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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many licences for the culling of cormorants were issued in England in 200506; how many cormorants were killed under licence in England in 200506; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) protects all wild birds. However, the Secretary of State has authority under section 16(1)(k) of the Act to grant licences to permit the killing of cormorants to prevent serious damage to fisheries. Licenses are only issued where DEFRA is satisfied that other non-lethal methods have been tried and found to be ineffective, and where there is no other satisfactory solution.
Licences to shoot cormorants are normally issued for a limited period between 31 August and 15 April so we are still issuing licenses for the 200506 season. During the current licence period, 392 licences have been granted so far and 435 cormorants are recorded as having been killed.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the annual expenditure on vehicles of (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which her Department is responsible in each English region was in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 200506. 
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'.
However, the information you requested relating to DEFRA's agencies, NDPB's and other bodies sponsored by DEFRA is not held centrally by the Department and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since
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the Department holds records centrally for the whole of England only, it is not possible to provide the details requested for each English region.
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The planned expenditure on vehicles in 200506 within the core Department is not available due to expenditure budgets being held at a higher level than is being requested. Accordingly, this high level budget information would not be appropriate as a response to the question being asked.
For details of expenditure on ministerial vehicles provided to the Department by the Government Car and Despatch Agency, I refer the hon. Member to the letter of 20 December 2005 from the chief executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker). Copies of this letter are available in the Library.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2376W, on departmental transport, if she will place in the Library a copy of the site-wide notice to all staff and contractors issued on 15 December 2005. 
It is clear that due to the shortage of parking facilities on the Guildford site, some staff and externals from the DEFRA site have been using local side streets for parking. There has been a significant increase in the number of complaints from the surrounding streets, including Down Road, Daryngton Drive, Carroll Avenue, Gateways, Broadwater Rise and Pitt Farm Road, over the last three months.
DEFRA has a responsibility to be a good neighbour and this is an obligation that applies to us all. We therefore ask that staff from the Guildford site, should consider our neighbours when parking in local streets around the site. This means parking only where it is legal to do so and in a way that is reasonable and takes account of neighbours views. It also means parking in a way that does not block the road or access.
There are a number of streets to the west of the site, towards Guildford Town Centre, that have controlled parking zones and the council plan to increase this in the near future. Wherever possible it would be helpful if you parked in these designated areas. Your co-operation in this matter is much appreciated.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2376W, on departmental transport, what further steps she can take to stop staff and contractors from her Department's site on the Epsom Road, Merrow, Guildford continuing to park in residential roads. 
Jim Knight: When Guildford Site Security report that there are potentially vehicles parked off-site, Defra are carrying out patrols in the local roads to try to identify vehicles which belong to IBM or Defra employees. Drivers or their line managers are then contacted and asked to move their vehicles even though these may be parked legally.
Defra have also met with Guildford borough council and with Surrey county council, to see if it would be possible to join Surrey's Car Share Scheme. We are currently waiting for an update from Guildford borough council.
Jim Knight: Preparations are under way to consult on amendments to legislation that transposes the directive to clarify its application. New regulations will also be introduced to extend the application of the directive to marine areas beyond our territorial seas.
The UK has also done far more than most to address the policy objectives of the Habitats Directive (maintaining or restoring species and habitats favourable conservation status). We were the first country to designate and fully protect all 608 of its proposed special areas of conservation at the end of 2004. In addition, the Government have set itself a public service agreement (PSA) target of bringing 95 percent. of sites of special scientific interest into favourable condition by 2010. The latest figures indicate that 70 per cent. of sites are in favourable condition now.
The UK has also taken significant action to protect marine biodiversity. We were the first country to identify a truly offshore special area of conservation, the Darwin Mounds, and worked through the Common Fisheries Policy to ensure damaging bottom-set trawling in the area was banned. In 2004 the UK unilaterally banned pair trawling for sea bass in its waters, which was widely blamed for high numbers of dolphin and porpoise deaths.
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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding has been allocated by the Forestry Commission for woodland creation schemes in each of the last three years; and what the allocation is for each of the next three years. 
|Financial year||Cash payments (£ million)|
In the current year (200506) it is expected that the Forestry Commission will spend £6.4 million on woodland creation grants. The recent change of support mechanism from the Woodland Grant Scheme to the English Woodland Grant Scheme means that claims and most payments for work undertaken during the current planting season will not occur until April 2006. The allocation of funding for woodland creation in 200607 currently stands at £7.4 million and like the current planting season some claims and payments for work in the 200607 planting season will not be made until the following financial year.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the woodland grant scheme is allocated to (a) woodland creation and (b) woodland management in 200506. 
Jim Knight: The Forestry Commission expects to spend £6.4 million on woodland creation grants and £10.1 million on woodland management grants in the current financial year. This means that creation grants will make up around 40 per cent. of all grants.
There is no requirement on woodland owners to provide details of the area that they manage in accordance with the UK Forestry Standard. However, a very large proportion of actively managed woodland in England receives support from the Forestry Commission through its grant scheme agreements or is subject to a felling licence issued by the Commission. Recipients of grants and felling licences are expected to meet the UK Forestry Standard. The public forest estate
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is also managed to the UK Forestry Standard and has been independently certified under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme.
The Forestry Commission estimates that the area of actively managed woodland in both public and private ownership that meets the UK Forestry Standard is 470,000 hectares, which is 42 per cent. of the woodland in England.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance is being prepared in relation to the Habitats Regulations following the recent European Court decision. 
Jim Knight: Preparations are under way to consult on amendments to legislation that transposes the Habitats Directive in the UK to clarify its application and we are considering what new guidance may be required to support any legislative changes. In line with current Government best practice, any guidance needed will be published at least 12 weeks before changes to legislation come into force.
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