Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans the Government have for funding the Honey Bee Health Programme; and what assessment she has made of the impact these plans would have on monitoring the infectious diseases of bees; 
Alun Michael: The Department recognises the importance of its bee health programme to the beekeeping sector in England. Through the National Bee Unit, we are providing a free diagnostic and inspection service to beekeepers for notifiable pests and diseases, as well as an extensive training and education programme to help them become more self-reliant through improved apiary management.
It is intended that the proposed 20 per cent. cut in funding should be concentrated on the field force of the Bee Diseases Inspectorate. The capacity of the National Bee Unit to provide scientific services which are essential to the identification and control of bee diseases will be substantially maintained but we shall be asking beekeepers to take a greater measure of responsibility for dealing with varroasis and European foul brood, diseases for which effective means of control are in place or under development.
Mr. Morley: The Climate Change Levy started operating in 2001 and the table gives estimated total UK emissions of carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. The estimates are consistent with those published in the Consultation Paper for the Review of the UK Climate Change Programme.
|Total UK CO 2 emissions (million tonnes/yr)
The data incorporate recent revisions to the carbon emission factors for coal used in power generation and for natural gas. The next inventory submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is due in April 2005, and will complete the incorporation of new data on carbon emission factors, and contain revised estimates carbon emissions from land-use change and forestry, as set out on the Consultation Paper.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the outcome of the recent discussions in China on matters within her responsibilities, attended by the Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment. 
Mr. Morley: I led a British water industry mission to Beijing (2124 November), Wuhan (2425 November) and Guangzhou (2526 November). The principal objectives of my visit were to raise the profile in China of the UK water industry, to open doors for the business delegation and to demonstrate UK business commitment to the market.
Nine companies were given opportunities to share their experience and expertise with their Chinese counterparts and relevant Government authorities. The visit encouraged greater future co-operation between the UK and China at municipal, provincial and central Government levels. I understand that as a result these companies have made a great number of useful contacts and positioned themselves to pursue particular business opportunities in China.
I was also able to raise the profile of the UK-China Water and Wastewater which had its inaugural meeting during my visit. I understand that this was also successful and will lead to greater cooperation on policy and trade issues.
I also held discussions with Ministers and officials in a number of key ministries on other Defra interests including sustainable development, climate change and illegal logging. There are benefits from closer cooperation with China in all these areas of policy.
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Finally, I took the opportunity to discuss the environment contribution to the UK's year of science in China which begins in January.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will include in forthcoming environmental legislation, with particular reference to the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill, measures to deal with the proliferation of signage in rural areas. 
Alun Michael: Measures are already in place to prevent the proliferation of signage in both rural and urban areas. The relevant regulations are the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisement) Regulations 1992. It is an offence for any person to display an advertisement in contravention of these regulations and local authorities have powers of enforcement. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill contains provisions to improve these existing controls and new Regulations and guidance will be issued next year.
Signs that comply with the statutory requirements for traffic signs (as specified in section 64 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984) are exempt from the Town and Country Planning controls. However, they must comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (SI 3113) or be specially authorised by the Secretary of State (or Scottish Ministers or Welsh Assembly Government in Scotland and Wales). Department for Transport's guidance also advises on the avoidance of sign proliferation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make
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a statement on the outcome of the Tenth Conference of the parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, held in Buenos Aires from 617 December; and what progress was made in persuading the United States Administration to commit to post-Kyoto 2012 actions to mitigate climate change. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 December 2004]: We and our EU partners had two key objectives for the negotiations in Buenos Aires and both were successfully achieved. The Conference agreed to develop a work plan to address the adaptation needs of the developing countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. And the Conference, including the United States, also took the first step towards tackling the huge challenge of climate change beyond the 1st Kyoto Protocol commitment period, by deciding to hold an informal seminar next year which will discuss how we can continue to develop effective and appropriate responses to climate change.
Mr. Morley: The budgets are currently managed jointly as coastal processes affecting flood and erosion risks are hard to separate and such risks need to be managed together in many cases. We also see significant difficulties in separating budgets for river and sea flooding as all flood risks, including those arising in estuaries, need to be managed holistically and prioritised jointly. The Environment Agency, working though regional flood defence committees, leads in all flood risk management issues.
We have, however, recently consulted on a new Government strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England, as part of which we are considering the future arrangements in coastal areas. We aim to publish a first response to this in spring 2005.
Mr. Morley: The total allocation for grant and Supported Capital Expenditure (Revenue) for local authorities for 200506 is £47 million. This will be spent on both inland and coastal improvement projects to reduce risk but by far the greater part will be invested by maritime councils on coastal projects.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated cost of beach nourishment on the Eccles on Sea to Winterton section of the Norfolk coast is for the years 2004 to 2014. 
The Environment Agency is the principal authority responsible for flood risk in England. The Eccles to Winterton coastline is the subject of regular monitoring by the Agency and I understand that a review of the sea defence strategy for this frontage is nearing completion. It is currently anticipated that expenditure
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in the order of £11.4 million will be required for beach nourishment and associated works over the five year period 200506 to 200910 inclusive.