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Written Answers

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

The following answers were received between 15 and 24 April 2003

Privy Council

Business Plan

To ask the President of the Council when he expects to publish the Business Plan for 2002–03 for the Privy Council Office; whether the plan will be placed on the Office's website; when he will publish the Business Plan for the Privy Council Office for the financial year 2003–04; and when it will be placed on the Office's website. [108941]

It is not proposed to publish a Business Plan for 2002–03. The 2003–04 Business Plan has been drafted and will be published shortly.

Employment Relations Act

To ask the President of the Council how many staff in the Privy Council Office have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108347]

The Privy Council Office has devolved responsibility for authorising such leave to line managers and it is not recorded centrally.

National Insurance Contributions

To ask the President of the Council what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of his Department. [107902]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 29 April 2002, Official Report, column 542W.

Parental Leave

To ask the President of the Council how many staff in his Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108416]

Press Office

To ask the President of the Council how many people are employed in his Department's press office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108396]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) on 22 July 2002, Official Report, column 712W.

Property Portfolio

To ask the President of the Council what the estimated value is of the property portfolio held by the Privy Council Office. [108370]

International Development

E-Mail Addresses

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development by what e-mail address members of the public may contact (a) her and (b) each of the Ministers in her Department; and for each e-mail address if she will state (i) the date it became active, and (ii) the number of e-mails received in each month since activation. [97462]

Members of the public can contact DFID Ministers at enquiry(S)dfid.gov.uk. The address has been active since November 1997.The number of e-mails it has received from 1997–2000 are not stored centrally. Detailed records for 2001–03 are as follows:

Month200120022003
January558924875
February553780846
March6508171,574
April526900
May580934
June497869
July571965
August536747
September578776
October653872
November802891
December636602
Yearly Totals:7,14010,0773,295
Monthly average:5958401,098

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement, in relation to her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible, on (a) the amount of energy consumed, (b) spending on (i) energy and (ii) energy efficiency measures, (c) the amount saved through energy efficiency measures and (d) energy policy in each of the last five years. [108872]

The information is as follows.(a) and (b)(i): DFID's energy consumption figures for the last five years are as follows.

Energy consumption (GWh/y)

1

Energy expenditure

2

(£M/y)

Energy/m2

3

(kWh/m2/y)

Savings over 1997–8 (percentage)

4

Energy efficiency spend £(k/y)

5

1997–986.82225,513315.49
1998–996.87209,602317.751
1999–20007.58183,574350.6111
2000–017.99215,590341.308
2001–028.28245,984377.7220see below

Notes:

1 Energy consumption: this is weather-corrected in the usual manner, using annual degree days relative to the 20 year average for 1990–01. The figures are those reported on for the Central Government Estate campaign, and generally include each Department's main estate plus all agencies, but not NDPBs.

2 Energy expenditure: this is actual spend, and from April 2001, includes the climate change levy.

3 Energy/m2: this variable allows for changes in both weather and estate size on energy consumption. So annual changes will generally reflect efficiency changes.

4 Savings over 1997–98: These have been expressed as percentage savings relative to the first year quoted here, and are based on the figures in the preceding column.

5 Energy efficiency spend: Note that this is not necessarily a good measure of an effective energy efficiency policy. For example, when a new building is commissioned or an existing one refurbished, good design can actually reduce capital costs, e.g by avoiding air conditioning. The costs of an effective energy management team may also not be included.

In the past two years, energy efficiency has been built into the relocation/refurbishment plans for both sites. In London, some of the main features were:

New plant ventilation systems (£1.5m), to replace the poorly performing existing systems;
A new building management system (£800,000) which allows energy usage to be managed and controlled effectively;
A new lighting installation (£1m), which is more energy efficient.

In our East Kilbride Office, some of the main changes which are about to be made include:

New double-glazed window units with reduced u-value (low winter heat loss) and high performance glass (low summer heat gain), and therefore utilising energy free natural ventilation in lieu of air conditioning;
Energy efficient lighting system, including presence detectors;
Replacement of four existing boilers with three high efficiency units.

It is currently not possible to make meaningful direct cost comparisons on savings on energy efficiency measures with regard to the London office as we moved from a shared 1960s building (over whose landlords' policies DFID had little direct control) to a newly refurbished building in December 2001. However, energy efficiency was a major factor in the refurbishment specification. Similarly, extensive refurbishment works are currently being carried out in our office at East Kilbride, and the designs for these works have received an "excellent" BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) rating.

The Energy White Paper, Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy made clear the importance the Government attaches to improving energy efficiency in its own estate. This is reflected in several targets. There is currently an interim target of a 1 per cent per annum ongoing reduction in weather-corrected carbon emissions, pending the development of new indicators and targets based on benchmarking the performance of each Department's largest buildings.

In addition, the review of Government procurement has identified areas where procurement could reinforce the achievement of these targets, and arrangements are being made centrally for Departments to purchase goods with high energy efficiency standards and which provide good value for money.

On the purchase of renewable electricity, Ministers agreed the following target in May 2001: All departments will ensure that by 31 March 2003, at least 5 per cent. of their electricity comes from renewable sources that are exempt from the Climate Change Levy or from self generation, provided this does not entail excessive cost. This will rise to at least 10 per cent supply from such sources by 31 March 2008, but will be reviewed after 31 March 2003 to take account of market conditions following the introduction of the renewables obligation. The review of 2003 will include consideration of increasing or bringing forward the target. DFID has already more than achieved this target, as in July 2002 the London office changed its electricity supplier, resulting in a 100 per cent renewable supply for a lower unit charge (3.824p compared to 4.402p previously for a non-renewable supply).

Energy saving has therefore been an integral part of the Department's refurbishment/relocation programme. We are also on track with the development of our Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) in line with Central Government Sustainable Development policies and targets, and this will address the issue of Energy Management.

There are no agencies or non-departmental public bodies for which DFID is responsible.

External Reports

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list (a) the title and subject, (b) the total cost to her Department and (c) the commissioned author or organisation of each external report commissioned by her Department in each year since 1997. [103719]

DFID Departments and overseas offices commission a range of reports and research from external organisations on a variety of subjects related to poverty reduction. Details of these reports are not held centrally and a breakdown of such outputs could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Palestine

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what further action she is taking to tackle (a) infant mortality, (b) illiteracy and (c) unemployment among the Palestinian people. [109292]

We have supported a wide range of initiatives, bilaterally and through our contributions to the EC and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, to meet the needs of Palestinians as the humanitarian situation has deteriorated. This includes a number of emergency health programmes including midwifery training and women's health development. We also support work aimed at reducing the impact of violence on Palestinian children, as well as supplementary educational materials for children unable to attend school full time due to closures and curfews. Our work with the World bank and UNRWA helps fund employment generation schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the (a) World Bank and (b) United Nations about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza; and if she will make a statement. [109293]

We maintain very close contact with both the World Bank and the United Nations on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I discussed the Palestinian situation with both UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and World Bank President Wolfenson in New York and Washington last month. The World Bank and the United Nations Special Co-ordinator's Office play a key role in analysing the social and economic impact of the current conflict. We work closely with them on these issues, and jointly finance a number of specific initiatives. Our relations with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees are strong. Its mandate to provide education, health and emergency services to the refugee population remains critical in these troubled times.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the EU about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza; and if she will make a statement. [109294]

We maintain close contact with our European partners and with the European Commission. I have spoken recently to Commissioner Patten about the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We discussed the importance of support to Palestinian reform efforts, and implementation of the Roadmap towards a two state solution. The appalling humanitarian situation can only be resolved through a just political settlement. The EC shares our view of the need to balance immediate humanitarian assistance with longer-term support for institutional development. In the current circumstances it is essential that organisations respond quickly and flexibly to emerging Palestinian needs. I raised this issue with Commissioner Patten in relation to EC assistance.

Part-Time Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in her Department. [109277]

No formal assessment has been made—nor has there been any need for one. DFID employment practices were already compliant with the Part-time Workers Directive and the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 in advance of their introduction. Other than a minor technical adjustment to the formula used to calculate hourly remuneration rates there have been no substantial consequences for DFID. DFID supports work/life balance for staff and part time working is only one of several ways in which we offer staff flexibility in their working patterns. 7 per cent. of DFID's UK based staff work part-time.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in her Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109257]

There is no central definition of long term sick absence. DFID classifies sick absence of three months or more as long term.The number of staff on long term sick absence for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2003 was as follows:

1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002: 39
1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003: 39

Details of staff on long term sick absence prior to this period could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

DFID is working towards a reduction of 23.8 per cent. in sick absence rates from 8.4 days per staff year in 1998 to 6.4 in 2003.

World Food Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement in response to the comments made by the Executive Director of the World Food Programme to the United Nations Security Council on 7 April. [109227]

I agree with the assessment of James Morris that conditions in many parts of Africa are a cause of great concern and must not be overlooked at a time when the world's attention is on Iraq. I welcome the efforts of the World Food Programme to address urgent humanitarian need in the continent and elsewhere. In 2002, the UK gave over £60 million to WFP, principally for humanitarian operations. We will continue to be strong supporters of the Programme.However, the Government puts different emphasis on some of causes of the crises and on the steps needed to address them. An adequate donor response is of course important. I made special efforts last year to encourage other donors to respond to the urgent needs in Southern Africa. But we must go beyond investments in food aid and agriculture. In Southern Africa, the main problem is Zimbabwe and the central issue is one of governance. As Mr. Morris recognises, in other parts of Africa, continuing conflict drastically hampers opportunities to reduce hunger and poverty. We need to take account of the wide range of factors affecting food security in Africa andencourage steps, including by African governments themselves, to address the social, political and economic constraints.

I talk regularly to James Morris about problems in Africa, most recently in London on 31 March. We will continue to keep in close touch. We will also give full consideration to the proposals set out in Mr. Morris's statement for actions by the G8 countries.

Prime Minister

Athens European Council

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the informal European Council in Athens on 16 April. [109538]

I attended the Informal European Council in Athens on 16 April.The centrepiece of the meeting was the signature by the member states and the Accession Countries of the Treaty which formalises their membership of the European Union. After ratification in all the countries the new member states will formally join the Union in May next year. In the meantime they will participate as active observers in most of the Union's meetings.I expressed my unreserved welcome for enlargement and the contribution which it makes to the democratic stability of Europe and to its prosperity.The European Council heard a report from the Chairman of the Convention, President Giscard d'Estaing, on progress so far. The Council reaffirmed its

£ million
(1)Central government support to BR in 1976 Public Expenditure Survey prices(2)Central government support to BR in cash prices(3)External finance requirement (EFR) of BR in cash prices(4)EFR of BR and, since privatisation, central government support to rail industry in cash prices (5)Total rail investment in cash prices
1972–73171110
1973–74251119
1974–75533147
1975–76507216
1976–77457213
1977–78479249
1978–79494281
1979–80641367
1980–81790431
1981–82960409
1982–83848378
1983–84811439
1984–851,045476
1985–86910550
1986–87777530
1987–88545631
1988–89376695
1989–90711889
1990–911,0771,022
1991–921,4641,293
1992–932,0641,476
1993–941,4611,184
1994–951,4971,250
1995–962311,100
1996–977751,225
1997–981,4541,544
1998–991,2491,999
1999–20001,1062,248
2000–019312,958
2001–021,5204,070

commitment to the successful completion of the Convention by the June meeting of the European Council.

