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Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many veterinary surgeons have abandoned farm animal practice in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 7 February 2006]: The Department does not hold this information. However, we are working with the veterinary profession to improve our understanding of the latest trends within farm animal practice. We contributed to the development of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' survey of the profession for 2006 and we are
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also working with the British Veterinary Association, which is consulting its regional divisions on the availability of farm animal veterinary services.
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra issued a News Release on the 200405 Best Value Performance Indicators of local authority recycling and composting rates on 23 January 2006. Both this news release and the individual local authority recycling and composting rates are available from the Defra website at: www.defraweb/news/2006/060123a.htm. The full list of individual local authority Best Vale Performance Indicators for 200405 can additionally be viewed on the Audit Commission's website at: www.audit-commission.gov.uk/performance/dataprovision.asp
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on water supply shortages in East Sussex; and what plans she has to combat such shortages. 
Mr. Morley: I have received no specific representations concerning water supply in East Sussex. Water companies have drought plans which set out how the company will continue to meet its duties to supply adequate quantities of wholesome water during drought periods with as little recourse as possible to drought orders and permits.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) water shortage in East Sussex and (b) the possible effect of such shortages on consumer supply in (i) 2006 and (ii) the next five years. 
Mr. Morley: We have asked the Environment Agency to monitor and report on the drought prospects for 2006. This will focus particularly on south-east England where the continuing drought is most pronounced.
Any projected shortage in supply this year will be addressed though the relevant water company's drought plan. These plans set out how the company will continue to meet its duties to supply adequate quantities of wholesome water during drought periods with as little recourse as possible to drought orders and permits.
For longer term planning water companies maintain 25 year water resource plans which seek to reconcile supply with anticipated demand. These water resource plans are produced voluntarily every five years at present but will become a statutory requirement under the provisions of the Water Act 2003. The Department is currently consulting on the exercise of the new powers in respect of statutory water resource plans.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water on average was (a) available to and (b) consumed by each person in the UK in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by (i) water company and (ii) region. 
Mr. Morley: The Director General of Water Services publishes data on the extent of water supply annually in the 'Security of Supply, Leakage and the Efficient Use of Water' reports, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. In 200405, the figures for England and Wales were as follows:
|Water company||Distribution input (Ml/d)||Average household Consumption (l/h/d)|
|Bournemouth and W Hants||164||167|
|Folkestone and Dover||46||159|
|Sutton and East Surrey||161||173|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the (a) merits, (b) practicality and (c) costs of constructing a water grid to enable the transportation of large volumes of water over long distances. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 February 2006]: The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. As part of the Agency's management role it has national and regional water resource strategies, published in 2001, which set out the pressures over the next 25 years.
A good deal of water is already transferred within water companies' areas of operation, and between companies, to give individual companies greater flexibility to meet local shortages. The Agency's national strategy notes though that water transfers can be a relatively expensive option. Pipelines for long distance transfers are large and their construction may be disruptive. Pumping can consume much energy and add to carbon emissions.
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Water companies have statutory duties to maintain water supplies. It is for them to plan the investment necessary to deliver their services, including the necessary financial provision, and it is for Ofwat, in the light of companies' plans, to secure that companies carry out and are able to finance their functions. I am not aware that water companies collectively are considering the establishment of a water grid.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of wind farms on wild birds; what research her Department has commissioned on the impact of wind turbines on wildlife; how many protected birds have been recorded as killed in collisions with wind turbines in the last five years; what steps her Department is taking to reduce the risks to birds of wind turbines; and if she will make a statement. 
Applications for consent for wind farms submitted to the DTI are accompanied by an environmental impact assessment that includes details of the likely impact of the project in question on the environment and wildlife, among other things. In considering an application, the Department will consult with a range of stakeholders, including the statutory advisers on nature conservationEnglish Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales, as appropriateas well as others with an interest in the project. This ensures that decisions on whether to grant consent for a wind farm are considered in the light of the best available information about its likely impacts.
The Department has established a Research Advisory Group to fund research into the impact of wind farms on the environment. This has included a joint study with wind farm developers and DEFRA to collect data on the distribution of sea birds in the three strategic offshore wind farm areas, the results of which will inform decisions on the grant of consent for wind farm projects in those areas. However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) make clear that the available evidence suggests that appropriately positioned wind farms do not pose a significant hazard for birds. The RSPB's conclusion is supported by a report last year for the Swedish State Energy Authority, which found that only 14 of the total 1.5 million migrating seabirds that each year passes two wind farms at Kalmarsund in south east Sweden are at risk of being killed.
In any case, the likely impact on wildlife must be kept in context. A paper in Nature, by a large group of scientists including one from the RSPB, indicated that in sample regions covering about 20 per cent. of the Earth's land surface15 per cent. to 37 per cent. of species (not just birds) will be committed to extinction as a result of mid-range climate warming scenarios by 2050.
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