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20 Jan 2004 : Column 1193W—continued

Joint Environmental Markets Unit

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to change the responsibilities of the Joint Environmental Markets Unit. [144574]

Mr. Morley: DTI and Defra's Joint Environmental Markets Unit (JEMU), part of DTI's Business Group, aims to increase the UK's share of domestic and global markets for environmental goods and services. In response to the Environmental Goods and Services Innovation and Growth Team report of 2002, the Government are expanding JEMU to promote innovation in the environmental goods and services industry.

The Government have decided to transfer responsibility for JEMU's international trade promotion work to UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to form a dedicated Environment Sector unit in UKTI. This will bring arrangements for promoting the UK environmental goods and services industry overseas, in line with those for most other industry sectors, and build on the current close working between JEMU and UKTI. The Business Group and UKT&I units will continue to work closely together and there will continue to be close involvement of Defra and DTI in the work of both units.

Kyoto Targets

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has collated about compliance with the Kyoto agreement targets by EU member states; and what instruments are available to the Commission to ensure that these targets are met. [147741]

Mr. Morley: The European Union and its member states agreed to a target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent. below base year levels by 2008–12. The EU and its member states have agreed to meet their commitments jointly and, under a burden-sharing arrangement, the EU target has been redistributed between member states to reflect their national circumstances, requirements for economic growth, and the scope for further emission reductions.

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Under the provisions of the Monitoring Mechanism Decision (Council Decision 93/389/EEC as amended by Decision 99/296/EC), member states are required to report annually to the Commission on their anthropogenic emissions of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol and on their national projections for emissions of these gases.

The European Commission uses this information to assess annually, whether the actual and projected progress of member states is sufficient to ensure fulfilment of the EU's and member states' commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The latest progress report, published in December last year, provides data for members states' emissions in 2001, and their projected emissions for 2010. That report notes that the EU had cut its total emissions to 2.3 per cent. below base year levels and that aggregate member states' "with existing measures" projections suggest that in 2010 EU emissions will have decreased by 0.5 per cent. leaving a gap of 7.5 per cent. from the Kyoto target. Eleven member states have identified additional policies and measures to achieve their commitments under the burden-sharing agreement. Taking into account these "with additional measures" projections shows that six member states—Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and the UK—would over-achieve their individual commitments. The over-achievement by those member states would result in emissions reductions for the EU as a whole of 7.2 per cent. below base year emissions.

The performance of the individual member states in 2001 and where they project their emissions will be in 2010 are set out in the following table.

Member states Kyoto Protocol (burden-sharing) targets compared with emissions projections to 2010

Percentage of base yearemissionsIn percentage of base yearemissions
Emissions target for 2008–12 under EU burden-sharing agreementChange of emissions in 2001 compared with base yearGap between burden-sharing target and projected emissions in 2010 based on existing policies and measuresGap between burden-sharing target and projected emissions in 2010 based on both existing and additional policies and measures
Greece 25.023.510.7-0.8
EU total-8.0-

(13) No data provided

The "with existing measures" projections only consider the policies and measures currently implemented, while the "with additional measures" projections also take those policies and measures into account which are under discussion and have a realistic

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chance of implementation. Neither set of projections, however, take into account the effects from several policies and measures being developed under the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), particularly the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which is due to be start in 2005 and has the potential to deliver substantial additional emission cuts.

The Government consider that placing the responsibility on member states to take the necessary action so that they meet their burden sharing targets is the best way of ensuring that the EU meets its target under the Kyoto Protocol. They will therefore support the European Commission's efforts to ensure that member states implement the policies and measures set out in the European Climate Change Programme fully and effectively.

Under the new Monitoring Mechanism Decision, which will replace Decision 93/389/EEC, member states must, following the completion of the review of their national inventories, retire allowances (assigned amount units, removal units, emission reduction units and certified emission reductions) equivalent to their net emissions during that year for each year of the Kyoto Protocol's five year commitment period. This requirement to retire allowances annually means that member states are obliged systematically to take steps to comply with their targets over a number of years. It will give early notice of any difficulties arising where member states are not likely to have sufficient allowances to cover their emissions over the full commitment period and so will need to take further action to reduce their emissions or to acquire allowances from other Parties to the Protocol that have a surplus.

Where member states fail to comply with obligations arising under EC law with respect to emissions reductions, the European Commission may bring proceedings against them under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. Moreover, in the event that a member state fails to comply with a judgment of the European Court of Justice, the Commission may take further action under Article 228, which could result in the imposition of fines. Member states' commitments under the burden-sharing agreement may therefore be enforced by legal action resulting in sanctions.

North Kent Marshes

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to remove the special landscape area designation for the North Kent Marshes, with particular reference to Elmley; and if she will make a statement. [148726]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 19 January 2004]: Elmley is in the North Kent Marshes Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), which was first designated in 1993. The ESA contains grazing marsh habitat that is internationally important for over-wintering and breeding birds and there are no plans to remove the ESA designation which has been successful in safeguarding these interests. New agri-environment schemes are being developed so that we can build on these achievements and enhance biodiversity.

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Plant Passports

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many plants have been imported without passports in each year since passports were introduced. [149260]

Mr. Bradshaw: The plant passporting regime applies to certain plants and plant products known to host the most serious ("quarantine") pests and diseases. It applies only for movements within the European Community and there are no border checks carried out, although spot checks may take place anywhere in the trade chain. Producers of such material are required to be officially registered and be subject to official inspection at least annually in order to be authorised to issue plant passports.

There are no data available either on the number of consignments received in the UK for which a plant passport has been issued by a producer, or the number of consignments received for which a passport is not required. EU legislation does not require such information to be recorded, although those despatching and receiving passported material must maintain records to facilitate monitoring and enforcement.

In cases where official monitoring detects that a plant passport is missing on a plant or product covered by the passporting requirements, enforcement action is taken. This involves notification of the plant health authorities in the member state in which the material originated, as well as the return or destruction of the material.

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