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Nuclear Waste

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list all sites which have been considered by her Department as possible locations for the storage or disposal of nuclear waste. [17774]

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Mr. Morley: The following is a list of sites, contained in the joint Defra/Nirex document, Radioactive Waste Inventory 2001, that currently store varying quantities of radioactive waste:

On 10 June 2005, Nirex published details of a historic short-list of sites compiled in the 1980's as possible locations for a radioactive waste repository. This programme was abandoned in 1997.

No further sites are currently under consideration.

Ruddy Ducks

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the evidence behind the decision to grant licences to cull ruddy ducks. [20762]

Jim Knight: The North American ruddy duck was introduced to wildfowl collections in the UK in the 1940s, from where a small number escaped from captivity and began to breed in the wild. As the UK population of wild ruddy ducks increased, so did the number of ruddy ducks on the European mainland. Hybridisation with the Spanish population of the globally threatened white-headed duck, now numbering some 2,600, is recognised as the most significant threat to that species' long-term survival.
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Initial research on control methods was carried out by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Hughes, 1996) and the three year UK Ruddy Duck Control Trial, commissioned by my Department, sought to verify their findings. The report (published in July 2002, copies available in the Library of the House) indicated that eradication of ruddy ducks from the United Kingdom was feasible within 10 years, and that shooting on over wintering sites was the most effective means of control.

In a written ministerial statement on 3 March 2003, my hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) announced that the Government agreed in principle to the eradication of the ruddy duck in United Kingdom. Since that time DEFRA has been funding additional research to refine the effectiveness of the control strategy, and to investigate the effectiveness of alternative control measures such as egg oiling and pricking. A report of the research undertaken to the end of September 2005 is due to be published imminently, and will be available in the Library of the House in due course.

A bid for funding under the LIFE Nature programme was recently approved by the European Commission, which supports eradication as part of efforts to protect the globally endangered white-headed duck. DEFRA's decision to co-fund the eradication programme was informed by the report of the control trial and by the additional research findings, and a licence has now been issued to the Central Science Laboratory to allow them to commence work. Detailed information about the LIFE project can be found on the Commission's website.

The Government have also issued, in England, a general licence to remove the protection afforded to ruddy ducks by domestic legislation. The licence has been kept under review since it was first issued in July 2003, and has been revised to ensure the licence conditions are appropriate. The current licence was issued in December 2004, and is available on the DEFRA website.


Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the amount of illegally logged timber entering the UK from China, with particular reference to wood products. [19624]

Mr. Morley: We are unable to estimate how much illegally logged timber is coming into the UK from China as timber is not identified as legal or illegal at ports of entry. There is currently no legislation in the UK, or the EU, to prevent the import of such timber, but we are seeking such powers through the EU FLEGT process.

Government are working to raise the issue of illegal logging with the Chinese Government. For example, the Eighth EU-China Summit, held in Beijing on 5 September 2004 agreed that the EU and China would work together to tackle the problem of illegal logging in the Asian region.
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Beacon Council Status

Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list local authorities which have been awarded Beacon Council status for improving urban green spaces. [18617]

Mr. Woolas: The seven authorities who received Beacon status for Improving Urban Green Spaces in April 2002 are as listed:


Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many appeals (a) the Deputy Prime Minister and (b) the Planning Inspectorate have considered on casino developments in the last three years; and what the verdict was in each case. [18191]

Yvette Cooper: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, the First Secretary of State has decided two called-in planning applications for mixed use developments that have included a casino element in the last three years, with one being granted planning permission and one refused planning permission. Over the same period the Planning Inspectorate have decided seven appeals for developments with a casino element of which four have been allowed and three dismissed.


Jim Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when the Minister for Housing will reply to sections 1 and 3 of the letter from the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central sent in August on Housing Act 2004 issues. [19268]

Yvette Cooper I replied to my hon. Friend on 13 October.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been allocated in each year since 1996–97 to (a) Bradford Metropolitan council, (b) Wakefield Metropolitan council and (c) local authorities in England for disabled facilities grants. [17935]

Yvette Cooper: Government funding in support of Bradford Metropolitan council and Wakefield Metropolitan council for Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) since 1996 has been as follows:


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Government funding in support of local authorities in England for Disabled Facilities Grant since 1996 has been as follows:

National total

National totals for DFG before 1997 are not available.

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