The European Council took the opportunity to discuss Iraq in the presence of the Secretary General, Kofi Annan. We reaffirmed the view the UN should play a central role in Iraq; that Iraqis should progressively be involved in the management of their country and that the EU would consult on the contribution it could make beyond the humanitarian assistance already being offered.

I had separate bilateral meetings with the UN Secretary General, with the Irish Prime Minister and the President of the Commission.

Transport

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the net cost to the public purse was of expenditure on railways in each year from 1973. [102479]

For each of the 30 years from 1972–73 to 2001–02 the table shows, in columns (1)-(4), total central government support to, and the external finance requirement of, British Rail and, since privatisation, total central government support to the rail industry. In column (5), it shows total rail investment. Columns (1)-(4) are not cumulative with column (5).

Source:

Central government support figures for the years from 1972–73 to 1975–76 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans, Volume II, Cmnd 6721–11, February 1977, Table 2.6. Central government support figures for the years from 1976–77 to 1979–80 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans 1982–83 to 1984–85, Volume II, Cmnd 8494–11, March 1982, Table 2.6. British Rail external finance requirement (EFR) figures for the years from 1980–81 to 1984–85 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans 1986–87 to 1988–89, Volume II, Cmnd 9702–11, January 1986, Table 5.21. EFR and central government support figures for the years from 1985–86 onwards are from National Rail Trends (NRT), Table 5.1. Investment figures are from NRT, Table 5.2.

Central government support figures for 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 include privatisation effects.

These consisted of:

(a) proceeds from the sales of businesses which (other than those from the sale of Railtrack) were used to reduce the rail industry's overall funding requirement; less
(b) the external finance contributions (EFCs) lost when businesses were sold. A business's EFC represented the excess of its income from revenue and grant over its costs. Each time a business was sold, its EFC was lost to the public sector and BR's overall external finance requirement adjusted accordingly.

Investment figures for 1993–94 onwards include investment by the private sector.

Air Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what action was taken as a result of the Civil Aviation Authority Airworthiness Notice No. 19 of 1992; [109380](2) what assessment he has made of the availability of counterfeit aircraft spare parts in

(a) the UK, (b) the EU and (c) countries with airlines using UK airports. [109379]

Control systems to prevent the use of unapproved aircraft parts by the aviation industry have been in place in the UK for over 30 years. Parts and components are not fitted to UK registered aircraft unless the certifying engineer releasing the aircraft to service is completely satisfied that the parts comply with CAA requirements and those of the aircraft manufacturer. In addition, all UK registered commercial aircraft are subject to regular airworthiness inspections and the CAA carries out systematic audits and ad hoc inspections of UK operators and aircraft maintenance organisations. The UK has no jurisdiction over the availability of counterfeit parts in other countries, responsibility for which rests with the State concerned.Airworthiness Notice 19 is an advisory notice to operators and maintenance organisations reminding them of the need to remain vigilant in the detection of bogus aircraft parts. It is reviewed and updated to reflect current knowledge on the issue of unauthorised or bogus parts. Notice 19 also reminds operators and maintenance organisations that any unauthorised parts must be reported to the CAA.

Departmental Annual Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the annual report of the Department will be published. [107871]

The spring 2003 Departmental Reports are to be published between 28 April and 16 May 2003. We will publish our Departmental report within this period.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement, in relation to his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible, on (a) the amount of energy consumed, (b) spending on (i) energy and (ii) energy efficiency measures, (c) the amount saved through energy efficiency measures and (d) energy policy in each of the last five years. [108861]

The Department for Transport was formed in May 2002 and as a result of changes to the departmental buildings portfolio there are not five years of records covering the information requested. As the Department has been in existence for less than a year, there have been no specific annual energy reports produced to date.

Freight Facilities Grants

:To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the number of additional lorry journeys each day since the suspension of (a) freight facility grants and (b) track access charges; [108381](2) when he expects

(a) rail freight facility grants and (b) track access grants to be reinstated. [108380]

No assessment has been made of the effect of the suspension of freight grants on the number of lorry journeys. Expenditure on freight grants is expected to be in the order of £40 million in both 2003–04 and 2004–05. The SRA is keeping the position under review.

Part-Time Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in his Department. [109266]

My Department is committed to providing appropriate Work Life Balance for staff and part-time working is one of several ways in which staff are afforded flexibility in their working patterns. Approximately 8 per cent. of staff in the Central Department work on a part-time basis.The Part-time Workers (Prevention of less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 have re-inforced the policies applying in my Department of providing equality of treatment regardless of working patterns. The Department supports a network for alternative workers, including part-timers.

Regions White Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made towards the aim in the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, of assessing the balance of staff between the centre and the regions in terms of effective policy design and implementation; and what examples there have been since the publication of the White Paper of the Department deciding between locating new streams of work (a) in and (b) outside London and the south east. [108574]

My Department keeps under review the balance of resources between the centre and the regions in ensuring the most effective arrangements for the development and implementation of policy. Across the Department and its Agencies as a whole about 75 per cent. of staff are already based outside the south east.From January 2001 the Highways Agency began transferring functions from London to its regional offices in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Bedford and Dorking. This strategy is an integral part of the Agency's Change Management Programme for improved business performance, and delivery of its 10-year plan. By May 2003, 235 Highways Agency jobs will have been transferred from London to regional locations, in addition to new agency jobs created in the regions as a result of the Roads Programme and other business expansion.The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget plans to examine relocation of public services with the aim of achieving best value for money. He has asked Sir Michael Lyons—Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies at Birmingham University—to advise on relocation by the next Spending Review.

Treasury

Public Liability Insurance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the change has been in average UK public liability insurance premium costs in each year since 1992. [108293]

We do not collect regular information on average UK public liability insurance premium costs.

Exhibitions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list events at which his Department and each agency and non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible have exhibited in each of the past three years, stating for each (a) the purpose of exhibiting, (b) the cost of exhibiting and (c) the number of staff attending for the exhibition. [107613]

The information in respect of HM Treasury, the Inland Revenue and the UK Debt Management Office would only be available at disproportionate cost.The information requested for the rest of the Chancellor's departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies has been placed in the Library of the House.

Media Advertising

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of spending on media advertising by his Department was each month since June 1997 through (a) radio, (b) newspapers, (c) magazines, (d) television and (e) new media and the internet. [108551]

Part-Time Workers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in his Department. [109278]

The Treasury complies with the requirements of the Part-time Workers Directive. Part-time workers in the Treasury are treated in the same way in their contractual terms and conditions as comparable full-timers. There are 60 staff across all grades who currently work either part-time or have job-shares. The Treasury has a number of practical policies in place to recognise the importance of having a work life balance. In addition to working part-time and job shares, the Department encourages other alternative working patterns such as term-time working, homeworking and working flexible hours.

Productivity

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of labour productivity in (a) the private sector and (b) the public sector was in each quarter of each year since 1997. [108465]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from L. Cook to Mr. Michael Howard, dated 28 April 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the level of labour productivity for the private and public sectors. (108465)
The Office for National Statistics publishes indices of labour productivity data, but these are not available split between public and private sectors.

Property Portfolio

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated value is of the property portfolio held by his Department. [108363]

The estimated value of the property portfolio of the Treasury and its Agencies at 31 March 2003 is £108,495,000.

Unemployment Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate, on the basis of the current labour force survey panel data, how many people of working age have been out of paid employment for at least four consecutive quarters. [109060]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from L. Cook to Mr. Steve Webb, dated 24 April 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about people who have not been in paid employment for at least four successive quarters. (109060)
Labour Force Survey records for the four quarters up to September to November 2002, show an estimated 7.2 million people of working age who were out of paid employment in each of the four successive quarters. This estimate includes people who had never had a paid job and those who were not seeking work, as well as those who were seeking work.

Working Hours

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible. [107655]

HM Treasury

The Treasury has one location in London. For people working full time the contracted working week including meal breaks is 41 hours. A five day working week is, wherever practicable, the standard arrangement throughout the Department. There is no standard departmental core hours or flexible working hours scheme. All such schemes are set up on a Team basis by agreement between the Team Leader, line managers and members of staff. Hours are recorded using a working hours spreadsheet. The Department encourages alternative working patterns including part-time/term-time working and job sharing and homeworking.

Inland Revenue

For people working full time the contracted working week—including meal breaks—is 41 hours in London or 42 hours elsewhere. These hours are normally worked over a five-day week. Generally, including an hour for lunch, the standard daily hours in London are 08.45 to 17.00 from Monday to Thursday and 08.30 to 16.30 on Friday. Elsewhere they are 08.30 to 17000 Monday to Thursday and 08.30 to 16.30 on Friday. The standard daily hours can vary between different offices.

Most people in the grades Administrative Assistant through to Senior Executive Officer can choose to work flexible working hours (FWH), and in practice the vast majority do. There is a national FWH framework that has been agreed with theunions—it has been updated and expanded very recently. Local office schemes are drawn from the national framework.

Broadly FWH offers people a range of different working patterns. They can take up to three-days' "flex-leave" in an accounting period (usually four weeks). And there are rules to prevent people building up too large a deficit of hours.

Inland Revenue policy is to offer FWH to as many people as possible but always subject to the requirement to balance the needs of staff to achieve an appropriate work/life balance with everybody's responsibility to meet business and service requirements. So the FWH provisions of particular schemes will differ, because they will be determined by local business need.

HM Customs and Excise

Staff work 41 hours, including lunch breaks, in London and 42 hours including lunch breaks, elsewhere, with the attendance pattern being dictated by the needs of the work at a particular location. Within these attendance patterns, the Department operates various attendance schemes which enable staff to balance their work and domestic lives, and this supports the Department's policy of achieving a diverse workforce.

These attendance schemes include part-time/term-time working and job sharing; home-working and flexible working hours (FWH). Under FWH, staff have a core time of attendance which is locally agreed between management and unions, typically 10.00 to 15.30. Staff have a reasonable degree of freedom over their meal break within the core time, and over their starting and finishing times outside the core time.

