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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many representations his Department has received on the potential environmental impact of genetically modified crops in each of the last three years for which figures are available from (a) biotechnology companies, (b) environmental groups, (c) individual experts, (d) representatives of research institutes and universities and (e) members of the public. 
Ian Pearson: The Department has received representations from various companies, environmental groups, research institutes and members of the public on the potential environmental impact of genetically modified crops in each of the last three years. These have taken the form of letters, facsimiles, emails, telephone calls, parliamentary questions and meetings. Precise figures are not available for the number of representations received from each sector mentioned in the hon. Members question.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with which (a) representative groups and (b) non-governmental organisations the Department has planned meetings during the consultation period on genetically modified coexistence measures. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA officials have had two meetings with stakeholders to discuss issues relating to the consultation on proposals for managing the coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops in England. The first was with representatives and interest groups from the organic sector, and the second was with the farming and industry group, supply chain initiative on modified agricultural crops. At present, no other meetings are planned for the remainder of the consultation period.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria were used by his Department to compile the list of organisations and people to be consulted as part of its consultation on coexistence of genetically modified crops. 
Ian Pearson: The DEFRA consultation paper was sent to all organisations considered to have an interest in the coexistence issue. The paper was also posted on the DEFRA website and publicised through a press notice and press briefing. We are happy to receive views on this issue from anyone:
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the distance needed to separate GM and non-GM oilseed rape to avoid contamination. 
Ian Pearson: The science indicates that most cross- pollination takes place at relatively short distances. However, it is known that cross-pollination may occur infrequently over very long distances, depending on insect movements and the prevailing weather conditions.
Under EU law, GM crops will only be approved for commercial use if they pass a detailed assessment of their potential impact on human health and the environment. In this context, therefore, it would not be necessary to apply a crop separation distance for safety reasons.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role views submitted by members of the public to his Departments consultation on GM crop co-existence will play in the decision-making process following the consultation period. 
Ian Pearson: We will consider and weigh up all the consultation responses very carefully before deciding how to proceed.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for consultation on the co-existence of GM crops in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland. 
Ian Pearson: Coexistence is a devolved issue and the authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for determining their own consultation timetables.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with colleagues in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland on a co-ordinated approach to creating a timetable for implementing measures for the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops. 
Ian Pearson: The implementation of coexistence measures is a devolved matter. Therefore, while we are maintaining contact with the authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on this issue, each authority is responsible for reaching its own decisions on the way forward.
DEFRA has issued a consultation paper on proposed measures for England, and the other UK authorities are expected to issue their own papers in due course. So far there have not been any discussions on a coordinated implementation timetable.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's definition is of adventitious and technically unavoidable in the context of the legal threshold for contamination for GM co-existence measures. 
Under EU law, products or individual ingredients are exempted from carrying a genetically modified (GM) label if they have an adventitious or technically unavoidable GM presence below 0.9 per cent. This provision must be interpreted in the wider context of the EU legislation on the authorisation of GM products, which clearly foresees farmers being able
to choose whether to cultivate conventional, organic or approved GM crops. In the coexistence context, measures can therefore be imposed to minimise unwanted GM presence in non-GM crops, but they must not make it disproportionately difficult to grow authorised GM varieties.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department has received regarding the potential costs and burdens to farmers if a detailed GM crop register was established in the United Kingdom. 
Ian Pearson: The cost and burden to farmers of a detailed genetically modified (GM) crop register would depend on the form that it took and whether farmers had to bear the administration costs. The only advice we have received on the possible cost of a register was from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It has developed a proposal for a web-based register that it estimated might cost £150,000 to establish and £40,000 a year to maintain.
Among other things, the current DEFRA consultation on proposals for managing the coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops seeks views on the pros and cons of establishing a public GM crop register.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he is taking to strengthen the rules and regulations regarding the growing of genetically modified crops in the United Kingdom; 
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that the results from last years genetically modified crop public consultation are incorporated into Government policy regarding the growing of genetically modified crops. 
Ian Pearson: There is already strict European Union legislation controlling the release of genetically modified organisms, including genetically modified (GM) crops. This ensures that GM crops will only be approved for release if they pass a detailed case-by-case assessment of their potential impact on human health and the environment.
The Government sponsored a GM Dialogue which ended in 2003. This comprised a public debate, a science review, and a study on the costs and benefits of GM crops. Further information is available on the DEFRA website at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/crops/debate/index.htm. After considering the findings of the dialogue process, the Government confirmed their overall policy on GM crops in a parliamentary statement from my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett) on 9 March 2004, Official Report, column 1379.
In addition, DEFRA is currently consulting on proposals for managing the coexistence of GM and non-GM crops in England, should approved GM varieties be grown here commercially in the future. We have set out proposed measures that aim to minimise any unwanted GM presence in non-GM crops as far as possible, so that people can make an informed choice between conventional, organic and GM products. The
consultation paper is available on the DEFRA website at: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/qmnongm-coexist/index.htm. Policy on coexistence is a devolved matter and the authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be issuing their own consultation papers in due course.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what input (a) his Department and (b) its (i) agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies had into the Hampton review and its report, Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement. 
