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10 Dec 2002 : Column 199W—continued


Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it the policy of the Government to outlaw (a) industrial trawling and (b) pair trawling for pelagic species. [84464]

Mr. Morley: Reducing the incidental bycatch of small cetaceans will require action on the part of all member states involved in the fisheries concerned, not just the UK. Defra has already committed some #140,000 for trials into the use of exclusion devices developed by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) to reduce the bycatch of cetaceans in pelagic trawl fisheries. The trial will be resumed as soon as the commercial fishery restarts, in order to refine the system and further assess the grid's effectiveness in protecting dolphins and maintaining fish catch rates. If SMRU's trials are not successful, we will look at other mitigating measures, and I do not rule out any approach at this stage—including arguing for restrictions on fishing, gear or seasonal closures.

Urban Foxes

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups on the release of captured urban foxes into the countryside; and if she will make a statement. [84624]

Mr. Morley: The Department holds discussions from time to time with the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations on managing wild mammals, including foxes, where they are perceived to be a problem.

It is not an offence to capture foxes and release them elsewhere, provided the person concerned does not contravene the legislation that provides general protection for wild mammals against cruelty and ill-treatment. The Department does not recommend the use of re-location as a method of managing foxes. This is well understood by groups like the RSPCA who are opposed to this practice. We are not aware of any other established welfare groups who favour relocation as a method of managing foxes. Because of their territorial nature, foxes moved to another area would be likely to fight with any others already established there. This

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could lead to injury and death among the foxes. Anyone experiencing problems with urban foxes should contact Defra for advice on 0845 601 4523 (local rate).

Waste Management

Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates she has made of the use of (a) waste incineration, (b) landfill dumping and (c) recycling of household waste in (i) Lancashire, (ii) the north-west of England and (iii) the UK. [85328]

Mr. Meacher: Municipal waste tonnages and percentages for the disposal methods requested are in the table.

Thousand tonnes/percentages

North West Region473,722386

Household waste makes up approximately 90 per cent. of municipal waste in England. Comparable figures for the UK are not available.

Water Abstraction

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to what extent she intends the proposed Water Bill to include a duty on abstractors to use water efficiently, as required by the EC Water Framework Directive. [84739]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 3 December 2002]: Article 11(3)(c) of the EC Water Framework requires a programme of measures to promote efficient and sustainable use of water. It does not require a duty on abstractors to use water efficiently. The Water Bill will not place such a duty on abstractors because the Government believe the Environment Agency already has sufficient powers to ensure abstractors use water efficiently.

However, the Water Bill will place a duty on water companies to conserve water in the carrying out of their functions, as one of the measures to meet the requirements of that Article.



Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the President of the Council what recent discussions he has had with private institutions and organisations on the award of degrees. [86116]

Mr. Robin Cook: I have had none. The Privy Council has received applications from some private organisations for the granting of degree-awarding powers and these are currently being considered.

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Airfield Security

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent representations he has received concerning security at small airfields in the UK; and if he will make a statement; [85521]

Mr. Jamieson: Although we received few representations regarding the security of smaller aerodromes in the UK in the immediate aftermath of September 2001 attacks, we immediately tightened the security regime for commercial flights by small aircraft. I have received no more recent representations.

Prior to those attacks, commercial aircraft of less than 15 tonnes (maximum take off weight) were outside the requirements of the National Aviation Security Programme. That exemption has been removed, and aircraft of any weight are now subject to the programme.

The operators of such aircraft and the managers of the aerodromes from which they operate have been issued with the relevant directions and guidance, and Department for Transport Inspectors monitor compliance and undertake enforcement, prioritising those locations where the risks are judged greatest. As with all aspects of the regime, these measures are kept under review.

Additional Runway (Heathrow)

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold a public exhibition of the proposals for an additional runway at Heathrow in Spelthorne during the extended period of consultations. [85225]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 3 December 2002]: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport announced to Parliament on 28 November 2002 Official Report, columns 474–75, the consultation on airports capacity will be kept open until we have consulted on options in relation to Gatwick. We will publish a further consultation document in the new year.

We will set out our plans for the remaining stage of the consultation process when we publish the further consultation paper in the new year.

Advanced Motorcyclists

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made by his Department of the role, process and standards of advanced level training for motorcyclists; what discussions have taken place; what representations have been received; and what steps have been taken by his Department as a result. [86088]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government have commissioned independent research into the current provision of motorcycling training. The study included the identification of training organisations, a postal survey

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questionnaire of all organisations identified, and follow-up face-to-face and telephone interviews. The findings will be considered by the research sub-group of the Advisory Group on Motorcycling, which includes riding and training interests. A report of the research findings should be published in the New Year.

Advisory Group on Motorcycling

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the (a) terms of reference and (b) results of the Advisory Group on Motorcycling. [85861]

Mr. Jamieson: The information is as follows:

Air Transport

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which five airports in the United Kingdom had the (a) highest and (b) lowest growth of passenger traffic in the last five years. [85615]

Mr. Jamieson: Comparing passenger numbers in 2001 with those in 1996 the information is as follows:

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