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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in his Department have been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate telephone numbers in the last 12 months. 
Jonathan Shaw: No officers have been disciplined or dismissed in the last 12 months for either inappropriate use of the internet while at work or for using work telephones to access premium rate telephone numbers.
The policy on IT misuse is included in the Departments Golden Rules of Office Working which are detailed on the staff intranet. The Department has blocks placed on the telecoms system preventing access to premium rate telephone numbers.
Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will urgently investigate the reasons why Eaga have suspended their contract with J and L National Energy Saver Ltd. 
Mr. Woolas: My officials have commissioned White Young Green, the independent quality assessors for the Warm Front scheme, to undertake a review of the circumstances surrounding the suspension of work allocation to J and L National Energy Saver Ltd.
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of people with disabilities employed by the Southern Regional Office of the Environment Agency have left employment within one year of joining. 
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms are in place in the Southern Regional Office of the Environment Agency to recruit and retain (a) people with disabilities and (b) people from a black or minority ethnic background; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency's Southern Regional Office complies with the national diversity policy and actively seeks to improve its recruitment and selection process to fully represent the population it serves.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's most recent estimate is of the number of farms in the UK, broken down by region. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 18 July 2007]: Numbers of registered holdings by region in England at June 2006 are shown in the following table. Figures for the other UK countries fall under the jurisdiction of the devolved authorities.
|Region||Number of holdings|
| Source: June Agricultural Survey|
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to the UK of implementing the European rules on the electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Fisheries Departments estimate that the capital costs to central Government will be approximately £90,000 for the purchase of equipment needed to receive the data messages sent by fishermen. In addition about £280,000 will be needed for the costs of developing the software needed to process the data.
Costs to industry cannot yet be quantified but are expected to be low. Discussions with information technology (IT) developers tell us that those with existing on-board systems should only need to make minor changes. For those without suitable equipment the estimated costs are in the region of £1,000-£1,500 per vessel to install the required equipment. Transmission costs are estimated at £0.60-£2.00 per message depending on the communication means used, with annual transmission costs per vessel estimated at around £147-£525.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the European rules on the electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities to be fully implemented; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: We expect this to be 1 January 2009 for the submission of electronic sales notes by buyers and sellers and 1 July 2009 for the submission of electronic logbooks and landing declarations by vessels over 24 metres in overall length and 1 January 2011 for the submission of electronic logbooks and landing declarations by vessels over 15 metres in overall length. These dates are included in the current proposed Commission Regulation on the implementing rules for electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) his European counterparts and (b) the fishing industry on the implementation of the European rules on electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Initial discussions were held at ministerial level during November council last year when the council regulation was agreed. Since then discussions on the detailed implementing rules have been held between member states.
My officials have circulated copies of the proposed implementing rules to licence holders of vessels over 10 metres in overall length and registered buyers and sellers of first sale fish. There have also been meetings held with individuals and companies responsible for auction sales in Plymouth and Newlyn and representatives of the NFFO to discuss the possible implications of the proposal. Further discussions will take place once the detailed rules have been agreed.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has estimated the (a) cost and (b) benefits of introducing EU rules for the remote sensing of fishing vessels in UK fisheries. 
Jonathan Shaw: There will be an initial cost to Government of about £40,000 to allow the integration of remote sensing images with other monitoring data. The cost for an individual Satellite Image Radar picture is between £450-£1,100.
Remote sensing of fishing vessels is not a stand alone enforcement tool and must be used along side other resources like satellite monitoring records, aerial and surface surveillance means. It can nevertheless lead to increased effectiveness in the deployment of those resources and could be particularly useful in monitoring remote closed areas. This will however need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and only used, as the Council Regulation states, where there is clear evidence of a cost benefit in relation to the traditional control means in the detection of fishing vessels operating illegally.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps (a) have been taken and (b) are planned to ensure that fishing industry stakeholders are (i) informed about and (ii) included in the management of the European Fisheries Fund. 
Jonathan Shaw: The four Fisheries Administrations in the UK have consulted with fishing industry stakeholders on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) National Strategic Plan, and have also held a number of coastal meetings to inform them of proposals. Fisheries Administrations aim to consult on the EFF Operational Programme later this year. The extent to which industry and other stakeholders are involved in the management of the fund will be decided following that consultation.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable has been set for the (a) programming and (b) commencement of the European Fisheries Fund in the UK. 
