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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what extra funding she is providing to local authorities to deal with the disposal of fridges; when this extra funding will become available; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the compatibility of the Government's commitments concerning the EC Nitrates Directive made in the Action Plan for Farming of March 2000 and the proposal made in her recent consultation document on the Nitrates Directive. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government are fully committed to minimising the extra burden on farmers, consistent with its legal responsibilities. Particular action that we have taken to implement the commitments set out in the Action Programme for Farming of March 2000 includes:
Development of implementation support for farmers through working with stakeholder organisations to prepare workable guidance and advice, including updates to a series of free guideline booklets for farmers.
Giving farmers time to prepare for implementation through bringing the Action Programme measures into effect within the new areas on 19 December 2002. As a result, the first closed period, during which the spreading of manures is prohibited, will not be until August 2003.
We continue to operate a derogation which allows a higher limit than that set in the Directive for spreading nitrates on grassland. Steps are being taken to secure this derogation at EU level.
The grant rate under the Farm Waste Grant Scheme was increased from 25 per cent. to 40 per cent. of eligible expenditure on 30 November 2000.
The Government conducted bilateral meetings with member states and found that there is very little support for re-negotiating the requirements of the Nitrates Directive because of the widely held perception that re-examination of scientific evidence will result in tighter legislation.
Mr. Meacher: There are no plans at present to undertake a veterinary risk assessment of the inter-farm movement of manure arising from implementing the Nitrates Directive, as such movements already take place and the veterinary risks are addressed in existing guidance for farmers. The general principles of decreasing the risk of spreading disease while transporting manure are included in the free guidance booklets "Guidelines for farmers in NVZs" and "Manure Planning in NVZs" which we intend to send to all farmers newly affected by the Nitrates Directive. They are:
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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 21 May 2002, Official Report, column 200W, if she will list the commitments that (a) the UK and (b) the European Union undertook and the timetable for meeting them. 
Mr. Meacher: Neither the UK nor the European Union undertook any commitments at the informal meeting of Environment Ministers on 2426 May in Mallorca. The presidency produced their own conclusions from the discussions on soil protection, which are as follows.
The Commission adopted their communication "Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection" on 16 April 2002, and this formed the background to the discussion at Mallorca. Member states have been considering both the communication and the Mallorca discussion in the Council working group and are likely to adopt conclusions at the June Environment Council to steer the Commission's development of the strategy.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of (a) large, (b) small, (c) medium and (d) micro businesses have succeeded in NVQ implementation in each of the last 10 years in rural areas. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the costs to British fishermen of complying with the working time directive. 
My officials are discussing the implementation of the directive with the sea-fishing industry. Because of the nature of the fishing industry in the UK, it is not anticipated that the directive will impose unreasonable financial burdens.
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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what has been the total expenditure of his Department on IT systems and support in each year from May 1997 to date; how many IT contracts have been let in each of those years; of the other main
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contracting party in each of those contracts, how many have been (a) companies whose registered office is in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Northern Ireland and (b) foreign companies; and what are the names of the companies falling within category (a). 
|IT support(8)||IT goods(9)||IT contracts(10)||Total|
|May 1997 to April 1998||1,935,324||2,060,607||834,804||4,830,735|
|May 1998 to April 1999||1,834,625||2,367,885||1,539,290||5,741,800|
|May 1999 to April 2000||2,865,038||2,703,506||1,001,945||6,570,489|
|May 2000 to April 2001||1,801,077||7,646,706||1,525,558||10,973,341|
(8) Including salaries
(9) And services
(10) Contracts including maintenance
(11) To date
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether she has exercised the powers conferred by the retention of a golden share in the CDC to direct the investment strategy towards the needs of poorer nations. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) which hon. Members have been appointed as sponsors to her Department since 7 June 2001; and when each of them were appointed; 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the public consultations undertaken by her Department since June 2001, stating in each case the (a) number of respondents and (b) percentage of those specifically consulted who responded. 
Clare Short: Since July 2001 the Department for International Development has completed one public consultation process on a strategy paper for achieving the Millennium Development Goal on hunger. The Department received (a) 119 written replies, which represented (b) about 10 per cent. of those specifically consulted. More than 1,000 people, in the United Kingdom and internationally, were sent copies of the consultation paper, which was also placed on the DFID website.
The Department is carrying out three further public consultations on policy papers on: "Energy for the Poor"; "Better Livelihoods for Poor People, the Role of Agriculture"; and "Infrastructure for Poverty Reduction". Responses to these consultations are still being received.
The Department pursues more focused consultation exercises with outside bodies and experts on particular issues. Recent examples include a strategy for the Department's partnership with the World Health Organisation, and a policy paper on research for poverty reduction. The Department is also participating in a joint international consultation exercise with the World bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission on policies for linking poverty reduction with environmental management.
The Department regularly makes available, via its website and through parliamentary and civil society networks, briefing notes on major international meetings in which it is involved, such as the United Nations Financing for Development conference in Monterrey in March, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in May, International Monetary Fund and World bank meetings, and European Union development council meetings. Delegations also regularly consult representatives of civil society during the course of such meetings.
The Department is currently engaged in its third round of development policy forums across the UK, to share thinking and ideas on key development issues. Over 2,000 representatives from across societyincluding from NGOs, trade unions, private sector, faith organisations and universitiesare participating in the 11 forums in 2002, which are focusing on globalisation and its potential to reduce world poverty. Specifically, participants are debating the themes of trade, environment and the private sector.
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