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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what monitoring arrangements are in place for air pollution across the United Kingdom; and how this information is publicised. 
Alun Michael: On behalf of the United Kingdom Government and the devolved Administrations DEFRA monitors air pollution in the United Kingdom through a national network of air quality monitoring sites, the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and numerical modelling techniques.
There are three national automatic air quality monitoring networks: (a) the automatic urban network consisting of 96 sites, (b) the automatic rural network consisting of 22 sites and (c) the hydrocarbon network consisting of four sites. There are also seven national non-automatic networks that measure a wide range of pollutants. DEFRA operates two of these networks in co-operation with local authorities.
Current and historic monitoring information, including hourly updates of air quality from the automatic networks, is published on the UK Government's and the devolved Administrations' air quality website (www.airquality.co.uk). This site also provides detailed information about DEFRA's and the devolved Administrations' air pollution monitoring arrangements. Air quality information is also provided through a freephone service (0800 556677) and on Teletext, page 155.
In addition to the national monitoring networks described above, there are also a large number of monitoring sites operated by local authorities. Local authorities generally publicise this information in the air quality review and assessment reports, which they prepare under part IV of the Environment Act 1995.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to which local authorities since 1997 her Department and its predecessors have issued directions requiring air quality monitoring to be undertaken. 
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the individual measures against which air quality is assessed in the United Kingdom what the level of each was in (a) each city of greater than 100,000 population and (b) each local authority area in each of the last 30 years in which these have been recorded. 
Alun Michael: Air quality in the United Kingdom is assessed against targets for safeguarding people's health and protecting the environment from air pollution. These targets were published in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, first published in 1997 and revised in January 2000. The strategy includes health-based standards for benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide lead particles, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and low-level ozone. It also includes policy objectives for each pollutant to be achieved between 2003 and 2008. On 5 August 2002 the United Kingdom Government announced tighter objectives in England for particles, benzene and carbon monoxide and introduced a new objective for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
The United Kingdom Government and the devolved Administrations monitor levels of the pollutants in the United Kingdom through a national network of air quality monitoring sites, the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and numerical modelling techniques. Details the air quality targets and all air quality monitoring dataincluding cities and local authoritiesare published on the United Kingdom Government's and devolved Administrations air quality website www.airquality.co.uk
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the (a) bathing and (b) non-bathing beaches in the United Kingdom which are (i) measured and (ii) not measured for (A) beach and (B) water quality standards, indicating in each case for which measurements are taken whether they pass these standards; what plans there are to strengthen the monitoring and standards of these beaches; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Department's publication XBathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC) Detailed Summary of 2001 Survey ResultsUnited Kingdom" is available in the Library and lists all identified bathing waters and the results of micro-biological and physico-chemical sample testing. The report for the 2002 bathing season will be published early in the new year. General beach quality characteristics are taken into account in the Seaside Awards and Blue Flag schemes administered by ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns). Lists of beaches are published on their internet site (www.seasideawards.org.uk and www.blueflag.org.uk). The EC Commission has recently published a new draft bathing water directive, which proposes tighter microbiological water quality standards. The proposal will be subject to detailed negotiation among member states and in the European Parliament. Specific questions relating to bathing waters in Scotland and Wales should be directed to the devolved Administrations.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of how many small businesses will be affected by proposals contained in her Department's review of bird registration; and how many such businesses depend upon trade in species listed in Schedule 4 of the Act. 
Mr. Morley: Many users of the current registration system fit the definition of a Xsmall business". Business users range from people who trade in significant numbers of Schedule 4 birds annually to those breeding just one or two birds. In the consultation process, we have endeavoured to contact as many such users as possible in order to ensure that their views are properly reflected in the review process.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason no changes were made to the bird registration scheme following the consultation on Review of Bird Registration and CITES Licensing Fees undertaken in July 1999. 
Mr. Morley: No changes were made to the bird registration scheme because the 1999 consultation related solely to the question of what fees should be payable for registering a bird and obtaining any relevant CITES permits.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the costs of implementing her Department's bird registration scheme were in (a) 1991, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001; and what she estimates they will be this year. 
Mr. Morley: The costs for the scheme in the financial year April 1991 to March 1992 were #309,769. Costs in the financial year April 2000 to March 2001 were #355,822 and April 2001 to March 2002 were #441,557. The forecast for April 2002 to March 2003 is #456,712.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) birdkeepers, (b) zoological gardens/bird parks, (c) birdkeeping magazines, (d) falconry centres, (e) police wildlife liaison officers, (f) ornithologists and birdwatchers, (g) conservation organisations, (h) bird watching magazines and (i) raptor groups have been consulted by her Department during its review of bird registration; and what criteria her Department used to determine the list of those consulted on the review. 
Mr. Morley: The Department set out to consult as many interested parties as possible in conducting the bird registration review. We have therefore consulted all people who currently keep Schedule 4 birds. This includes zoos and bird parks, falconry centres and members of raptor groups. In addition, consultation took place through a number of umbrella organisations such as the RSPB, the RSPCA, the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Bird Council, the British Trust for
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Ornithology, the Hawkboard and the Countryside Alliance. We also issued consultation documents to conservation organisations and publishers of bird magazines and relied on them to cascade information to their members and readers. All Police Wildlife Liaison Officers in England and Wales were consulted. In all over 2,000 individuals and organisations were consulted through these mechanisms. Consultation documents were also available via the Department's website.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department took in framing the bird registration scheme to the effect on conservation of wild birds. 
Mr. Morley: The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 introduced the registration and ringing of certain species of birds when kept in captivity. The objective of section 7 of the Act was to support the conservation of our native wild birds by requiring those holding them to register them with the Department, and to fit them with a ring approved by the Secretary of State. The deterrent effect of this legislation has reduced the illegal taking of birds from the wild.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings she had with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee during the preparation of her Department's review of bird registration. 
Mr. Morley: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee were involved in three meetings with my Department during the preparation of this review. The first meeting also involved representatives from raptor groups, the devolved assemblies and conservation bodies. Subsequent meetings involved officials from my Department and JNCC in discussions about a range of possible options for inclusion in the review.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration her Department gave to the views of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee during the peparation of its review of bird registration. 
Mr. Morley: The Joint Nature Conservation Committee are the main adviser to the Department on all scientific questions arising on bird registration issues. They were therefore consulted fully prior to the issue of the public consultation document, and were involved in a number of the preparatory discussions.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely effects of removing bird species from Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on the ability to secure convictions for possession of these birds. 
Mr. Morley: The recent consultation process sought views on four possible options for the future of the bird registration scheme. We consulted as widely as possible, and consultees included the enforcement authorities, whose views we greatly value. We shall decide what specific proposals to develop in the light of the responses to the consultation. The possible impact on the ability to
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secure convictions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will be one of the factors we take into account in doing so.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of how removing bird species from Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will affect the number of these birds taken illegally from the wild. 
Mr. Morley: When the current consultation is concluded, the Department will refer to our scientific advisers, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, for assistance in determining whether species should remain on Schedule 4. One of the criteria in determining whether a species should remain will be its vulnerability to illegal taking.
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