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Bird Populations

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the percentage changes in British bird populations in the last three years, broken down by county. [26201]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's Quality of Life Counts indicator of wild birds uses an index of UK bird populations set at 100 for 1970. The values of the index for the last three years are presented in the table for all 105 bird species included. The index increased by

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3 per cent. in 1999 and by a further 4 per cent. in 2000. Further information on these statistics is published in the DEFRA News Release No. 303/01.

The Department has also commissioned research from the British Trust for Ornithology and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to develop indicators of bird populations for England and Government Office regions. The indicators will show the percentage change in bird populations in the last 30 years. The results are expected to be published in the spring and a copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House. Information on changes in bird populations for individual counties is not held centrally.

Bird population indexAll birds

Compost Bins

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list those local authorities which provide compost bins (a) free of change and (b) on payment to households in their areas; and if she will make a statement. [27145]

Mr. Meacher: Information from the 1999–2000 Municipal Waste Management Survey shows that 17 local authorities in England distributed home composting bins to households free of charge during 1999–2000. 235 local authorities in England either charged some or all of their households for this service. The remaining 102 authorities either did not distribute compost bins during 1999–2000 or did not provide information.

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