Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) reviewed on the (i) chemical make-up and (ii) environmental impact of aircraft trails; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 3 July 2006]: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not directly undertake work in this area, but closely monitors research commissioned by the European Union, Research Councils and other Government Departments to identify, characterise, and assess the impact of aircraft emissions on global climate change.
A major scientific report assessing the contribution of aircraft to climate change, Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, was published in 1999 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). More recently, research carried out under the EU 5th Framework Project, TRADEOFF, has improved modelling techniques and reduced estimates of contrail radiative forcing by two fold compared with the previous estimate from the IPCC. Research carried out under the TRADEOFF project also supported the conclusion that aviation potentially enhances cirrus cloud coverage.
Aircraft-induced cirrus clouds reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth, and so mitigate global warming. However, significant uncertainty surrounding this area of study makes it difficult to assess whether increased cloudiness would reduce or increase global warming trends.
Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 1692W, on greenhouse gases, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the rise in carbon dioxide emissions between 1997 and 2004. 
Ian Pearson: The rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions between 1997 and 2004 was caused by higher than anticipated levels of economic growth and the recent rise in global energy prices which has altered the relative prices of coal and gas. However, CO2 emissions were still about 5.6 per cent. below 1990 levels and we expect CO2 emissions to fall again in the future given longer term expectations on fuel prices and as a result of policies introduced under the new Climate Change Programme.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of achieving the target of increasing by 20 per cent. by 2010 the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in England pursuant to Section 217 of the Housing Act 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The net costs and benefits of existing and new policies were calculated for the Climate Change Programme review and presented in 2005 prices. Existing household energy efficiency measures have a net present value benefit of £65 billion and new household energy efficiency measures announced in the 2006 Climate Change Programme have a net present value benefit to consumers in the region of £13.5 billion, over the life of the policies. This is because the energy savings far outweigh the up front costs of the measures. This figure excludes improvements in air quality, which would make the benefits greater, if included.
The evaluation synthesis report can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/pdf/synthesisccpolicy-evaluations.pdf. We intend to publish the appraisal synthesis report in due course.
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department has assessed published research into the use of the gamma interferon tuberculosis test in other countries; 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 3 July 2006]: Defra has assessed research on the value and uses of the gamma interferon (gIFN) blood test in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Europe. The test is now a standard tool in the cattle testing armoury of European countries with endemic TB problems, like the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The gIFN test can detect some infected animals that are negative in the SICCT test (skin test) and may detect animals at an earlier stage of infection. However, the gIFN test is slightly less specific than the SICCT test, which means that it is also more likely to incorrectly identify negative animals as being infected.
In addition to evidence from overseas research, and in order to further improve bTB diagnostics, the Government have conducted a field trial to assess the potential benefits of using of the gIFN blood test in GB. This helped to establish that the use of this test, in parallel with the skin test, has the potential to significantly increase the detection of infected cattle where TB has been confirmed, and so hasten the elimination of infected cattle. Preparations are now being made for wider use of the gIFN test in prescribed circumstances. The results of the field trial on gIFN usage will be published shortly.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total land area of England was under an (a) annual, (b) two yearly, (c) three yearly and (d) four yearly bovine tuberculosis testing regime in 2005. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of possible energy savings from (a) the construction and (b) use of buildings known as earthships; and what estimate he has made of the number of such constructions in each of the last five years. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 3 July 2006]: My Department has made no assessment on possible energy savings from earthships, either in the construction, or the use of the buildings. We are not aware of any estimates made on the number constructed in the UK.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer given 3 July 2006]: I met representatives of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on 24 April to discuss their findings and other related matters. The ISG inform me of new findings as they become available and their secretariat regularly send me summaries of all ISG meetings.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of land-filled waste in Gloucestershire came from commercial sources in the last period for which figures are available; and what steps are being taken to reduce this figure. 
The Environment Agency publishes full details of the production and management of wastes in England and Wales on its website. The latest available figures, for 2002-03, show that 37.5 per cent. of landfilled waste in Gloucestershire came from commercial and industrial sources.
In its Regional Spatial Strategy, the South West regional assembly seeks to achieve a maximum of just 17 per cent. of commercial waste sent to landfill by 2020, reflecting the Regional Waste Strategy. Gloucestershire county council is the Waste Planning Authority, statutorily responsible for preparing a waste local plan. The current plan calls for a reduction of waste to landfill in support of national and regional targets.
