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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of fuel poverty in the ethnic minority communities; and if she will commission a study. 
Estimates suggest that the incidence of fuel poverty in England varies according to the ethnic group of the head of household. The 1996 English House Condition Survey estimated that the incidence of fuel poverty among white households was broadly similar to the average for all households in England in 1996 of about 22 per cent. The incidence of fuel poverty among black households was about 27 per cent. with that among Asian households estimated to be about 19 per cent.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many acres of Grades 1, 2 and 3 agricultural land (a) in England and Wales and (b) in the Buckingham constituency were lost to development in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Morley: The area of particular grades of agricultural land lost to development in England and Wales is not monitored on a systematic basis, partly because not all agricultural land has been surveyed by grade.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff were seconded between (a) BP, (b) Shell, (c) Enron, (d) Exxon-Mobil, (e) Conoco, (f) Texaco and (g) TotalFinaElf and her Department in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) April 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available. 
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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 848W, when the consolidated list concerning (a) the Rural White Paper and (b) other departmental indicators will be placed in the Library. 
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 847W, when the consolidated list on the Rural White Paper's headline indicators will be placed in the Library. 
Alun Michael: The consolidated list of research into Rural White Paper headline indicators has been sent to the hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 240W, on genotype test errors, what plans she has to review the work carried out by LGC on the potential contamination of sheep brains with bovine material in October 2001. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 February 2002]: No errors were made by LGC in the tests of sheep and cow brains used for BSE research. An error had previously been reported on an entirely different test on sheep blood samples which used a robotic sampling system. The cross-checking genetic test of the brains in the flawed IAH experiment did not use this robotic system and was performed at a different laboratory at the LGC. LGC have performed an internal audit of this and are satisfied that the sheep and cow brains samples were correctly handled and that the results can be traced back to the correct samples.
Mr. Morley: The draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been circulated for comment and Devon county council, among others, has offered some constructive comments. The future of the Ashmoor pit is currently being discussed with local interests and the EIA will be prepared for publication upon conclusion of those discussions.
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afforded to London by the Thames Flood Barrier; when these estimates were made; and when they were last reviewed. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 February 2002]: The Thames Barrier is the largest component of the complex system of gates, walls and embankments which form the tidal defences to London and the Thames Estuary. The Barrier is a robust and flexible installation with a design based on rates of sea level rise predicted in the 1970s which were higher than those currently anticipated. It provides London with a high level of protection from tidal flooding and with normal care and maintenance should continue to do so until at least the latter half of this century. Even then, although the Barrier may need to be closed more frequently, it will continue to fulfil its primary function. This conclusion was confirmed in the Environment Agency's latest annual review in November 2001.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out for each Civil Service grade within her Department the (a) total number of staff employed and (b) the number aged (i) 16 to 25, (ii) 26 to 35, (iii) 36 to 45, (iv) 46 to 60 and (v) over the age of 60 years. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 February 2002]: The number of permanent and casual staff employed in the Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs by grade equivalent and by age band is set out in the table. These figures exclude staff in the Department's executive agencies.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she will reply to the letter of 18 November 2001 from Ms Anne Parker concerning the implementation of the recommendations of Task Force for the Hills; 
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) parliamentary questions, (b) letters and (c) other representations she has received from hon. Members regarding delays in responding to correspondence in 200102. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 February 2002]: At 31 January 2002, the Department had received 83 parliamentary questions from hon. Members regarding delays in responding to correspondence in this session.
Our correspondence database can not easily identify those letters received from hon. Members regarding delays in responding to their correspondence. Since the beginning of this Session the Department has received a total of 7,029 letters from hon. Members and to provide the information requested would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff (a) are employed examining meat imports into the United Kingdom; and (b) were so employed in each of the last six years. 
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Inspection Posts (BIPs) where they are subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at the BIP are the responsibility of the local authority or port health authority and it is for the appropriate local authority to deploy inspection staff at the BIP in response to the volume and nature of products imported through the BIP. For this reason the exact number of inspectors engaged in checking imports can vary from day-to-day. Most of these staff also undertake a range of other duties. As at November 2001 the total number of local authority staff employed at BIPs was 196 comprising 97 Environmental Health Officers, 48 Official Veterinary Surgeons and 51 support staff. Figures are not available for previous years.
HM Customs officers also carry out checks for the presence of illegally imported meat and other animal products in passengers' luggage. In addition, State Veterinary Service staff are also empowered to deal with illegally imported animal products when they are found.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many consignments of imported meat products have been rejected on inspection, and from which countries they originated, in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 February 2002]: The table provided covers rejected consignments of red meat and red meat products from third countries from January 1997 to June 2001. Information is not yet available for the second half of 2001. The total number of consignments rejected is 119 in 1997, 140 in 1998, 175 in 1999, 196 in 2000 and 149 in the first six months of 2001.
|Country||1997||1998||1999||2000||January to June 2001||Total by country|
|Trinidad and Tobago||0||1||0||0||0||1|
|United Arab Emirates||3||9||9||5||5||31|
|United States of America||17||22||24||60||38||161|
|Total by year||119||140||175||196||149|
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 February 2002]: Since April last year we have taken a range of initiatives aimed at improving our ability to prevent and detect illegal imports. These include better publicity and more effective intelligence gathering. These initiatives have been co-ordinated by officials in DEFRA, but involve other Departments such as HM Customs and Excise and the Food Standards Agency, and the local authorities who are responsible for controls at ports and airports.
The Food Standards Agency is pressing for changes to EU labelling rules to require country of origin labelling on a wider range of foods, particularly meat products. It is also pressing for changes that would prevent misleading
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labelling by restricting the use of terms like "produce of . . ." to those foods where the main ingredients come from, and production processes occur in, the named place or country.
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