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Urban Foxes

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is with regard to the problem of urban foxes, with particular reference to the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Leicestershire; and if she will make a statement. [73408]

Mr. Meacher: The Department recognises that foxes can cause problems in urban areas and publishes advice to householders on managing fox problems. Responsibility for the control of foxes rests with those people who most benefit from such control, that is, individual property owners and occupiers, who may engage private pest control contractors to undertake this work. There is no statutory requirement for local authorities to control foxes in their areas.

We have received no recent representations from the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Leicestershire, about urban foxes.

Milk Marketing

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are undertaking to improve the marketing of milk. [71761]

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Mr. Morley: The marketing of food products is a commercial matter for the companies concerned. But we have extended the remit of the Milk Development Council to allow it to undertake generic promotional activities, funded by levy payers.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what figures she collates on the level of the urban fox population; and what the population was in each of the past five years. [71115]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The Department does not routinely collate data on the levels of urban fox populations, but commissions research into the subject from time to time. A report issued in 1997 estimated the UK urban fox population at 33,000. In a survey of 139 councils conducted in 2001, most expressed the opinion that the urban fox population density in their area had risen.

The Department holds no figures on the levels of urban fox populations for each of the past five years.

Rural Economy

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many new enterprises her Department has stimulated in the rural economy in each of the past five years. [71664]

Alun Michael: The former Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme was closed to new applicants in 1996, while payments under both the new strands of expenditure under the England Rural Development Programme started in 2001. The following table shows projects supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its predecessors in each of the past five years under these Schemes to assist the establishment of new rural businesses or new business developments in existing rural enterprises.

YearProcessing and Marketing Grant Scheme (pre-ERDP)*ERDP Processing and Marketing Grant SchemeERDP Rural Enterprise SchemeTotal
199728--28
199821--21
199922--22
20004004
2001Closed27198225

* Closed to new applicants in England in 1996. The figures shown reflect final payments made to successful projects in each of the relevant years.

Current indications are that the number of businesses helped under RES and PMG will be significantly higher this year, at around double last year's figures, as applications increase from the foot and mouth affected levels of 2001.

Assistance is also available to rural businesses under other grant schemes but it would not be possible to identify the number of new or expanding businesses resulting from such assistance except at disproportionate cost.

In addition Regional Development Agencies are required to support the creation of new businesses in both rural and non-rural areas using DEFRA as well as other Departments' funding contributions. Information on the number of businesses stimulated is, however, unavailable.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if her Department has responsibility for the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive into UK law; [72033]

Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State and I represent the UK at the EU Environment Council of Ministers during discussions on the WEEE Directive.

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Officials from the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union, led by the UK Deputy Permanent Representative, will represent the UK in the forthcoming EU conciliation committee meetings on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.

A decision is yet to be made as to whether DTI or my department will have responsibility for transposing the WEEE Directive into UK law.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that consumers do not pay twice for the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment. [72042]

Mr. Meacher: The proposed EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment is a Producer Responsibility directive which requires producers to provide for the financing of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE from private households deposited at collection facilities, onwards.

The Common Position text of the draft Directive—which is still under negotiation and subject to change—stipulates that consumers must be able to return items of WEEE free of charge. The text does not, however, outline the methods by which producers are to provide for the above financing. Without a final text, it is not possible to provide details of how the Directive will be implemented in the UK.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms she is putting into place to prevent companies avoiding their responsibilities for recycling under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [72040]

Mr. Meacher: The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is still under negotiation and without a final text it is too early to outline details of how the Directive will be implemented in the UK.

Throughout negotiation of the Directive, the Government has kept industry informed of their likely responsibilities under the Directive and we have reported back on developments in the negotiations in Brussels as they happen.

The Government will be working with the Environment Agency to ensure that the appropriate penalties are in place for use in cases of non-compliance, as required under the Directive.

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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what she has done to ensure that the views of (a) environmental and consumer organisations and (b) electronics companies are taken into account in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [72038]

Mr. Meacher: The Department and the DTI are in regular contact with industry, including environmental and consumer organizations and electronics companies, about the proposed Directive and its implementation in the UK.

In particular–


The Government takes into account the views of industry when drawing up our negotiation lines and will continue to do so throughout implementation in the UK.

Faith Communities

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list projects involving faith communities which are supported by her Department. [71845]

Mr. Morley: The Department is not currently involved in any faith-based projects and does not provide financial support to any faith communities.

Noise Complaints

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of noise complaints were caused by acoustic or non-amplified music being played in pubs, bars or nightclubs in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and if she will make a statement. [71675]

Mr. Meacher: Data on UK noise complaints are not collected specifically for acoustics or non-amplified music being played in pubs, bars or nightclubs. However, figures are available for the number of noise complaints resulting from commercial and leisure activities that were reported to Environmental Health Officers in England and Wales. This category includes pubs, bars, nightclubs, food premises, retail stores and sporting pursuits.

YearCommercial and Leisure Noise Complaints per million populationNoise Complaints (all categories) per million populationCommercial and Leisure Noise Complaints as % of Total
2000–011,0387,08114.7
1999–20009607,09113.5
1998–998366,11113.7

Source:

CIEH 1999, 2000, 2001


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The corresponding figures for 2001–02 are expected to be available later this year.


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