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Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities the Government plans to enter reservations against when it ratifies the convention; 
Mrs. McGuire: Departments and the devolved Administrations have been scrutinising their legislation, policies, practices and procedures to check compatibility with the provisions of the convention. This phase of the work is now over and we are considering carefully the emerging findings. We will announce our conclusions as soon as practicable.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish his Departments strategy for bee health; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [ h olding answer 1 April 2008]: DEFRA is developing a bee health strategy in conjunction with stakeholders which will set out the objectives and priorities for the bee health programme over the next 10 years and outline the roles and responsibilities of Government and the beekeeping industry. It is intended that the strategy will be published after public consultation in the summer of 2008.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 March 2008]: The emergency bluetongue vaccination plan, developed in close collaboration with a core group of industry stakeholders, outlines how mass vaccination can be best achieved through a voluntary approach. The plan will be supported by a sustained, intensive and widespread campaign promoting the benefits of vaccination, led by the farming industry in partnership with the Government and veterinary organisations.
The campaign will include reports in farming, veterinary and national media, regional meetings and the distribution of information at livestock auction markets. Known infected premises will be targeted directly through promotional activity because experience from mainland Europe and advice from epidemiologists suggests that infected premises will be the most likely source of infection when the disease re-emerges later this year.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken in pursuance of the statement of the UK/India summit on 21 January that long-term convergence of per capita emission rates is an important and equitable principle that should be seriously considered in the context of international climate change negotiations. 
Mr. Woolas: Officials from the British high commission have had initial discussions with their counterparts in the Indian government with a view to developing collaborative work on the practical implications of this principle.
We have also developed a model which uses existing work to explore the costs and financial flows associated with different methods of sharing out the global greenhouse gas mitigation effort, including convergence of per capita emissions. The UK described the model at a side-event at the United Nations climate change negotiations in Bali in December 2007. This is also published on the UNFCCC website. We hope to collaborate with other governments and institutions to improve the credibility and robustness of the results by exploring the implications of different data sets and other scenarios.
Jonathan Shaw: Operators of cement plants are required to install continuous emission monitors (CEMs) for specified key emissions including particulates. The CEMs undergo daily internal calibration checks and a mandatory independent quality assurance check in accordance with the relevant British standard. Operators provide the Environment Agency with records of each measured daily average for particulates.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances the Environment Agency attributes aroclors to groups of polychlarinated biphenyl congeners. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for the UK if the Wilkins Ice Shelf continues to melt at its current rate. 
Mr. Woolas: The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced unprecedented warming over the last 50 years and the collapse of part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf is a further indication of climate change in this area. Several ice shelves have retreated in the past 30 years and six have collapsed completely, including the Larsen B Ice Shelf, which collapsed in 2002.
As the Wilkins Ice Shelf is already floating, the loss of this area of ice will not cause an increase in sea level. Sea level will only rise if the ice held back by the ice shelf flows more quickly into the sea. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are working with international colleagues to monitor the situation.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what analysis his Department has carried out of possible links between recent flooding incidents in the UK and global warming. 
Mr. Woolas: Sir Michael Pitts Interim Review of the summer 2007 floods considered climate change impacts and provided a definition of climate change as the change in average conditions of the atmosphere near the earths surface over a long period of time. Although the summer 2007 floods were extreme in their nature, it would need a more frequent series of extreme events over time to confirm that this event was wholly climate change-related.
However, there is already some evidence of an increase in more intense rainfall events, though not for any wide-ranging trend in flood peaks. The evidence for these trends featured recently in The Climate of the United Kingdom and Recent Trends report from the from UK Climate Impacts programme and Met Office.
The UK 21st Century Climate Scenarios (UKCIP08) are due to be published in October 2008. These scenarios are expected to be the most comprehensive package of climate information ever launched in the UK and will help us to adapt to the future risks of climate change. Under our resilience and adaptation project, the Environment Agency and DEFRA will be exploring the latest work from UKCIP08, so that we can better understand and use the science to support future climate change projections, and trend analyses.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contracts were awarded by his Department to (a) KPMG,
(b) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (c) Ernst and Young, (d) McKinsey, (e) Deloitte and (f) other consultancy firms in each of the last 12 months; and what the (i) purpose and (ii) value was of each of these contracts. 
Jonathan Shaw: Information requested on the purpose and value of every consultancy assignment could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Expenditure by the core-Department with the five firms identified, for the first 10 months of financial year 2007-08, and the financial year 2006-07 is:
|Vendor||April 2007-January 2008||2006-07|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 2716W, on the departmental intranet, whether his Departments IT system is able to provide a record of Wikipedia entries (a) created and (b) amended from within his Department. 
Jonathan Shaw: To collate information on who within DEFRA has accessed the Wikipedia site would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department. It would be necessary to manually sort through individual records of access to the internet. This is an extremely large amount of data which is not held online. For those who had accessed Wikipedia it would not be possible to discern whether they had created or amended an entry.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) Ministers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in the last 12 months. 
Jonathan Shaw: From information held centrally, the core-Departments expenditure on overnight accommodation for civil servants in the period January to December 2007 inclusive was (i) £2,416,929 in mainland Great Britain (ii) £6,245 in Northern Ireland, (iii) £445 in the Republic of Ireland and (iv) £66,809 in other countries.
All ministerial travel, including overnight accommodation, complies with the terms of the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. When travelling on official business Ministers make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements. DEFRAs financial records for
ministerial travel do not separate out overnight accommodation and this information could be generated only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the hourly rates of pay of all non-permanent staff working for his Department and its agencies were in each of the last 12 months; and how many staff were receiving each rate in each of those months. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy that assessments of buildings systems energy performance are undertaken within the scope of the revised Energy Performance in Buildings Directive. 
Joan Ruddock: The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive sets out the general framework for the calculation of building energy performance and the assessment tools that have been developed for the UK (the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for dwellings and the Simplified Building Energy Method (SBEM) for non-dwellings) comply fully with those requirements. If a future revision of the directive amends this framework then we would aim to comply with those requirements.
My Department has consulted extensively with industry. In addition, I have replied to 13 letters which I received on this issue. These were
from individual businesses involved in the heating industry sent via their respective Members of Parliament. I have also responded to 45 parliamentary questions on this topic since January 2008.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) energy usage and (ii) environmental impact of plasma televisions compared to other types of television. 
Joan Ruddock: The Governments Market Transformation Programme (MTP) has analysed the performances of a range of television types, including units with plasma screens. The annual energy consumption of televisions varies significantly with screen size and television type, with larger screen TVs using more energy, regardless of whether they are plasma, liquid crystal display (LCD) or cathode-ray tube (CRT).
There is no significant difference on average in the energy efficiency of the different TV technologies currently available. A 32 inch CRT, LCD or plasma screen will all consume much the same energy, around 300 kWh. However a 42 inch plasma TV (a typical size for this technology) will consume 500 kWh per year under typical usage patterns.
In the 2007 Energy White Paper, the Government announced that we will continue to work with the UK supply chain and seek commitments from manufacturers, retailers and service providers to deliver more efficient goods and services. To support this work, the Government consulted last year on our analysis of how the performance of consumer electronics products will need to improve over the next 10 to 20 years, including proposals for product standards and targets to phase out the least efficient products.
Following completion of the preparatory studies on consumer electronics: TV, the European Commission will bring forward proposals for mandatory minimum standards under the Eco-design for Energy-using Products Framework Directive (EuP) expected in 2010. The preparatory studies analyse the environmental impacts of TVs in light of the market, consumption, technologies and consumer behaviour for the European Union.
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