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3 Dec 2002 : Column 658Wcontinued
Mr. Morley: We carried out such an assessment before deciding to extend the pet travel scheme to the USA and Canada. The risk of importing rabies into the UK, from qualifying countries under the pet travel scheme, remains low.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the countries from which timber was obtained for the refurbishment of Nobel House; and what steps she has taken to ensure that the timber used was derived from legal and sustainable sources. 
Alun Michael: The most recent refurbishment work in Nobel House was to the Ministerial Suite completed in 1997. At that time no records were kept of the source of timber and as the contractor has gone into bankruptcy I am advised that it is not possible to pursue the matter through company records.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 November 2002]: No but I am pleased to note that the Commission has recently produced an action plan to address the practice of discarding of unwanted fish. One of the many points for discussion is the possibility of reducing discards due to exhausted quotas by establishing by-catch quotas or setting multi-species TACs. We have not yet taken a view on this but look forward to detailed consideration and discussion of this and other novel ideas in the action plan.
Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend announced on 30 October, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Wythenshawe and Sale, East (Paul Goggins), Official Report, columns 86162W, that the Government had considered carefully the findings and recommendations in Sir John Wheeler's report, and was happy to accept in principle all of them. The Department for Transport and the Home Office are now working closely together on implementation, involving as appropriate, the police and other control agencies, and the airport industry.
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Mr. Jamieson : I apologise that the hon. Member's constituent has not received a reply to his letter. My Department has received a further copy of the letter, to which officials are replying. I will ensure a copy is sent to the hon. Member for information
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the establishment of public service obligations on air routes serving peripheral or development regions where no subsidy is involved. 
Mr. John Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who will (a) analyse and (b) collate the responses to the air transport consultation; and whether they or their employees have previously been employees of airlines or airport operators. 
Mr. Jamieson: The analysis of the consultation responses will be carried out by a team comprising civil servants and retained consultants with expertise in a range of relevant areas including aviation, surface access, safety and environmental issues. It will be for officials to prepare and submit advice to Ministers.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the current timetable for the air transport consultation process for the south east will be affected by the high court ruling on 26 November regarding the omission of Gatwick airport from the air transport consultation document; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what he estimates to be the total costs to public funds of contesting the action brought by Essex county council, Kent county council and Medway cistrict council in respect of the Airports Consultation. 
Mrs. Spelman: Mrs. Caroline Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will (a) rescind his previous intention to issue a white paper on potential expansion of Birmingham International Airport and (b) substitute a green paper. 
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Mrs. Caroline Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will allow (a) the period of consultation to be extended and a second round of consultation to be organized and (b) additional time for (i) preparation and publication of detailed Birmingham International Airport proposal and the documentary evidence to support such a proposal and its concomitant business care and (ii) public scrutiny and response. 
Mr. Jamieson: As the Secretary of State has announced in his written Statement of 27 November 2002, Official Report, columns 3536WS and his Oral Statement to the House on 28 November, we have decided to extend the consultation. It will now close four months after the publication of a further consultation document for South East England.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what account he will take of representations about the proposed expansion of Birmingham international airport which are not in the form of responses to the official questionnaire; and whether he will receive representations after 30 November; 
Mr. Jamieson: The Bermuda II agreement allows the UK to designate only two airlines to operate from Heathrow to the US, and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the designated UK airlines. We have put proposals to the US for the full liberalisation of the UK-US aviation market, but these have not been accepted. More recently, we put proposals to the US Government for a partial liberalisation of the market, which would have allowed bmi British Midland to operate a limited number of Heathrow-US services, but the US felt unable to accept them either. We are currently considering whether a further proposal should be made.
(3) what appraisal his Department has made of the need for hub port development in the UK; 
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Mr. Jamieson: A paper, XRecent Developments at UK Container Ports" was published by the Department in July 2001. Copies of this paper were placed in the Library in response to a question from the hon. Member for Reading West on 7 November 2001, Official Report, columns 29697W. This paper was based on extensive consultation with port and shipping interests. Representations received in relation to the development of hub ports have related predominantly to specific schemes and have been made as part of the formal planning process in which the schemes are at various stages. A few have related to other possible projects on which no formal proposals have been submitted.
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