Some of the Department's attendance patterns that are driven by the needs of the work still allow staff a considerable degree of flexibility in the way in which their working lives are arranged.

The Valuation Office Agency

All staff should attend between the hours of 10.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 16.00. Staff can work between 7.00 and 19.00 (subject to the opening hours of individual buildings). They must take a minimum of half an hour for lunch. They must be at work during the core hours.

Staff can carry forward or go into debit to a maximum of 18 hours over a four week accounting period. Credits can be taken as "flexi leave" of up to 2–5 days per four week accounting period.

Staff are required to record all hours they have worked. Records are checked and audited.

The Agency is currently piloting new and more flexible ways of working in order to facilitate an enhanced Work Life Balance for staff. As pilots, they are not as yet "Policy", but will inform future policy. These pilots essentially remove the core hours and include "compressed hours".

The Government Actuary's Department (GAD)

GAD operates a flexible working hours system. Employees' conditioned hours are seven hours and 12 minutes per day and, including meal breaks, 41 hours per week. Core hours are between 10:00 and 12:00 and between 15:00 and 16:00. Flexible working bands exist for employees to start work at anytime between 08:00 and 10:00 and leave anytime between 16:00 and 18:30. This is recorded on an electronic 'flexi clock' over a four week period. Employees are allowed to take up to two days flexi leave in the relevant period provided they have the relevant amount of credit. Extra time must be worked to reduce any deflicit.

Debt Management Office (DMO)

The DMO is a small organisation with approximately 80 specialist staff and operates flexible starting and finishing times where possible taking account of operational requirements, and does not operate formal flexi time or flexi leave arrangements other than for staff transferred in from the National Investment and Loans Office to the DMO last year. The core hours between which staff would normally be required to work are 10.00 and 16.00 hours

Former NILO staff may at present continue to vary their times of arrival and departure in accordance with their Flexible Working Hours Code of Practice. This provides for a bandwidth between 8.00 to 10.00 for arrival and 15.30 to 18.00 for departure, providing that overall efficiency is maintained and that adequate cover is provided during the working day. A maximum of one-five days accumulated flexi leave may be taken in each four week accounting period.

Additionally full consideration is given to all requests from the combined NILO/DMO staff for temporary or permanent changes in working arrangements (such as reduced hours, short working week, part time or job share arrangements) because of changing demands in individuals) personal lives or for such circumstances as religious or cultural observance, caring responsibilities etc.

The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint operates a Flexible Working Hours system for many of its administrative staff whereby they must be present during the essential part of the day (core time) but are able to vary within reason, provided meaningful work is available, the hours worked before and after the core times.

The core times are 09.30–12 noon and 14.00–15.30. The earliest and latest start and finishing times are 0700 and 1800. Staff may carry over each month a debit or credit of up to a day and a half. There is, however, an overriding principle that this flexibility must be achieved without impairing the efficiency of the Department and the service it provides. Staff working in, and directly linked to, the manufacturing processes are not on a flexible working hours system.

Office of Government Commerce (OGC)

Standard working hours in OGC are 41 hours per week including a one-hour lunch break each day. Core hours when staff are expected to be at work are from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 16.00.

OGC have introduced a Flexible Working Hours scheme (FWH) that provides staff, with the agreement of line management to work flexibly within agreed core times. The OGC Flexible Working (FWH) Scheme is based on conditioned hours of 144 hours across a four-week accounting period, for full time staff. Staff who work more than their net conditioned hours in the accounting period are able to carry over a number of credit hours into the next 4-week accounting period. Staff may also carry over a debit into the next period. The scheme aims to provide staff with as much flexibility as possible to allow more scope to accommodate personal and domestic commitments. It also provides flexibility for managers to meet the business needs of OGC.

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

ONS allows staff to work flexibly across all its four sites. The current system requires most staff to be in the office in core hours, but in the Southport Office no "core" period exists within the working day.

Details of the core and flexible hours periods in each working day are set out in the table. In practice people can work flexibly around these hours subject to business need.

ONS site

Core hours

Flexible hours

London10.30–11.30; 15.00–15.3007.00–19.00
Newport10.00–12:00; 14:00–15.3007.30–18.30
SouthportN/a07:00–19:00
Titchfield10.00–12:00; 14.00–15.3007:00–19.00

National Savings and Investments (NS&I)

NS&I operates flexible working practices for all employees. NS&1's core hours are from 9:30–12:00 and 14:00–15:30, which is the period when employees must be on duty. NS&I operates a formal flexible working hours scheme for eligible employees. The set periods of the working day when an employee can decide are 7:45–9:30, 12:00–14:00 and 15:30–17:45.

Culture, Media And Sport

Broadcasting

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff were employed by the (a) Broadcasting Standards Commission, (b) Independent Television Commission and (c) Radio Authority in each of the last five years; and what the annual budget was in each of those years in each case. [108936]

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Staff numbersIncome (£)Expenditure (£)Operating deficit/

credit (£)
ITC
1998119518,019,00018,111,000-92,000
1999118416,882,00017,099,000-217,000
2000118718,551,00018,229,000-322,000
2001116617,874,00018,365,000-491,000
2002118019,138,00020,091,000-953,000
BSC
1997–98231,975,3311,997,529-22,198
1998–99231,994,2482,009,892-15,644
1999–2000211,972,7481,968,3544,394
2000–01211,955,8971,971,509-15,612
2001–02202,100,8122,020,48880,324
Radio Authority
1998413,500,0003,530,000-28,000
1999403,950,0003,940,0008,000
2000464,140,0004,150,000-8,000
2001484,730,0004,410,000328,000
2002474,720,0004,830,000-119,000
1 ITC staff numbers not including members of the commission.

Librarians

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the cost of employing librarians in (a) Worcestershire County Council, (b) Warwickshire County Council, (c) Gloucestershire County Councils, (d) Birmingham, (e) Coventry, (f) Dudley, (g) Sandwell, (h) Solihull, (i) Walsall and (j) Wolverhampton metropolitan district councils. [109356]

This information is not held centrally. However, the total employee expenditure for the library services quoted can be calculated using the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy's (CIPFA's) Public Library Statistics 2000–01 Actuals volume. The total population for each authority is shown at column 1 and the employee expenditure per thousand population figure is at column 148.The House of Commons Library has a copy of the above publication which is the latest available in this series.

National Sports Day

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will fund and support a National Sports Day to encourage young people to try sport or exercise. [105597]

We encourage as many schools as possible to have a sports day as part of an overall package of PE and school sport activities.

Part-Time Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in her Department. [109267]

The Department supports a range of flexible working options aimed at helping staff to achieve a better work/life balance including part-time working, job-share, compressed hours, term-time working, home-working and flexible working. Currently, 6 per cent. of the total number of staff at the Department work part-time. Part-time workers have the same developmental opportunities as staff that work full time.

Regions White Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made by the Department towards the aim in the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, of encouraging applicants to public bodies from all parts of England; and what change there has been in the geographical diversity of appointees to NDPBs and other public bodies sponsored by the Department since the publication of the White Paper. [108565]

DCMS undertakes a variety of activities to encourage a wider diversity of applicants for public appointments, including those from all parts of England. This includes advertising in the national press, articles in selected publications, advertising of all vacancies on our own website (www.culture.gov.uk), the new public appointments website (www.publicapptsvacs.gov.uk) and the Just Do Something site (www.justdosomething.net) run by Common Purpose. We also participated in the regional public appointments seminars organised by the Women and Equality Unit during 2002.There has been little change in the geographical profile of people appointed to DCMS public bodies since the publication of Your Region, Your Choice in May last year. However, recent restructuring of several of our strategic bodies supports the aim set out in the White Paper to reflect the needs of individual regions in developing national policies and programmes. For example, we have created regional representation on Arts Council England and Sport England through the appointment of regional Board Chairs to their Councils, and recognised the role of Regional Development Agencies in restructuring support for tourism.

Sports Facilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 665W, on sports facilities, how many community sports coaches will be based in (a) the London Borough of Harrow and (b) other London boroughs; and if she will make a statement. [109321]

Decisions on the locations of the first phase of Community Sports Coaches will not be made until the autumn.

Summer Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the (a) summer schools and (b) performance camps which will be based in the London borough of Harrow over the next 12 months. [109322]

There is a wide variety range of summer school and performance camp activity planned for the London borough of Harrow in the next year.Sport England's Active Sports Programme will deliver activities across an increasing range of sports in the area. More details on these are set out in the table.Arts Council England will also be funding summer school activity in the Borough. This will include a four-week summer school at Arts Culture, Harrow, providing a wide range of arts and crafts sessions for pre-school children to 16-year olds. The organisation is also running two weeks of participatory musical theatre courses for children of all ages and Tomorrow's Warriors, a local information, co-ordination and advisory resource centre for promoters, musicians, and arts organisations, which is currently developing plans for a series of 'jam' sessions for local young people over the summer.Harrow will also be covered by the new holiday activities programme jointly developed by DCMS and others across Government. Building on the success of last year's summer activities schemes, the new programme will, through a 'single pot', provide funding for positive activities for children and young people aged 8–19 during all school holiday periods. While the scheme is due to go live in the Whitsun break, delivery plans for this are still in development, so it is not possible to say at this stage what provision there will be in Harrow.

