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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to publish his Green Paper on radioactive waste management; and if he will make a statement on the terms of reference of the Green Paper. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 July 2000]: I expect the consultation paper on the management of radioactive waste to be published in the autumn. It will be the first step of an open and transparent approach that must characterise the radioactive waste management policy debate in the future.
The scope of the consultation paper will be as comprehensive as possible and will address issues associated with radioactive materials, such as plutonium, currently outside the scope of existing policy.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his timetable is for consultation on schemes for the amelioration of noise from aerodromes; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of fitting silencers to light aircraft. 
Mr. Mullin: We published our consultation paper on control of noise from civil aircraft on 20 July. This proposes legislation to strengthen aerodromes' powers to establish and enforce noise amelioration schemes, and to enable the Secretary of State to designate an aerodrome requiring it to agree such a scheme with an appropriate local authority; together with related matters. The consultation paper will shortly be available on the Department's website. We have invited responses by 13 October. We shall study these carefully before making a decision.
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To be most effective, engine noise reduction technologies need to be applied at the design stage. The airframe and propellers are also significant sources of noise, and thus the success of retro-fitted silencers depends on the type of aircraft and operating conditions. They may also have an impact on aircraft performance; they would not be appropriate in any case where safety would or could be compromised as a result. The CAA can advise on their appropriateness in specific cases.
Mr. Mullin: The CAA data available group take-offs and landings together. In the year to end April 2000, there were 69,606 take-offs and landings by domestic services at Heathrow. This figures is for commercial flights, and excludes such things as positional movements.
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 13 July 2000, Official Report, column 625W, which academic institutions, regeneration practitioners and professional institutions are working together in the North West to develop urban development skills following the Rogers report. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: A steering group led by the University of Salford, including Universities in Liverpool and Manchester, the North West Development Agency, the North West Regional Assembly, Government Office for the North West, major local authorities, the professions and private practitioners has commissioned the Centre for Local and Economic Strategy to undertake a feasibility study on a North West Centre for Excellence for Regeneration.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will require house builders to certify the source of the timber used in the construction of their houses; 
Mr. Raynsford: The Department has no plans at this time to introduce additional regulation on house builders requiring them to use wood from certified sustainable sources. However, the use of timber from sustainable sources is an integral part of our overall strategy for sustainable construction. Rather than regulate, we are seeking to change attitudes through collaboration and education. Through the Construction Research and Innovation Programme, the Department supports the development of a range of tools and guidance, such as BRE's Environmental Estimating Design software (ENVEST) and Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM). These are aimed at helping clients and designers to identify more sustainable approaches to the supply and use of all construction materials.
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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the taskforces for which he is responsible; and if he will estimate the annual cost in each case. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 12 July 2000, Official Report, column 563W, on rail freight, what the maximum permissible weight will be for a traction unit designed to convey the cement road tankers to which he refers. 
Mr. Hill: In my answer to the hon. Member on 12 July I stated that the cement road tanker designed to be conveyed on the intermodal wagons would have a maximum weight of 40 tonnes. This referred to the combined weight of the load of cement, the road tanker and its trailer. The total on-road weight of road tanker, trailer and traction unit and its load will not exceed 44 tonnes (road tanker--5.1 tonnes; trailer--5 tonnes; traction unit--8.1 tonnes; load of cement--not more than 25.8 tonnes).
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he issues to air carriers operating out of UK airports on (a) appropriate staff training for, and (b) ways of dealing with, air rage. 
Mr. Mullin: The Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for the safety regulation of UK-registered aircraft. UK airlines, as a condition for the issue of an Air Operators' Certificate, are required to train cabin staff in all relevant safety procedures and, given the disparate nature of aircraft operations, it is for them to decide the most appropriate type of training in dealing with disruptive passengers.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many carriers operating out of UK airports carry handcuffs and other passenger restraints; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what role Regional Development Agencies play in evaluating single regeneration budget bids; and if he will make a statement on the transparency of the process. 
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Ms Beverley Hughes: Regional Development Agencies are responsible for assessing bids for SRB funding against the criteria and priorities set out in the published bidding guidance and regional strategies.
The assessment process requires RDAs to consult with, and take account of the views of, Government Departments and agencies whose interests are covered in the bid proposals. The RDAs then discuss their proposed recommendations for support with either myself or my right hon. Friend for formal approval. RDAs provide detailed feedback to all bidders.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures are in place to protect harbour porpoise in (a) United Kingdom waters and (b) other waters in the European Union. 
Mr. Mullin: Harbour porpoises, like all cetaceans, are protected in Great Britain under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Section 9 of the 1981 Act makes it an offence to intentionally kill or injure all cetaceans, or to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place which they use for shelter or protection. Similar provisions apply in Northern Ireland. In addition, the Government have recently proposed an amendment to the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill to increase the protection given to cetaceans. The amendment will make it an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb a cetacean.
Within the European Union, harbour porpoises are protected under the Council Directive (92/43/EEC) on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as the Habitats Directive. This requires member states to designate appropriate sites of community importance for harbour porpoises as Special Areas of Conservation and prohibit the deliberate killing and disturbance of this species. This Directive is transposed into UK law by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994.
The Government are currently considering the implications of last autumn's judgment by the High Court that the Habitats Directive extends beyond the limits of the territorial seas. They expect to consult before the end of this year on regulations to transpose the Directive to cover the marine environment within the United Kingdom's jurisdiction outside the territorial seas.
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