Jonathan Shaw: We aim to consult on the European Fisheries Fund Operational programme later this year. The date that the first applications for grant will be accepted will be announced following the consultation.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the effectiveness of pumps in pumping stations during the recent flooding of Hull, Doncaster, Sheffield and other areas. 
I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State to the House on 2 July 2007, Official Report, column 689, when he said that if there are lessons to be learnt, we will need
to learn and apply them. We are finalising the terms of a full lessons learned exercise across all those with responsibility for managing and responding to flooding. This will consider all the relevant issues raised in the course of recent events.
Mr. Woolas: I have received many representations from individuals and organisations on this important issue. My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government is leading Government efforts to assist those in the flooded areas in their efforts to return to normality as soon as possible.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he intends to review the effectiveness of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Environment Agency is currently reviewing the number of reported oil pollution incidents since the regulations were introduced across England, looking at the incidents from exempt and non-exempt oil stores.
Their analysis will inform consideration of whether the regulations need to be strengthened to further reduce the numbers of oil pollution incidents where no downward trend is in evidence. The Agency intends to publish its findings in the autumn.
The Environment Agency is also working with industry and trade associations to address the most common causes of oil pollution highlighted by the 2005 Oil Care Campaign report on Analysis of Inland Oil and Fuel Incidents in England and Wales.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 17 July 2007]: There is specific legislation in place to fulfil EU obligations to ensure the welfare of laying hens kept for egg production. In addition there is a DEFRA welfare code providing detailed guidance specifically on laying hens.
Animal Health (formerly the State Veterinary Service), enforces this animal welfare legislation and conducts a regular programme of inspections on farms to check the welfare of poultry. The Egg Marketing Inspectorate (now part of Animal Health) also takes note of any welfare concerns during its inspection of premises in respect of Egg Marketing Regulations.
Animal Health investigates all complaints and allegations about poor welfare on-farm and takes appropriate action, which may include a recommendation to prosecute. The Government give priority to such
complaints and allegations from, for example, private veterinary surgeons, welfare organisations and members of the public. We do not hesitate to take action against anyone failing to comply with the law.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of procedures in place in his Department for the rural proofing of new policies. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Government as a whole rural proof their policies and programmes. This involves considering their potential impact on rural areas and, where appropriate, adjusting them to meet the needs of rural people better.
We have established the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) to be an adviser to Government on rural affairs and to independently monitor how policies are meeting rural needs. The CRCs latest monitoring report, published in October 2006, includes encouraging evidence of rural proofing but also concludes that there is room for improvement. My Department is working with CRC and with other Government Departments to review the rural proofing process and will contribute to the next progress report later this year.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs originating from (a) Afghanistan and (b) South America to the United Kingdom. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) contributes directly to the delivery of the UKs National Drugs Strategy by supporting efforts to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs to the UK. Preventing the importation of heroin from Afghanistan and cocaine from Latin America into the UK is a top priority for our international efforts. We engage with countries along the main trafficking routes from Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and the Balkans, and Latin America, especially the Caribbean and West Africa, as well as with the producer countries. Our overseas posts provide the operational base for the Serious Organised Crime Agency's overseas work, which acts to support the law enforcement activity of partner agencies.
The UK works closely with host Governments to support action to disrupt trafficking, seize consignments of illicit drugs, and their financial proceeds, and ensure effective prosecution of offenders. We help to build capacity amongst the region's law enforcement agencies and judiciary with the provision of legal drafting, law enforcement and prosecution training and equipment. We work closely with other partners including the EU and US to maximise effect.
The UK is working with the Afghan Government and the international community to bring about a sustainable reduction in the cultivation, production and trafficking of opium in Afghanistan. We are
spending £270 million over three years in support of the Afghan Governments National Drug Control Strategy and its four prioritiestargeting the trafficker, strengthening and diversifying legal rural livelihoods, reducing demand and developing state institutions. Some £2.7 million of FCO funds has been allocated to Afghan regional capacity building since 2005, as well as bilateral funding for Pakistan and Iran of nearly £1 million.
In addition £6 million of Home Office funds is being spent on procurement of two helicopters for use by the Pakistan anti-narcotics force, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 March 2006.
The UK also devotes considerable resources within the Latin American region to combat the trafficking of cocaine to the UK. Through its Global Opportunities Fund, the FCO has allocated £1.7 million since 2005 to specific projects to support counter-narcotics efforts in the Latin American region. For the current financial year, a sum of £647,000 has been allocated.
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