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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the written questions asked of her between (a) 1 to 30 June 2001, (b) 1 to 31 July 2001, (c) 1 to 30 September 2001, (d) 1 to 31 October 2001, (e) 1 to 30 November 2001, (f) 1 to 31 December 2001, (g) 1 to 31 January 2002, (h) 1 to 28 February 2002, (i) 1 to 31 March 2002 and (j) 1 to 30 April 2002 that had not received a substantive answer by 30 April; and if she will state (i) the name of the hon. Member asking the question and (ii) the reasons the question had not received a substantive answer. 
4,372 (97 per cent.) of the 4,500 written questions tabled up to 30 April this Session, have received a substantive reply. 40 questions (1 per cent.) tabled in April have not been answered, and are not overdue. However, the remaining 88 questions (2 per cent.) have yet to receive a substantive reply, and we are actively seeking to provide Members with replies to these shortly.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the cessation of public liability cover for local community groups; if she will provide a grant to BTCV to cover its public liability costs; and if she will make a statement. [54735R]
Alun Michael: Further to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's reply of 30 April 2002, Official Report, column 662W, I have replied to Tom Flood, chief executive of the BTCV, expressing my concern about the difficulty in obtaining public liability insurance for BTCV's associated local community groups. I have also discussed the issue with the chief executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, who has offered to discuss with BTCV what might be done.
I understand that there is a general issue about the availability and cost of public liability insurance cover for voluntary organisations which goes beyond DEFRA's remit. However I have told BTCV and NCVO that I would be very willing to work with colleagues in so far as there are issues for DEFRA. To assist with this process I have raised the issue with ministerial colleagues. I have also suggested that a meeting with representatives of the insurance industry might be helpful.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures have been introduced since 1997 to reduce the amount of poisonous fumes people breathe in, with specific reference to those in urban areas. 
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Northern Ireland", published in January 2000. The strategy explains the measures that are in place to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants from all sectors, including road transport and industry. Copies are available via the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ airquality.
Air quality in urban areas has improved significantly over the last decade, as a result largely of the progressively tighter European Union standards for new vehicles and fuels, and of the continuing reduction in total emissions from industry. The air quality headline indicator, published annually, shows that the average number of days of moderate or poor air quality in urban areas of the UK has reduced from 59 days in 1993 to 21 days in 2001.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of how the production of an integrated assessment of the state of the seas, as proposed in the Government's first marine stewardship report, will contribute to the conservation of the marine environment. 
Mr. Meacher: An integrated assessment of the state of our seas will enable us to gain a better overview of the competing pressures on the marine environment and the full range of impacts. This will help us target our actions to achieve improved conservation and sustainable development. The assessment will also provide a yardstick against which we can measure our progress. The report will be available in 2004.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken in the Government's marine stewardship reports to balance social, economic and environmental interests in the marine environment; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The first marine stewardship report reflects the principles of sustainable development, integrated management, the conservation of biological diversity, robust science, the precautionary principle and stakeholder involvement. We have adopted an ecosystem- based approach to integrate better marine protection objectives with sustainable social and economic goals.
Mr. Morley: The Government conduct an annual pesticide residues surveillance programme for fruit and vegetables and other produce. This programme is overseen by the independent Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC). The PRC advises Ministers and the chief executives of the Food Standards Agency and the Pesticides Safety Directorate on pesticide residues in foods.
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To check that residues do not exceed statutory maximum residue levels (MRLs);
To check that human dietary intakes of residues are within acceptable levels.
The scope of each year's programme and details of the samples analysed under the surveillance programme can be found on the PRC's website. The 2002 programme is on the website at www.pesticides.gov.uk/committees/ PRC/prc.htm. The 2003 programme is currently being developed by the Committee.
The Department of Health also undertakes a similar monitoring programme for produce distributed to children under the national school fruit scheme. Details of the results from testing will shortly appear on the PRC's website.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 May 2002]: DEFRA surveys indicate that the following quantities of agricultural pesticides were used in each year since 1996. The corresponding figure for 2001 is not yet available.
|Tonnes of active ingredient|
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of farms taking part in the countryside stewardship scheme staff from the (a) Rural Payments Agency and (b) Rural Development Service visit after the first year of taking part in the scheme; and how regularly individual farms have been visited by the agency. 
Mr. Morley: Staff from the Rural Payments Agency carry out compliance monitoring inspections of countryside stewardship scheme agreements in accordance with EU and our own audit requirements. EU rules require at least 5 per cent. of agreements to be inspected each year. The agreements to be visited are selected using risk-based criteria, which are not specifically related to the year of the agreement.
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Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Forest Enterprise procurement procedures for forestry harvesting and transport equipment. 
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value is of contracts awarded by Forest Enterprise to Mechanical Engineering Services in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Morley: Mechanical Engineering Services is part of the Forestry Commission's Forest Enterprise Agency. It is responsible for supplying and maintaining the agency's fleet of machinery and vehicles. There is, therefore, no requirement for a contractual relationship. However, the value of this service to Forest Enterprise for the last three years has been £15.7 million (200102), £15.6 million (200001) and £15.7 million (19992000).
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures are in place in Forest Enterprise for ensuring best value in (a) procuring and (b) disposing of forestry capital equipment contracts. 
Mr. Morley: Forest Enterprise follows HM Treasury guidelines which are designed to ensure best value for use of public funds. The procurement of forestry capital equipment is subject to European Union procurement directives, and Forest Enterprise requirements are therefore advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Disposal of forestry capital equipment is carried out by open tender and public auction.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many vehicles operated by Forest Enterprise are (a) cars and vans and (b) other forestry vehicles; and how many are obliged to have a valid current tax disc. 
Mr. Morley: Forest Enterprise currently operates 1,718 cars and vans and 320 other forestry vehicles. Most of these vehicles (1,852) are used exclusively in the service of the Crown and hence are exempt from vehicle excise duty under section 183 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The remainder (186 cars) are subject to vehicle excise duty due to an element of private use for which each user makes a payment.
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