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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the cost to his Department was of the provision of office facilities to (a) special advisers and (b) press officers in the 2008-09 financial year. 
(a) 13 November 2009
(b) 26 November 2009
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department has paid in vehicle clamping charges incurred on (a) privately-owned and (b) publicly-owned land in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
|Paper recycled (Tonnes)||Total waste (Tonnes)||Percentage of waste recycled( 1)||Percentage of waste recovered( 2)|
|(1) Waste recycled is any waste that is recycled, composted or reused externally.|
(2) Waste recovered is any waste that is recycled, composted, reused externally or incinerated with energy recovery (energy from waste).
(3) Data embargoed by OGC until 18 December 2009.
It should be noted that DEFRA rebaselined its waste arisings for Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) reporting purposes to 2006-07 following a change in the reporting parameters; in 2004-05 and 2005-06 data were gathered from sites with 50 or more staff, this changed in 2006-07 and subsequent years to reporting sites with 25 or more staff. The number of sites has increased from 38 to over 50.
It should be noted that DEFRA incinerates approximately 30 per cent. of its waste, from which significant quantity of heat and energy is recovered. The majority of the incinerated waste is generated in the laboratories and cannot be recycled, therefore incinerating with energy recovery higher on the waste hierarchy than sending to landfill. Current Sustainable Development Commission reporting does not acknowledge energy recovery from waste incineration as recycling or waste recovery under current Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) guidelines.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount spent from the public purse on removing (a) pesticides and (b) nitrates from drinking water supplies in each of the last five years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The cost of providing public drinking water supplies is not covered by the public purse. Costs are incurred by water companies which recover them from customers through water bills.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) conducted on the introduction of new crops and agronomic techniques intended to ensure the security of food supply. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: DEFRA has invested in research on the development of improved pest and disease resistance, reduced input requirements, resilience to climate change and lower pollution outputs. The DEFRA Crop Genetic Improvement Networks (cereals, oilseed rape, pulses, vegetables, grasses, biomass crops) deliver research that allows selection of genetic resources for desired characteristics. DEFRA co-funds further research in partnership with industry (e.g. LINK) to transfer these characteristics into commercially viable crops.
DEFRA has also funded research generally in partnership with industry into improved agronomic techniques to develop whole-farm approaches that optimise production in terms of soil and nutrient management, precision agriculture, integrated management of crop diseases, pests and weeds, and improved water use efficiency.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to assess the environmental impact of genetically modified crops in England; if he will list the research projects commissioned or completed since the conclusion of the Government-funded farm scale evaluations, that are designed to repeat or built on the research on the environmental impacts of those trials; and what scientific conclusions were reached. 
Dan Norris: In line with European Union legislation, the proposed release of genetically modified crops is subject to a robust case-by-case assessment of the potential impact on human health and the environment. DEFRA Ministers receive expert scientific advice on this from the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.
|Research project title||Project code|
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the implications for his Department's policies on genetically modified foods of the editorial in the Scientific American in July 2009 which asserts that it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers. 
Dan Norris: We support open scientific inquiry in this area, and anticipate that companies would make their genetically modified seeds available for legitimate research, as they did in the UK for the major Farm Scale Evaluations project.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's definition is of a sustainable urban drainage system; if he will adopt the definition used in Scottish law; how many such systems there are in England and Wales; who is responsible for (a) creating and (b) maintaining them; how they physically connect with surface water systems; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: As a general rule, the phrase 'Sustainable Urban Drainage System' is used in Scotland, whereas 'Sustainable Drainage Systems' tends to apply in England and Wales because its use is not limited to urban areas.
The Flood and Water Management Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 19 November, will introduce measures to increase the uptake of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in England and Wales. The Bill sets out that 'sustainable drainage' means managing rainwater with the aim of:
Reducing damage from flooding;
Improving water quality;
Protecting and improving the environment;
Protecting health and safety; and
Ensuring the stability and durability of drainage systems.
Sir Michael Pitt's review of the 2007 floods identified that the lack of formal SUDS adoption and maintenance arrangements and an automatic right to connect surface water to the public sewer system, were barriers to a more widespread uptake of SUDS.
The Flood and Water Management Bill seeks to resolve these issues by requiring developers to seek approval for drainage plans for new developments and redevelopments from a new SUDS Approving Body (SAB) in unitary and county councils. It also provides for the Government to publish a set of National Standards for SUDS, after consultation. Permission to connect surface water drains to the public sewer (if needed) would only be given once the drainage systems have been approved by the local authority as meeting National Standards for SUDS. The Bill also states that sustainable drainage systems serving more than one property would be adopted and maintained by the local authority SUDS Approving Body. These proposals should ensure that SUDS are routinely used in developments in the future.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 owners and keepers of animals are required to keep their animals in a suitable environment. The law on abandonment is therefore robust and those who do not comply can be sent to prison for up to six months, fined and/or disqualified from keeping animals.
We have been working closely with animal welfare stakeholders to produce new Codes of Practice on the welfare of cats, dogs, and horses. These new Codes are designed to help people comply with the requirements of the Act. We believe they will help to prevent animals from being abandoned and will be launched shortly.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of animals acquired as domestic pets and abandoned after the Christmas period in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008. 
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Attorney-General has received a report from the Serious Fraud Office for consent for prosecution in relation to charges against BAE Systems; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has previously announced that it is preparing papers to be submitted to the Attorney-General when the SFO considers it is ready to proceed. That remains the current position.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Serious Fraud Office has closed its investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption involving BAE Systems in (a) Romania and (b) South Africa. 
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Attorney-General is required to conduct a Shawcross exercise when considering whether to consent to prosecute British companies and individuals in relation to allegations of overseas corruption; and if she will make a statement. 
Simon Hughes: To ask the Solicitor-General how many domestic flights within Great Britain officials from the Law Officers' Departments took in an official capacity in 2008-09; and at what cost to the public purse such flights were taken. 
|Department||Number of flight on official business||Cost (£)|
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