Barry Gardiner: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Stephen Timms) on 9 October.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions have been brought against firms depositing treated hazardous waste in landfill sites licensed for the disposal of non-hazardous waste in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency has not yet completed prosecutions for any offence resulting from the deposit of hazardous waste at landfill sites licensed only for non-hazardous waste in 2005 or 2006. There are ongoing investigations under way which may result in prosecution.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the proportion of treated hazardous waste which has been misclassified as non-hazardous and sent to non-hazardous landfill sites since 1 July 2005. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency does not have this data. Landfill sites are permitted only to receive either hazardous, non-hazardous or inert wastes. The Environment Agency regulates compliance at these sites and would consider taking enforcement action if hazardous wastes were being disposed of at sites permitted to receive only non-hazardous waste.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the threat of disease to the horse chestnut tree species; and what steps are being taken to combat it. 
There are several diseases that affect the horse chestnut, of which the most serious is known from its symptoms as bleeding canker. Bleeding
canker can have a number of causes, but the recent upsurge in prevalence of the disease appears to be associated with a bacterium (Pseudomonas syringae) although this has yet to be fully confirmed by the scientists working on it. The increase in disease has been noted in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Britain. Research into it is being led by scientists in the Netherlands. Though not necessarily fatal to infected trees, this is a widespread and serious disease. In common with other European countries, we are studying it to learn more about its origins, its impacts, and whether there are methods by which owners of trees could prevent or control infection.
We are also monitoring an insect pest, the horse chestnut leaf miner, which is present in southern Britain. This moth has spread across Europe since the late 1970s and appeared in Britain in 2002. Its larvae feed inside leaves with heavy infestations causing shrivelling and falling of leaves. We have no reports from Britain, or elsewhere, that it causes fatal damage on its own. As with bleeding canker, our scientists are in close touch with colleagues across Europe who are investigating this pest.
Advice to tree and woodland owners and managers on these and other pests and diseases is available on the Forestry Commission's Forest Research website http://www.forestresearch.gov.uk.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under what legislation local authorities can require householders to separate household rubbish into different categories for collection; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 both empowers local authorities to specify the conditions of the waste collection service they provide and requires them to inform the recipients of those conditions by way of a section 46 notice. Section 46(4)(d) is the section which allows the local authority to require householders to place specific materials in particular receptacles (or compartments of receptacles) for collection.
The degree of contamination has a big impact on the value of recyclates, even if the contamination is with other recyclates. It is for this reason that householders are often required to wash and separate their waste prior to collection.
Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, local authorities now also have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those who fail to comply with section 46 notices.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the UK's commitment to the next stage of the Kyoto protocol. 
At the December 2005 meeting of the United Nations Conference of parties of the Kyoto
Protocol, in Montreal, parties established a process to negotiate further commitments for Annex I countries (industrialised countries that have ratified the Protocol) after 2012. At the next session of this process in Nairobi, in November 2006, parties aim to make progress on these negotiations. However, individual commitments of countries will not be discussed until after the November session.
The European Commission is currently working on a process to determine medium and long-term climate change goals, and will publish a Green Paper by the end of the year describing various scenarios for European Union (EU) action. Based on this, EU Member States will start the discussions on their individual commitments and the UK will be at the forefront of these.
Commitments for the next stage of the Kyoto Protocol must be negotiated through the formal United Nations process.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many enforcement actions, including prosecutions and convictions, were taken in respect of the Departments powers over the marine environment. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Data routinely collected by both the Environment Agency and the Home Office are categorised by statute offence and those involving the marine environment cannot be separately identified.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the EU Farm Commissioner in extending voluntary modulation. 
Barry Gardiner: The Secretary of State has discussed voluntary modulation with the EU Farm Commissioner on a number of occasions, including the July Agriculture Council meeting.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fixed penalty notices and court proceedings for aiding, abetting, causing or permitting noise offences under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, Regulations 54-58 and 97-99, have been issued in each of the last five years in each local authority in England and Wales. 
Mr. Coaker: I have been asked to reply.
Information on fixed penalty notices issued by the police and prosecution data taken from the Court Proceedings Database held by the office for Criminal Justice Reform from 2000 to 2004 (latest available) is given in the table. These data are available at police force area level only.
2005 data will be available early in 2007.
|Number of police action Fixed Penalty Notices issued and total prosecutions for Noise Offences( 1) under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, Regulations 54-58 and 97-99 by police force area, England and Wales, 2000-04|
|Number of notices and offences|
|Police force area||Fixed penalty notices issued||Total prosecutions||Fixed penalty notices issued||Total prosecutions||Fixed penalty notices issued||Total prosecutions|
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