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Mr. Bradshaw: There are three Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs)Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland (165 km 2 ), Lundy in England (13.9 km 2 ) and Skomer in Wales (13.24 km 2 ). Data from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's "Offshore Nature Project" gives the total area of UK territorial waters as 161,200 km 2 . The three MNRs together cover 0.12 per cent. of territorial waters.
Of the three MNRs, only one, Lundy, includes an area within it which is closed to fishing covering 3.3 km 2 . The remaining MNRs are closed only to certain types of fishing: Skomer MNR is closed to beam trawling, dredging and scallop fishing by any means; Strangford Lough MNR has a temporary ban in place on fishing with mobile gear. In addition there are small areas closed to fishing as a result of oil and gas explorations and defence activities.
There are also a number of areas where restrictions on certain types of fishing are in place to protect both habitats and species. These include: the Darwin Mounds cold water coral reefs where bottom trawling is prohibited in an area covering 1,381 km 2 ; the Mackerel Box, a large area in the Western Channel and the Cornish peninsular where mainstream mackerel fishing is prohibited; the Sandeel Box, off the north-east coast of the UK where industrial fishing is banned to protect the food source of a range of predators including sea-birds; and, 37 bass nursery areas around the coast of England and Wales. Data on inshore and offshore restricted areas is not collated centrally to enable calculation to be made of the percentage of UK territorial waters encompassed by these areas.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on marine protection following recommendations at the World Parks Congress in Durban last year. 
The proposals for marine protection that emerged from the World Parks Congress were taken account of in the decision and work programme on
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marine and coastal biodiversity that was adopted at the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in February.
The Government are working through the European Union and the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic to contribute to a global network of marine and coastal protected areas as agreed by the Parties. This is in line with the Government's Marine Stewardship initiative to better protect and manage the marine environment.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of (a) the economic benefits and (b) the environmental benefits of creating a series of marine parks. 
Mr. Bradshaw: A meaningful assessment of the economic and environmental benefits of a series of marine parks would depend on factors such as the purpose, number and magnitude of marine protected areas and which activities are regulated. Assessments of environmental benefits are undertaken for new sites designated under the Habitats and Birds Directives to assess their value in contributing to the restoration or maintenance of natural habitats and species of Community interest.
The Review of Marine Nature Conservation Working Group gave consideration to the economic and environmental benefits of providing improved protection for important marine features and ecosystems, including an assessment of the relative efficiency with which environmental benefits were likely to be delivered by a range of designated areas, including marine parks. The Working Group's report was submitted to Government on 26 July. The Government will consider the recommendations of the report, including the future role of protected areas within an overall strategy for marine conservation.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on (a) designating the River Exe in Devon a marine park and (b) creating a series of marine parks. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Exe Estuary is classified as a Special Protection Area under the EC Wild Birds Directive. I am not aware of any formal representations made regarding designating the Exe Estuary as a marine park. I have, however, received a number of representations from a variety of organisations on providing improved protection to marine areas and the Government are considering these in the context of developing an overall strategy for marine conservation.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications for meat producers of supermarkets injecting water into meat products. 
Defra has not made such an assessment, but the Food Standards Agency held a stakeholder meeting earlier this year about the control and labelling of added water in meat products.
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The meeting concluded that these products should be clearly labelled, so that consumers can make informed choices about the products they buy. The agency is currently drawing up best practice guidelines to encourage clear labelling of these products.
Alun Michael: The question relates specifically to the residue of ashes left after cremation. The report of the monitoring undertaken by AEA Technology for the Federation of British Crematorium Authorities showed that all mercury is released into the atmosphere during cremation. It follows that we do not see mercury in ashes to be an issue.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost of air travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain was for (a) Ministers and (b) officials in the Department in the last year for which figures are available. 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list visits made by each Minister in the Department between December 2003 and April 2004, broken down by (a) date, (b) constituency visited and (c) cost. 
Margaret Beckett: Between December 2003 and April 2004 departmental Ministers have undertaken 63 visits in the UK. Information on constituencies visited and details of the cost of each individual visit could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the travel costs incurred (a) by her Department and its predecessors and (b) by each Minister within her Department, for each of the last 10 years. 
In respect of overseas travel by Ministers, since 1999 the Government has published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The Government has also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. These report information reaching back to 199596. Information for earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost and in some cases will no longer be held. Information for 200304 will be published in due course.
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|Year end 31 March||Ministerial travel||Departmental travel|
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many journeys were made by helicopter by each Minister in her Department and its predecessors in each of the last 10 years; and what the journey length was in each case. 
Margaret Beckett: There is no central record of RAF Helicopter journeys made by DEFRA Ministers in the financial year 200102. Since the financial year 200203, only one helicopter journey of 45 minutes duration has been made by any DEFRA Minister.
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