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Mr. Meacher: The UK biodiversity action plan and subsequent individual action plans for 45 habitat and 391 species set out the measures to be taken to conserve biodiversity in the United Kingdom. The UK biodiversity group report "Sustaining the Variety of Life5 Years of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan", published in March 2001 detailed progress on the plan and made recommendations for its further implementation. The Government expect to respond to the group's report and recommendations shortly.
Within the UK framework, responsibility for implementing the UK action plan now lies with the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. In the Rural White Paper "Our Countryside: the FutureA Fair Deal for Rural England" the Government announced it would prepare a biodiversity strategy for England. Work streams have been established covering the major sectoral policy areas impacting on biodiversity in England including, agriculture, forestry, water and wetlands, marine and coastal, urban and development, and business. In addition, there are workstreams for the cross-cutting themes of education and local and regional action. We expect to publish the strategy later this year.
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Mr. Meacher: The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 7378) has an Annex on Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships. The UK ratified this Annex in 1995 and we are working to promote its entry into force.
The UK, other member states and those countries seeking accession to the European Union are, or will be, obliged to implement the requirements of several directives to protect the water and marine environment from land-based sewage discharges.
For example, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive requires by 2005 at least secondary treatment for all discharges to coastal waters from sewage treatment works serving more than 10,000 inhabitants. In England and Wales this level of treatment will be provided by the same deadline for coastal discharges from treatment works serving more than 2,000 inhabitants.
Furthermore the UK ceased sea dumping of sewage sludge (a by-product of treatment processes) in 1998 as required by the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. Such dumping is now banned in the north-east Atlantic under the OSPAR Convention. At the global level, the London Convention Protocol 1996 requires that sewage sludge may only be considered for disposal at sea following a detailed waste prevention audit, consideration of other waste management options and assessment of potential environmental impacts. The UK was one of the first countries to ratify the protocol and has been active in promoting its entry into force as soon as possible.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulatory impact assessment regarding costs to the egg industry has been made by her Department in the event of enriched cages being phased out before 2012. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the research will be completed into bird welfare and bird behavioural aspects of enriched cages. 
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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the statement of the Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, 12 June 2002, c. 22, on the timescale for the operation of enriched cages if she will make a statement on the phasing out of enriched cages; and when the policy was decided. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of the agencies and NDPBs sponsored by her Department have a regional organisation; and if she will list the counties and unitary authorities in each region in (a) 1997 and (b) 2002. 
Meat and Livestock Commission
Milk Development Council
Sea Fish Industry Authority
Agricultural Wages Board
Agricultural Wages Committee
Regional Flood Defence Committees
Agricultural Land Tribunals
British Wool Marketing Board
National Forest Co.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what ways the outcome of the recent World Food Summit in Rome will help combat the shortage of food in Southern Africa. 
I do not consider that the meeting helped materially to combat food shortages in Southern Africa. UN organisations did, however, convene an action-oriented meeting of Governments, NGOs and donors in Johannesburg the previous week to discuss the crisis in the region.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library the results of the monitoring of arsenic, nickel, cadmium and mercury at industrial sites across the United Kingdom that her Department funded; and when she intends to publish the results. 
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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 27 June 2002]: Copies of the report entitled: "Monitoring of Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickel and Mercury around Industrial Sites" produced by Casella Stanger on behalf of the Department have been placed in the Library. The report was published on 4 September 2001. This report is also available electronically on the Air Quality Archive in the reports database at http://www.airquality.co.uk
Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 June 2002]: Responses to the consultation on the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002843) are available from the DEFRA library at Whitehall Place. I will also place them in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
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