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Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of his Department's employees have been (a) dismissed, (b) suspended and (c) subject to disciplinary action for criminal activity in each year since 1997. 
Barry Gardiner: The number of employees (a) dismissed, (b) suspended and (c) subject to disciplinary action for criminal activity in core-DEFRA in each year since it was created on 9 June 2001 is as follows:
The Civil Service Management Code sets out the requirements for Departments to have procedures in place to deal with conduct and disciplinary issues. The DEFRA procedures are laid down in the staff handbook which is accessed on the departmental Intranet.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of direct mail which can be recycled; what estimate he has made of the proportion of paper waste represented by direct mail in the last year for which figures are available; and what steps the Government are taking to reduce the volume of direct mail. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 11 September 2006]: No DEFRA funding has been allocated to projects to generate energy from human waste. Generating energy at sewage treatment works via gas engines using gas from anaerobic digestion is proven technology in place for decades, so a project of this kind is unlikely to warrant special development funds.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the recently announced reduction in the 2006-07 budget of the Environment Agency and British Waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Following the announcement of the budget reductions, the Department has been working closely with both the Environment Agency and British Waterways to consider further the impact of the cuts and options for managing the shortfall.
The Environment Agency Board will be considering actions to be taken at its meeting on 19 and 20 September. The Board of British Waterways will be considering what actions are necessary at its meeting on 27 and 28 September.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his answer of 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 717W, on flood and coastal defences, whether his Department has required the Environment Agency to reduce expenditure on flood defences in 2006-07. 
Ian Pearson: Spending on flood risk management will be reduced by £14.9 million in 2006-07. This will be applied to the Environment Agencys flood risk management grant in aid which will be reduced from £428 million to £413 million.
The reduction will apply only to non-capital spend which funds such items as staff costs, operational spend and maintenance of defences. Funding for the Agencys capital flood risk improvement programme is not affected. This reduction applies to 2006-07 only. Funding for later years has yet to be decided.
The Government are committed to the effective management of flood and coastal erosion risk. Total central and local government funding has nearly doubled from £307 million in 1996-97 to some £600 million in 2005-06, an increase in real terms of 40 per cent. after inflation.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in defining flood risk from the River Derwent in the section of the river within the district of South Derbyshire. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal operating authority for flood risk management in England and has a general supervisory duty over all matters relating to flood defence. The EAs River Derwent preliminary strategic review (PSR), which recommended the consideration of future works in South Derbyshire, including Alvaston, Derby and Little Chester, was completed in August 2004.
A viability report identified a number of gaps in data and the need for improvements to the existing hydraulic model through Derby. The report reviewed the economic case in the PSR and suggested that a significant number of properties were at risk overall during a one in 100 year flood risk event. The report was completed in October 2005.
Due to the scale of flooding problems, a strategic analysis is appropriate for the business case. This strategy, which is due to be completed in autumn 2007, will examine the alternative options for sustainable flood risk management in Derby during the next 100 years.
The strategy has now been extended to consider the Derwent from Derby to the River Trent, including Ambaston. Data on this area are currently being collected and work undertaken to develop the hydraulic model to extend it down to the confluence. The strategy is at the pre-scoping data gathering stage. It is anticipated that the scoping report will be issued in November 2006. The strategy will provide a plan for the first five years of capital investment, including an assessment of the appropriate maintenance strategy for the existing defences. A strategic environmental assessment will also be produced. The scoping report will be reissued to cover the increased project scope and area. An extensive process of consultation is planned.
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 11 September 2006]: According to the Departments system for issuing export health certificates, the number of equines certified for export from the United Kingdom are as follows:
These data do not include equines exported in accordance with the tripartite agreement, under which export health certificates are not required for the movement of certain horses from the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland and France.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers have been (a) prosecuted for and (b) convicted of making illegal cattle movements in each year since 2000 where the prosecution was subsequently found to have been made in error. 
Barry Gardiner: Around 210 cases prosecuted by DEFRA and local authorities since 2003 have resulted in conviction for breach of the Cattle Identification Regulation. A further breakdown is not available because the figures are not held centrally.
These cases involved keepers prosecuted because of failure to undertake the necessary action to identify cattle and report their movements. These are fundamental requirements if we are to control disease and to prevent cattle which may have BSE from entering the human food chain.
We have advised that, although these keepers failed to comply with their European Community law obligations, the enforcement provisions in the Cattle Identification and Cattle Database Regulation are invalid because they are drafted in such a way that criminal liability depends on a failure to comply with the requirements set out in European legislation (Council Regulation 1760/2000) which was not in force at the time the offences were committed. This situation arose because the original Council Regulation 820/97 was replaced by Council Regulation 1760/2000 in July 2000.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value was of each IT contract awarded by his Department in each of the last five years; and who the contractor was in each case. 
In addition, a very large number of IT-related contracts of varying values have been let throughout this period, including software licensing/support agreements and consultancy services. In particular, there were multiple consultancy support contracts for the e-nabling/outsourcing programme.
There will have also been many, smaller, IT contracts awarded; however, information on these is neither managed nor maintained centrally, and therefore it would incur disproportionate costs to collate.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which IT contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last five years have been abandoned; and what the value was in each case. 
Landfill tax is one of a number of measures designed to improve the efficient use of resources, encourage effective management of waste and meet our commitment to reduce the volume of household waste sent to landfill. Other measures include landfill allowance trading scheme, regulation and recycling targets for local authorities. As part of the annual Budget process, the Government assesses the impact of landfill tax alongside these initiatives against a range of social, economic and environmental factors, including assessing the volume of waste sent to landfill and the impact on business competitiveness.
There are clear signs that the landfill tax and the other initiatives are working together to reduce our reliance on landfill. The amount of active waste going to landfill fell by almost 16 per cent. between 1997 and 2005 while the economy grew by nearly 25 per cent.
Barry Gardiner: Ministers have regular dialogues with ministerial colleagues in the Scottish Executive, discussing a wide range of issues of mutual interest. It is not our practice to disclose details of such meetings.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chair of Natural England since his appointment on the budget of Natural England; and what the outcome was. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 11 September 2006]: I have discussed budgetary issues with Sir Martin Doughty, the Chair of Natural England, and we have agreed a revised budget for 2006-07. We hope to agree a 2007-08 budget by November.
I understand the concerns which have been expressed by stakeholders about the impact of a reduced budget on Natural Englands important work, but I am confident that Natural England will have sufficient resources to be an effective champion of the natural environment.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact problems at the Rural Payments Agency have had on other areas of the Departments expenditure; and whether all spending areas, including those non-departmental bodies within the Departments responsibilities, have received this years funding allocation. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 11 September 2006]: Additional resources were allocated at the start of the year to maintain staffing levels at the agency and ensure that farmers receive their single payment scheme payments as soon as possible. This accounts for only one of a number of pressures DEFRA has faced this year, including avian influenza incidents, the sum of which is estimated to be in the region of £200 million.
As a consequence of these pressures, all areas of the Departments spend have been subject to rigorous scrutiny as part of a current budget review. The review, while comprehensive in nature, is seeking to ensure that DEFRAs funding is placed where it can have the greatest impact. Ministers have agreed revised budgets for 2006-07 and business areas, including non-departmental bodies, will be informed of these decisions in the coming weeks.
The Rural Payments Agencys difficulties are by no means the sole reason for undertaking this budget review but only one component. It is sensible for all Government Departments to review spending on a regular basis to ensure that taxpayers money is being used in the most effective way.
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