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James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what types of data have been sold by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations in the last 12 months. 
Hilary Benn: Core information produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and its agencies can be re-used free of charge under the terms of the PSI Click-Use Licence which is administered by the Office of Public Sector Information in accordance with the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what permanent residential accommodation is provided for use by civil servants in his Department; how many residential dwellings are provided; where they are located; and for what grade of civil servant they are provided. 
Hilary Benn: The Department currently holds 14 residential dwellings available for use by civil servants employed within the Department. The residential accommodation comprises houses, flats and shared residences.
The majority of staff currently residing in Department held accommodation are at higher executive and executive officer grades, however accommodation is allocated subject to availability and based upon business need.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have been seconded to public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies in each of the last five years. 
Hilary Benn: The numbers of staff that have been seconded out of DEFRA and its agencies to public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies in the last five years are shown in the following table:
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff from public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies have been seconded to (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications (a) his Department and (b) its agencies
have made under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to (i) undertake directed surveillance, (ii) use covert human intelligence sources, (iii) acquire communications data and (iv) undertake intrusive surveillance in the last 24 months. 
Hilary Benn: Figures on public authority use of covert investigation techniques controlled by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) are published annually by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Intelligence Service Commissioner who each have particular inspection and oversight responsibilities under RIPA. The latest reports were laid before Parliament and copies placed in the House Library on 22 July. The figures provided in the reports are not broken down by individual public authority use of specific covert technique as, depending on the particular technique and authority using it, this could either reveal sensitivities or be misleading. The question of further disclosure for any particular public authority is a matter for the relevant Commissioner.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned on the (a) stranding and (b) death of dolphins in the last three years; and what plans he has to commission further such research. 
Strandings data are obtained and reported by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College and Marine Environmental Monitoring. Annual reports of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) are available on the DEFRA website at:
Under this research contract, not only are all stranded animals recorded, but post-mortem examinations are carried out on some of the animal carcasses to establish the exact cause of death. Abundance estimates tell us populations of studied cetaceans in UK waters have not changed significantly over the past 10 years.
From 2000 to date, the UK has put over £2 million into researching by-catch mitigation measures and monitoring by-catch on vessels through observers, to try to identify those fisheries responsible for high levels of cetacean by-catch, and mitigation measures that are effective at deterring cetaceans over the long-term and are safe and cost-effective for the industry.
DEFRA has implemented a comprehensive system of by-catch monitoring under the requirements of the EC habitats directive and under Council Regulation 812/2004. The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) produces annual reports on this research for DEFRA (which are also available on the website). Furthermore,
SMRU has recently undertaken research on behalf of DEFRA into the effects of a new design of acoustic deterrent device (pingers) on porpoise and dolphin distribution. These super-pingers are larger, and therefore, fewer devices are required, reducing deployment problems. We hope to have more details on the efficacy of these new pingers by spring 2009.
Providing updated estimates of marine mammal by-catch for all relevant fishery sectors through analysis of fleet effort data; existing by-catch rate data; and through further monitoring of UK fisheries as determined under the UKs Small Cetacean by-catch Response Strategy;
Investigating the impact of by-catch and other indirect effects of UK fisheries on marine mammal populations, and exploring ways of addressing the limits to by-catch from a management perspective; and
Exploring as many research avenues as practicable to search for ways of changing fishing gear design or fishing tactics in order to minimise marine mammal by-catch.
The final report on this research project is expected to be made available publicly by the end of 2008. A new research contract on this issue has recently been agreed with SMRU and will run until April 2011.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have reinstated weekly collections of residual household rubbish in the last 12 months (a) in whole and (b) in part for summer months according to records held by (i) his Department and (ii) the Waste and Resources Action Programme. 
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities plan to end weekly collections of residual household rubbish in the next 12 months, or pilot such policies, according to records held by (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme. 
Hilary Benn: DEFRA and WRAP hold no such records. The records of alternate weekly collections log what collections have taken place, but we do not have a record of local authorities prospective plans.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contracts (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have with EDF; and how much (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies paid to EDF in each of the last 10 years, broken down by the purpose of the payment. 
Hilary Benn: DEFRA came into being in June 2001. Information on what contracts DEFRAs agencies have with EDF, and how much those agencies paid to EDF since 2001 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. From information held centrally the core-Departments financial system records the following expenditure profile with EDF:
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Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many officials in his Department are wholly or mainly tasked with the negotiation, implementation or administration of EU legislation and consequent policies. 
Hilary Benn: This Government are firmly committed to the importance of the EU in delivering on 21st century challenges. The EU is of central importance to the work of HM Government across all Departments. It is relevant to a wide range of policy areas, and to the work of many Government officials. As such, the specific information requested is not held centrally, and to provide it would involve disproportionate costs.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of UK fishing in the waters of Western Sahara. 
Hilary Benn: Before the UK signed up to the agreement in 2006, the EU took legal advice from the United Nations. It ruled that the EU Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement was compatible with international law. The sea areas covered by this agreement are identical to those covered by the original agreement which was adopted in 1999.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the work of the Joint Committee established under Article 10 of the EU/Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. 
Hilary Benn: No formal assessment has yet been made of the effectiveness of the Joint Committee set up under the EU Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. However, officials experience of the committee to date suggests that it is a useful way of monitoring the effectiveness of the fisheries agreement with Morocco.
Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of fixed quota allocation units are held by companies and individuals not directly engaged in fishing activities. 
Hilary Benn: Fixed quota allocation (FQA) units are associated with fishing vessel licences. Given the way the details of fishermen in possession of licences are recorded, it is not possible to accurately determine an individual or companys holding of FQA units at any given time. Gathering this information would incur disproportionate costs.
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