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Regeneration

26. Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government are taking to ensure that disadvantaged neighbourhoods outside the inner cities benefit from regeneration programmes. [120166]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Renewing and revitalising poor neighbourhoods has consistently been a high priority for this Government and a consultation framework on the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal was published by the Social Exclusion Unit in April. We are already addressing the needs of disadvantaged neighbourhoods outside the inner cities through the Single Regeneration Budget but the future role of all the regeneration programmes is being considered in the current spending review.

Fifth Freedom Rights

27. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which non-United Kingdom and non-United States carriers have received further fifth freedom rights from the UK in the last year; and which applications are still outstanding. [120167]

Mr. Mullin: In the last year the UK has granted new fifth freedom traffic rights, or additional frequencies to existing rights, to the designated airline or airlines of the following countries:










Requests for new fifth freedom rights are often made in the course of negotiations but are then not pursued.

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Regional Airports (Access)

28. Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on access by non-UK carriers to regional airports. [120168]

Mr. Mullin: Since June 1998 all bilateral partners with whom we did not already have liberal air services agreements have been offered unrestricted access to all UK regional airports, so long as UK airlines are also allowed to operate on the same routes. Some 17 countries have accepted the offer, and it has been discussed in virtually all air services negotiations held since June 1998.

Organophosphates

29. Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will circulate the revised HSE Guidance Note MS17, entitled "Medical Aspects of Work-Related Exposure to Organophosphates", to (a) potential users of organophosphates and (b) GPs. [120169]

Mr. Meacher: No. MS17 is a priced publication available on that basis to anyone, but it is written for doctors and other health professionals and would not be helpful to the general user of organophosphates. All GPs are being made aware of its existence, but it would be wasteful to distribute it to the many who will have no cause to refer to it.

Transport for London

30. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to meet the Mayor of London to discuss the entry into operation of Transport for London. [120170]

Mr. Hill: My right hon. Friend will be meeting the Mayor of London in due course to discuss a range of issues, including transport.

Thames Gateway

31. Mr. Paul Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the future development of the Thames Gateway. [120171]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 7 March that the Thames Gateway remains a focus for development and an opportunity for growth in the south-east. Draft Regional Planning Guidance published on 22 March identifies the regeneration of the area as a national and regional priority and proposes an extension of the boundary into south Essex. Stronger implementation structures, including a new strategic partnership and local delivery mechanisms, are being discussed with local and regional organisations in the area.

Local Authority Debt

32. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the trend in the level of external local authority debt in the last three years for which figures are available. [120172]

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Ms Beverley Hughes: The trend in the level of external debt of local authorities in England is broadly flat. Total external debt has been estimated at about £37 billion at end March in each of the years 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Second and Holiday Homes

33. Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the extent of (a) second and (b) holiday home ownership in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [120173]

Mr. Mullin: Estimates based on the Survey of English Housing (SEH) indicate that there were about 234,000 English households who owned second homes in England and Wales in 1998-99.

Some 46 per cent. of SEH respondents owning a second home included "holiday home/retirement home/weekend cottage" as one of their reasons for having the second home. This would indicate a figure for holiday home ownership of around 108,000.

There is no comparable recent and reliable source of information on people whose main residence is in Wales who have a second home in England or Wales.

Packaging Waste

34. Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the packaging waste compliance scheme registration fee structure. [120174]

Mr. Meacher: In the light of experience with the current arrangements, we intend to consult shortly on an alternative structure for registration fees for compliance schemes.

NATS Employees (Share Allocation)

35. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many shares are to be allocated to NATS employees under the arrangements proposed in the Transport Bill. [120175]

Mr. Mullin: The Government propose that 5 per cent. of NATS shares are to be made available for an employee share scheme. Details will be worked up in due course following consultation with NATS' employee representatives and, when selected, the strategic partner.

Regional Development Agency

(Yorkshire and Humberside)

36. Kali Mountford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the work of the regional development agency in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. [120176]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government have set Yorkshire Forward the challenging task of leading the revitalisation of the Yorkshire and Humber economy. The first step towards this goal was made with the production of a Regional Economic Strategy. The strategy, a well structured framework for promoting economic development and competitiveness in the region, was welcomed by the Government earlier this year.

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Yorkshire Forward is now working with other partners to develop a series of Action Plans to take forward key actions in the Strategy. At the same time, Yorkshire Forward has made good use of its programme funding to secure new investment in the region, to create new jobs and to address the skills gap.

Workplace Parking Tax

37. Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the proposed workplace parking tax on local economies. [120177]

Mr. Hill: Research indicates that a levy on workplace parking can help to tackle traffic congestion. Less congestion will help to improve the competitiveness of local economies. In addition, the hypothecation of the revenues raised for improving local transport will help to maintain their vitality.

We will require local authorities that choose to bring forward a workplace parking levy scheme to assess the likely impact of their scheme, including its effect on the local economy, before the Secretary of State approves the order to give effect to the scheme.

