in each year; [118169]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 131W

(2) how many penalty notices were issued for shoplifting goods up to the value of £200 in each of the last five years; and how many were not paid in each year. [118170]

Mr Blunt: The number of penalty notices for disorder (PND) issued for theft of goods up to the value of £200 and the number issued in total for each of the last five years can be viewed in the following table.

The recipient of a PND has 21 days either to pay the penalty or seek a court hearing. No admission of guilt

3 Sep 2012 : Column 132W

is required; by paying the penalty a recipient discharges all liability for conviction for the offence. If no action is taken a fine of one and half times the penalty amount is registered against the recipient of the notice. The courts are responsible for enforcing fines arising from unpaid PNDs in the same way as any other unpaid fine.

We can provide information on the number persons who have paid a PND in full within or outside the 21 day period, but are unable to collate information on the result of the other outcomes listed in the said table.

Number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued to all persons aged 16 and over, by offence, 2007-11—England and Wales
   Of those paidOther outcome
 Number issuedTotal paid in fullPaid in full within 21 daysPaid in full outside 21 day periodFine registeredCourt hearing requestedPND cancelledPotential prosecutionOutcome unknown

Theft (retail under £200)(1)

         

2007

45,146

19,111

15,390

3,721

24,344

172

988

507

24

2008

45,616

20,903

17,280

3,623

23,090

189

881

540

13

2009

48,161

24,529

20,116

4,413

20,166

163

1,026

2,198

79

2010

40,170

21,804

18,133

3,671

15,468

128

906

1,704

160

2011

34,688

18,411

14,936

3,475

13,630

129

892

1,476

150

          

Other offences

         

2007

162,398

87,814

66,743

21,071

65,713

1,081

4,261

3,473

56

2008

130,548

70,386

53,964

16,422

53,065

873

3,208

2,974

42

2009

122,232

65,587

49,718

15,869

47,480

734

3,160

5,059

212

2010

100,599

55,292

42,963

12,329

36,954

620

3,680

3,585

468

2011

92,842

50,008

37,372

12,636

33,902

656

3,993

3,435

848

          

Total

         

2007

207,544

106,925

82,133

24,792

90,057

1,253

5,249

3,980

80

2008

176,164

91,289

71,244

20,045

76,155

1,062

4,089

3,514

55

2009

170,393

90,116

69,834

20,282

67,646

897

4,186

7,257

291

2010

140,769

77,096

61,096

16,000

52,422

748

4,586

5,289

628

2011

127,530

68,419

52,308

16,111

47,532

785

4,885

4,911

998

(1 )Offence added with effect from 1 November 2004. Penalty notices are no longer available for theft of goods valued at over £100 and may only be used for criminal damage up to a value of £300 from July 2009 onwards. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Contempt of Court: Non-molestation Orders

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information his Department holds on the number of convictions for contempt of court where the offence related to a breach of the terms of a non-molestation injunction order in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [117701]

Mr Blunt: The offence of breaching a non-molestation order under section 42A of the Family Law Act 1996 as added by section 1 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 states: sub-section (3) where a person is convicted of an offence under this section in respect of any conduct, that conduct is not punishable as a contempt of court; and (4) a person cannot be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of any conduct which has been punished as a contempt of court.

The number of defendants found guilty at all courts for breach of a non-molestation order in England and Wales in 2009 to 2011 can be viewed in the table. Please note that there were issues in the central recording of offences resulting from a breach of a previously imposed order. These issues have now been resolved, allowing information on convictions for a breach of a non-molestation order to be collated from 2009 onwards.

Number of defendants found guilty at all courts for breach of a non-molestation order(1), England and Wales, 2009-11(2,3)
 2009(4)20102011

Found guilty

2,279

2,626

2,552

(1) Includes offences under Family Law Act 1996, s.42A as added by Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, s.1. (2) The figures given in the table on court proceedings 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 it 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. (4) Following publication of Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 2009 data have been revised. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 133W

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many payments were made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to (a) person attacked by dogs and (b) persons injured at work in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how much was paid in total in each case. [118191]

Mr Djanogly: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) can only provide reliable figures for how much it paid in relation to specific injuries, as described in the Tariff of Injuries in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Schemes. No injury descriptions in the Tariff relate specifically to dog attacks or workplace incidents.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority paid to victims of crime in each category of injury in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [118192]

Mr Djanogly: I have arranged for this information to be deposited in the House Library. Some injuries are duplicated because they attracted different amounts of compensation under the 1996, 2001 and 2008 Criminal Injuries Compensation Schemes.

