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11 Jun 2003 : Column 871W—continued

Suez Medal

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister whether a decision has been reached on the award of a medal to those who served in the Suez Canal Zone between 1951 and 1954. [119054]

The Prime Minister: Following a recommendation from the sub-committee chaired by Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, we are pleased to announce that Suez veterans who served in the Canal Zone between 1951 and 1954 are to be awarded the General Service Medal.

In examining this case so long after the events, the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals recognised that it had special features. Although it had been established that the Commander in Chief at the time made a request for a medal, there was no conclusive evidence that the case was ever fully considered and a formal decision reached. Nor had the deployment been recognised by the award of any other campaign medal.

The detailed qualification criteria for the medal will be submitted to Her Majesty The Queen for approval in due course. Copies of the sub-committee's report are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

US Foreign Policy

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the occasions since January 2001 when he has expressed public disagreement with the foreign policy of the US Administration. [118475]

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The Prime Minister: I disagree publicly with the US Administration on foreign policy whenever it is in the interest of the United Kingdom to do so.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the British Government's policy on Zimbabwe. [118441]

The Prime Minister: Our policy has been effective in maintaining broad international pressure on ZANU (PF). The EU has used targeted sanctions to isolate the regime and the Commonwealth has suspended Zimbabwe from its Councils. Both of these measures have been rolled over this year. We also continue to provide humanitarian aid; to feed the hungry; and to support the fundamental right of the Zimbabwean people to press for change. We keep our policy under constant review.


Energy Efficiency

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department is planning to start the consultation on an expansion of the Energy Efficiency Commitment to run from 2005 to at least 2008, as stated in the Energy White Paper of February 2003; and which organisations her Department is intending to consult. [116171]

Mr. Morley: We have already begun informal discussions on the next Energy Efficiency Commitment, to start in April 2005, so that we can take account of the views of stakeholders in drawing up proposals for a statutory consultation in spring 2004. We have set up a High Level Advisory Committee to provide strategic advice to Government, and also welcome input on more detailed and technical issues. We will consult a wide range of bodies with an interest in energy efficiency.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department plans to take to combine household energy efficiency with (a) micro CHP, (b) small-scale renewable heat and (c) renewable power. [116292]

Mr. Morley: Micro-CHP is potentially a useful technology for delivering domestic energy efficiency and carbon savings. However, the technology is not yet commercially available in the UK. The Government are working closely with the industry to overcome a number of regulatory and technical barriers to bringing the technology to market. An important step towards this will be a major independent and technology-impartial field trial sponsored by the Carbon Trust, through its Low Carbon Innovation Programme (LCIP) in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust. This will commence later this year. I understand the trial is expected to feature a range of technologies and end use applications across the residential and commercial sectors, in order to provide an objective assessment of the benefits that micro CHP can offer.

DTI's Clear Skies Scheme and the PV demonstration programme both encourage applicants to think seriously about energy efficiency when installing new

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renewable energy and heat systems. The Energy Saving Trust, who manage the Major PV Demonstration programme, endeavour to offer energy efficiency advice in parallel with giving information on the PV grants. The 52 Energy Advice Centres and six pilot Renewable Energy Advice Centres combine this function.

Similarly, applicants to the £10 million Clear Skies programme for household and community schemes, are encouraged to contact their local energy efficiency advice centre in order to check their existing household systems. This is testament to the fact that, particularly when allied to energy efficiency measures, renewable energy is one of the most effective methods of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the environmental impact of proposals to expand airport capacity in the south-east. [116322]

Mr. Morley: A range of possible airport development options were assessed in accordance with a detailed environmental appraisal framework, published in November 2000. The full results of those appraisals have been published as part of the consultation exercise currently being undertaken by the Department for Transport. The Government will consider the responses to the consultation exercise, including representations about environmental impact, when deciding whether any additional airport capacity should be provided. That decision will be set out in an Air Transport White Paper later this year.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to press the European Commission to publish its proposals for a new directive on the protection of animals during transport; and if she will make a statement. [118243]

Mr. Morley: We have regularly pressed the European Commission to publish their proposals. At the Agriculture Council on 26 May 2003, Commissioner Byrne announced that he hoped to bring forward final proposals no later than July 2003.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has to give further support to animal sanctuaries in the United Kingdom; [117863]

Mr. Morley: I applaud the good work carried out by conscientious and responsible people who devote their time to looking after sick, injured or unwanted animals.

The Department is currently working on a proposed Animal Welfare Bill, which will encourage more responsible animal ownership and thereby help to reduce the number of unwanted animals, a considerable number of which currently end up in animal sanctuaries.

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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has had from animal welfare groups regarding animal sanctuaries. [117864]

Mr. Morley: A number of animal welfare groups have provided their views on animal sanctuaries during the consultation on an Animal Welfare Bill. My officials are continuing to talk to representatives of animal welfare groups, animal sanctuaries and other organisations responsible for the well being of animals as work on the Animal Welfare Bill progresses.

Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will include provisions in the forthcoming draft Animal Welfare Bill to stop the practice of keeping primates as pets. [118063]

Mr. Morley: Whilst there are no specific plans to impose a ban on primates as pets, the content of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill is still to be decided. However powers are already available under Article 8.2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 to restrict the holding of species subject to control under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (which includes all primates) and a paper setting out the Government's proposals for using these powers will be circulated for public consultation later in the year.

It is anticipated that a draft Animal Welfare Bill will be published for consultation next year.


Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were fined by the Environment Agency or its predecessor regulatory authority for dumping bonded asbestos illegally in each year since 1990. [116208]

Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency's National Enforcement Database does not record specific types of pollutants and so it is not possible to provide details of prosecutions for the illegal dumping of asbestos. However figures are available for the total number of prosecutions per year for the illegal depositing of waste contrary to Section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, of which asbestos dumping would be a subset. No information is available pre-1999.

The details are as follows:

Prosecutions per year for the illegal depositing of waste

1999 (from 1 April) 143
2000 222
2001 242
2002 273
2003 (to date) 85

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