Village Speed Limits

38. Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those authorities which have completed the introduction of a programme of village speed limits throughout their area. [120178]

Mr. Hill: The setting of local speed limits is a matter for local authorities who are not obliged to inform central Government of the number or whereabouts of local speed limits they have in force.

CITES

Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which took place in Gigiri, Kenya, from 10 to 20 April. [121623]

Mr. Meacher: A record 130 countries attended the Conference, which took place in a positive and friendly atmosphere in the excellent facilities provided at UNEP HQ.

The Conference considered 62 proposals to amend the species covered by CITES, which are listed in two Appendices. Appendix I lists highly endangered species which are prohibited in international commerce. Appendix II lists other endangered species in the table, which includes details of the final position taken by the

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UK (in accordance with the EU's common position) on those proposals which were put to the Conference for decision.

The UK achieved its main objective on the key proposals for elephants, turtles and whales. Our own proposal to list the basking shark on Appendix II achieved 61 per cent. support--the highest vote for any of the three shark proposals before the Conference. Unfortunately a two-thirds majority was required and the majority of states which use basking shark fins voted against our efforts to ensure that fisheries were managed sustainably and trade levels monitored.

We were particularly disappointed that representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) intervened in the debate on behalf of overseas fishing industry interests, and partly disowned their own technical report which showed that species like the basking shark are particularly suitable for CITES management. Given the continuing threat to this species, and the strength of our scientific case which was widely acknowledged, the Government intend to work with our European Union colleagues to list the basking shark on Appendix III of CITES as soon as possible. If agreed, this would make any transaction between the EU and other states in basking shark products subject to the EU CITES Regulations.

Another major UK proposal at the Conference--to establish a working group to address unsustainable trade in bushmeat--has been strongly endorsed. Initially, the working group will focus on the management of bushmeat harvesting and trade in six African countries with particular problems such as dislocation caused by irresponsible forest exploitation by international timber companies and unsustainable demand for bushmeat from urban areas. My Department is making £50,000 available in the current financial year to support this initiative, and we look forward to contributions from other CITES Parties and non-Governmental bodies.

I would also like to highlight two other UK achievements at the Conferences. First we ensured that most of the tough recommendations made in the recent CITES Tiger Missions, led by the UK, were endorsed and that countries which fail to implement them can as a last resort face wildlife trade sanctions. As a potential consumer state, the UK will continue to maintain a vigilant profile through education, detection and prosecution to prevent any revival in the use of tiger products for traditional medicine in this country. Secondly, I would like to pay tribute to representatives of HM Customs and Excise and the Police who organised a widely praised exhibition of the UK's work to enforce CITES. Two recent convictions in the UK for illegal trade in shahtoosh and parrots have demonstrated the increasing commitment of statutory enforcement agencies to tackle wildlife crime. I hope that the proposed Wildlife Crime Unit, which I announced on 16 February, will enable us to build on these achievements.

