|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
10 Jul 2002 : Column 952W
Mr. Morley: Departments are required to comply with the Government's general policy on insurance, which is set out in "Government Accounting", chapter 30, para 30.2.5, which notes that Government do not need to purchase insurance to protect the viability of its business, and should consider insurance only where the value of claims met would exceed the cost of insurance premiums. Commercial insurance of a building is acceptable in cases where (a) insurance is a condition of a lease (b) the lessor will not accept a Government indemnity (c) incurring the total cost of the accommodation in question, including the cost of the insurance, is more cost-effective than other accommodation options ("Government Accounting", para 30.2.11a).
Commercial insurance is not usually payable in respect of leasehold properties where the Department is the sole occupier. In the case of leasehold property shared with other tenants, the cost of insurance is not always identified separately by our landlords. Furthermore, premiums are payable at different times of the year and our landlords may not have had to renew cover since 11 September 2001.
It is not possible, therefore, to provide a precise assessment of the cost of commercial buildings insurance paid by the Department either before of after 11 September 2001. However, where insurance premiums have been separately charged this year, they have increased by between 3 per cent. and 90 per cent. It is impossible to say what proportion of these increases is due to the events of 11 September 2001.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the process by which her Department analyses risk from (a) crops and (b) animal feed contaminated with (i) industrial chemicals, (ii) pesticides and (iii) drugs. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 3 July 2002]: The Government undertake an extensive surveillance programme for pesticide residues. Priority is given to the surveillance of crops but some animal feed is also tested. A total of some 4,000 samples are analysed each year for a wide range of pesticides generating over 100,000 individual test results. The results for the testing programme are all published in the quarterly reports of the independent Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC) available on its website at www.pesticides.gov.uk/ committees/PRC/prc.htm
A consumer risk assessment is conducted in relation to all residues which exceed a statutory maximum residue level or are otherwise of potential concern. The methodology used in these risk assessments and their outcomes are described in the PRC's reports.
10 Jul 2002 : Column 953W
The methodology of risk assessment for residues in animal feeds is more complex. It assesses both the potential risk to the animal and the potential risk to humans consuming animal products from the animal. Ministers are advised on the aspects of risk assessment for pesticides by an independent expert committee, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP). Details of the committee are available from its website at www.pesticides.gov.uk/committees/acp/acp.htm
While the VMD does not analyse feed for contamination with drugs, it does operate a surveillance programme for veterinary drug residues in animals and animal products. If residues are found in excess of specified limits, the cause is investigated.
Mr. Morley: Japanese Knotweed is a large, vigorous weed. It is a non-native introduction which appears to have no natural enemies in Britain. It is an offence under Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) to plant or otherwise cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild. There is no obligation on landowners to control Japanese Knotweed on their own land.
The Department is currently undertaking a fundamental review of policy on invasive non-native species, with other Government Departments, industry and conservation bodies, considering the causes of, and problems arising from, the introduction and spread of non-native species.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many part- and full-time employees under contract from temping agencies work within her Department; and how much was spent on temporary staff (a) in total and (b) as a percentage of the total staffing budget in her Department and its predecessors for each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 July 2002]: The number of employees working under contract from temping agencies is not held centrally by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The cost of staff employed under contract from temping agencies for each of the last five years is shown in the table. For the years 199798 to 200001, the amounts shown are for the former MAFF only. Costs relating to the parts of the former Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions that transferred to DEFRA could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
10 Jul 2002 : Column 954W
|Cost of temping agency staff (£)||Percentage of total staff costs|
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the Forestry Commission is seeking a licence to fell trees on land at the rear of The Gables, West Moors Road, Ferndown. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 July 2002]: The Forestry Commission does not apply for felling licences, it issues them. In this particular case, the Commission received an application for a licence to fell trees with an aim to improve the management of the woodland area. The trees were subject to a tree preservation order, so the Commission consulted East Dorset district council who then raised an objection to the proposed felling. The application now therefore falls to be determined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister under the terms of the tree preservation order. A hearing to consider the application is scheduled to take place on 23 July.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) variations and (b) additions she plans to introduce when the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive is transposed into UK law. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 2002]: The EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive has now been transposed into law in England by the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Amendment Regulations 2002. These Regulations came into force on 25 June.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she will take to ensure that poultry farmers in the United Kingdom meet the same standards of animal welfare as other EU nations following the implementation of the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 2002]: EU member states are responsible for bringing into force the necessary regulations to implement the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive and for communicating the main provisions of the national law to the commission.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to ensure that egg importers meet the same animal welfare standards as those set within the United Kingdom and across Europe under the forthcoming EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive. 
10 Jul 2002 : Column 955W
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 200]: Current WTO rules prevent discrimination on the basis of production method and it is illegal under WTO rules to ban egg imports from countries which do not meet the same animal welfare standards as those produced in the EU.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the compliance cost to poultry farmers in meeting the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive in respect of (a) capital expenditure and (b) additional annual revenue implications. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 2002]: A regulatory impact assessment estimating compliance costs to poultry farmers in meeting the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive was produced following public consultation. This was laid before the House along with the Statutory Instrument to implement the directive.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|