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17 Dec 2002 : Column 693Wcontinued
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what basis she provides funding to assist a business in England proposing to recycle agricultural film waste; and what account she will take of recycling facilities in Scotland when reaching such a decision. 
Mr. Meacher: We do not provide funding specifically for the development of schemes to recycle agricultural film waste. The Rural Development Service may consider funding under ERDP for a particular scheme on the basis of an application put to them. All relevant factors would be taken into account in considering any application that is made, including recycling facilities in Scotland.
Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Department has made of the effect on expectant and nursing sows of being kept in farrowing crates; and whether the Government plans to ban the use of farrowing crates. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2002]: We have, for a number of years, funded research directly or indirectly related to the welfare of the sow and her piglets, from farrowing to weaning. Part of this research has been directed towards determining which aspects of confinement in farrowing crates could, potentially, cause frustration in pregnant and lactating sows. A key issue emerging is that changes in farrowing systems to improve sow welfare can frequently have an adverse effect on the welfare of the piglets. As a result, we are not yet able unreservedly to recommend free-farrowing systems for widespread commercial adoption.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Department of Trade and Industry on promoting sustainable energy sources; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on a wide range of matters that affect the business of both their Departments. Sustainable energy sources are amongthe issues that have been discussed at those meetings.
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Regulations 2528 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 (as amended) require water undertakers to only use substances and products in the treatment and supply of drinking water which have been approved by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She is advised by the Committee on Products and Processes for Use in Public Water Supply, which is an advisory non-departmental public body.
Mr. Spellar: We have recently extended Bus Service Operators Grant (formerly called fuel duty rebate) to many community transport services and introduced a 100 per cent. fuel duty rebate on biodiesel. We are considering ways of applying this grant to scheduled coach services in 200304 in return for half-fare concessions for older and disabled passengers. Our Bus Subsidy Review is considering whether any further changes to subsidy mechanisms will help to achieve our policy objectives for bus services, which include increasing patronage, modal shift and promoting social inclusion.
Mr. Jamieson: Our Bus Subsidy Review is currently considering whether any changes to fuel duty rebate will help to achieve our policy objectives for bus services, which include increasing patronage, modal shift and promoting social inclusion. The review will report its conclusions to Ministers by February 2003.
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Mr. Jamieson: We welcome the report of the Commission for Integrated Transport on Public Subsidy for the Bus Industry. We will consider our response as part of my Department's Review of Bus Subsidies.
Mr. Jamieson: In 2001, according to data from the National Travel Survey, 58 per cent. of household residents in England used local buses at least once a year and 27 per cent. used them at least once a week.
15. Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority regarding the Wales rail franchise, and in particular the service on the Cambrian coast line. 
16. Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on projected future levels of capital investment under the (a) Department for Transport and (b) Strategic Rail Authority 10-year plans for (i) railways, (ii) roads, (iii) multimodal studies and (iv) local transport. 
Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is today publishing a progress report on the 10-year investment plan. As well as describing the considerable progress that has been made during the first 18 months of the 10-year plan, this will also set out our plans for investment in all transport modes for the remainder of the decade.
17. Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact on Sutton Coldfield of the proposed airport expansion at (a) Birmingham airport and (b) Rugby. 
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In general terms, development at Birmingham airport may result in increased aircraft noise for Sutton Coldfield, but could also generate additional jobs. The Rugby option assumes the closure of Birmingham,so the converse is likely to be true.
Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport announced to Parliament on 28 November 2002 that the consultation on airports capacity will be extended until we have consulted on proposals in respect of Gatwick. My right hon. Friend made it absolutely clear to the House that it is open for anyone in the country to respond to the consultation.
Those who have already responded to the consultation will be able to amend, add to, or replace their response having considered the new document. We will set out our plans for the remaining stage of the consultation process, including how to inform respondents, when we publish the further consultation paper in the new year.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 9 December 2002 (ref 86522) if he will explain his plans for the consultation process in the new year to the public meeting on Canvey Island. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 16 December 2002]: As I set out in my previous answer to the hon. Member on 9 December 2002, Official Report, columns 2930W, we will set out our plans for the remaining stage of the consultation process when we publish the further consultation in the new year.
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