Electronic Tagging

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) on how many occasions tagging equipment was found to be faulty in England and Wales in 2011; [118024]

(2) how many people were found to be in breach for failing to comply with their tagging orders but were subsequently not prosecuted in England and Wales in 2011; [118026]

(3) how many people who were the subject of an electronic tagging order in England and Wales in 2011 subsequently breached that order; [118027]

(4) how many cases where people failed to comply with the terms of an electronic tag in England and Wales in 2011 the circumstances of the breach was found to be accidental. [118028]

Mr Blunt: This information is not collected centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost. Information would only be available through a manual trawl of individual case records held by the electronic monitoring service providers to identify the suspected breaches where the equipment was found to be faulty on investigation.

Where the curfew was a single requirement community order, in 2011 all offenders in England and Wales who committed a more serious breach of a curfew under a community order or suspended sentence were brought back to court by the electronic monitoring companies as required.

For other types of order, including pre-trial, post-release or where the curfew was part of a multi-requirement order, it is not possible to provide the number of breaches that were brought to court except at disproportionate cost. The electronic monitoring service providers are not advised of the outcomes of witness statements

3 Sep 2012 : Column 134W

provided to the supervising authority as a result of a breach. Information would only be available through a manual trawl of each authority's records.

In 2011, 67,979 subjects breached an electronic tagging order in England and Wales. This includes minor breach occasions where a warning letter was issued.

The data are from the electronic monitoring service providers. The information held refers to breaches reported to the courts or to the relevant authority such as the probation service, Prison Service, Youth Offending Service, or police, or where a warning letter was issued, and does not necessarily relate to breach action taken.

This information is not collected centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost. Information would only be available through a manual trawl of individual case records held by the electronic monitoring service providers and courts to determine the circumstances of each breach and the outcome of investigations.

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many accredited experts his Department uses to act as expert witnesses in cases of breach of tagging orders. [118025]

Mr Blunt: In cases relating to electronic monitoring, the Ministry of Justice has cited evidence, and relied upon testimony, from Scientific Services Derby Ltd, a provider of forensic services.

Legal Aid Scheme

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much in legal aid payments was recovered by the Legal Services Commission from convicted offenders in each of the last three years. [117707]

Mr Djanogly: The amount of legal aid payments recovered under recovery of defence cost orders (RDCOs) and Crown court means testing (CCMT) for each of the last three years is provided in the following table:

£
Financial yearRDCOCCMTTotal recovered

2009-10

939,086

0.00

939,086

2010-11

1,100,351

28,000.00

1,128,351

2011-12

1,058,354

1,888,200.00

2,946,554

For accounting purposes, the amounts recovered under CCMT are only recognised as income once a defendant has been convicted and a final assessment of defence costs has taken place.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he intends to answer the letter sent to him by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 30 May 2012 with regard to Hal Husbands. [118257]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: I replied to the right hon. Member on 17 July.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) if his Department will publish its impact assessment of the proposals to increase the small claims limit for personal injury to £5,000; [118320]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 135W

(2) what provision for legal representation will be available to people unable to afford such representation in personal injury cases below the proposed small claims limit of £5,000. [118321]

Mr Djanogly: On 2 May 2012, I announced that the Government will consult on whether to amend the small claims threshold for damages for personal injury claims. The consultation document and its related impact assessments will be published shortly and will be available to download from both the Ministry of Justice and Citizen Space websites.

No decisions will be taken on the way forward in this area until all responses to the consultation document and other stakeholder submissions have been considered.

Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and HM Treasury officials have been working closely together to develop the consultation proposals and accompanying impact assessments. The latter will consider the effect of the proposals on all impacted groups, including law firms and claimants. The Government welcomes contributions and evidence from all stakeholders on the potential impacts of these proposals on all affected groups.

Prisoners: Eating Disorders

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2012, Official Report, column 1006W, on prisoners: eating disorders, if he will consider making an assessment of the effect of dietary disorder of prisoners on discipline in British prisons. [118355]

Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has responsibility for providing instructions to all prisons on the provision of meals for prisoners. The most recent guidelines are contained within Prison Service Instruction 44/2010, Catering Meals for Prisoners which became effective from 1 October 2010.

NOMS believes it provides prisoners with the opportunity to eat a healthy balanced diet. Current requirements specify a minimum set of specifications that all prisons must meet. The prison service has adopted and incorporated specific Government guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and FSA on eating a healthy diet. These initiatives are based on the recommendations from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

In March 2006 the National Audit Office carried out a study on prisoner diet (NAO Report Serving Time: Prisoner Diet and Exercise, March 2006). As part of this report the NAO commissioned a team of consultants from Bournemouth university led by John S A Edwards, Professor of Food Service, to carry out research at eight prisons (four male, two female and two young offenders' institutions). The researchers analysed meals offered to prisoners, including 'vulnerable groups', for their nutritional value in terms of energy content; proportions of energy derived from carbohydrate, protein and fat, their dietary fibre content; and the amount of vitamins and minerals they contained.

The report concluded that food offered to prisoners is in line with Government recommendations on healthy eating and on the whole prisoners eat more healthily than the general population.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 136W

Currently NOMS has no plans to fund research or carry out an assessment on dietary disorders and behaviour relating to diet.

Prisoners: Vietnam

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many Vietnamese children and young adults have been accommodated in the prison estate in the last three years. [118426]

Mr Blunt: The following table shows the numbers of Vietnamese aged 15 to 20 held in prison establishments in England and Wales, as at 30 June of each year.

Aged201020112012

15 to 17

18

20

9

18 to 20

63

55

44

Note: These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Prisons: Mass Media

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many media requests the Prison Service received to enter prisons from (a) broadcast and (b) print media in each of the last three years; and how many were (i) accepted and (ii) rejected. [118136]

Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service desk in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) press office receives a significant number of bids for access to prisons for a variety of reasons. These include covering ongoing news stories, filming dramas, producing documentaries and to collect material for print features. Bids are received via email, phone and from journalists in person. They may go to individual prison staff, the NOMS desk, the MOJ press office newsdesk, Ministers' offices, charities working in prisons, service providers such as primary care trusts, the office of the Prison Service Chief Executive Officer and the private companies running prisons who have their own press offices. Bids from national media are usually channelled to the MOJ press office but some are immediately rejected before they reach press office and regional bids may be accepted by prisons without reference to press office. The MOJ press office does not collate the requests they receive, or progress, centrally.

As a result it would not be possible, without disproportionate cost, to provide a list of media requests to enter prisons for the past three years.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2012, Official Report, columns 631-2W, on publications, how much his Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) consultation documents and (c) publications since May 2010. [117907]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: Since May 2010 my Department, including its three executive agencies, has spent:

(a) nil on circulars;

(b) £61,026 on consultation documents; and

(c) £80,516 on publications.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 137W

My reply to the hon. Member, dated 3 July 2012, Official Report, columns 631-2W, should have stated that 38 consultation documents had been issued since May 2010, and not 37.

In the time available, my answer above at (b) only covers 36 (of 38) consultation exercises, at an average cost of £1,695 per exercise.

Young Offenders

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to make parents of children under the age of criminal responsibility accountable for criminal offences committed by their children. [118160]

Mr Blunt: The Government have no current plans to bring forward proposals to make parents accountable or responsible for acts committed by children under the age of criminal responsibility.

The minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 and the Government have no plans to alter this.

If a child under the age of 10 behaves antisocially or in a manner which would be criminal if the child were 10 or over, local authorities may seek to intervene on a voluntary basis through measures such as Youth Inclusion Support Panels (YISPs) or agreeing a parenting contract with the parent(s) of the child.

