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24 Apr 2007 : Column WA123

Written Answers

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Agriculture: Fallen Stock

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): No. The EU Animal By-products Regulation 1774/2002/EC, which banned the burial and on-farm burning of fallen stock, already lays down rules for the safe collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use or disposal of animal by-products, including fallen stock. This prevents these products presenting a risk to animal or public health.

Agriculture: Feed Wheat

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The table below shows the average prices of feed wheat in the UK since 1996, based on averages of weekly ex-farm prices provided by the Home Grown Cereals Authority.

Year£/tonne ex-farm

1996

110.98

1997

85.44

1998

73.88

1999

73.13

2000

67.69

2001

74.17

2002

63.35

2003

76.40

2004

78.48

2005

63.92

2006

76.42

Agriculture: Wages

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): When dealing with complaints from workers alleging that they have been paid less than the agricultural minimum, Defra gives priority to recovering any arrears of pay owed and ensuring that the worker’s employer pays the minimum wage in future. However, where there is evidence that an employer has wilfully failed to pay the minimum wage, Defra has powers to prosecute. There is currently one such prosecution under consideration arising from the 50 complaints received from migrant workers in the past year. The remaining complaints are at various stages of the arrears recovery process.

Armed Forces: Bowman

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The large-scale integration trial for high-capacity data radio in May 2006 and the systems readiness test in November 2006 assessed the suitability of the data transmission rates in the Bowman combat infrastructure platform and found they met the department's specifications. The department continues to work to improve situational awareness capability as part of the incremental approach to Bowman CIP.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: 8,364 land platforms have been converted. Those vehicles not converted because of operational commitments will be converted when they become available. It is estimated that, instead of the planned conversion process completing in 2007, this will be by the end of 2008.

British Citizenship

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I refer the noble Lord to my letter of 23 April 2007.

Climate Change

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In 2004 the Government’s Foresight report Future Flooding estimated that, with climate change impacts and increased economic wealth, annual average flood damages could rise between two and 20 times by the end of the century. However, there is still considerable uncertainty about the extent of these changes.

The UK produces a relatively small proportion of global carbon emissions and domestic efforts alone will not have a significant effect on coastal flood risk in England between now and 2030. National action must be part of a much bigger international strategy.

A certain amount of climate change is now inevitable over the next few decades: we need to plan for and adapt to this. Climate scientists broadly agree that the UK is likely to face rising sea levels and more frequent floods and storms. For example, the Thames Barrier is already being used around five times a year; by 2030 we expect it to be closing up to 30 times a year. In addition, we need to minimise the effects of dangerous climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Defra has for many years provided guidance to the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards to help them take account of climate change impacts in the design of present-day flood and coastal erosion risk management measures.

Climate Change: Adaptation

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Adaptation is a vital part of our efforts to tackle climate change and a

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high priority for this Government. We will publish a cross-government framework on adaptation by the end of 2007. This will bring together the range of work already being taken forward and ensure a co-ordinated approach to adaptation across the UK. Adaptation is also addressed in the Climate Change Bill.

Closed-Circuit Television

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Home Office does not collect figures for the number of CCTV cameras. Given the huge number of cameras, operated by a very wide range of individuals, private organisations and public bodies, it is very difficult accurately to assess the total number employed.

Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payment

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government are in regular contact with the European Commission regarding the administration of the single payment scheme (SPS). The European Commission’s audit of the 2005 SPS in England is ongoing and it is too early to draw any firm conclusions. No proposals have been made to date for financial corrections and, should the Commission make any in due course, the Government will continue to defend the UK’s interests with the aim of ensuring that any corrections are minimised to the fullest possible degree.

Firearms: Amnesty

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We are discussing with the Association of Chief Police Officers whether to hold a national firearms amnesty in the near future.



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The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The information requested is as follows:

1968

25,000

1988

48,000

1996

23,000

2003

44,000

Government: Ministerial Posts

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Cabinet Office publication List of Ministerial Responsibilities sets out details of ministerial posts and names of postholders. Copies of the publications dating back to May 1997 are available in the Library for the reference of noble Lords. Information about the average number of months of ministerial tenure of each post since 1997 is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.

Immigration: Detention

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We remain firmly of the view that detention for immigration purposes under Article 5(1)(f) of the ECHR does not require judicial oversight. Detainees have access to judicial review and habeas corpus and this satisfies the Article 5(4) requirement that detained persons should be able to bring proceedings before a court to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Certain persons are normally considered suitable for detention only in exceptional circumstances. Elderly persons, pregnant women, those suffering from serious medical conditions or who are otherwise mentally ill and those where there is independent evidence to show that they have been tortured are included among those who would usually be considered unsuitable for detention.

Detaining officers will always consider on a case-by-case basis whether detention is appropriate in any particular case.

Immigration: Eurostar Paris

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The information requested in (a), (b) and (c) cannot be disclosed as this could provide information of value to those seeking to circumvent immigration controls, thereby prejudicing the prevention and detection of immigration offences.


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