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Earth Summit

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who will make up the United Kingdom's delegation to the Rio+10 Summit in Johannesburg. [66742]

Mr. Meacher: We are currently in the process of considering the delegation for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development but the final decision on the make up of the delegation will rest with the Prime Minister. However, both the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will attend the summit.

We have been working closely with various stakeholder groups in our preparations for World Summit on Sustainable Development and representatives have been

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part of the UK delegation at previous preparatory meetings for WSSD. This will continue to be the case for the summit itself.

Common Land

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations she has received regarding changes in the value of land registered as common land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; [67940]

Alun Michael: The Department has not received any specific representations about changes in the value of registered common land which might be due to the provisions contained in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This was an issue on which comments were invited during consultation on draft regulations under section 68 of the Act relating to vehicular access over common land, but no specific representations were received. As the published regulatory impact assessment makes clear, the Department cannot predict with confidence the detailed impact of the regulations.


Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department has advertised for the position of landfill directive manager in her Department since 1997; on what dates the post has been filled; and if she will make a statement. [65626]

Mr. Morley: The position of landfill directive manager (now known as 'Head of Landfill and Composting Team') has been advertised and filled as follows since 1997:

Animal Welfare

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to meet representatives of the livestock industry to discuss animal welfare. [63001]

Mr. Morley: We regularly meet representatives of the livestock industry to discuss animal welfare issues.

Wildlife Crime

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action her Department is taking to tackle crime in relation to wildlife. [63015]

Mr. Meacher: My Department is determined to tackle wildlife crime and we have a number of relevant initiatives under way. For example, I launched the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit at the end of April, and we have begun a review of Control of Trade

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in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997, which will include an assessment of the level of penalties and police powers of arrest for wildlife offences.


Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the reasons why the conditions of (a) lowland and upland calcareous grassland, (b) upland acid grassland, (c) upland heathland and (d) bogs in England are generally unfavourable; and what measures she is taking to improve them. [66779]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Assessment of the condition of these habitat types, or of specific features within them, is carried out in a number of contexts.

Countryside Survey 2000 has provided a national assessment of long-term changes in the extent and condition of habitats. The Department is funding further research to improve understanding of the underlying reasons for this and the results are expected in Spring 2003. The report and related material can be found at

As part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) individual action plans have been published for upland and lowland calcareous grassland, upland heathland and bogs. Each plan contains an assessment of the factors affecting the habitat, targets for maintenance or improvement of the habitat condition and actions aimed at achieving these targets. Implementation of the action plans is being led by the statutory conservation agencies in partnership with the relevant Government and voluntary sector bodies. Further information on the plans can be found at

English Nature also assess the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Where SSSIs are not in a favourable condition, a number of factors may contribute to this. Agriculture is a major factor, particularly grazing intensity. Overgrazing or undergrazing can adversely affect the condition of sites. We are addressing these problems on a number of fronts. For example, we continue to expand agri-environment schemes, which can assist many of these habitats. In addition, the sheep quota purchase scheme announced on 26 June is an example of the development of more direct and innovative measures to help alleviate grazing pressure.

Grazing regimes also affect these habitats on common land. We shall shortly announce our plans for improving the legislation to enable better management of common land.

In relation to SSSIs, English Nature are also able to enter into management agreements with land managers to prevent activities which can be damaging to these sites. Currently 201,000 hectares are subject to such agreements.

Air Pollution

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her

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Department has commissioned into (a) the acute, short- term and (b) the chronic, long-term effects on health of (i) nitrogen dioxide, (ii) carbon monoxide and (iii) particles in regard to air pollution. [64662]

Ms Blears [holding answer 27 June 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has been commissioning research into the effects of air pollutants on health since 1991. A range of projects dealing with both long-term and short-term effects of air pollutants on health has been funded. Many of these projects deal with more than one air pollutant.

Decisions regarding a new research programme were taken on 14 June. Nine projects will be funded to a total cost of about £1 million. Of the nine projects, three deal with long-term effects, four with short-term effects and one with both long and short-term effects. One project focuses specifically on nitrogen dioxide, the others deal with pollutants in general with a special focus on particles. No work on carbon monoxide has been agreed as yet though a project on long-term effects of exposure to carbon monoxide is being held as a "first reserve".

Details of the new programme will be placed in the Library.

A summary list of all work funded prior to the new programme will also be placed in the Library.



Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's assessment is of the security situation in Nepal; and what effect it has had on her Department's ability to provide development and humanitarian aid. [67037]

Clare Short: The security situation has deteriorated sharply since the Maoists abandoned peace negotiations in November last year. Since then an estimated 3,000 people have died as a result of the conflict.

The Government holds all the district towns, but large parts of the countryside are under effective control of the Maoists. The intensity of the conflict varies, with the Maoist "heartland" areas of the mid-west and far-west most affected.

The war is generally regarded to be unwinnable by military means alone, as the country is ideally suited to guerrilla warfare. There are growing concerns about human rights violations on both sides. In recent weeks, there has been a noticeable decline in confrontations between the Security Forces and the Maoists, but this lull in the fighting is believed to be temporary.

While there is no direct threat against development workers, there are indirect risks of being caught in crossfire. Restrictions on movement, especially of people and supplies, and the withdrawal of Government counterparts in rural areas, means that Government development programmes in some remote areas has effectively stopped. None the less, Maoists are allowing continuation of development projects in some areas under their control, particularly where work is strongly supported by local communities.

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UK funded development assistance is continuing, albeit more slowly. In addition to existing work on rural livelihoods, rural infrastructure, health and governance, my Department is implementing a programme of short- term support for people in conflict affected areas, and are working to re-orientate the entire DFID programme towards conflict resolution.

We have not yet reached a situation of acute humanitarian crisis except in a few isolated locations, and there are no plans as yet to provide humanitarian assistance although we are monitoring the situation very closely.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department allocated for (a) bi-lateral aid to Nepal and (b) non- Governmental organisations working in Nepal for (i) 2000–01 and (ii) 2001–02; and if she will make a statement. [67428]

Clare Short: UK development assistance to Nepal in 2000–01 totalled £17.165 million, of which approximately £2.9 million was channelled through NGOs working in Nepal. In 2001–02 the approximate figure for total expenditure was £20 million, and around £3 million was channelled through NGOs.

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