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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 488W, on PG5/2(04), whether the Government are providing extra funding to local authorities to meet the cost of implementing the new regulations. 
In accordance with the Polluter Pays Principle, the Government do not provide funding for any sector regulated under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations to finance measures to reduce emissions.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 310W
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to ensure that social criteria are included in decision-making on public procurement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 30 January 2006]: The Department published its sustainable procurement strategy and toolkit in December and it can be found at http://defraweb/corporate/sdstrategy/operations/partf.htm
Defra is awaiting the note on social issues and criteria in public procurement being prepared by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and will, in the light of this note, the National Action Plan being prepared by the Sustainable Procurement Taskforce and the new public procurement rules coming into effect on 31 January 2006, take all appropriate steps to ensure social criteria are included in its public procurement. Public procurement policy in the UK is the responsibility of the OGC.
Mr. Bradshaw: There is on-going research funded by the Department and carried out by the Sea Mammal Research Unit to monitor bycatch in all relevant UK fishery sectors and to develop mitigation measures to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals. The Department also obtains strandings data under the Defra-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme, carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College.
Post mortems from strandings can identify whether dolphins have died as a result of bycatch (if the carcasses are in a good enough state) but cannot at this stage identify individual fisheries such as the bass pair trawl fishery. Research into net marks found on cetaceans is also being undertaken but is at a very early stage.
Results for the 200405 pair trawl fishery for bass show a marked decrease from the preceding year for the total numbers of dolphins observed as bycatch and the number of dolphins stranding in the south west coast has similarly decreased this year. It would however be speculative on the basis of one year's data alone to link these reductions and further analysis of the effectiveness of the 12 mile ban on sea bass pair trawling will be undertaken as further data becomes available.
Current European Union legislation protects sea bass by specifying a minimum size of 36cm below which bass cannot be landed and corresponding mesh sizes to be used for both fixed and trawl gear when bass is targeted. The most recent scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea reports that stocks appear to be fished sustainably.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 311W
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of bottom ash produced as a portion of waste entering each solid waste thermal processing facility in England in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency conducted a study, 'Solid residues from municipal waste incinerators in England and Wales', which was published in 2002. This is the most recent collation of site-specific information available and contains information for the period 1996 to 2000 inclusive. The range of values is not anticipated to have changed significantly since the date of the report. For the plants operating at that time, the proportion of bottom ash produced in the years 1998 to 2000, expressed as a percentage by weight of waste input, is as follows:
|Stoke on Trent||25.6||25.6||24.8|
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much bottom ash from each solid waste thermal processing facility in England was (a) used for bulk fill, road construction or asphalt, (b) used in construction blocks, (c) sent to landfill and (d) stockpiled in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency conducted a study, 'Solid Residues from Municipal Waste Incinerators in England and Wales', published in 2002. This report provides the most recent collation of information available, which is for the period 1996 to 2000 inclusive.
|(a) Bulk fill, road construction, asphalt, etc.||28.6|
|(b) Construction blocks||7.1|
|(c) Sent to landfill||46.9|
Managing space debris effectively requires an international consensus. The UK is working actively through the United Nations and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Group to secure international agreement on space debris mitigation practices.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many whales have become stranded and have perished around the shore of the United Kingdom in each year since 1997; and what research she has commissioned into the causes. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Between 1 January 1997 and 23 January 2006 a total of 360 whales were reported as stranded in the United Kingdom, and three were reported as bycatch. Table 1 provides detailed figures, broken down by year.
These data are collected under the Defra-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme. The scheme is carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College. Not only are all stranded animals recorded, but post-mortem examinations are carried out on some of the animal carcasses to establish the exact cause of death.
The information received from this scheme has helped to inform the commissioning of two further research projects. The first is looking into the effect of acoustic noise on cetaceans, through examination of cetacean 'ears' removed during post-mortem examination. The second, an observer monitoring scheme, places observers on certain fishing vessels to observe whether there are any incidents of bycatch.
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