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21 Nov 2001 : Column: 291W
assessment he has made of the impact on the environment of exhaust fumes produced by the use of chainsaws. 
Mr. Jamieson: UK emissions modelling suggests that small petrol-powered off-road equipment accounts for 2.1 per cent. of UK hydrocarbon emissions with chainsaws accounting for only a small part of this. However, the European Commission estimates the significance of emissions from these machines to be much greater. The Commission estimates small off-road petrol engines to produce 6.5 per cent. of EU hydrocarbon emissions with chainsaws accounting for approximately half of this figure.
Hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, which is harmful to human health and, in addition, certain hydrocarbons are carcinogenic. Despite the low significance of total hydrocarbon emissions from this sector of machinery, individual machines are high emitters. It is therefore desirable to reduce emissions from them as far as practical, not only to benefit the environment, but also to reduce operator exposure to carcinogenic emissions.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of draft EU regulations relating to catalytic converters on chainsaws; and if he will make a statement on the impact of such regulations on the arboricultural industry. 
Mr. Jamieson: The amendment would regulate, for the first time, emissions from small, off-road petrol engines, such as those used in lawnmowers, chainsaws etc, by means of two stages of emissions limits. Compliance with the Stage 2 limits may require adoption of oxidation catalysts on two-stroke engines (typically used in handheld equipment such as chainsaws). Where machines must be compact and lightweight it may be difficult to accommodate catalysts; 'tree-service' or 'top-handled' chainsaws as used by arboriculturists are a case in point.
The UK has campaigned vigorously for derogations for these machines to give industry the time they need to develop alternative emissions control technology. At their first readings of the proposal, both the European Parliament and the Council adopted a clause requiring the Commission to review whether all applications of handheld engines could meet Stage 2 limits and, if not, set derogations of up to five years where appropriate. The Commission have made a written declarations that this review will specifically consider chainsaws.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to reduce the delay in planning affecting on-shore windfarms; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: We already promote a positive approach to planning for renewable energy as part of the UK's climate change strategy. Last year we initiated the preparation of regional assessments and targets for renewable energy provision (including on-shore windfarms) to encourage a more strategic approach to planning at regional and local levels. More positive planning at regional and local levels will contribute to greater public familiarity with, and acceptance of, prospective renewable energy developments
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and will help to facilitate planning permission for individual proposals. It remains important for operators to prepare the ground with local authorities, environmental groups and local people before submitting formal planning applications by developing proposals in consultation with them.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if the United Kingdom's Government's policy for reducing emissions from international aviation was approved at the 33 International Civil Aviation Organisation Assembly; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Assembly endorsed further work to improve technology standards and operating procedures. It approved the goal of participating in an emission permit trading system, and it confirmed its policy on emissions charging. We are following up this outcome in consultation with our European partners, taking account of the impact of recent events on the aviation industry.
David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the current status of the Waverley Line railway proposals between Edinburgh and Carlisle. 
Mr. Jamieson: The "Waverley Line" or "Borders Line" as it is also known is a longer-term project which will have to be considered against competing priorities. However, it will be studied to see if it is a viable proposal and whether or not it offers value for money.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what procedure is followed when concerns are communicated to his Department about the propriety of the conduct of his special advisers in respect of their professional relationship with civil servants. 
Mr. Byers: In line with the Civil Service Code, the Department's staff handbook sets out the procedures to be followed in the event of any complaint, problem or grievance in relation to any employment-related matter.
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his answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, columns 9394W, on departmental staff (1) if he will list (a) the departments and (b) the Ministers that were consulted prior to the transfer of Mr. Alun Evans from his Department to the Cabinet Office; and if he will give the dates on which each of the consultations took place; 
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many fines have been imposed for failure to make a statutory off-road notification since the scheme's inception. 
Mr. Jamieson: Since the agency started enforcement action for failing to make a statutory off-road notification declaration in April 1999, a total of 207,397 people have settled the matter out of court and a further 1,263 have been prosecuted at court. The total revenue paid in fines and penalties amounts to £6,071,847.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the performance of the statutory off-road notification scheme in reducing vehicle excise duty evasion. 
Mr. Jamieson: Statutory off-road notification (SORN) came into force in 1998. Keepers who take their vehicles off the public road unlicensed are required to make a declaration to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and if the vehicle remains off the road to confirm its status each year. Failure to do so is a criminal offence which carries a maximum fine on conviction of £1,000. Offenders are given the opportunity to settle out of court on payment of a penalty.
Since introduction over 2.5 million SORN declarations have been received. Automated enforcement action has been introduced and over £6 million raised in fines and penalties. The indications are that the SORN procedures are fulfilling their objectives and achieving a higher compliance with the registration and licensing requirements.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what contribution his Department will make to the World Health Organisation study into deep vein thrombosis and air travel. 
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Mr. Jamieson: My Department, in conjunction with the Department of Health, is planning to make a contribution to the World Health Organisation study in terms of financial support and the provision of advice, the details of which are presently under consideration.
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