Defras Business Resource and Efficiency Programme (BREW) funds a number of initiatives designed to help business use resources more efficiently and thus reduce waste. For example, Envirowise provides free advice to business on resource efficiency. The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme enables businesses to divert waste from landfill. The South West regional development agency manages local BREW funds within the region.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government plan to take as part of their Organic Action Plan to encourage greater public procurement of organic food. 
My Department is currently leading a major initiative across Whitehall to support and encourage the purchase of more sustainable food by public authorities. The Food Procurement Implementation Group oversees this initiative and includes a number of bodies that are working on local initiatives to increase the demand for organic food and encourage more small producers to compete for public contracts.
Ian Pearson: Ministers receive representations from customers, Members of Parliament and lobbyists, relating to water price increases. However, water price increases are a matter for Ofwat, who are responsible for regulating and fixing water and sewerage price limits.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the cause of the green bloom in the waters of the Hampshire Avon below Amesbury; and what steps are (a) being taken and (b) planned to remedy the problem. 
Ian Pearson: The cause of the green bloom in the waters of the Hampshire Avon below Amesbury is likely to be a combination of environmental factors, including high temperatures, low water flow and consequential increases in the concentration of nutrients. There have been no significant pollution incidents at this location in the river. Rainfall and river flows have been significantly depressed over the last 20 months and, in combination with other environmental factors, this may create opportunities for algal growth. However, the May 2006 period was characterised by periods of very high rainfall. Urban and agricultural runoff may lead to direct discolouration and also contribute to nutrient enrichment in the river.
For example, four Wessex Water sewage treatment works discharging into the River Avon have had phosphate stripping installed in their treatment process as part of the previous environmental programme periodic review. Wessex Water's current water quality environment programme for 2005-10 includes schemes to further reduce nutrient loads from sewage effluent discharges. By the end of the 2010 period, two additional sewage treatment works discharging into the River Avon are expected to receive phosphate stripping and the phosphate limits set for the four original works are expected to be reduced to half of their currently permitted limit.
In addition, as part of the requirement introduced by the habitats directive, the Environment Agency have asked Wessex Water to review their abstractions on the Hampshire Avon and assess their effect on the ecology of the river. The findings from this project, which will conclude by March 2008, will contribute to the Habitats Directive Review of Consents and may result in a requirement to reduce the amount of water abstracted by the water company, or for other improvements to be made in the companies water management operations.
Most recently, the Hampshire Avon catchment has been identified as a priority catchment under the England Catchment-Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative (ECSFDI). The key objective of this initiative is to raise awareness of agricultural pollution and encourage farmers to take
action to mitigate the impact of agriculture on the water environment, including the reduction of nutrient inputs.
The water framework directive (WFD) is a key driver of future action on water quality. The directive came into force on 22 December 2000 and requires member states to establish a range of measures to manage water quality by 2009 and to make them operational by 2012. A central objective of the directive is that water bodies should aim to reach good ecological and chemical status by 2015. We are working with stakeholders to develop mechanisms to tackle pressures, including both point and diffuse sources, for inclusion in River Basin Management Plans, and aim to consult on potential options for tackling non-agricultural, agricultural and hydromorphological pressures in the later part of 2006.
Autumn Performance Report, December 2005
Departmental Report, May 2006
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what draft Bills have been produced by his Department since October 2005; how many (a) were examined and (b) are planned to be examined by (i) a Departmental Select Committee and (ii) a Joint Committee; what draft Bills are still to be produced by his Department; when each is expected to be published; how many clauses each has; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID has not produced any draft Bills since October 2005. Announcements on future legislation and future draft legislation which will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny will be indicated in the Queens Speech.
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development has not kept a record of documents deposited in the Libraries prior to February 2003. Records of publication dates have not been kept. The titles are as follows:
Additional IDA Resources: Financing the Multilateral Debt Initiative.
Announcements at Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty. 7th March London.
Asia 2015: Summary of Conference Sessions.
Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty.
Caribbean Development Bank: Replenishment of the Resources of the Special Development Fund SDF6: Resolution and Report of Contributors on SDF6.
Contracts Awarded between 1/4/99 and 31/03/04.
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