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EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times during the Greek presidency of the EU the Management Committee on application of the Directive on the standardisation and rationalisation of reports on the implementation of certain Directives relating to the environment met; when and where these meetings took place; which UK Government expert was present at each meeting; what (i) technical and (ii) financial issues were raised by the UK Government expert at each meeting; what recommendations the Committee produced during that period; what actions were (A) proposed and (B) taken by (1) the EU and (2) the UK Government as a result of the Committee's recommendations; and if she will make a statement. [193400]

Mr. Morley: There were no Management Committee meetings on this issue during the Greek presidency. The Management Committee on the application of the 'Standardised Reporting' Directive (91/692/EEC) last met in 1997. In 2002 the commission started work on a new framework for environmental reporting in response to the 6th Environment Action Programme. An Expert Group was set up to discuss commission proposals for a Directive. This group last met in October 2002. There is as yet no formal proposal for a Directive, and no management committee has been convened. In the event of any meeting being scheduled, officials will, as a matter of course, liaise with their counterparts in the Scottish Executive and the other Devolved Administrations.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times during the Greek Presidency of the EU the Committee (a) for the adaptation to technical and scientific progress of the Directive on conservation of wild birds and (b) on the Community action programme in the field of civil protection met; when and where these meetings took place; which UK Government expert was present at each meeting; what (i) technical and (ii) financial issues were raised by the UK Government expert at each meeting; what recommendations the Committee produced during that period; what actions were (A) proposed and (B) taken by (1) the EU and (2) the UK Government as a result of the Committee's recommendations; and if she will make a statement. [193401]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The Committee for the adaptation to technical and scientific progress of the Directive on conservation of wild birds (the ORNIS Committee) met once during the Greek Presidency, on 26 June 2003 in Brussels. UK representation comprised one official from my Department and one official from the Scottish Executive, together with a scientific adviser from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The main agenda items considered were:


 
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As a consequence of discussions at the meeting, the EU has subsequently published its guidance document on hunting on its website and, with the Government of the Netherlands, is organising a major conference in November to celebrate 25 years of the Birds Directive. The Conference will confirm the extent and coherence of the network of Special Protection Areas for Birds and further develop work on bird monitoring, indicators and reporting. The Commission has also recently invited the Council to consider its proposal to ratify the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement.

(b) The Committee on the Community Action Programme met twice during the Greek Presidency, on 27 February and 16 June 2003 in Brussels. UK representation comprised one official from the Cabinet Office at the February meeting. The main agenda items considered were:

27 February 2003

16 June 2003

As a consequence of discussions at these meetings, the EU adopted a decision on 29 December 2003 on common rules for the implementation of the Mechanism. The Commission has proposed an extension of the Community Action Programme to the end of 2006.
 
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Farm Business Advisory Service

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future of the Farm Business Advisory Service. [197503]

Alun Michael: I will write to the hon. Member with the information as soon as possible.

Fish Processing

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to promote increased use of (a) by-products and trimmings from the commercial fish-processing sector and (b) discarded by-catch in the manufacture of fish meal and oil. [199228]

Mr. Bradshaw: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Fish Quota

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the total value in (a) sterling and (b) euros of UK fish quota entitlements held by (i) fishing licence holders, (ii) fish producer organisations and (iii) others, broken down by (A) species and (B) fishing sector areas, in each of the last five years for which records are available. [199214]

Mr. Bradshaw: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Flood Control

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations she has undertaken in the last 12 months and with whom, concerning flood control and prevention measures, with particular reference to the recent flooding of Boscastle. [198945]

Mr. Morley: The Department regularly consults on proposed policy changes, both publicly and in more focused ways through, for example, our Flood Management Stakeholder Forum. The most recent public consultation, to inform development of the Government's new Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, completed on 1 November.

The Environment Agency is the principle flood defence operating authority in England and Wales responsible for delivering the flood defence service.

Since the severe flooding in Boscastle, the Agency has consulted with individual residents and landowners, North Cornwall District Council (NCDC), the National Trust (who are major landowners in Boscastle and the Valency catchment), the Parish Council and the local County Councillor.

This consultation included meetings with residents in the village hall, the use of a drop-in centre to collect flood information, off-site meetings with the National Trust and attendance at the Regeneration Group established by NCDC. In addition, on-site meetings have been held
 
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with individual residents and landowners where required. All discussions were confirmed in writing and plans/drawings of proposed work have been produced.

Newsletters have also been produced and information has been placed on the NCDC website.

The Environment Agency used its emergency powers at Marine Terrace (on the River Jordan) where it is necessary to progress the most urgent work without delay. In doing so, the Agency has worked closely with residents and the local planning authority.

Elsewhere in Boscastle, work is being done in accordance with normal consultation and procedures.

The Agency will continue to consult as appropriate, aiming to meet the challenging target set by the community of certain elements of work being completed before the 2005 holiday season.


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