Active Sports Programme Activity Planned for 2003–04 in Harrow

Sports

December 2001 to December 2002 (Phase 1 sports)

December 2002 to December 2003 (Phase 2 and 3 sports)

Athletics (P2)No activity until December 2003#–04
Coach Education Programme available for Borough
Coaches
Basketball (P1)Come and Try It Sessions = 16 boys attendedCome and Try It Sessions
Coaching Course = 25 boys and girls attended2 x Mixed Coaching Courses
District Camps for boys and girlsDistrict Camps for boys and girls
Clubs: London Lords and London UnitedClubs: London United
Coach Education ProgrammeCoach Education Programme
Cricket (P1)1 x Mixed U12 24 Week Coaching Sessions = 20 players attended1 x Mixed U12 24 Week Coaching Sessions
District Tournaments (Talent Identification process)
District Tournaments (Talent Identification process)Clubs: Bessborough CC and Headstone Manor CC
Clubs: Bessborough CC and Headstone Manor CCCoach Education Programme
Coach Education Programme
Girls Football (P1)Coach Education programme available to Borough Coaches2 x Local Coaching Course
2 x Local Coaching Course
1 x Schools Competition
1 x Development Squad Centre
Club: Harrow FC and Northwood FC
Coach Education Programme
Hockey (P3)No Activity in December 2002 to December 2003
Coach Education Programme available for Borough Coaches
Netball (P2)Coaching sessions
Coach Education Programme
Breezers" Netball Club
Rugby League (P3)No activity in December 2002 to December 2003
Coach Education Programme available for Borough Coaches
Rugby Union (P1)Schools Involved with Activity: Pinner Park, St Georges, Pinner Wood, Priesthood, St Johns CofE, Vaughan, St Theresa"s RC, Pinner Park, St Bernadette"s RC = 90 playersSchools Coaching Programme Harrow RFC
Coach Education Programme
Coach Education Programme
Swimming (P2)Three Festivals and Five Camps
Coach Education Programme
Clubs: Harrow and Wealdstone (and Survive and Save, Harrow Scout and Guide)
Tennis (P2)No Activity in December 2002 to December 2003
Coach Education Programme available for Borough Coaches

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Environmental Liability Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has commissioned into the environmental benefits of compulsory environmental liability insurance [108925]

The Department, in consultation with business generally, the insurance industry, and other relevant Government Departments, undertook a detailed assessment of the implications of compulsory financial security, which has emerged in the course of the Council negotiation on the European Commission's draft Directive on Environmental Liability. The Commission's proposal was merely For Member States to encourage operators to use appropriate insurance or other forms of financial security. The need to have financial cover could impose disciplines on operators to improve their operations in order to minimise the risks of environment damage. The assessment suggests that the environmental benefits, which were evaluated in the Department's Extended Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (COM(02)17), could be substantially lower than the costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has commissioned into the impact compulsory environmental liability insurance may have on British businesses; and if she will make a statement [108926]

The Department, in consultation with business generally, the insurance industry, and other relevant Government Departments, undertook a detailed assessment of the implications of compulsory financial security, which has emerged in the course of the Council negotiation on the European Commission's draft Directive on Environmental Liability. The Commission's proposal was merely for Member States to encourage operators to use appropriate insurance or other forms of financial security. The assessment revealed costs to business ranging from £79million (managed funds) to £1.8billion (insurance).

Agri-Environment Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department's proposed 'broad and shallow' agri-environment scheme will include measures which will help alleviate soil erosion and run-off from the land. [108530]

The 'broad and shallow' Entry Level Agri-environment Scheme Pilot does include specific measures aimed at improving resource protection and combating soil erosion, such as buffer strips next to watercourses and improved management of high erosion risk cultivated land. The pilot will be used to evaluate whether this approach is successful and if it is, such measures will be incorporated into the main scheme to be rolled out in 2005.

Agriculture And Fisheries Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcome was of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 8 April; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [109079]

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Commons) and I represented the UK at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 8 April. The Ministers with agriculture and fisheries responsibilities in the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly Government were also present.The Council held an in-depth debate on the Commission's proposals for decoupling farm aids, cross-compliance, transferring funding from direct subsidies into rural development spending and other cross-cutting measures which form the centrepiece of its proposals for reform of the CAP. I expressed the United Kingdom's broad support for the proposals while calling for greater simplification, reduction of bureaucracy and fairer mechanisms for allocating reductions in direct aids and increases in rural development funding. The Council will return to this dossier at its next meeting with a view to reaching a conclusion in June if possible.The Council held a brief debate on the WTO agriculture agreement negotiations in Geneva and endorsed Commissioner Fischler's intention to continue working to secure a balanced package that could enable agreement to be reached at the WTO Ministerial in Mexico in September.The Council received progress reports on a Commission proposal to improve hygiene controls on products of animal origin and its proposed new directive on the control of foot and mouth disease. It approved an Italian state aid to assist members of agricultural cooperatives that had become insolvent.On fisheries, the Council agreed a Commission proposal to amend the cod recovery measures agreed last December to clarify and correct various points and to make the measures slightly more flexible. The Commissioner also presented a communication aimed at improving the scientific advice available to fisheries managers. Under other business it was announced that, because of the poor state of the cod stock, the Commission would be using emergency powers to close the Baltic cod fishery with effect from 15 April.Under other business the Council heard reports on the avian influenza outbreak in the Netherlands, the Commission's plans for carrying forward the French initiative on trade measures to assist sub-Saharan Africa and negotiate on wine agreements with the United States and Canada

Animal By-Products Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she advises under the Animal By-Products Regulation to householders who find a (a) deer, (b) badger and (c) fox carcase in the garden. [107915]

The carcases, or parts of carcases, of wild animals, including deer, badgers and foxes, will be exempt from the scope of the Regulation unless they are thought to be diseased or are used to produce game trophies. Householders are advised to contact their local authority for advice on appropriate disposal methods.However, in some parts of the country (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire) badgers may be infected with TB. In these areas, householders are advised to contact their local Animal Health Office who may wish to test the carcase for TB.

To ask the Secretary of State for. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will list the EU countries which (a) have classified shellfish waste as animal waste for the purposes of the Animal By-Products Regulation and (b) have obtained derogations exempting shellfish or fish producers in remote areas from the regulation; [108792](2) when she decided that fish and shellfish waste should be treated as covered by the EU Animal By-Products Regulation; when this decision was communicated to the fish and shellfish processing industries; and if she will list the bodies or companies in those industries who were consulted by the Department on this issue; [108793](3) if she will make transitional provisions to enable shellfish producers to find alternative means to landfill of disposing of shellfish waste after 1May. [108794]

[holding answer 14 April 2003]: Council Directive 90/667/EEC (the Animal Waste Directive) already classifies shellfish and fish waste as an animal by-product and applies to all member States. The Directive will be replaced by Regulation 1774/2002 (the Animal By-Products Regulation) which maintains the same principle. The Sea Fish Industry Authority was consulted during negotiations on the Regulation and a number of other fish and shellfish industries were sent the consultation document of 27 January 2003 on enforcing the Regulation. The consultation document and list of consultees can be found at http://defraweb/corporate/consult/euanimbyprod/conslist.htm. As landfill is not currently a permitted disposal route for most shellfish waste, we have not asked the Commission for a transition period to allow that practice to continue. We do not know whether, or how, other member States intend to apply the derogation permitting the burial or burning of animal by-products in remote areas. However, in the UK it is likely to be limited to parts of the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the obligations on property owners for the disposal of carcases from their land which are of animals that are (a) wild and (b) owned by another; [108126](2) if she will make a statement on the obligations of property owners for the disposal of animals deceased in their burrows. [108127]

The carcases, or party of carcases, of wild animals will be exempt from the scope of the Animal By-Products Regulation unless they are thought to be diseased or are used to produce game trophies. Although the regulation places them under no legal obligation, owners of property on which there are dead wild animals are advised to contact their local authority for advice on appropriate disposal methods.However, in some parts of the country, (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire), badgers may be infected with TB. In these areas, householders are advised to contact their local animal health office who may wish to test the carcase for TB.Where an animal carcase is found on private land and ownership of the animal is known, then the owner of the animal will be held responsible and must dispose of the carcase appropriately. However, if ownership cannot be proven, responsibility for disposal rests with the landowner. The local authority, usually Trading Standards, has powers under the statutory nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with "accumulations or deposits which are prejudicial to health or a nuisance". Appropriate action can subsequently be taken against the owner of the carcase.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what cost-benefit assessment she has undertaken on the new arrangements for farm carcase disposal; and if she will deposit it in the Library; [108128](2) what assessment she has made of costs incurred by industry from new measures for the disposal of carcases; what additional financial assistance will be made available; and if she will make a statement. [108129]

A regulatory impact assessment has been prepared as part of the consultation procedures for implementation of the Animal By-Products Regulation, of which the ban on on-farm burial of fallen stock forms a part. The costs for any individual farmers will depend on the location of the farm and the kind of stock kept.Copies of the assessment will be deposited in the Library. In addition, these documents are available on the Defra website at the following address: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/euanimbyprod/index.htmNo funds have been made to the livestock industry to help them meet the costs of complying with the EU Animal By-Products Regulation. However, Government are willing to contribute to the establishment of a national fallen stock collection scheme provided that part of the costs are met by farmers themselves. We will shortly be writing to all livestock farmers to invite them to join a voluntary subscription scheme to help finance a national fallen stock collection system. If there is sufficient interest, we will take this forward in partnership with the collection and disposal industries. Government will contribute to the funding, but the amount cannot yet be determined, as it will be linked to membership.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the (a) estimated current and (b) future levels of fly-tipping of animal carcasses with reference to new regulations on carcass disposal; what powers there are to discourage such; what additional powers are planned; and what assessment of increased risk to health from a consequential increase in such activity has been made; [108130](2) whether she has undertaken a health assessment of the impact of fallen stock lying in water: and if she will make a statement. [108131]

Local authorities will enforce the EU Animal By-Products Regulation. The local authority, usually Trading Standards, has powers under the statutory nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with "accumulations or deposits which are prejudicial to health or a nuisance". Appropriate action can subsequently be taken against the owner of the carcase. Animal by-products legislation already controls the collection, storage, transportation and disposal of animal by-products, including fallen stock. It also requires records to be kept of any off-site consignment of animal by-products to assist in the auditing and traceability of this material. In addition, there will be a record keeping requirement to ensure that all animals which die on-farm are accounted for and disposed of through permitted routes.The Department does not have information on either current or future levels of animal carcase fly-tipping. To obtain this information would involve my Department in disproportionate costs.No formal health assessments have been undertaken by my Department on the disposal of fallen stock after the Regulation comes into effect. However, the Regulation is based on a number of opinions from the EU Scientific Steering Committee (SSC). Among other things, the Committee advised that the routine burial of animals should be prohibited except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. in remote areas and emergency situations).

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what efforts her Department is making to test cattle for bovine TB in those areas which have been restocked following the end of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001. [108747]

Newly formed cattle herds and premises restocked after a herd slaughter require, as a rule, one whole-herd TB test three to six months after restocking. To manage the increased risk of introducing TB through movements of infected cattle into re-formed herds, DEFRA has instigated a programme of frequent testing of premises restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak. In addition to the usual check test carried three to six months post-restocking, those premises now require two further check tests at 12-month intervals before reverting to the normal testing interval for their parish.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what livestock movement restrictions apply to farms where (a) there has been a recent bovine TB reactor and (b) the farm is overdue for a bovine TB test. [108748]

Cattle which react to the TB test are removed for slaughter, and the herd is placed under movement restrictions until all the eligible cattle have cleared two further short interval tests (60 days).Movements of cattle to and from herds with unknown disease status constitute a disease risk. Historically, herds with overdue TB tests have not automatically been put under movement restrictions. After the TB testing programme was suspended during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, there was a backlog of 27,000 overdue tests at the end of December 2001. On 31 January 2002, after veterinary risk assessment, herds considered most at risk of infection were put under movement restrictions. On 1 February 2003, as part of the 'autumn package' of measures for the control of bovine TB, herds with tests overdue by more than 12 months were put under movement restriction. From 1 April 2003, herds with tests overdue by more than six months were also placed under movement restriction. Herds with a TB test overdue by three months or more will be put under movement restriction from 30 September 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's latest estimate is of the number of (a) late bovine TB reactor tests and (b) bovine TB reactor cattle which were not collected within the Department's target collection time in each of the last 12 months for which records are available. [108761]

The information requested is given in the tables.

