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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions the Department has held with non-governmental organisations in respect of falconry. [193150]

Mr. Morley: Discussions concerning falconry occur with English Nature on a case-by-case basis, prior to, and throughout the open season. The most recent discussions took place this October.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has held with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee on falconry. [193151]

Mr. Morley: Defra officials liaise with the JNCC on a daily basis, as they are the UK's scientific advisors on fauna.

However, JNCC advice on falconry matters is generally related to the trade in the falcon species concerned. Advice on other falconry matters is provided by English Nature.
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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on falconry; and what assessment has been made of the effects of falconry on conservation. [193152]

Mr. Morley: The use of birds of prey for the purposes of falconry against protected species is permitted under various legislation.

All wild birds in Britain are protected by the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, but the Act does enable the issue of licences to take small numbers of birds for various purposes including falconry. The Department consults fully with its statutory scientific advisers before any licences are issued, on the species, and number of each species, that falconers should be permitted to hunt each season. These procedures ensure that the number of birds allowed to be killed by falconers is limited strictly to small numbers and only to species whose populations can sustain such slight losses.

English Nature monitors the population numbers of various species. The small number of birds taken under licences granted under section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 does not affect the conservation status of the species concerned.

Fallen Stock

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list postcodes in which there is no coverage for the collection of fallen stock under the Animal By-Products Regulation. [190725]

Mr. Bradshaw: Although information regarding the location of Animal By-Product Regulation approved premises is available (such as those which collect fallen stock), the Department does not record the extent of the areas in which they operate.

However, as part of the tender process for collectors for the National Fallen Stock Scheme the National Fallen Stock Company requested information from collectors about the geographical area in which they intend to operate. The information provided indicates that the scheme should have full nationwide coverage, other than for those areas where no service was either expected and/or required i.e. remote areas and urban conurbations.

This does not necessarily mean that those areas, which are not covered by the scheme, have no fallen stock service. There may be collectors in those areas which have chosen not to participate in the scheme.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when it is expected that the subsidy provided for farmers to dispose of fallen stock will be discontinued; and if she will make a statement. [192210]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are making available £20 million over the first three years of the National Fallen Stock Scheme.


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment
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she has made of the likely changes in United Kingdom fisheries management which will result from the introduction of the Community Fisheries Control Agency. [197576]

Mr. Bradshaw: The proposals for creation of a Community Fisheries Control Agency are still subject to negotiation. However, they will not alter the responsibilities of the United Kingdom or other member states to ensure effective policing of fisheries activity: we will want to be satisfied that the final regulation is compatible with our national arrangements.

The creation of an agency is intended to assist in, for example, joint planning for the deployment of inspection resources. This might involve member states contributing resources to agreed monitoring programmes for specific fisheries. In many respects this would be little different from ad hoc arrangements for joint working in which the UK has participated over recent years.

Flood Defence/Management

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the flood defence projects started since May 1997 in England; and what the cost of each was to the Department. [195852]

Mr. Morley: Defra provides grant aid to the flood and coastal defence operating authorities to support their improvement projects (works and related studies) to reduce flood risk. These improvement projects must meet specified criteria and an appropriate priority score to attract Defra funding but decisions regarding which projects to promote and their timing rest with these authorities. The principal operating authority for flood risk is the Environment Agency but local authorities and, in areas with special drainage needs, internal drainage boards also carry out works on a much smaller scale overall.

I will be placing in the House Library a list of flood defence (including flood warning) projects approved for Defra grant aid, which have started since 1 May 1997.

The approved cost for each project is shown—an estimated £840 million in total. For local authorities and drainage boards, and for the Environment Agency up until March 2004, Defra grant-aided these projects at rates of between 15 per cent. and 80 per cent. of the approved cost with the balance being met by a variety of funding streams according to the type of body. From April 2004, Defra has grant-aided the full cost of Environment Agency projects.

Projects carried out by local authorities to reduce risk of coastal erosion often also have significant flood defence benefits but I have not included these projects in the list.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) flood warning and (b) post-flood management systems are in place in the Wiltshire section of the Hampshire Avon catchment; and if she will make a statement. [196021]

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Mr. Morley: The Government are committed to ensuring a seamless, integrated and continuous service of flood forecasting, warning and response delivered by the Environment Agency. Defra has recently approved the Agency's new £226 million flood warning strategy.

For Wiltshire, the Agency's regional flood forecasting and monitoring team in Exeter works with the Meteorological Office to provide the Flood Warning team at Blandford with information on weather conditions. The Blandford team considers this against the condition of the catchment and monitored river levels. When river trigger levels are exceeded, warnings are sent from Agency area office to the media, civil authorities, emergency services and those at risk of flooding who have chosen to be on the Agency's Automated Voice Messaging (AVM) system. The Agency has also written to those identified from flood maps as being at risk of flooding. Both the maps and those on the AVM are reviewed regularly taking account of any new information.

Due to the characteristics of the chalk geology in the Salisbury catchment, groundwater can be a source of flooding and the Agency aims to provide an accessible, self-help groundwater flood warning service to all of the affected local parishes.

The Agency has a comprehensive post-flood management system which reviews their response to events, the impact and sources of flooding. The Agency addresses issues within its responsibility and provides review information to all responsible organisations as a starting point for future work. Solutions, such as improvements to flood warning, enforcement, development control, maintenance of main rivers, improvement works and possible new defences, are prioritised within the Agency's work programmes.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans are in place to help areas, which suffer from flooding during the next year. [195979]

Mr. Morley: Local authorities and emergency services have contingency plans in place to cope with the range of emergencies in their areas, including flooding. These plans operate alongside those of the Environment Agency who provide flood warnings to both the public, local authorities and other emergency services. The Environment Agency and the other operating authorities also monitor stretches of watercourses when flooding is likely. Should national level response be required, Defra maintains contingency arrangements in a Lead Department Plan for flooding from rivers or the sea, which foresees coordination of the central Government response, including by Cabinet Office.

Local authorities are also responsible for responding to the effects of flooding. In addition, where applicable, the Bellwin Scheme is available to local authorities as a means of obtaining financial assistance in clearing up and recovery immediately after a local disaster or emergency. This scheme is administered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
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