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20 Jan 2004 : Column 1189W—continued

Bovine TB

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of TB in cattle that arises from cattle-to-cattle spread. [148654]

Mr. Bradshaw: No such estimate has been made. In many cases, it is not possible to ascribe the source of TB infection in cattle, as the routes of transmission of Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent for bovine tuberculosis) from cattle to cattle, and between environmental sources (including wildlife) and cattle, are not fully understood.

Part of the TB research programme includes investigation of the pathogenesis of M. bovis in cattle. In addition, a survey is underway to assess potential risk factors that may predispose herds to TB outbreaks. A preliminary analysis is set out in the Third Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions there have been of companies that illegally supply CFCs within the UK over the last five years. [148007]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 19 January 2004]: Under EC Regulation 2037/2000 on ozone depleting substances and the production and supply of CFCs, except for a very small amount for laboratory and analytical uses and essential uses, was banned in the UK and other member states from January 1995. This reduced and subsequently phased out any existing stocks of CFCs in the UK. The supply of CFCs for these uses is controlled by a licencing system, in which suppliers are given an import or export declaration. The amounts of CFCs requested by companies are also agreed in advance by member states. All import declarations are processed by Customs and Excise to ensure appropriate licences have been obtained, and no illegal imports have been detected in recent years.

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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how her Department is working with (a) other Departments, (b) the EU and (c) governments of developing countries to help them tackle their illegal CFC trade. [148008]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 19 January 2004]: Within the EU, licences issued by the Commission and quotas that are agreed in advance by member states control trade in CFCs. UK Customs and Excise have a monitoring system known as CHIEF system that processes import declarations. Profiles are set against commodity codes on products that could contain a potential ozone depleting substance. Customs officers then seek clarification from my officials at Defra, when there is a potential problem with an import.

The Montreal Protocol established the Multilateral Fund to assist developing countries in their phase-out of ozone depleting substances. The UK has so far contributed over $105 million to the fund. The fund supports projects prepared by developing countries and Implementing Agencies (UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP and the World bank) aimed at phasing out ozone depleting substances. Their projects include institutional strengthening and capacity building, and also the compliance assistance programme run by UNEP. An example of activities supported by the fund are compliance with the Montreal Protocol, customs training, illegal trade information exchange and awareness raising workshops being organised by UNEP in regions such as South Asia and South East Asia. The UK has been an active member of the South Asia Network.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the yearly cod quota was, broken down by area, over the last five years; and what amounts of cod were caught in those areas in those years. [147087]

Mr. Bradshaw: The UK's cod quotas for EC waters and corresponding landings made by UK vessels for each of the last five years are given in the table.

Cod stocks in EC waters where UK has quota (tonnes live weight of fish)

North Sea UK quota55,66034,14920,26520,37710,696
[lla(EC), IV]Landings33,43627,70119,44818,6129,905
West of Scotland [UK quota5,9603,5302,3222,7701,084
Vb(EC),VIXII, XIV]Landings3,4872,6541,8451,788966
Irish Sea UK quota2,3209509251,378612
Vllb-k, VIM, IX, UK quota1,8701,7401,287802554
X, CECAF 34.1.1 (EC)Landings1,4121,1321,115740476

(12) Landings data for 2003 are provisional at the current time

Fishing Research

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on fishing research in each of the last five financial years. [149140]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has spent the following amounts on marine fisheries research in each of the last five financial years.

£ million
1998–99 4.10

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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many houses in England she estimates are uninsurable owing to flood risk. [147736]

Mr. Morley: According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), it is the intention of the insurance industry, working in partnership with the Government, that flood insurance should continue to be available to the vast majority of existing properties. As set out in the ABI's Statement of Principles 1 , of the 1.9 million properties on the floodplain, flood insurance will continue to be available for all those properties defended to a minimum standard of 1 in 75, or for those properties where such defences are planned by 2007.

