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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2005, Official Report, column171W, on fisheries, what the weights were of the discards estimates. 
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make the reduction of cetacean deaths in European fisheries a priority for the UK's Presidency of the European Union. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK objectives for its Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2005 include promoting action to protect vulnerable species and habitats with a view to the long term management of healthy fish stocks and the protection of the marine environment. We will also seek to further integrate environmental considerations into fisheries management. These objectives should provide opportunities to address cetacean deaths in fisheries.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many UK fishing vessels are expected to start the deployment of pingers to prevent porpoise deaths in set net fisheries in the North Sea in June; and if she will bring forward the mandatory deployment of pingers to prevent porpoise deaths in set net fisheries in the English Channel and Celtic Sea. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Council Regulation (EC) no. 812/2004 requires, inter alia", pinger usage from 1 June 2005 on vessels of 12 metres and over in the North Sea (ICESdivision IV) when using bottom-set gillnets or entangling nets where the mesh size used is greater than or equal to 220 mm.
The number of vessels that are expected to fall into this category is eight. This figure is based on those involved in the fishery in 2004 but does not take into account movements into and out of the fishery.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department is spending this year and how much was spent in each of the past three years on deployment trials to test the practicality and durability of various pinger models in gillnet and tangle net fisheries off southwest England; and when results are expected from these trials. 
Mr. Bradshaw: A total of over £88,000 has been committed to funding for pingers trials. This was £12,000 in 200304 provided by the Sea Fish Industry Authority and £76,000 in 200405 with £19,000 from SFIA.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she plans to take to address concerns about potential health risks from irradiated material to people living near Sandside Bay, Caithness. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 March 2005]: This is a devolved issue concerning a site in Scotland and therefore a matter for the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the merits of publishing the original Nirex list of potential sites' suitability for the burial of nuclear waste. 
Mr. Morley: The Nirex site list information comes from a historic and abandoned programme. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) does not hold the Nirex site list information. Future policy for the long-term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste is currently being considered under the Managing Radioactive Waste Safety" programme.
I understand that following consultation on the scoping report in April 2004, the Environment Agency undertook a preliminary strategic review (PSR) of the current flooding situation on the River Dove. This enabled further studies to focus on areas at risk of flooding and key issues.
The PSR highlighted a number of flooding problems in the catchment as well as the potential need for a flooddefence scheme at Scopton and Hatton. It also questioned the limitations of the existing hydraulic model and surveys of the river.
In response to this, the Environment Agency is currently undertaking an aerial survey of the river. This will enable improved modelling of the flood plain between Rochester and the confluence with the River Trent, including key tributaries. The agency expect the model to be available from August 2005. It will be used to assess the viability of catchment wide strategic solutions to the flooding problems.
The updated hydraulic model will also be used by the Environment Agency's development control and flood warning teams in their ongoing programmes of continual improvements to their standards of service.
22 Mar 2005 : Column 642W
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many sites of special scientific interest there were in Shrewsbury and Atcham in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many licences have been issued under (a) section 16(1)(k) and (b) section 16(3)(h) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act1981 in each of the last 10 years. 
2 For the purposes of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries.
Mr. Allan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whatassistance is being provided by his Department to local authorities to enable them to carry out their duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 in respect of (a) local business continuity and (b) threats to telecommunications networks. 
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 requires relevant local authorities to put in place internal business continuity plans and to provide advice and assistance to local businesses and voluntary organisations in relation to business continuity management. The Government held a public consultation on the supporting regulations and guidance between December to March, and will publish the revised package shortly.
The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) provides guidance to local authorities about the threats to telecommunications systems and building their resilience. The NISCC guidance enables local authorities to make informed decisions about resilience in their dealings with telecommunications service providers.
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