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29 Mar 2010 : Column WA331

29 Mar 2010 : Column WA331

Written Answers

Monday 29 March 2010

Agriculture: Cattle Emissions


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Indicator 6.1.2 on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is compiled using statistics from the set of environmental accounts published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which in turn use statistics from the greenhouse gas inventory now published by DECC. The 2007 environmental accounts were published by the ONS in July 2009 and these were then used to update indicator 6.1.2 published in the 2009 autumn performance report in line with previous years. The 2008 data are expected to be available in the summer of 2010 and will be used to update the indicator within the 2010 autumn performance report.

The complex nature of the calculations for both the inventory and the environmental accounts and the timing by which the variety of data sources used in their compilation become available leads to an inevitable delay before indicator 6.1.2 can be published. But we will continue to look for ways to improve the timeliness of the publication of this indicator without compromising its accuracy.

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops


Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Current genetically modified (GM) products approved for food and feed use in the European Union (EU) are not intended to provide benefits directly for consumers. They are mainly products made from GM crops which are designed to make

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weed and pest control easier for farmers, being herbicide-tolerant, insect-resistant, or a mix of both these traits. In addition, the EU has just approved the cultivation and marketing of a GM potato which has altered starch composition for various industrial uses.

Defra is aware of various published reports on the impact of GM crop cultivation in other countries. The reported impacts can vary according to the specific type of crop involved and the country or region of use. In addition, outcomes may fluctuate over time, and the range of evidence available on a given impact may not cover a consistent period.

Asked by The Countess of Mar

Lord Davies of Oldham: There is not normally a substantive discussion when votes are taken in the Council of Ministers on proposed authorisations for genetically modified (GM) products. Any issues about the scientific evidence relating to a specific product are usually raised at an earlier stage in the EU assessment process, before a decision is referred to the council. Scientific questions concerning GM food and feed applications under Regulation (EC) No.1829/2003 can be raised at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, and for applications made under the GMO Deliberate Release Directive 2001/18/EC, at the associated Regulatory Committee. The position taken by the UK on GM applications is informed by the expert scientific advice provided by the European Food Safety Authority and the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.

Agriculture: Maps


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The number of maps that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed, amended and returned and those still outstanding, are shown in the table below.

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Week Ending4/9/200921/10/200930/10/200927/11/200918/12/200929/1/201026/2/201019/13/2010

Original Maps Sent from RPA









Maps Accepted by Customers









Maps Returned to RPA for Amendment









Customer Responses Outstanding









Amended Confirmation Maps Sent









Outstanding Confirmation Maps still to be Sent









* The number of maps accepted by customers includes customers who did not respond after several reminders and were therefore deemed to have accepted by default.

Asked by Baroness Byford

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Rural Land Register has been using base data from Ordnance Survey 2001 Mastermap. The Rural Payments Agency has been updating this with the 2008 version and using this information, along with aerial photography, to identify changes to land and features ineligible for the single payment scheme.

The maps sent to farmers show field parcel sizes so farmers can compare the new map information with the old maps they held previously and can see any increase or decrease in field size.

Anglo-US Defence Trade Treaty


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Her Majesty's Government discusses the UK-US Defence Trade Co-operation Treaty frequently with all levels of the US Government. Ratification of the treaty still awaits the approval of the US Senate, and the UK has also ensured that Members of the Senate are aware of the benefits the treaty brings to both nations in operational and industrial terms.

Armed Forces: Aircraft


Asked by Lord Moonie

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): As published in the Major Projects Report 2009 (MPR09), the cost of the Typhoon demonstration and manufacture phase is £17.526 billion. This covers the main development contract, tranche 1 and tranche 2. The tranche 3A cost is subject to validation by the National Audit Office and will be reported formally in MPR 10.

Armed Forces: Medals


Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The accumulated campaign service medal was instituted for aggregated service and repeat tours of duty for those locations anywhere where a campaign medal is awarded.

We believe this is the most appropriate way to recognise repeat tours of duty, and so there are no plans to consider adding a bar to service medals.

Armed Forces: Reserve Forces


Asked by Lord Moonie

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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): In order to qualify for an annual bounty, a tax-free, lump-sum bonus of up to £1,621 for meeting the training commitment, volunteer reservists are required to undertake a minimum 27 days training per annum, or 19 days for some specialist units.

Between 1 March 2009 and 1 March 2010, 20,470 volunteer reservists, excluding members of university units, received an annual bounty. This represents 61 per cent of all volunteer reservists, excluding members of university units-a level that has been stable for the past 20 years.

Members of the regular reserve currently have various training obligations according to service and status under the Reserve Forces Act 1996. In practice, these have not been applied since the end of the Cold War, although voluntary training may be undertaken. In 2009, 30 individuals received the ex-regular and other ranks training bounty of £369 for undertaking annual specialist military training of 5-10 days.

Asylum Seekers


Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Case Resolution Directorate (CRD) does not process outstanding asylum legacy cases in order of the person's arrival in the United Kingdom. As set out in the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate review of July 2006, command paper reference 275921, CRD prioritises those individuals who may pose a risk to the public, are receiving support from the agency, and those who can more easily be removed or where it is likely that the decision will be made to allow them to remain in the United Kingdom.

All cases will be dealt with on their own individual merits and in accordance with these priorities.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord West of Spithead: No asylum seeker whose case is considered to be complex would be processed in the detained fast-track procedure, irrespective of the basis of their claim.

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Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The department estimated that around 50 per cent of people found fit for work by the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance claims would subsequently move to jobseeker's allowance. Information on the percentage of current employment and support allowance claimants who fail to qualify for supported benefit status and are being advised to claim jobseeker's allowance not and currently available.

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