For other properties (currently estimated at 200,000), insurers cannot guarantee to maintain cover, but will examine the risks on a case-by-case basis, and will use their best efforts to continue to provide cover. ABI believes that nearly all homes are insurable to a degree, provided appropriate local action is taken to protect the property, e.g., use of flood resilient design, accredited protection products, and temporary defences. However, the insurance industry has signalled that inappropriate new developments in the floodplain are unlikely to be able to secure insurance cover.

Greyhounds (Welfare)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds; and if she will make a statement. [149418]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are considering a range of possible measures under the proposed Animal Welfare Bill to improve greyhound welfare with the racing industry and welfare organisations.

Indigenous Flora

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to encourage the planting of local, indigenous flora. [145099]

Mr. Bradshaw: The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), one of the main outcomes of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, aims to ensure the conservation of biodiversity, its sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. As part of the Government's commitment to the CBD the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) was published in 1994. The UK BAP sets targets for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in the UK and individual action plans have now been published for 391 species and 45 habitats of conservation importance, including for 75 flowering plants.

With regard to payment of grants under the Defra agri-environment schemes, we encourage the use of native and local provenance seed as far as possible. Detailed guidance is provided in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme Handbook. For instance, when re-creating grassland on cultivated land the species of

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grass used should be from a specified list of species and of native and local provenance. If applicants have problems in obtaining native seed or stock they are advised to discuss other options with their stewardship advisor. In some circumstances alternative seed mixes may be agreed and wild flower seed may be added.

There is also a specific stewardship payment which helps meet the cost of buying in seed. However, to qualify for this payment the seed must be native seed of local provenance. Similarly with tree and hedge planting and management, Countryside Stewardship agreement holders are required to use stock of native and local provenance where possible. Where this is not possible alternative options are to be discussed with the Stewardship Adviser. As regards EU legislation on accredited sources of seed for trees and the production of locally sourced plants, on 1 January 2003 the Forestry Commission brought in the Forest Reproductive Material (Great Britain) Regulations 2002, implementing EU Directive 1999/105 on the marketing of forest reproductive material. These regulations increase the number of species controlled by law to 46 species and the genus "Populus". This includes 15 tree species which are native to Great Britain. The regulations are deliberately structured in a way to encourage the collection of local seed. Sellers of planting stock are required to issue a supplier's document to the buyer, setting out whether or not the stock is locally sourced.

In addition, for native species not controlled by law, the Forestry Commission promotes the harvesting of local seed from native trees and shrubs through the Voluntary Scheme for the Certification of Native Trees and Shrubs. Further details of this scheme can be found on the Forestry Commission's website at:

In July this year we published the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate which set new targets to measure progress made to protect and improve biodiversity on the Government Estate. They include a target to assess and improve the condition of Government owned Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs); a requirement for all Government Departments who own sites of significant biodiversity interest to produce Biodiversity Action Plans; and a requirement to set a biodiversity target in contracts for new and refurbished Government buildings. The guidance which accompanies the targets encourages Departments, when renewing maintenance contracts, to consider building in clauses on the purchase/planting of native species of plants.

In 2001, recognising concerns that present arrangements for handling issues relating to non-native species were insufficient, Defra commissioned a Review of Non-native species policy. A range of organisations was represented on the working group, and its report was published in March 2003. The issues which it raises are complex, and a combination of measures will be required to address these. The report highlighted problems with non-native genotypes and recommended that there was a need to raise public awareness of this issue.

The Government have published their initial response to the report and are carrying out a consultation exercise with the aim of developing a framework for dealing with

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invasive non-native species. Details of the consultation can be found at

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of trees planted by local authorities she requires to be native; and what steps is she taking to ensure that this requirement is met. [145100]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

The Government place no such requirement on local authorities. We encourage the planting of the appropriate trees in appropriate places and authorities are advised to choose species which are suitable for their intended purpose, whether for screening, shade, ornamentation, landscape character or wildlife habitat. The soil and conditions prevailing on the site are also important considerations in species selection.

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