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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department issues on allowable products for exterminating moles following the removal of the authorisation for the use of strychnine. 
Mr. Morley: In August 2005 the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD), an Executive Agency of DEFRA, wrote to relevant stakeholders explaining the implications of the removal of the authorisation for the use of strychnine and advising on alternative methods of control. This information is available on the PSD website (www.pesticides.gov.uk/approvals.asp?id=1475) and includes details of two aluminium phosphide fumigant products currently approved for use (Luxan Talunex and Phostoxin).
Other methods of control are available including traps, repellents, habitat modification and fencing. In 2004, recognising the difficulties that removal of the strychnine authorisation could cause we commissioned the Central Science Laboratory to undertake a review of the range of controls. A copy of the report is available on the DEFRA website (http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/reports/mole-review.pdf).
DEFRA's Rural Development Service has also published a Technical Advice Note (No.3) on mole control, including use of the two fumigant products. This is available on the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/rds/publications/technical/TAN_03.pdf
The Government are satisfied with the operation of the Slaughter of Poultry Act 1967 and the Slaughterhouse Act 1974. Sections of these Acts were repealed by the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to encourage manufacturers and retailers to reduce packaging waste, with particular reference to supermarkets. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Last year the Government launched the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement between 13 major retailers and WRAP to reduce packaging waste. There are three broad objectives to meet, which are:
The are also two sets of Regulations which cover packaging in the UK both of which encourage producers (including retailers) to minimise packaging. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 are intended to increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. The amount of packaging waste producers have to recover and recycle is determined, in part, by the amount of packaging they handle. Therefore businesses can save money if they reduce the amount of packaging they use around their products. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended) place a number of requirements on all packaging placed on the market in the UK, including a requirement that packaging should be manufactured so that the packaging volume and weight are limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.
Although legislation is one way of reducing packaging consumers also have a part to play. For example, if consumers made a point of choosing goods that are not heavily packaged, or bought 'loose' food rather than pre-packaged, or used their own shopping bags or boxes, manufacturers would be more inclined to reduce the quantity of packaging on their products.
Mr. Morley: The pesticides forum, and the industry-led voluntary initiative for pesticides, have produced and published biodiversity indicators. These include monitoring populations of indicator bird species such as the grey partridge, corn bunting and yellowhammer and are in line with the Government's overall biodiversity action plan process.
In addition the voluntary initiative's indicator farms project is looking, on an experimental basis, at possible impacts on a wide range of species on individual farms within the project.
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Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of reducing the volume of pesticide on the impacts of pesticides on the environment. 
Mr. Morley: It is Government policy to focus on reducing the environmental impacts of pesticides rather than the total amount of pesticide used. This is because impact depends on a variety of factors of which the volume used is only one. Different pesticides can be active at very different rates and replacing a pesticide used at high volume with a more active one used at lower volume would reduce the volume used but may have no environmental benefit or could even be counter-productive.
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms she will use to assess the effectiveness of the national pesticides strategy in reducing (a) pesticide use and (b) the environmental impact of pesticides. 
Mr. Morley: The action plans to deliver the strategy for the sustainable use of plant protection products will contain indicators against which to assess the impact of specific actions. These indicators will include a measure of the quantities of pesticide used which will be monitored through the department's pesticide usage survey. Indicators of environmental impact will include measures of water quality and impacts on biodiversity.
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the amenity sector's use of pesticides on biodiversity; and what steps she plans to take to minimise the use of diuron. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency's monitoring data shows that the impact of amenity use of herbicides is mainly on surface water. The herbicide diuron, which is quite widely used in the amenity sector, is the principal pesticide found.
The new statutory code of practice for the safe use of pesticides, which will be published this month, sets out in detail best environmental practice to minimise the entry of diuron into surface water.
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the regulatory system for the approvals of pesticides will include an assessment of the indirect effects of pesticides on biodiversity. 
The regulatory system under the EC Authorisations Directive (91/414/EEC) on the marketing of plant protection products requires an assessment of the direct effects of pesticides on various
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non-target plants and animals. It does not require an assessment of the indirect effects of pesticides on biodiversity.
Directive 91/414/EEC is due to be replaced by a new EC regulation and we expect a proposal from the European Commission later this year. We will be considering whether the regulatory system should be extended to include an assessment of indirect effects and, if so, how that might be done, in the context of that proposal.
Mr. Morley: A study of key design issues for potential economic instruments carried out by Risk and Policy Analysts Limited (RPA) for the Department was published in September 2004. The review by RPA built on the work by ECOTEC Research and Consulting Limited in 1999 (reference ISBN 1 851121 60 9, price £50.00). The RPA report is available on the Defra website (www.defra.gov.uk/environment/chemicals/pesticides)
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for developing a model to evaluate the effectiveness of the voluntary initiative on the environmental impact of pesticide use. 
Mr. Morley: A project has been carried out by Enviresearch Ltd and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne to develop a framework to inform subsequent assessment of the performance of the Voluntary Initiative (VI) in delivering environmental benefits. This project is now being peer reviewed prior to publication, and will be available for use as a basis for the assessment of the current VI programme which runs to the end of March 2006.
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