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Pinewoods

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has held with English Nature regarding the felling of pinewoods around Formby in Lancashire. [147482]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 January 2001]: My Department has not specifically discussed with English Nature its proposals to fell pinewoods on a nature reserve near pinewood. This is a nature reserve management issue for English Nature to take forward.

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will assess the report of the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, regarding the felling of pinewoods around Formby in Lancashire; and if he will issue new guidance to English Nature regarding protection of the red squirrel habitats. [147483]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies, on behalf on English Nature, has carried out a review and consultation considering the management of the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve. The review, commissioned by English Nature to inform its work managing the nature reserve, considered the overall objective of dune restoration in areas of existing frontal woodland to be appropriate and makes detailed recommendations.

It is not a report to Government and therefore I have no plans to assess the report. It is for English Nature, on the Government's behalf, to take this issue forward.

There are no plans at present for new guidance on protection of red squirrel habitats.

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received regarding the felling of pinewoods in red squirrel habitats around Formby in Lancashire. [147481]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 January 2001]: I understand English Nature is reviewing the management of the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve and has commissioned a consultation exercise on its proposals to fell pinewoods within a nature reserve. However, my Department has not been able to trace any representations made specifically on this issue.

English Nature

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has held with English Nature regarding increasing transparency and public accountability of its activities. [147484]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 January 2001]: I met the Chairman and Chief Executive of English Nature in July and October last year for discussions including the Corporate Plan, plans for greater openness, increasing availability of information, more e-communication and e-commerce.

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 12W

Red Squirrels

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received on the level of the red squirrel population in the UK. [147487]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 January 2001]: My Department occasionally receives representations from members of the public about red squirrel populations. This species is afforded full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Temple Sowerby Bypass

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to start work on the Temple Sowerby bypass on the A66. [147545]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 January 2001]: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Tim Matthews, to write to the right hon. Member.

Letter from John Kerman to Mr. David Maclean, dated 29 January 2001:





A66

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) when he expects to complete the safety study of the A66; [147540]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 January 2001]: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Tim Matthews, to write to the right hon. Member.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. David Maclean, dated 29 January 2001:




29 Jan 2001 : Column: 13W



Endangered Species

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people have been prosecuted in respect of a failure to uphold international obligations on the protection of endangered species in each of the last five years. [147712]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Endangered species are protected under the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This convention is implemented throughout the European Union under EC regulations and enforced in the UK under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (COTES).

There is no central record of prosecutions or convictions for offences under the COTES regulations. However the number of prosecutions we are aware of in each of the last five years is as follows:

YearNumber
19966
19975
19983
19996
20008

I have been advised by HM Customs and Excise that the number of prosecutions in respect of endangered species under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 in each of the last five years is as follows:

YearNumber
19961
19970
19980
19990
20001

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what obligations the United Kingdom has under international treaties to police the protection of endangered species. [147713]

Mr. Meacher: The United Kingdom, as a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is required under Article VIII of the convention to take appropriate measures to enforce the provisions of the convention and to prohibit trade in specimens in violation of those provisions. Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 sets out the requirements on member states to implement the convention. The Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and the Control of

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 14W

Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1372) provide the means for enforcement in the United Kingdom.

Wildlife Crime Unit

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the achievements and future of the Wildlife Crime Unit of the Metropolitan police. [147714]

Mr. Meacher: I have been impressed by the achievements of the Metropolitan police in the fight against wildlife crime. They have investigated a number of significant cases, including the recent successful prosecution of a north London taxidermist for illegally trading in large numbers of endangered species. The Metropolitan police have also worked with London's Chinese community in "Operation Charm"--an ongoing initiative to raise awareness of the consequences for conservation of the use of endangered species derivatives in traditional medicines.

How they structure and manage their responsibilities for enforcing wildlife legislation in future is, as now, entirely a matter for the Commissioner to decide.


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