Table (a) number of overdue TB tests for GB March 2002-February 2003
Total number of TB herd tests overdue1
March 200225,285
April 200222,546
May 200220,030
June 200218,037
July 200216,960
August 200215,576
September 200214,921
October 200212,177
November 20029,852
December 20026,283
January 20036,720
February 20036,139
1 Provisional data. Subject to change as information is added to the VETNET system.
Table (b) the number and percentage of TB reactors not collected from farms in England and Wales within 10 working days of disclosure: January-December 20021
TB reactors not collected within 10 working days of disclosure
NumberPercentage
January 200275960
February 20021,19176
March 20021,20176
April 20021,38776
May 20021,41379
June 200289369
July 20021,43574
August 200295976
September 20021,29976
October 20021,27574
November 20021,27768
December 20021,30377
1 TB reactor removal data for 2003 incomplete.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what animal welfare standards have been set by (a) her Department and (b) Professor John Bourne's scientific committee overseeing the Krebs field trials on bovine TB. [108762]

In designing and conducting the randomised badger culling trial (the "Krebs" trial), MAFF (now DEFRA) and the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB have given a high priority to animal welfare issues. Snares and gassing are not used in the trial. Badgers are caught in cage traps, and shot at close range by personnel trained in the safe and humane use of firearms, specifically in relation to badgers. Traps are set as late as possible in the day, and checked as early as possible next morning, to minimise the time badgers spend in traps. Trial procedures require that trapping be suspended if, due to bad weather, there is a risk that cage traps could be flooded or that trapped badgers would suffer from extreme exposure. Both temperature and wind chill must be taken into account. Seven day weather forecasts are used in the planning of trapping operations. Badgers are not culled between 1 February and 30 April (the closed season) each year to minimise the risk of capturing lactating sows with dependent cubs below ground.The humaneness of despatch procedures has been subject to independent audit which found trial procedures to be humane. The audit report is published on DEFRA's website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/publications/auditor/report.shtml

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to alter the regularity of on farm bovine TB tests. [108763]

Officials are drawing up a range of policy options for possible introduction later this year. Among the measures to be considered are a review of test frequencies to ensure compliance with EU regulations, and a review to identify whether test frequencies above the EU requirements are needed in certain areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made in identifying a vaccine to assist in the control of bovine tuberculosis. [108768]

Defra is funding research at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), Weybridge to produce candidate vaccines and to evaluate these in host species. The candidates include a range of live attenuated vaccines and sub-unit vaccines. Defra is also funding experimental vaccination of cattle with BCG and other vaccine candidates, development of a test to differentiate vaccinated animals from infected animals, and development and testing of vaccines against TB in badgers, in collaboration with University College, Dublin.The sequencing of the genome of Mycobacterium bovis (announced by Defra in March 2002) represents significant progress in vaccine research, as all genes, proteins, enzymes and antigens present in M. bovis are likely to be identified rapidly in a highly cost-effective manner. This will underpin all future Defra bovine TB research in the development of vaccines and improved diagnostic tests. Defra is funding research at the VLA in this area.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with (a) scientists undertaking research and development and (b) pharmaceutical companies regarding the timetable for developing a vaccine for the control of bovine TB within the last 12 months. [108769]

Over the past 12 months Defra has maintained close links with its vaccine research contractors through regular contact by officials and via the independent TB Vaccine Programme Advisor, the late Dr. Jo Colston.The Vaccine Scoping Study Sub-Committee (VSSSC) of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) includes both

(a) research scientists and (b) representation from the pharmaceutical industry. The Sub-Committee has met seven times over the last year and members have had discussions with researchers from Ireland and New Zealand about TB vaccination research being carried out in their countries. The VSSSC is expected to report to Ministers in late spring 2003 on the feasibility of pursuing a vaccination strategy for cattle and wildlife.

The Chief Veterinary Officer's Vaccine Steering Group, set up to identify the administrative and legal processes required to enable a vaccine to be used with minimum delay, met twice in 2002. It will meet again in early summer to consider the VSSSC report.

The ISG has cautioned that a TB vaccine is a potential policy option only in the longer term.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the (a) earliest possible and (b) optimum time for the practical introduction of a vaccine to control the spread of bovine TB. [108770]

The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle (ISO) set up a Vaccine Scoping Study Sub-Committee in January 2002 to assist in advising DEFRA Ministers on the feasibility of pursuing TB vaccination in either cattle or wildlife. Seven meetings of the Sub-Committee have taken place and its report to Ministers is expected soon.The Chief Veterinary Officer initiated an Interdepartmental Committee in May 2000 to consider in advance the administrative and legal approval processes that would be necessary to allow a vaccine to be put into use with a minimum of delay, presuming that the research projects are successful and a suitable vaccine becomes available. The Committee met twice in 2002 and will meet again in the late spring/early summer to consider the ISG Scoping Study Report.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of how many doses of vaccine would be required in each of the first years of a bovine TB control strategy once clinically viable vaccines become available. [109315]

Defra's extensive bovine TB vaccine research programme is aimed at identifying the most effective vaccine candidates and the most appropriate vaccination programmes to reduce the incidence of bovine TB. Decending on the outcome of this research, it will be necessary to gain approval for the selected vaccine or vaccines to be used in cattle or badgers or other susceptible species.At this stage the quantity of vaccine required, or the species it will be most effective to vaccinate, is not known.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what efforts her Department is making to prevent the spread of bovine TB through cattle movement (a) in foot and mouth affected areas which have been restocked since 2001 and (b) other areas. [108746]

Newly formed cattle herds and premises restocked after a herd slaughter require, as a rule, one whole-herd TB test three to six months after restocking. To manage the increased risk of introducing TB through movements of infected cattle into re-formed herds, Defra has instigated a programme of frequent testing of premises restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak. In addition to the usual check test carried out three to six months post-restocking, those premises now require two further check tests at 12-month intervals before reverting to the normal testing interval for their parish.Movements of cattle to and from herds with unknown disease status constitute a disease risk. Historically, herds with overdue TB tests have not automatically been put under movement restrictions. After the TB testing programme was suspended during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, there was a backlog of 27,000 overdue tests at the end of December 2001. On 31 January 2002, after veterinary risk assessment, herds considered most at risk of infection were put under movement restrictions. On 1 February 2003, as part of the 'autumn package' of measures for the control of bovine TB, herds with tests overdue by more than 12 months were put under movement restriction. From 1 April 2003, herds with tests overdue by more than six months were also placed under movement restriction. Herds with a TB test overdue by three months or more will be put under movement restriction from 30 September 2003.

Bse

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the amount of funds from (a) the BSE control and monitoring schemes, (b) the over 30 months scheme casualty collection service and (c) the fallen stock TSE surveillance scheme which would be used for a national scheme for collection and disposal of fallen stock. [107595]

We are already contributing nearly £30 million annually for the collection and disposal of fallen stock for TSE testing purposes. We envisage utilising, and building on the existing infrastructure to form a wider service which will reduce the costs to the industry.

Climate Change Levy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in respect of climate change levy agreements, if she will list each of (a) those facilities whose targets set for them in the relevant underlying agreement have been met and for which there is not a tolerance band in the underlying agreement in relation to that target, (b) those facilities whose targets set for them in the relevant underlying agreement have been met and for which there is a tolerance band but the target has been met without needing to take it into account, (c) those facilities whose targets set for them in the relevant underlying agreement have been met, for which there is a tolerance band and the target has only been met by taking account of it and the qualitative requirements set for the facility have been met and (d) those facilities in respect of which such qualitative requirements have been met and the target set for the facility has not been met because of a relevant constraint or requirement which had a major impact on the performance of the facility operator and prevented the target from being achieved. [82817]

Over 12,000 facilities were recently assessed against the terms of their climate change agreements. A total of 10,608 (88 per cent.) were re-certified for the reduced rate of climate change levy and all of these fall into one of the four categories above. A full list of those that have been re-certified is maintained on the following page of HM Customs and Excise website: www.hmce.gov.uk/business/othertaxes/ccl/red-rate-certs.htm. The number of re-certified facilities falling into the four categories on 31 March is given below.

  • 10,153 facilities met targets which did not include a tolerance band;
  • 455 facilities met targets which included a tolerance band but it was not taken into account;
  • One facility used a tolerance band to meet its target;
  • Four facilities made use of the Relevant Constraints procedure to meet their targets.
  • In accordance with the terms of the CCAs, the Secretary of State has consulted with sector associations to determine whether they have objections to the disclosure of the information requested about the performance of individual facilities and if so to justify their objections. Unless persuasive and compelling reasons are provided as to why disclosure should not take place, I will publish further information when it becomes available.

    Common Agricultural Policy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will next meet EU partners to discuss the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy. [107957]

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will next meet EU partners to discuss reform of the CAP at the Informal Agriculture Council meeting on 12–13 May.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made with the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy. [107958]

    There have been four separate Agriculture and Fisheries Council discussions of the Commission's proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy since their publication on 22 January. Good progress has also been made on the technical issues in Working Group. We continue to support the Presidency and Commission in seeking a successful conclusion to negotiations in June.

    Energy Policy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement, in relation to her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible, on (a) the amount of energy consumed, (b) spending on (i) energy and (ii) energy efficiency measures, (c) the amount saved through energy efficiency measures and (d) energy policy in each of the last five years. [108869]

    The table is based on data reported in the "Sustainable Development in Government" annual reports. Data on the Department's agencies and NDPBs are not available.

    Energy consumption (GWh/y)

    Energy expenditure (£M/y)

    Energy/m2 (kWh/m2/y)

    Saving over 1997–98 (%)

    Energy efficiency spend (£k/y)

    Defra/MAFF main estate

    1997–9842.461.202240164
    1998–9944.281.2712333115
    1999–200039.701.15520614104
    2000–0141.651.461

    1208

    1208

    13140
    2001–0252.651.780

    2238

    1

    331

    Defra/MAFF Laboratories

    1997–9894.782.011648177
    1998–9989.641.8786057215
    1999–200093.511.8805909117
    2000–01109.142.105

    4701

    -8

    343

    2001–02117.812.172

    2,4747

    -15

    329

    1 Combination of additional air-conditioned buildings brought into Defra estate, and out of hours working, nationally on swine fever and FMD outbreaks.

