Previous Section Index Home Page

8 Feb 2006 : Column 1280W—continued

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

British Beef Exports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the EU to vote to lift the ban on the export of British beef; and for what reasons the ban has not been lifted thus far. [49188]

Mr. Bradshaw: The European Commission's formal proposal to lift the ban is being considered by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH). Provided there is no significant opposition, the Commission has promised to put its proposal to a vote at SCoFCAH on 8 March 2006. The earliest that the lifting of the ban could take place is mid-April.

Previously, the Commission made clear that discussions on lifting the ban could only take place once the UK had satisfied two criteria. First, securing a reduction in the incidence of BSE below 200 cases per million adult cattle. Secondly, achieving a favourable outcome to the inspection
 
8 Feb 2006 : Column 1281W
 
of our BSE controls in June 2005 by the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO). The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed, in March 2005, that the incidence of disease had declined sufficiently. And a satisfactory FVO mission report was published on 28 September 2005. Accordingly, the Commission opened discussions with member states on lifting the ban in November 2005, and made a formal written proposal in January 2006.

Carbon Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the displacement of carbon emissions has been achieved through the introduction of energy efficiency measures in each year since 1997. [44788]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 January 2006]: An exercise has been carried for the household sector, for the period 1970 to 2001. The carbon changes are subject to a decomposition analysis" into seven factors, two efficiency ones—reduced losses from the building
 
8 Feb 2006 : Column 1282W
 
envelope, and improved heating system efficiency—and five others which drive emissions both up and down—household numbers, level of energy service demand (e.g. for comfort, hot water), external temperature, the carbon intensity of grid electricity, and fuel switching by households. The changes are presented in terms of tonnes of carbon rather than shares of the net change. The results for the three decades are shown graphically, for each complete decade, to illustrate the longer term effects of the different factors, and eliminate the shorter term annual fluctuations. The table gives the annual changes from 1997 to 2001. The graph will be placed in the Library.

Defra is currently completing a separate exercise to develop energy efficiency indicators for the household sector, and plans to use these, together with decomposition analysis, to report in more detail on the achievements of its various policies. Comparable work on indicators for the Industry and Services sectors is also under way but at a less advanced stage since energy use is much more complex, and energy efficiency technical measures more numerous, than in the household sector.
Components of carbon emission change (MtC)

Between yearsHousehold growthLevel of serviceExternal temperatureBuilding envelope heat lossHeating system efficiencyElectricity Supply Industry factorsOther carbon factor changesTotal
1997–980.321.03-0.35-0.08-0.24-0.170.781.30
1998–990.351.020.56-0.08-0.81-0.10-1.47-0.51
1999–20000.241.020.03-0.67-0.50-0.130.470.46
2000–010.251.060.82-0.76-0.59+1.421.023.22

Cattle Movements

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many animals have been involved in incidents of non-compliance with cattle movement orders since 2001; where these incidents occurred; and how many animals were involved in each case; [48597]

(2) what the percentage rate of compliance has been with the cattle movement order since 2001. [48598]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 6 February 2006]: A full breakdown of information on incidents of non-compliance is not available without disproportionate cost.

However, 10 per cent. of all cattle holdings are inspected every year to ensure compliance with the requirements for cattle identification and reporting of movements set out in EC Regulation No 1760/2000 (implemented in domestic law by the Cattle Identification Regulations 1998 as amended).

The results of these inspections are reported annually to the EU Commission. The following table provides the results of inspections between 2002–03 and 2004–05. The inspection programme for 2001–02 was halted because of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
Percentage
Rates of non-compliance overallRates of non-compliance with cattle movement requirements
2002–0313.543.36
2003–0414.543.61
2004–0510.492.75

These figures are based on the total number of non-compliance incidents divided by the number of cattle that have been inspected. Some animals will be the source of more than one instance of non-compliance.

In addition to these inspections, local authorities also undertake inspections of markets, hauliers and farms each year as part of their duty to enforce the cattle identification regulations. The results of these inspections are not held centrally.

Guidance is available to keepers on the cattle identification and movement recording requirements. The British Cattle Movement Service has a national helpline to answer queries from keepers. Our enforcement authorities are active in correcting non-compliance whenever it is found, and co-operate fully with one another.

Civil Servants (Overseas Visits)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what costs were incurred by her Department as a result of sending civil servants on overseas visits in each of the last 10 years. [46284]

Jim Knight: It is the policy of DEFRA, its agencies, non-departmental public bodies and, where appropriate, its sponsored organisations to make financial redress in accordance with the guidance set out in Chapter 18.7 and Annexes 18.1 and 18.2 of Government Accounting.

Officials within the Department can confirm that all travel complied with the requirements of the civil service management code.

The information you requested is set out in the following table:
 
8 Feb 2006 : Column 1283W
 

DEFRA

£000
2001–021,792
2002–032,468
2003–042,242
2004–052,730

Conservation Areas

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she expects to conclude bilateral biogeographic discussions with the European Commission on the designation of Bolton Fell Moss and Solway Moss as special areas of conservation; [46988]

(2) what scientific objections remain unresolved with regard to the candidature of Bolton Fell Moss and Solway Moss as special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive; [46989]

(3) what representations she has received from peat extraction companies on Bolton Fell Moss and Solway Moss following English Nature's advice for these sites to become candidate special areas of conservation; [46990]

(4) what the expected timeframe is for concluding the designation of Bolton Fell Moss and Solway Moss as Special Areas of Conservation; and what steps she is taking to conclude the designations within the current financial year; [46991]

(5) what steps the Government is taking (a) to address the findings of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Condition Summary for Bolton Fell Moss and (b) to secure the notified conservation interest of the site and the Government's public service agreement target for SSSI condition. [46992]

Jim Knight: A meeting is being arranged with the European Commission to discuss the sufficiency of the UK list of degraded raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), including the merits of Solway Moss and Bolton Fell Moss. I hope that this will result in the Commission coming to its final view this summer.

There are outstanding objections (including scientific ones) from the peat extraction operators on the criteria used for the selection of the two peat sites, principally concerning the composition of the topography and the restorability of the sites and their margins. English Nature is in discussion with the objectors to resolve these concerns.

During the public consultation undertaken by English Nature on the proposal to designate these sites as Special Areas of Conservation for their degraded raised bog interest, objections were received from the peat extraction companies at each of the sites. Discussions aimed at resolving the objections included correspondence with the Secretary of State over the grounds for including these sites as Special Areas of Conservation.

Given the complex nature of the objections raised about the candidature of Solway Moss and Bolton Fell Moss, it is not possible to give a definite date for their resolution and subsequent conclusion of the consultation. Once concluded, and if Bolton Fell Moss
 
8 Feb 2006 : Column 1284W
 
and Solway Moss are required to be included as part of the UK list of sites of degraded raised bog sites within the UK, these will be designated as candidate SACs immediately.

Bolton Fell Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest has been assessed by English Nature as being in an unfavourable condition. As part of its overall work on the SSSI PSA target, which is to bring 95 per cent. of Sites of Special Scientific Interest into favourable condition by 2010, English Nature is identifying the works which need to be put in place, and by whom, to restore all unfavourable sites to a recovering or favourable condition. And it is in the process of discussing options to achieve this with interested parties. Overall the latest figures indicate that 70 per cent. of sites are now in favourable condition.


Next Section Index Home Page