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Species--scientific nameSpecies--common nameProposalUK/EU final positionOutcome
Fauna
Crocodylus niloticus (Tanzania pop.)Nile crocodileIncrease export quota for wild-taken specimensSupportAdopted
Manis crassicaudata Manis pentadactyla Manis javanicaIndian pangolin Chinese pangolin Malayan pangolin Uplist (AII to AI). Amended to remain in AII with zero wild quota Support as amended Adopted as amended
Tursiops truncatus ponticusBlack Sea Bottle Nosed DolphinUplist (AII to AI)AbstainWithdrawn
Eschrichtius robustus (Eastern N. Pacific stock)Grey WhaleDownlist (to AII)OpposeRejected
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (S. Hemisphere stock)Minke WhaleDownlist (to AII)OpposeRejected
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Okhotsk Sea--W. Pacific stock)Minke WhaleDownlist (to AII)OpposeRejected
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (NE Atlantic, N. Atlantic Central stockMinke WhaleDownlist (to AII)OpposeRejected
Parahyaena brunneaHyaenaDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Loxodonta africana (South African pop.)African ElephantDownlist (to AII). Non-ivory trade onlySupport as amendedAdopted as amended
Loxodonta africana (Botswanan pop.)African ElephantCommercial ivory quotaOpposeWithdrawn
Loxodonta africana (Namibian pop.)African ElephantCommercial ivory quotaOpposeWithdrawn
Loxodonta africana (Zimbabwean pop.)African ElephantCommercial ivory quotaOpposeWithdrawn
Loxodonta africana (App. II pops.)African ElephantUplist (AII to AI) OpposeWithdrawn
Loxodonta africana (App. II pops.)African ElephantAnnotation amendment (re "appropriate and acceptable destinations")SupportAdopted
Dugong dugon (Australian pop.)Sea Cow Uplist (AII to AI)AbstainAdopted
Vicugna vicugna (App. I pops.)VicunaDownlist (to AII)SupportWithdrawn
Vicugna vicugna (App. II pops)VicunaDelete zero quota for trade in clothSupportAdopted
Moschus spp. (App. II pops.)Musk deerUplist (to AI)OpposeWithdrawn
Ovis vignei (unlisted sub spp.)UrialList non AI pops. on AIISupport as amendedAdopted as amended
Rhea pennata pennata (Argentine pop.)Lesser RheaDownlist (to AII)SupportAdopted
Falco rusticolus (N. American pop.)Gyr FalconDownlist (AI to AII)OpposeRejected
Eunymphicus cornutus cornutusHorned ParakeetUplist (AII to AI)SupportAdopted
Eunymphicus cornutus uveaenisisOuvea ParakeetUplist (AII to AI)SupportAdopted
Garrulax canorusMelodious Laughing ThrushList (on AII)Oppose (but support AIII)Adopted
Cuora s.l.Box TurtlesList (on AII)SupportAdopted
Clemmys guttata Spotted turtleList (on AII)OpposeRejected
Geochelone sulcata African spurred tortoiseRetain AII with zero wild quotaSupportAdopted as amended
Malacochersus tornieriPancake tortoiseUplist (AII to AI)SupportWithdrawn
Eretmochelys imbricata (Carib. pop. in Cuban watersHawksbill TurtleDownlist (to AII)OpposeWithdrawn
Eretmochelys imbricata (Carib. pop. in Cuban watersHawksbill TurtleDownlist (to AII) for one-off sale of shell stocksAbstainRejected
Crocodylus moreletii (Sian Ka'an, Quintana Roo pop.)Belize crocodile Downlist (to AII)n/aWithdrawn before the Conference
Varanus melinusQuince monitor lizardUplist (AII to AI)OpposeWithdrawn
Crotalus horridusTimber rattlesnake(List on AII)Oppose Withdrawn
Bufo retiformisSonoran green toadDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Mantella spp. (except M. aurentiaca)Malagasy poison frogList (on AII)SupportAdopted
Rhincodon typusWhale sharkList (on AII)SupportRejected
Carcharodon carchariasGreat white sharkList (on AI)Support AIIRejected
Cetorhinus maximus Basking sharkList (on AII)SupportRejected
Latimeria spp. (except L. chalumnae)CoelecanthList (on AI)SupportAdopted
Latimeria menadoensisMenado coelacanthList (on AI)Support (only if above proposal failed)Withdrawn
Poecilotheria spp.Ornamental tarantulaList (on AII)OpposeRejected
Flora
Popophyllum hexandrum; and Rauvolfia serpentinaCombine with annotation for Taxus wallichianaSupportAdopted (also referred to Plants Committee)
Ceropegia spp.De-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Frerea indicaDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Byblis spp.Rainbow PlantDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Disocatus macdougalliMcDougal's cactusDownlist (to AII)SupportAdopted
Sclerocactus mariposensisLloyds Mariposa cactusDownlist (to AII)SupportRejected
Cephalotus follicularisAlbany pitcher plantDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Dudleya stoloniferaLaguna Beach Liveforever
Dudleya traskiaeSanta Barbara Island Liveforever Downlist (to AII) Support Adopted as amended
(a) Cyathea spp. and Tree ferns(a) amend listing to Cyathea spp. (inc. Alsophila, Nephelea, Sphaeropteris, Trichipteris) and Cibotium barometz Support Adopted
(b) Dicksonia spp. (b) amend listing to Dicksonia spp. (originating in Americas) and Cibotium barometz
Shortia galacifoliaOconee-BellsDe-list (from AII)SupportWithdrawn
Lewisia cotyledonSiskiyou Lewisia;
Maguire's Bitter-root; De-list (from AII) Support Adopted as amended
Saw-toothed Lewisia
Darlingtonia californicaCalifornia Pitcher PlantDe-list (from AII)SupportAdopted
Panax ginseng (roots)GinsengList (on AII)SupportAdopted as amended
Araucaria araucana (Argentine pop.)Monkey puzzle treeUplist (AII to AI)SupportAdopted
Cactaceae spp.De-list (from AII)OpposeWithdrawn (but decision adopted)
Kalmia cuneataLaurelDe-list (from AII)Support Withdrawn
Camptotheca acuminataHappytreeList (on AII)OpenWithdrawn
Cistanche deserticolaDesert living CistancheList (on AII)SupportAdopted as amended
Harpagophytum procumbens; Harpagophytum zeyheriGrapple plantList (on AII)SupportWithdrawn
Adonis vernalisHerb of spring adonisList (on AII)SupportAdopted as amended
Guaiacum sanctum Brazil woodUplist (to AI)OpposeWithdrawn (but decision adopted)

Notes:

1. AI = Appendix I of CITES (species banned in commerce).

2. AII = Appendix II of CITES (species regulated in commerce).


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