    2 FMD outbreaks—additional buildings, staff and long hours working.

    3 Budget allocations prevented investment in energy saving measures.

    4 Defra laboratories are energy aware, but work to commercial constraints. Energy use varies with contracts. Year-on-year comparisons not wholly appropriate.

    Notes:

    1. Energy consumption is weather-corrected in the usual manner, using annual degree days relative to the 20-year average for 1990–91. The figures are those reported on for the Central Government Estate campaign, and generally include each Department's main estate plus all agencies, but not NDPBs.

    2. Energy Expenditure: this is actual spend and, from April 2001, includes the climate change levy.

    3. Energy/m2: this variable allows for changes in both weather and estate size on energy consumption. So annual changes will generally reflect efficiency changes.

    4. Savings over 1997–98: These have been expressed as percentage savings relative to the first year quoted here, and are based on the figures in the preceding column.

    5. Energy efficiency spend: Note that this is not necessarily a good measure of an effective energy efficiency policy. For example, when a new building is commissioned or an existing one refurbished, good design can actually reduce capital costs, e.g. by avoiding air conditioning. The costs of an effective energy management team may also not be included.

    The Energy White Paper, "Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy" made clear the importance the Government attaches to improving energy efficiency in its own estate. This is reflected in several targets. There is currently an interim target of a 1 per cent. per annum on-going reduction in weather-corrected carbon emissions, pending the development of new indicators and targets based on benchmarking the performance of each Department's largest buildings. These new targets are planned to be in place later this year. New targets for Government Departments' use of CHP generated electricity will also be established during 2003.

    In addition, the review of Government procurement has identified areas where procurement could reinforce the achievements of these targets, and arrangements are being made centrally for Departments to purchase goods with high energy efficiency standards and which provide good value for money.

    On the purchase of renewable electricity, Ministers agreed the following target in May 2001:

    "All Departments will ensure that by 31 March 2003, at least 5 per cent. of their electricity comes from renewable sources that are exempt from the climate change levy or from self-generation, provided this does not entail excessive cost. This will rise to at least 10 per cent. supply from such sources by 31 March 2008, but will be reviewed after 31 March 2003 to take account of market conditions following the introduction of the renewables obligation. The review of 2003 will include consideration of increasing or bringing forward the target".

    Environment Agency (Construction Costs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost was of construction by the Environment Agency in Somerset and the Wessex area in each of the last three years. [107330]

    The total cost of construction by the Environment Agency in Somerset and the Wessex area in each of the last three years is as follows:

    £000
    SomersetWessex1
    2002–035,5659,827
    2001–024,5457,723
    2000–011,1794,304
    1 This figure includes the total cost of construction for Somerset.
    Flood defence projects account for most of the Agency's construction budget, its water resources function accounts for the remainder. The Agency's Wessex area consists of the three flood defence committees of Bristol Avon; Somerset; and Avon and Dorset.

    Fallen Stock

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress being made on the implementation of a national fallen stock collection and disposal scheme; what additional monies have been made available for such a scheme; and what guidance on the scheme has been issued to farmers. [107206]

    We will shortly be writing to all livestock farmers to invite them to join a voluntary subscription scheme to help finance a national fallen stock collection system. If there is sufficient interest we will take this forward in partnership with the collection and disposal industries. Government will contribute to the funding, but the amount cannot yet be determined as it will be linked to membership.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the number of fallen stock in the last year which have been (a) removed by a hunt kennel, (b) buried on farm, (c) removed by the farmer to a rendering plant, (d) removed by contractor to a rendering plant, (e) subject to another form of off-farm disposal and (f) subject to other forms of on-farm disposal. [108760]

    We do not have figures for the amount of fallen stock that were disposed of last year. To obtain this information would involve the Department in disproportionate costs.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the acceptability of on-farm (a) bio-digestors and (b) incinerators to deal with future fallen stock after 1 May. [108799]

    The bio-digestion of fallen stock is not a permitted disposal route. However, the EU Animal By-Products Regulation may allow for novel disposal methods, such as bio-digestion, to be permitted after consultation of the appropriate scientific committee.The EU Commission has received a number of applications for approval of alternative processes and has sought an opinion from the Scientific Steering Committee. To assist the assessment the Commission requires any submitted data to cover:

    the identification and characterisation of the risk materials;
    the TSE risk reduction by the particular process;
    the degree of risk containment;
    the identification of interdependent processes; and
    the intended end-use of the product.

    On-farm incineration will continue to be a permitted disposal route for fallen stock, provided it is carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation.

    Food Chain (Terrorist Threat)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department (a) is taking and (b) is taking jointly with other departments to protect (i) farms and (ii) food imports from the threat of terrorist action. [105074]

    There is no information to indicate a specific threat to the agriculture or food industry in the UK, but if such a threat should arise then specific advice targeted to the nature of the threat will be provided. The Home Office terrorism website (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/terrorism/index.html) currently contains general advice to the public and this will be updated and changed in accordance with the perceived threat. The Home Office publication "Bombs Protecting People and Property" also provides counter-terrorist security advice, specifically aimed at managers of businesses and organisations large or small and to local government. More specific advice and guidance is available from local police forces.

    In addition, with the agreement of other departments, the Food Standards Agency reminded the food industry in November 2002 of the importance of maintaining vigilance against potential malicious attacks on the food supply. This was a general reminder rather than a response to any new intelligence suggesting a specific threat. This advice remains current.

    Defra at official and ministerial level, take a full and active part in the work in central government to improve contingency planning and seek to involve all our stakeholders, in Government, agencies and industries, in the process. This latter point is vital to achieving an improved response to any emergency:

    the Civil Contingences Committee (CCC) chaired by the Home Secretary and dealing with civil contingencies matters (membership and terms of reference can be found on the Cabinet Office Website: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/cabsec/2003/cabcom/ccc.htm)
    the Defence and Overseas Policy Sub-Committee chaired by the Home Secretary and dealing with Protective and Preventative Security (DOP(IT)(T)) (membership and terms of reference can be found on the Cabinet Office Website: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/cabsec/2003/cabcom/dopjtr.htm)
    the Defence and Overseas Policy Sub-Committee chaired by the Home Secretary and dealing with consequence management and resilience (DOP(1T)(R)) (membership and terms of reference can be found on the Cabinet Office Website: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/cabsec/2003/cabcom/dopjtr.htm).

    Forestry Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the Forestry Commission's forest and woodlands are certified to FSC equivalent standards; and how much (a) money and (b) time has been spent by her Department on developing and implementing a United Kingdom woodland assurance standard that is equivalent to the FSC. [107244]

    Following an in-depth independent audit lasting several months, all 800,000 hectares of the forest and woodland area managed by the Forestry Commission were certified in 1999 in accordance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. The work to develop the Standard, which meets the criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council, was facilitated by the Commission over a period of 11 months, at a staff and overhead cost to the Commission of some £130,000. The audit work cost £145,000.

    Johne's Disease

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what strategies she has in place for tackling the spread of Johne's disease in animals; and if she will make a statement. [106534]

    Defra worked closely with the Food Standards Agency during the production of the FSA's strategy for the control of Mycobacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis (MAP) in cows' milk a part of which was to assess and validate current methods for detecting MAP infection in cattle, organise a survey of MAP infection in the UK dairy herd and produce guidance for farmers on the control of MAP infection. The guidance is expected to be published shortly and the other two aspects are being taken forward by an expert sub-group of the Chief Veterinary Officer's Surveillance Group on Diseases and Infections of Animals (SGDIA).

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has undertaken into methods of controlling Johne's disease; and if she will make a statement. [106535]

    The Department is carrying out no specific research into methods of controlling Johne's disease. The former MAFF commissioned the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) to carry out a detailed review of surveillance and control options for Johne's disease in farm animals in Great Britain. The report was published in May 2001 and is available on the Defra website.In view of the absence of an established link between Johne's disease in cattle and Crohn's disease in humans, the need for research on Johne's disease was considered against research needs in respect of other non-zoonotic endemic livestock diseases. A number of these diseases are more significant economically or have a greater adverse impact on sustainable development than Johne's disease; priority has therefore been given to research on those diseases.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has undertaken into the relationship between Microbacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis and (a) Crohn's and (b) Johne's disease. [106536]

    Mycobacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis has been known for many years to be the cause of Johne's disease. With regard to the relationship between Mycobacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis and Crohn's disease experts differ in their opinion on such a link and worldwide there is no consensus. The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens has on two occasions (1992 and 1998) concluded that a link could not be established on current evidence. A similar view was reached by the EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare.The Advisory Committee on he Microbiological Safety of Food did however, recommend that, given differing views on possible links to human illness, which are unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future, the Food Standards Agency should convene an expert group of stakeholders to look at ways to prevent the bacterium from entering the food chain. Consistent with this recommendation Defra's research programme has been directed towards reducing the levels of MAP in milk and milk products.

    Magpies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to prevent the unlawful culling of magpies. [108114]

    The control of certain birds, including magpies, is permitted under a series of general licences issued by my Department. This system, first introduced in 1992, offers a practical and easily understood method of control of certain bird species and ensures that birds are killed or taken by certain methods only, with the minimum of distress to the birds.

    Control of birds under the general licences has generally worked well, however a recent High Court judgment has illustrated that there may be areas where review of the general licences would be useful. Officials will consult stakeholders shortly and revise the licences where changes are considered necessary.

    If persons are aware that the terms and conditions of the licences allowing control of magpies are not being adhered to they should report the matter to their Police Wildlife Liaison Officer attached to their local police force. Persons found guilty of not working in accordance with the licences can face a maximum penalty of £5,000 and or six month custodial sentence. Copies of the general licences can be found on the Defra website.

    Mobile Phones

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated percentage was of disposed-of mobile phones that were recycled in 2002. [107403]

    Industry estimate that over 14 per cent. of the mobile phones disposed of in the UK in 2002 were reused or recycled.

    National Insurance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of her Department. [107894]

    It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in the 2002 Budget will increase core-Defra pay costs on average by 0.7 per cent. in 2003–04.

    Over Thirty Months Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the future of the over thirty months scheme. [106676]

    I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement on 9 April, Official Report, column 19WS, concerning payment rates under the over thirty month scheme (OTMS).

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the per kilogram rate of compensation is in the Over-Thirty-Month scheme for slaughtering cattle; what plans she has to alter this; and what the equivalent rates are in (a) France, (b) Germany and (c) Republic of Ireland. [106759]

    I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement of 9 April, Official Report, column 19WS concerning payment rates under the Over-Thirty-Month-Scheme (OTMS). The current rates set down in Commission Regulation 716/96 are 0.8 euros/kg (£0.55) for cull cows and 0.9 euros/kg (£0.62) for other cattle. The scheme is not operated in France, Germany or the Republic of Ireland.