Where necessary, a local authority may apply for a child safety order which places certain requirements on the child. A parenting order can be attached to a child safety order at any point, compelling the parent(s) to attend a parenting class and take what steps they can to control the child's behaviour. Failure to comply with a parenting order is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Argentina

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Argentinian ambassador on the London 2012 Olympic Games. [117880]

Mr Jeremy Browne: I invited Ambassador Castro, along with other South American Heads of Mission in London, to a tour of the Olympic Park in May of this year. General discussions on the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic games were held during the tour. Our embassy in Buenos Aires has maintained an active and productive dialogue with the Argentine Olympic Committee over the last 18 months. I congratulate the Argentine athletes on their performance at the Olympic games, and welcome Argentina's Paralympic Team to London.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his EU counterparts on greater involvement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at an EU level. [118093]

Mr Jeremy Browne: In his speech on the UK in Asia in April, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for

3 Sep 2012 : Column 138W

Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), called for greater European engagement with Asia. The UK plays an active role in encouraging our European partners to increase engagement with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states. The UK strongly supported the EU's accession to the ASEAN treaty of amity and cooperation which marked a milestone in deepening relations between the EU and ASEAN.

The Secretary of State attended the EU-ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Brunei in April which agreed a Plan of Action covering the areas on which the EU and ASEAN will co-operate between 2013 and 2017. This will promote substantial EU contributions to ASEAN in the areas of maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and counter terrorism.

More broadly, the UK has been working to drive forward greater EU engagement in Asia and worked hard to support the recent joint EU-US statement on co-operation in Asia.

Bangladesh

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Bangladeshi counterpart on the recent decision to suspend the caretaker Government provisions of the Bangladesh constitution. [118016]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) raised the importance of credible elections when he met the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina in July. The British Government believe it is a matter for Bangladesh to decide how best to manage its national elections. Whether or not Bangladesh decides to hold these under a caretaker government, a strong, independent Election Commission is essential to ensure that elections are free, fair and peaceful. The UK. along with the rest of the international community, will be following the process leading up to the elections very closely. We urge all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue.

Burma

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to bring the situation in Arakan State, Burma, to the attention of the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Secretary-General. [117551]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK remains one of the most active and vocal members of the international community in raising our concerns about the situation in Burma’s Rakhine (Arakan) state with the Burmese authorities, and we will continue to do so. We have repeatedly called for the Government to put an end to the violence, to allow unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected, to resolve the issue of nationality and to grant the full respect for human rights to all the people of Burma, notably the Rohingya.

The UK continues to raise the situation in Burma at the UN Security Council. At our request, we have had three separate briefings in the last eight months from

3 Sep 2012 : Column 139W

Mr Vijay Nambiar, the Un Secretary-General’s special Adviser on Burma. We have also strongly supported a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Burma this year, which included an extension to the mandate of the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Burma, Mr Tomas Quintana.

Our attention is now focused on the upcoming UN General Assembly session in the autumn. We continue to stress to the Burmese Government that unless they resolve the many outstanding issues, including the serious situation in Rakhine state, we will press for a UN resolution which highlights the strength of our concerns.

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the situation of the Rohingya people with Aung San Suu Kyi (a) on her recent visit to London and (b) subsequently. [118035]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Both the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and the Prime Minister, raised the plight of the Rohingya community with Aung San Suu Kyi during her recent visit to the UK in June, During their meetings Ministers made clear their concern about the issues affecting the Rohingya, including their rights to nationality.

Embassy officials remain in regular contact with Aung San Suu Kyi, and continue to express to her the UK's concern about the situation in Rakhine state. We have repeatedly called for the Burmese Government to put an end to the violence, to allow unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected, to resolve the issue of nationality and to grant the full respect for human rights to all the people of Burma, notably the Rohingya.

Aung San Suu Kyi was recently named as the chair of a new "Parliamentary Committee on the Rule of Law, Peace and Stability". Its mandate will give her an opportunity to play a more active role in addressing the issues affecting Burma's ethnic communities.