§ Mr. Chidgey
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much his Department spends on biking press releases to(a) hon. Members and (b) other individuals or groups, each time his Department issues a press release; how many such press releases were issued by his Department (i) in the period 1 May to 1 July and (ii) in the period 1 January to 1 March; and if he will review his Department's use of couriers to deliver press releases and investigate the possibility of using fax or e-mail. 
§ Mr. Morley
MAFF does not use motor-cycle messengers to deliver press releases. These are made available to hon. Members, to the media and other interested parties via both the Central Office of Information's News Distribution Service (NDS) and direct mailing.
The COI's NDS delivery mechanisms include a newswire service which supplies press releases to the Parliamentary Online Information Service (POLIS) [which 274W can be accessed by all MPs and Lords], hand deliveries, fax and postal deliveries, online databases, and a widely accessed [World Wide] Web site on the Internet.
MAFF also has a website containing its press notices which is updated daily and used by journalists and other individuals and organisations.
The Department keeps a watching brief on new developments in information transmission to ensure the most cost-effective delivery mechanisms are used at all times.
In the period 1 May to 1 July 1997, MAFF issued 65 press notices and in the period 1 January to 1 March issued 67 press notices.