    Press Office

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people are employed in her Department's press office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108405]

    Defra was formed in June 2001. As at 14 April 2003 the staff complement of the press office was 22 press officers and five support staff. Information on the numbers employed in equivalent press office posts in the departments that previously dealt with Defra's policies and activities would not provide an accurate comparison and could only be achieved at disproportionate cost.

    Property Portfolio

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated value is of the property portfolio held by her Department. [108361]

    As at 1 April 2003, the estimated value, as assessed for capital charging purposes, of the Department's property portfolio, including properties occupied by the Department's Executive Agencies, was £361,244,000.

    Rabies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on the eradication of wild mammals in the event of an outbreak of rabies. [108138]

    We are currently revising and updating the rabies contingency plans to take account of lessons learned from the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the latest scientific advice. In the event of an outbreak of rabies affecting terrestrial wildlife, targeted destruction of wildlife and vaccination are both potentially available methods of control. As part of the review of the contingency plan, we are looking at the most appropriate control mechanisms in different outbreak scenarios, and the process of decision-making required, taking account of the specific circumstances and location of the outbreak. It is likely that in most circumstances, vaccination would be the preferred approach.The draft rabies contingency plan will be issued for consultation in due course.

    Racehorses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a licence is required for the import or export of semen for the purposes of artificial insemination of competition stallions in (a) Europe, (b) Australia, (c) New Zealand and (d) the USA. [108916]

    [holding answer 11 April 2003]: The information is as follows:

    Imports into Great Britain
    Whether import licences are required depends on the date of collection. No import licences are required for semen collected after 1 October 1995 or 1 October 1996 depending on the country. Importers should contact Defra's International Animal Health Division for further information. Import licences are required for semen collected prior to those dates but semen collected prior to 1 October 1996 cannot be imported from New Zealand. Additionally an official export health certificate must be obtained from the veterinary authorities of the exporting country prior to the export taking place.

    Exports from Grew Britain

    Exporters must obtain an import licence from the veterinary authorities of Australia and New Zealand to allow the import of equine semen for artificial insemination in competition stallions. Import licences are not required for the USA. EU member states do not require import licences for equine semen collected since 1 October 1995 but individual member states may do so for semen collected prior to that date. Exporters should contact the veterinary authorities of the relevant member state. Additionally, an export health certificate for exports to EU member states, Australia, New Zealand or the USA must be obtained from an Animal Health Divisional Office.

    Further information can be obtained from the International Animal Health Division at 1A Page Street in London on telephone number 020 7904 6331.

    Radioactive Materials

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the occasions since 1997 when consignments of radioactive scrap metal have illegally been imported into the UK, indicating in each case what action was taken subsequent to their discovery; and if she will make a statement. [108974]

    [holding answer 14 April 2003]: The information is not available. When incidents are discovered, appropriate regulatory action is taken.

    Refrigerators

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding has been allocated to (a) Suffolk County Council, (b) St. Edmundsbury Borough Council and (c) Mid Suffolk District Council to assist with the costs of storing and processing of disposed refrigerators and freezers; and what plans she has to make further funds available. [108777]

    (a) Suffolk County Council received £430,333 from Special Grant Report 109 to assist with the costs of storing and processing refrigerators and freezers in 2002–03. This was in addition to an allocation from the £6 million provided to Waste Disposal Authorities in England for 1 January to 31 March 2002. Spending Review 2002 included future funding within the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services block which will be distributed through Formula Standard Shares (FSAs).

    (b) and (c) St. Edmundsbury Borough Council and Mid Suffolk District Council received no additional support as funds have been allocated to Waste Disposal Authorities only.

    Sparrows

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effects of additives present in lead free petrol on the sparrow population. [108945]

    No specific research has been undertaken to assess whether pollution, or the effects of additives in lead free petrol, have had an impact on the house sparrow population.However, recent published Defra research identified various potential factors which may have been responsible for the decline of house sparrows in urban situations—air quality and pollution were suggested as having a potential impact.A one-day conference will be held later in the year to present the work undertaken so far by my Department and other organisations, to assess where the priorities for research lie and to develop co-ordination of any further work. This conference will raise the profile of the house sparrow and start the process of preparing guidelines on how the average person might improve the number of house sparrows visiting their garden and the wider community.

    Thomsen Judgment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had will the European Commission on the recent Thomsen judgment in respect of the management of milk quotas with regard to (a) whether quotas are for the beneficial use of the named holder or the farm holding and (b) whether any beneficial trade in entitlements attaches to the landowner or tenant in the case of rented holdings. [108771]

    None. The discussions that my officials held with the European Commission on the Thomsen judgment concerned the timing of implementation of the judgment.

    Veterinary Medicines

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with EU states concerning the mutual recognition of veterinary medicines. [108905]

    The main forum for discussion of issues concerning the mutual recognition of marketing authorisations for veterinary medicinal products is the Veterinary Mutual Recognition Facilitation Group (VMRFG). This meets monthly (except in August) and is attended by my officials and those from the other member states and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA). The UK was instrumental in establishing the VMRFG in April 1997. In addition, there are a number of other EU fora at which issues relating to veterinary medicines are discussed and at which issues relating to mutual recognition may be raised.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the benefits of combining the Medicine Control Agency with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, with reference to EU Directive 6565. [108906]

    The Department carried out a Review of its five science-based agencies, including the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), in 2002. It was published on 17 December 2002. Copies of the report are available on: www.defra.gov.uk/agency_review/index.aspThe Review explored a number of possible options on the organisational structure for VMD, including combining the Medicines Control Agency (now the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)) and VMD. Having taken account of the current assessment of business prospects, it concluded that there should be no organisational change for VMD. However, there should be a further reassessment of the option of a merger with MCA once the future role of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency in the EU's approval procedures is known.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the cost to British industry of delays in the processing of authorisation applications by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. [108904]

    European legislation requires member states to process applications for new marketing authorisations for veterinary medicinal products within 210 "clock" days of the submission of a valid application. "Clock days" are calendar days, including weekends and holidays but excluding any period where further information is requested and awaited from the applicant. In addition to this legal requirement, annual performance targets are agreed for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) which, together with details of how they have been met, are published in the VMD Annual Report and Accounts. The Annual Report for 2001–02 illustrates that, during the period 1999 to 2002, the VMD met its target of determining 100 per cent. of valid applications for new UK marketing authorisations within 210 clock days in each successive year. Furthermore, during each of these years, the VMD has exceeded agreed performance targets of determining or referring to the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) valid applications for new marketing authorisations within 120 clock days, achieving outturns of 92.2 per cent., 95.9 per cent. and 94 per cent. respectively. For 2002–03, the average time for determining or referring applications for new marketing authorisations to the VPC is 89.1 clock days. Applications are only referred to the VPC where the product is novel or where the VMD considers a marketing authorisation cannot be granted.In the light of the VMD's performance in processing applications I do not consider an assessment of the cost to British industry of delays in the procedures to be appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on British industry of disallowing alternative presentations of single products in the marketing authorisation of parent producers by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. [108907]

    The Veterinary Medicines Directorate ceased to accept applications to include alternative presentations in single marketing authorisations in April 1997. The decision to do so was made to bring UK procedures into line with those of the other member states and procedural guidance produced by the European Commission. It was considered that the practice of allowing alternative presentations on marketing authorisations was not compatible with European harmonised procedures and could be detrimental to holders of UK marketing authorisations who wished to apply to have them recognised in other member states under the mutual recognition procedures. It was further considered that facilitating easier access to the markets in other member states through the mutual recognition procedures would counterbalance any resulting additional costs to British industry.

    Water Industry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many water companies have not yet reached the targets for leakage agreed at the Water Summit in 1997. [109091]

    Following the Water Summit in 1997, Ofwat set each water company annual leakage targets to progressively reduce leakage to its economic level by 2003. This is defined as the level at which the costs to make further reductions in leakage are greater than the costs of supplying additional water from its sources. Ofwat published details of companies' performance against their targets for 2001–02 in the "Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water" report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Of the twenty-one companies set targets, two failed to progress in line with their annual target. Ofwat is monitoring the actions taken by these companies to recover their positions. Thames Water was subject to special measures rather than being set a volumetric target in 2001–02, due to its unsatisfactory performance in managing leakage. Ofwat is taking a number of increased measures to ensure that Thames Water brings its leakage under control, including the recent setting of leakage targets for North London, South London and the area outside London. Water company performance against targets for 2002–03 will be published in July this year.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Director General of OFWAT on changing the investment criteria for Thames Water to enable them to invest more in capital infrastructure to alleviate sewage flooding in rural areas. [109144]

    The Department has been working closely with the Office of Water Services to look at ways of tackling the serious problem of sewer flooding. Following a consultation on flooding from sewers last year, OFWAT announced that they would consider proposals from sewerage undertakers for additional schemes to alleviate the most serious problems in the period up to 2005. Thames Water has been given approval for significant additional investment before 2005. All sewerage companies are currently developing proposals for investment to deal with sewer flooding during 2005–10.In the Secretary of State's initial guidance on the Periodic Review of water price limits for 2005–10, it was made clear that there should be closer attention to tackling sewer flooding in all areas. This should help to ensure that many more customers than at present benefit from sewer flooding schemes.

    Working Hours

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible. [107609]

    Defra is committed to accommodating staff requests to work flexibly subject to the overriding needs of the Department. Flexible working hours are available to staff except where overriding business, operational or management requirements make this inappropriate. Most Defra staff are required to observe core hours (10–12 am and 2–4 pm) although pilot schemes are exploring how greater flexibility could be offered to staff without reducing operational efficiency.The position in the Agencies for which Defra is responsible is similar, although the Rural Payments Agency has recently introduced new flexible working arrangements on the basis of daily bands of 7.30 am to 7.30 pm without core hours. Defra sponsors a number of other public sector bodies, including 20 executive NDPBs. Information is not held centrally on their working hours arrangements and could only be obtained as requested at disproportionate cost.

    Cabinet Office

    Advertising Campaigns

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his Department's total spending was on advertising and promotional campaigns between April 2002 and March 2003; and what the cost of each campaign was, broken down by costs relating to (a) television, (b) radio and (c) print media. [106446]

    Due to the way in which spend on media is held, to provide information as requested would result in disproportionate costs.COI will produce expenditure figures for government as a whole when they produce their annual report in a few months' time.

    Delivery Plans

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will publish the delivery plans that the Delivery Unit agrees with departments on the Government's 17 delivery priorities, as referred to by the National Audit Office on page 13 of its report on The Role of Executive Agencies. [109066]

    Departments are responsible for producing delivery plans for their delivery priorities. It is for individual Departments to decide whether to publish delivery plans.

