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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken in response to the LRTAP Protocols on (a) heavy metals, (b) persistent organic pollutants and (c) abatement of acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone. 
Mr. Meacher: Since becoming Party to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) the UK has worked at an international level to abate transboundary air pollutants. The UK is preparing to ratify these three Protocols.
I issued a consultation paper on 20 March 2002 outlining the steps necessary to ratify the 1998 Protocol on Heavy Metals; comments are invited by 12 June 2002. I have arranged for a copy of the consultation paper to be placed in the Library. The consultation paper sets out a draft strategy for the UK to meet its commitments under the Protocol. The main requirements are the reduction of annual emissions to air of cadmium, lead and mercury to below 1990 levels. We already meet these requirements as annual emissions in the UK in 1999 were 30 per cent, or less, of 1990 levels for the three metals. Subject to the results of the consultation exercise, I hope to ratify the Protocol by the end of 2002.
The Department is also looking at what measures need to be in place for the UK to ratify the 1998 Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants, although the basic obligation to reduce emissions of POPs below their 1990 levels has already been achieved.
The UK signed the Protocol to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone (the "Gothenburg Protocol") in December 1999. The main requirement of the Protocol is to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and ammonia to meet individual national ceilings from 2010. The Protocol covers the same four pollutants as the European Union National Emission Ceilings Directive, adopted last November, and ratification of the Protocol and and implementation of the Directive will be done jointly. I hope to issue a consultation paper later in the year on our proposals. Projections suggest that the UK is
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on course to meet the emission ceilings from 2010. Subject to consultations I hope that the UK will be able to ratify the Gothenburg Protocol by the end of 2002.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of removing pesticide and fertiliser contamination from water in water catchment and other areas that affect drinking water supplies was in (a) areas of standard farming procedures and (b) areas where farming is carried out to Soil Association organic standards in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency, which is responsible for monitoring ground and surface waters for pesticides, does not distinguish between compounds used in conventional and organic farming. Similarly, the costs to water companies of treatment to remove traces of pesticides before water can be put into supply are not quantified and apportioned according to the different farming methods, which may vary within any single water catchment area.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which EU member states have been notified of the action taken by the National Assembly for Wales under the safeguard clause of the EU Deliberate Release Directive in respect of GM maize being grown in the UK; and when they were informed. 
Mr. Meacher: The European Commission was informed of the action taken by the Assembly on 13 July 2001, as required under Directive 90/220/EEC. At the same time, copies of the notification were sent to the Permanent Representations of all other Member States.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the European Commission to respond to the action taken by the National Assembly of Wales under the safeguard clause of the EU Deliberate Release Directive in respect of GM maize being grown in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Meacher: It is not known when the Commission will respond.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the biodiversity action plans for species and habitats at risk have been implemented. 
Mr. Meacher: There are 391 species action plans and 45 habitat action plans. All are being implemented in partnership with a wide range of statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations. A progress report on implementation was made in "Sustaining the variety of life: 5 years of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan", published in March 2001. The report can be viewed on www.ukbap.org.uk.
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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will respond to the University of Brighton report on water based sports and recreation. 
Alun Michael: The report was published in December, since when a number of discussions have taken place. Recently officials met British Waterways, the Countryside Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency and Sport England as the other sponsors of the research along with other interested Government Departments. Last month I met representatives of the British Canoe Union with my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas). In the light of these and other discussions we are considering what action to take in the light of the report's findings.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1032W, when she expects to publish the consultation paper on the closure or diversion of rights of way. 
Alun Michael: I have set high priority on implementing the measures in the CROW Act to enable the closure or diversion of rights of way where this is needed for crime prevention but I also want to make sure that the processes are kept as straightforward as possible. The same applies for the provisions in relation to locations where the safety of school pupils is the issue. With this in mind, I am currently refining our proposals and intend to issue a consultation paper very soon.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2002 to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith), Official Report, column 372W, on CERRIE, what the terms of reference are for the Consultative Exercise on Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters, including the responsibilities of individual members of the Committee, what reports are to be placed in the public domain from the proceedings of CERRIE; and what guidelines individual members of CERRIE have been given on (a) disclosing proceedings and (b) publishing material subsequently that relate to CERRIE. 
Mr. Meacher: The Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE) is a working group of the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). CERRIE has been given the remit
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Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions the Government will have with the administration in the United States of America regarding the need to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change. 
Mr. Meacher: The UK Government maintain regular contact on climate change with the US Administration, both at ministerial and official levels. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs held discussions on climate change with a range of representatives of the Administration in Washington in December and intends to do so again when she visits Washington in April. Other Government Ministers take every opportunity to raise the issue with our American counterparts.
The UK Government firmly believes that the Kyoto Protocol remains the best way to take forward international action on climate change and will continue to emphasise this point in discussions with the US Administration.
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