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25 Apr 2006 : Column 974W—continued

Climate Change

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the climate change levy on the environment; and if she will make a statement. [64315]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The climate change levy (CCL) is playing a crucial role in enabling the UK to meet its Kyoto Protocol target.

An independent evaluation by Cambridge Econometrics, commissioned by HM Revenue and Customs and published alongside Budget 2005, has examined the effect of the levy since its announcement in Budget 1999 and introduction in April 2001. It concluded that the levy could deliver cumulative savings
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to 2005 of 16.5 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) and by 2010, annual carbon savings of over 3.5 MtC a year—well above the 2 MtC estimated at the time of its introduction.


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter of 7 March 2006 from the hon. Member for Walsall, North regarding a constituent. [64740]

Jim Knight [holding answer 24 April 2006]: I apologise for the delay in replying to the hon. Member's letter. A response was issued on 24 April.


Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2004, Official Report, column824W, on emission levels, whether local authorities are obliged to include conditions which represent the best available techniques when issuing a permit under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999; [64081]

(2) what steps her Department intends to take to ensure compliance with Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control SG2 for new glass-making facilities. [64154]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations require local authorities, in deciding what conditions to include in a permit, to take account of various principles, including that installations should be operated in such a way that all appropriate preventive measures are taken against pollution, in particular through application of the best available techniques". It is for local authorities to decide on the facts of each individual case, having regard to any guidance issued to them by the Secretary of State, what constitutes the best available techniques in that case.

Statutory guidance note SG2 sets out the Secretary of State's views on what constitute the best available techniques for the generality of glass manufacturing activities. Regulators must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. It does not specify the standards that must be included in individual permits.

Exercise Hawthorn

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the results from Exercise Hawthorn will be made known. [64866]

Mr. Bradshaw: Exercise Hawthorn was scheduled to take place between 5 and 6 April. As soon as we confirmed that highly pathogenic H5 virus had been discovered in a dead swan in Cellerdyke, Scotland on the afternoon of 5 April, the exercise was brought to an end to ensure that we could bring all our resources to bear on this situation.

Although we are disappointed that the exercise could not be concluded, useful results have been gathered, and we will publish these in the summer.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2006 to Question 61242, on flood defences, whether she has discussed these funding levels with the Treasury. [62714]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 18 April 2006]: Funding levels for flood risk management are set by Defra following Treasury decision in the 2004 Spending Review on the overall spending limits for the Department for 2005–06 to 2007–08. An effective flood risk management service is a priority for Defra and funding for this was discussed with Treasury during the 2004 Review. There has been no specific discussion since on the level of flood spend.

The level of spending on flood risk management will be considered in the context of the comprehensive spending review in 2007 as will the level of the Department's spend across all areas.


Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many incidents of fly-tipping were reported in (a) Hull North constituency and (b) Kingston-upon-Hull in each year since 1997; how many prosecutions were made as a result; and if she will make a statement. [64096]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has worked with the Environment Agency to establish Flycapture, the national database of fly-tipping incidents, which has been operational since April 2004. No national data were previously available on illegal waste disposal or fly-tipping. Flycapture collects data at local authority level only.

The data are probably an underestimate and will increase as authorities get better at collecting and reporting the data.

Kingston-upon-Hull city council reported 4,929 incidents of fly-tipping between June 2004 and March 2005 (an average of 493 incidents a month) and 7,199 between April 2005 and February 2006 (an average of 655 a month). The Environment Agency investigated five incidents between June 2004 and March 2005 in Kingston-upon-Hull.

The data submitted for prosecutions are incomplete, but show that Kingston-upon-Hull city council took forward five prosecutions in 2004–05 and a further 16 in 2005–06.

GM Crops/Food

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which EU states are in favour of co-existence between GM and non-GM crops; and what clarification of the position was achieved at the recent Vienna Conference. [65058]

Mr. Morley: It is generally recognised that if GM crops are to be grown commercially then coexistence measures will be needed. In Article 26a of Directive 2001/18/EC member states agreed that the Commission
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should develop guidelines on coexistence. However, member states have different views as to what precise form coexistence measures should take.

The European Commission has recently published a report on the implementation of national coexistence measures and this is available at

The concluding remarks from the recent EU conference in Vienna are at

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the European Commission following its proposals to allow organic food to include up to 0.9 per cent. GM. [62494]

Mr. Bradshaw: A Council Working Group to discuss the EC proposal for a Council regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products to replace the current Regulation 2092/91 has met five times and discussions are continuing.


Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has plans to review the regulation of the horseracing industry, with particular reference to the avoidance of deaths of horses on race days. [63952]

Mr. Bradshaw: Regulation of the horseracing industry is being transferred from the Jockey Club to the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA). The Department welcomes the transfer and views it as a vital step towards the modernisation of the sport. We are confident that the HRA will work closely with the industry to continually assess and improve measures to protect racehorses from harm.

The Protection of Animals Act 1911 already protects the welfare of racehorses. Under this Act it is an offence to ill treat or cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal. The maximum penalty is a fine of £5,000 or six months' imprisonment, or both.

The Animal Welfare Bill will extend these powers by introducing a duty of care for those who are responsible for animals. This will allow action to be taken, even if the animal is not currently suffering. Under the Bill, we have proposed that the maximum penalty for an offence of cruelty will be raised to a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment for 51 weeks, or both.

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