    Departmental Annual Report

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when the annual report of his Department will be published. [107878]

    The spring 2003 Departmental Reports are to be published between 28 April and 16 May 2003. We will publish our Departmental Report within this window, and are aiming for publication on 16 May.

    Employment Relations Act

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff in the Cabinet Office have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108344]

    Time off to attend to domestic incidents is covered by the Cabinet Office's provisions for special leave (paid and unpaid). All special leave applications have to be approved in writing by line management. Records are not held centrally on numbers of staff who take special leave for specific purposes: this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Parental Leave

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff in his Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108420]

    The Department's provisions for special leave cover time off under the Parental Leave Directive. All special leave applications have to be approved in writing by line management. Records are not held centrally on numbers of staff who take special leave for specific reasons: this in formation could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Press Office

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people are employed in his Department's Press Office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108401]

    For the number of press officers employed by the Cabinet Office for years prior to 2002–03 may I refer the hon. Gentleman to my response of 31 January 2003, Official Report, column 1057W.The current number of press officers, including the Head of News, employed by the Cabinet Office is 10.5.

    There is one full-time business support officer for the press office. The number of business support staff employed prior to 2002–03 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Secondments

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many individuals have been seconded to his Department from (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) other, in each case listing (i) from which organisation and (ii) dates of secondments, in 2002–03. [108083]

    There were 20 individuals seconded to the Cabinet Office in 2002–3. (a) seven individuals were seconded from the Private Sector; (b) eight individuals were seconded from NGOs; and (c) five individuals were seconded from other organisations.The organisations and dates of secondments are as follows:

    OrganisationDates of secondments
    AccentureSeptember 2002—September 2004
    Addenbrooke NHS TrustAugust 2002—November 2002
    Adult Learning InspectorateNovember 2002—March 2003
    Arthur AndersenJune 2002—December 2002
    Audit CommissionJune 2002–August 2003
    August 2002—November 2002
    September 2002—March 2003
    September 2002—September 2003
    November 2002—October 2003
    February 2003—May 2003
    BSkyBFebruary 2003—February 2004
    Deloitte & ToucheJuly 2002—January 2003
    London borough of NewhamJuly 2002—April 2004
    Metropolitan policeNovember 2002—May 2003
    MORI Research InstituteJanuary 2003—April 2003
    North Hertfordshire district councilOctober 2002—March 2003
    Privy Council Office, CanadaFebruary 2002—September 2003
    Skillmind ConsultancyOctober 2002—April 2004
    UnileverJanuary 2003—December 2005
    University of BristolJuly 2002—June 2003

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many civil servants have been seconded from his Department to (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) other, broken down by (i) grade of civil servants seconded, (ii) location and (iii) dates of secondments, in each year since 1997–98. [108084]

    In 1999–2000 there were no secondments from the Cabinet Office.In 2000–01 there were two secondments from the Cabinet Office, one to the private sector and one to an "other" organisation.In 2001–02 there were nine secondments from the Cabinet Office, all to 'other' organisations.In 2002–03 there were six secondments from the Cabinet Office, five to 'other' organisations and one to the private sector.There are no records of secondments from the Cabinet Office to the private sector, NGOs or 'other' organisations prior to March 1999. The following table contains information from April 1999 to March 2003.

    Grades

    Location

    Dates of secondments

    Year 1999–2000

    Nil

    Year 2000–01

    AImprovement and Development Agency for Local GovernmentNovember 2000 to October 2001
    ACapitaJanuary 2000 to January 2001

    Year 2001–02

    ARathbones CharityFebruary 2001 to September 2002
    ACathedral and Abbey Church of St. AlbansMay 2001 to November 2001
    ALondon Borough of HaveringMay 2001 to July 2002
    ABilateral Exchange scheme SwedenMay 2001 to September 2001
    ANational TrustAugust 2001 to November 2002
    B Fast StreamNational Assembly for WalesAugust 2001 to September 2002
    B2Elizabeth Fitzroy HomesDecember 2001 to December 2002
    B1Public Admin Unit RomeJanuary 2002 to October 2002
    AAustrian Civil ServiceFebruary 2002 to?
    Year 2002–03
    AHampshire County CouncilMay 2002 to November 2002
    B2Prince of Wales OfficeJuly 2002 to July 2003
    B Fast StreamEuropean Commission Stagiere SchemeSeptember 2002 to March 2003
    ADeloitte ConsultingNovember 2002 to November 2003
    B2Kent Local AuthorityFebruary 2003 to?
    AYMCA TrainingNovember 2002 to July 2003

    Special Advisers

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the salary bill was for special advisers in his Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108495]

    The Government are committed to publishing the annual paybill of special advisers and an annual list of the numbers of special advisers in each payband by department. This information is currently being assembled and will be published when it is ready.

    Statutory Instruments

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will list the statutory instruments issued by his Department in the last 12 months, indicating (a) the purpose of each and (b) the cost of each to (i) public funds, (ii) businesses and (iii) individuals. [106321]

    The Cabinet Office has issued one Statutory Instrument during the last 12 months:

    SI 2002 No. 1913—Superannuation (Admission to Schedule 1 to the Superannuation Act 1972) Order 2002
    The purpose of the SI was to add to and remove from the list of Other Bodies and Offices covered by the Superannuation Act 1972.The cost of implementation to (i) Public funds was nil, (ii) businesses nil and (iii) individuals nil.A second Statutory Instrument No. 1807 Parliamentary Pension Amendment Regulations is also listed as a Cabinet Office SI but is the responsibility of the Leader of the House.

    Timber

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much independently certified timber is being used in the refurbishment of 70 Whitehall; and what proportion of the total timber purchased for this refurbishment this represents. [108150]

    External refurbishment work is currently being undertaken at 70 Whitehall.No timber is being used directly in relation to the refurbishment project. The only timber or timber products which are being used in the current refurbishment of 70 Whitehall are in relation to the scaffolding.Approximately 773 sq m of plywood and 450 linear metres of softwood are being used. This has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and represents 100 per cent. of the timber used for this project.

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what refurbishment is being undertaken at 70 Whitehall; how much timber is being used in this refurbishment and for what purposes; which companies are providing the timber for this project; and when the refurbishment is due to be completed. [108151]

    External refurbishment work is currently being undertaken at 70 Whitehall.No timber is being used directly in relation to the refurbishment project. The only timber or timber products which are being used in the current refurbishment of 70 Whitehall are in relation to the scaffolding. The timber has been provided by Montague L. Meyer Ltd. and has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The project is due for completion at the end of May 2003. Approximately 773 sq. metres, of plywood and 450 linear metres of softwood are being used. This has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and represents 100 per cent. of the timber used for this project.

    Defence

    Afghanistan

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan in (a) developing a stable and secure environment in the Afghan regions and (b) promoting security sector reform; and if he will make a statement. [109332]

    The role of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams is to assist in extending the Transitional Administration's authority, help to develop a stable and secure environment in the Afghan regions and facilitate security sector reform and reconstruction. Initial reports show success against these objectives.

    Armed Services Accommodation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK armed services personnel on average in the last five years were (a) barracked within the UK and (b) have a private residence that is not provided by the armed forces. [108730]

    The number of people barracked within the UK has been interpreted to mean the number of Service personnel occupying publicly funded accommodation (both Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA)) in mainland United Kingdom (Great Britain) for the last five years. The number of Service personnel occupying SFA and SLA is as follows:

    SFA
    Year (as at 1 April)Number occupying SFA
    199946,297
    200044,988
    200143,629
    200242,320
    200340,970

    SLA

    Historical data on the number of Service personnel occupying SLA in Great Britain is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, the Armed Forces Pay Administration Agency (AFPAA) has identified that as at 10 April 2003, some 44,428 Service personnel were paying the Single Living Accommodation charge as a result of their occupation of this accommodation in Great Britain. This is not the total picture because a number of personnel are entitled to live in SLA without charge; but again data on this is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

    Ownership and occupation of private property

    Stastistis on the number of Service personnel who own a private residence are not collected. However, the following table identified the proportion of Service personnel who said that they own their own home in the Services' Continuous Attitude Surveys, which has then been applied to the total strength of each Service to give an indication of the number of personnel who own their own home (as at 1 April 2002):

    Service

    Percentages of personnel who own their own home

    Number of personnel who own their own home

    RN7129,560
    Army35.539,067

    Service

    Percentages of personnel who own their own home

    Number of personnel who own their own home

    RAF47.525,177
    Total93,804

    Note:

    Historical data is not available.

    British Military Personnel (Food Security)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether food supplied to British military personnel is tested for (a) anthrax, (b) ricin, (c) staphylococcus enterotoxin B, (d) e.coli 0157 and (e) other biological agents. [109291]

    All food supplied to British Military personnel is procured from reputable sources and is subject to extensive and stringent quality controls. Furthermore, it meets or exceeds all EU quality standards.An assessment has been made of the risk to the security of our food supply chain and we are satisfied that sufficient safeguards exist relative to the risk.

    Chemical Weapons

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops in the Gulf are equipped with disabling nerve agents; and under what circumstances they can be used. [101942]

    [holding answer 10 March 2003]: No. As a State Party to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, the United Kingdom has undertaken never to develop, produce or use chemical weapons.

    Deepcut Army Barracks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many weapons, of what calibre, were found to be missing from Deepcut army barracks in each year since 1993. [109295]

    Defence Medical Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what defence medical services are available to the UK armed forces on active service in the Gulf (a) in theatre, (b) in transit to the UK and (c) in the UK. [108445]

    The medical services available to armed forces personnel deploied to the Gulf region include integrated medical support within units, dressing stations and two Field Hospitals. At the commencement of operations in the Gulf, three Field Hospitals and the Primary Casualty Receiving Facility, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ARGUS, were deployed in theatre. The personnel from one of the Field Hospitals have recently returned to the United Kingdom, and RFA ARGUS left theatre on 13 April.Medical evacuation back to the UK, where necessary, is provided by the Royal Air Force. Personnel are flown initially to The Princess Mary's Hospital at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, and following reassessment and any further treatment, would either be returned to theatre, or to the UK. On arrival in the UK, and depending on their clinical condition, individuals may be referred back to their unit medical officer, to NHS hospitals or to military specialist facilities. We have a well-established joint plan with the Department of Health, "Reception Arrangements for Military Patients", for handling casualties returned from overseas in times of conflict. In accordance with this plan, the Department of Health determines which NHS hospitals receive Service casualties, based on bed availability and clinical need.

    Departmental Pay

    Mr. Bercow