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Margaret Beckett: Usually the Queen's flight is full to capacity, though the number of officials on board can vary depending on the timing of meetings of officials which often differ from those of Ministers.
Jim Knight: We have recently announced a further £2 million of funding for the implementation of the Government's Regional Food Strategy. Currently, Food from Britain (FFB) are delivering, on behalf of and funded by Defra, the final year of a three-year national programme of support for the quality regional food sector.
The £1 million a year funding has supported a raft of measures to strengthen the sector, including tasking the Regional Food Groups to encourage uptake of the Protected Food Names Schemes, which has resulted in a number of new applications to protect our regionally distinct food. In May, FFB organised a Protected Food Name Scheme seminar to bring together producers and key stakeholders with the objective of educating, informing and stimulating further uptake of the scheme.
I am pleased to say that all this effort is yielding some positive results. To date, 36 UK products have been registered so far including Stilton Cheese, Cornish Clotted Cream and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. A further 21 applications are being considered. Although this is lower than some of the southern European member states who have a much longer tradition of using geographical indications and, arguably, a structure and culture of production more attuned to their protection, it does compare well with quite a number of other member states.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many appeals there have been against designations as a right of way under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, broken down by local authority area. 
On the assumption that the question seeks the number of appeals in relation to the mapping of land as open country and registered common land under Part I (Right of Access) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the information we have is as follows.
|Area||Number of appeal decisions made|
|Lower North West||630|
|Upper North West||716|
We do not hold figures on the total number of appeals submitted, only the number of appeal decisions made. Nor do we have the figures broken down by local authority area. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what environmental impact assessments have been conducted as to the likely effects of the reopening of a river mouth for the Minsmere river to (a) Eastbridge and Lower Abby and (b) the coastline five miles south of Minsmere. 
Mr. Morley: I understand that no such environmental impact assessments have been done but that the Environment Agency is undertaking a study into sea defences at Minsmere which should be complete next summer.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to minimise odours before sewage is spread on farmland, with particular reference to Gravesham. 
The storage of sewage sludge to be spread on land is regulated by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, as amended. These allow exemptions from the need for a waste management licence, provided certain criteria are met. There is an over-riding requirement that the activity should not
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endanger human health and not use processes or methods which could harm the environment or cause nuisance through noise or odours.
Local authorities have a duty under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with statutory nuisances. If satisfied that the odour amounts to a statutory nuisance, the local authority must serve a notice requiring the abatement of the nuisance or prohibiting or restricting its recurrence. The non-statutory Code of Practice for the Agricultural Use of Sewage Sludge also makes recommendations relating to odour.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2418W, on the civil service, how the work of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force will take into account the recommendations of the Gershon Report. 
Mr. Morley: The Sustainable Procurement Task Force was set up in May 2005, and will report jointly to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, by April 2006.
Value for money policy and the Efficiency Review should not present a barrier to sustainable procurement. Sustainable procurement and efficient procurement should be mutually re-enforcing, because Departments are encouraged to procure goods and services which offer the best value for money over the lifetime of the contract rather than lowest price.
Mr. Morley: The European Commission published its Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan on illegal logging in May 2003. This describes a package of measures, including proposals that the EU enters into partnership agreements with timber producing countries to establish a licensing system designed to identify products and license them for export to the EU.
It also proposed that the Commission would look at other options to tackle illegal logging, including using Government procurement and banning the importation of all illegal timber to the EU which the UK strongly favours.
Government believe that as a first step to address illegal logging, it is necessary to build consensus with producing countries and make sure that we do not
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discriminate against legitimate trade. The EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, with its innovative approach of bilateral trade agreements and development assistance for improving forest governance, will achieve this in the first instance.
However the Government have not lost sight of the need to look at other options to tackle illegal logging and we await the European Commission's report on additional options that will allow us to take this work forward.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on, or been a party to, the effect of illegal logging on (i) international forests, (ii) wildlife and (iii) indigenous peoples; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The UK, together with other EU and G8 countries, has been working on solutions to the problems of illegal logging and the associated trade in illegally harvested timber for several years. This work, much of it supported by funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), has sought to understand the severity and scale of the problem, and also the consequences of possible solutions in order to inform policy development. Most relevant research is displayed on the independent website run by the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House and supported by the Department for International Development (DFID): www.illegal-logging.info
It is difficult to make exact measurements of the scale of illegal logging and estimates must be based on indirect data. The Government have therefore contributed to an international study on discrepancies in trade statistics, co-ordinated by the International Tropical Timber Organisation, as well as specific studies of the scale of illegal logging in Indonesia and NW Russia. These studies combined trade data with techniques such as remote sensing, and have also looked at the consequences of illegal logging for the economies of the countries concerned.
The Government have also led on research to evaluate potential solutions. These studies have looked at the compliance with WTO rules of possible trade measures, the applicability of anti-money laundering legislation, and the role of improved due diligence by the financial community in evaluating forest sector investments. Studies of the impacts on markets of measures currently being implemented to tackle the problem, for example the UK's public timber procurement policy, are currently under wayand these indicate that our policies are effective, not only in changing the market here, but also in improving enforcement in timber producing countries.
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The Government are committed to achieving the international biodiversity target to 'significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010' which was agreed by heads of state at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funds a range of forestry projects under the Darwin Initiative many of which include monitoring of forest habitat. Defra has also recently commissioned a new research project to investigate the impacts of UK consumption internationally. The first stage of the project will cover aspects of habitat destruction, including illegal logging, as part of the wider evaluation.
(iii) Finally, in terms of measuring the impacts of illegal logging on local communities the Department for International Development (DFID) is also supporting an international research project on the impacts of illegal logging and of measures to enforce existing laws on poor people in several countries. Preliminary results indicate that, in some cases, current laws may actually discriminate against poor forest-dependent communities and legislative reform must go hand-in-hand with better enforcement.
Mr. Morley: Currently there is no legislation in place to prohibit importing illegal timber into the UK, with the exception of unlicensed species included on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
However, the Government anticipate that a draft EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, which will prohibit the entry into the EU of illegal timber products from countries that enter into Partnership Agreements with the European Union, will be finalised soon. This will allow penalties to be imposed on the import of illegal timber for the first time.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for International Development about promoting alternatives to illegal timber felling in countries where this is prevalent. 
Mr. Morley: The UK's programme to tackle illegal logging relies on close co-operation between a number of Government Departments including the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Recent discussions between the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Secretary of State for International Development have included, co-hosting a joint meeting of G8 Environment and Development Ministers on 1718 March. G8 Ministers agreed a range of actions to tackle illegal loggingboth through working with timber producing countries to
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promote alternatives to illegal timber felling and, as major timber consumers to tackle their consumption of illegally logged timber.
The Departments also work together closely on the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) dossier. This will allow the EU to enter into agreements with poor timber producing countries providing them with assistance to tackle illegal logging. This assistance will include a licensing system designed to identify products and license them for export to the EU, which will be reinforced by powers for Customs to deny access to unlicensed products from partner countries.
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