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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 December 2005, Official Report, column 1854W, on racehorses (whipping), what recent representations she has received about the practice of whipping racehorses. 
Jim Knight: There is a suite of statutory sites protecting bird populations along the North East coast of England which form part of a national, European and international network of protected sites. Those areas designated for their national importance, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), underpin and extend beyond the boundaries of six Special Protection Areas (SPAs), classified under the EC Birds Directive. Three of these SPAs are also designated as Ramsar sites under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat. These sites are protected for their nationally and internationally important populations of waders, wildfowl, terns and seabirds 1 .
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the status of recovered fuel oil in the definitions of waste recovery contained in the revised Waste Framework Directive. 
Mr. Bradshaw: On 21 December 2005 the European Commission published a proposal for a Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste and associated legislative proposals. The latter includes a revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (Council Directive 75/442/EEC as amended). The proposals are available on the Commission's website at http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/strategy.htm
The draft WFD published by the Commission includes a proposed revision of the definition of recovery". The purpose of the revised definition is to enable a more effective distinction to be made between waste disposal operations and waste recovery operationsboth of which are subject to control under the existing WFD. The revised definition of recovery" does not affect the status of recovered fuel oil (e.g. its classification as waste).
The UK has actively participated in the Commission's consultations on the Waste Thematic Strategy and associated consultations; and will continue to be active in negotiations with the Commission and other member states on the revised WFD. In doing so, we will comply with the guidance on UK handling of EU proposals" available on the Cabinet Office's website at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/europe/uk_handling/index.aspincluding appropriate consultation with external stakeholders.
10 Jan 2006 : Column 454W
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the merits of amending the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to cover public access to waterways. 
Jim Knight: We commissioned research into the opportunities and demand for water-based sport and recreation during the passage of the then Countryside and Rights of Way Bill through Parliament. The report, 'Water-Based Sport and Recreation: the facts', was published in December 2001. It concluded that there is some unmet demand for white water and long distance routes for canoeists, but that for most canoeists, as for most other water users, overall supply is roughly in balance with demand. We therefore concluded that the case for a statutory right of access had not been made and that we should pursue a voluntary approach instead.
Jim Knight: Following publication of the report, Water-Based Sport and Recreation: the facts" in 2001 we commissioned the Countryside Agency to work in partnership with other Government agencies to pilot four demonstration projects to develop best practice for access agreements for canoeists on key stretches of water in England. The feasibility study indicated that voluntary agreements can offer a means of increasing access to water and we asked the Environment Agency to complete agreements in all four pilot areas. In addition we have agreed to the development of a strategic approach to recreational access to water inland waters, led by the Environment Agency but in collaboration with other key stakeholders.
Over £12.5 million which has been allocated over the six years of the current England Rural Development Programme (ERDP) project-based schemes (Rural Enterprise Scheme, Vocational Training Scheme and Processing and Marketing Grants);
A significant amount of money will also be provided from ERDP agri-environment schemes to farmers to manage the landscape. This will offer wider economic gains in rural areas from a well maintained countryside;
£16 million of Regional Development Agency single pot assistance will also be delivered over the same 200508 period by Sub-Regional Partnerships in Durham, Tees Valley and Northumberland under the Rural and Environmental Programme.
In addition, the West Durham Pathfinder project, one of eight local pathfinders announced in Rural Strategy 2004, is looking at a range of measures to contribute to improving the economic performance of the area, including developing the knowledge economy, and skills and enterprise development in support of sustainable tourism.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what penalties are in place for Government Departments which failtheir sustainable development targets, as reviewed by the Sustainable Development Commission on 16 December. 
Mr. Morley: These are internal targets that don't involve penalties but are open and transparent. The targets are set out in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate. In accordance with that Framework, all Government Departments are responsible for their own performance and data. The Sustainable Development Commission reported on progress for the first time this year, in line with the commitment in the UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy that future reports should be 'wholly independent of Government'.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the implications for carbon life cycle of shipping recyclable waste abroad. 
Mr. Bradshaw: No such research has been commissioned. The logistics of international cargo movements, including those of wastes for recycling, can enable containers to be used as efficiently as possible. For example, containers used to import goods into the UK may be offset by use of the same containers to take wastes for recycling to overseas destinations. In some circumstances the containers could otherwise be returning empty.
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