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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 May 2004

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

Fraudulent Compensation Claims

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures exist to prosecute fraudulent farmers who make claims for compensation from the European Union for sheep destroyed during the foot and mouth crisis. [172488]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 11 May 2004]: Ordinarily the Investigation Branch of DEFRA would investigate such an allegation and pass the evidence gathered to the Criminal Advisory and Prosecution Division of DEFRA. Prosecution lawyers in that Division would review the evidence and if there were a realistic prospect of conviction and it were also in the public interest to prosecute DEFRA would commence criminal proceedings in the criminal courts.

In the event of a conviction the prosecution would seek a compensation and/or confiscation order to compensate the loser for the financial loss and deprive the convicted person of the benefit from the offences proved.

Hazardous Waste

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies she has undertaken to evaluate the risk of additional transportation of hazardous waste as a result of the closure of hazardous waste treatment centres. [168373]

Mr. Morley: The Government recognise that with the expected reduction in the number of landfill sites taking hazardous waste from July 2004, hazardous waste could travel further in the short term. Nevertheless, it is recognised that even under the present system significant amounts of special waste travel across the country. In 2002, 42 per cent. of hazardous waste crossed a regional boundary. Government have not commissioned any specific studies to evaluate the forthcoming changes on this specific issue. Clearly in the longer term, the implementation of the Landfill Directive requirements will see an increase in treatment costs, which in turn will provide a greater incentive for hazardous waste minimisation and the use of more sustainable treatment technologies.

British Wildlife

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for   Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the health of Britain's wild animals. [169863]

Mr. Bradshaw: The broad stewardship of wildlife and specific policies on conservation and biodiversity are managed as part of Government's broader remit for the
 
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environment. In addition, through the UK Veterinary Surveillance Strategy launched last year, we will develop a better overview and understanding of the health of the health of Britain's wildlife in relation to its impact on public health and other animals.

Government, through its developing Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, recognises that there are a number of diseases of livestock where wildlife may act as a reservoir or a source of infection. Government has a role in science, research, intervention in some specific cases, and ensuring advice is available.

The Veterinary Surveillance Strategy provides a framework for ensuring the potential risks posed by wildlife to public health (through zoonotic disease) or to farmed livestock (for example from migrating birds) are effectively identified and managed. The Strategy will also cover the impact of disease control policies for farmed livestock on wildlife and certain welfare issues involving the protection from cruelty.

Where naturally occurring disease affecting animals in the wild occurs, Government have a role to ensure appropriate action is taken to monitor and manage the situation in accordance with the principles of the animal health and welfare strategy.

Correspondence

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she intends to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 25 March with regard to Jenny Edwards; [172263]

(2) when she will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 25 March, with regard to Jenny Edwards. [170703]

Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State replied on 10 May.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for   Manchester, Gorton dated 5 April with regard to Mr. Ian Boddison. [172264]

Alun Michael: I replied to the right hon. Member on 8 May.

Departmental Annual Report

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the production of her Department's latest annual report cost; how many copies were printed; how many copies of it were sold at its cover price; to whom copies of the report have been provided free of charge; and how many copies were provided free of charge. [171140]

Alun Michael: The DEFRA Departmental Report 2004 cost Defra £66,070. This cost was for designing, typesetting and proofing of the report.

The Stationary Office Limited handled the printing of the document. They bore the full cost of printing and publishing of the document.
 
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DEFRA does not have information on how many copies were printed and sold. The Stationary Office is not obliged to give us this information, and so soon after the Reports publication it does not yet have details of the number of reports sold. However they have been able to provide us with the numbers for the 2003 report, where they issued 514 copies.

DEFRA has purchased and distributed 600 copies of the 2004 Report for its own use. The bulk of these have been made available to the Senior Civil Service and other staff on request. In addition copies were sent to Parliament and the Forestry Commission.

The report is also freely available on the Department's intranet, which all staff can access. It is also available on DEFRA's website at: http://www. defra.gov.uk/corporate/deprep/default.htm.

Fisheries

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 April 2004, Official Report, column 861W, on fisheries, which member states have (a) an historic entitlement and (b) an entitlement without an historic track record to fish within the UK six to 12 miles zone; and whether those entitlements are transferable to any fishing vessel from that nation state. [172459]

Mr. Bradshaw: France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands have a historical entitlement to fish in the UK six to 12 mile zone. No other member states have access to this zone.

Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-regional Strategy

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency have for new water and sewerage infrastructure to serve the Aylesbury area in the context of the draft Milton Keynes and South Midlands sub-regional strategy; and what the (i) time scale for and (ii) cost of such works will be. [172162]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all the growth areas are equipped with the water and sewerage services and infrastructure necessary to guarantee the long-term health of these communities. To achieve this, we recognise the importance of involving the respective water undertakers and environmental regulators at an early stage in the development of proposals.

The Environment Agency has previously (June 2003) provided companies with draft breakdowns of the indicative housing numbers by sub-region and company area, to assist in draft Water Resource Plans work. But given the varying and quickly evolving extent of information available, the Water Resources Planning Guideline (issued by the Environment Agency to companies on how they should produce their water resources plans) is not prescriptive about how companies should take account of the sustainable communities plan. However, the Environment Agency report
 
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"Securing water supply" (November 2003) states that it will work with companies to understand the implications and that:

The Environment Agency expects the water companies supplying the Milton Keynes/South Midlands area to provide their best available estimates of the impacts of the sustainable communities programme on their supply demand balance contained in their water resources plans. However, it is recognised that the next periodic review will have access to more definitive numbers.


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