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Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by how much the cost of boating licences will increase in each of the next three years; and what assessment he has made of the impact of these rises on the boating industry in England. 
BW plans to increase fees by 2.7 per cent. from 1 April 2007 and is considering an additional 10 per cent. increase over and above the agreed licence fee index from 2008 onwards. The EA, following consultation with users, has approved an increase in registration fees of 12 per cent. for 2007-08, with the total increase over the next three years likely to be around 40 per cent. The Broads Authority charges tolls for vessels using its waterways. Tolls for 2007-08 have
not been finalised but are likely to increase by 9.9 per cent. for private craft and 6.1 per cent. for hire fleet vessels.
The cost of maintaining our inland waterways is considerable and in order for them to remain sustainable, boaters need to contribute a fair and reasonable amount. Research and consultation carried out by DEFRA-sponsored navigation authorities suggest that, while any increase in licence and/or registration fees is unpopular, they are still manageable. The cost of boating on other inland waterways is a matter for the relevant navigation authority.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the budget is for British Waterways for (a) 2006-07 and (b) each of the following three financial years. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in implementing Waterways for Tomorrow; what plans he has for its implementation in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Waterways for Tomorrow sets out the Government's policies for the inland waterways of England and Wales. The Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council is currently assessing the extent to which the policies in Waterways for Tomorrow have been put into practice and I await their report with interest.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of the reduction in the grant-in-aid to British Waterways on the ability of that organisation to increase the level of freight carried on waterways. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will allocate an annual payment of £30,000 to the Dart Estuary Environment Management Partnership through either the Environment Agency or Dart Harbour Navigation Authority to continue the work initially funded by the Cycleau Project. 
The DEEM Partnership was formed to implement the DEEM Plan, which is non-statutory. It is for the local partners to decide whether to continue voluntary financial contributions after December 2006 when Cycleau comes to an end. The South West Region of the Environment Agency has decided to
continue to fund estuary partnerships where affordable, and it has recently agreed to provide funding for the River Dart for another year while it reviews the future of DEEM with the other local partners.
Government policy is that ports are not eligible for public funding, on the ground that subsidy is likely to cause market distortion in an otherwise free sector. The Dart Harbour Navigation Authority is a trust port and obtains its funding by way of charges levied on its users. It has a duty to use funds for the benefit of the management of the harbour, which can include participating in a voluntary partnership to help manage the estuary.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department made available to the Environment Agency in the South West in 2005-06 to fund the work of the Dart Estuary Environment Management Partnership. 
Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency (EA) receives grant in aid funding from DEFRA for their environmental protection work. The EA then take decisions about local funding priorities. In 2005-06, the EAs South West Region contributed £5,000 to the Dart Estuary Environment Management Partnership from their local budget.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding has been made available under the England Rural Development Programme in 2006 specifically to promote higher standards of animal welfare; how much has been disbursed; and how much he expects to be disbursed to support this purpose in 2007. 
Barry Gardiner: Under the England Rural Development Programme 2000-06, the Rural Enterprise Scheme and Vocational Training Scheme could address animal health and welfare standards. There were four Rural Enterprise Scheme projects and 10 Vocational Training Scheme projects approved in 2006 providing animal welfare outputs, which totalled nearly £386,000 in grant.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect on animal welfare standards of the delay in implementing the England Rural Development Programme 2007 to 2013. 
The Rural Development Programme may support animal welfare related activity, such as training and knowledge transfer, that will help to further improve standards. However, we do not envisage that the delay
to the start of the next programme will have any impact on animal welfare standards.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been made available under the England Rural Development Programme in 2006; how much has been disbursed; and how much he expects to be disbursed to support rural development in 2007. 
Barry Gardiner: The cash budget for the European accounting year, which ran from 16 October 2005 and ended on 15 October 2006, was £338.5 million. This compares with the original budget of £320 million, set in the approved England Rural Development Programme document. The expenditure incurred in the 2005-06 accounting year was £326.7 million.
The budget for the 2007 accounting year has not yet been finalised. Overall financing plans for the next Rural Development Programme in England cannot be announced until a new EU voluntary modulation regulation has been finalised.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what requirements the Forestry Commission has made of hunts to ensure that they continue efforts to achieve successful drag hunting with chemical-only based scents; 
Barry Gardiner: The Forestry Commission will review the effectiveness of the terms and conditions in its agreements with the Masters of Foxhounds Association and the Masters of Bloodhounds and Draghounds Association at the end of the season. These bodies are aware that their members' efforts to find and successfully use chemical scents will be one of the issues considered by the Commission in this review and that only after this review will the Commission consider granting any further agreement.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which chemical only based scents the Forestry Commission has been encouraging hunts to use when drag hunting. 
Barry Gardiner: The terms and conditions in the Forestry Commission's agreement with the Masters of Bloodhounds and Draghounds Association and the Masters of Foxhounds Association does not specify which chemical only based scents should be used. The choice of scents used and tested is left to the hunts, subject to the restrictions imposed in the agreement.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Parliamentary Ombudsman cases against Natural England and its predecessors have been upheld in each of the last three years. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 November 2006]: There have been no complaints in relation to Natural England. Of the three founding bodies one complaint of maladministration against the Rural Development Services was upheld in 2003-04 and one partly upheld in 2005-06; one complaint against the Countryside Agency was upheld in 2005-06; one complaint against English Nature was partially upheld in 2005-06.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many answers given by Natural England and its predecessors to constituents of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight regarding questions on the reconstruction of the A3055 Undercliff Drive have subsequently been retracted; on what dates those retractions were made; and if he will publish the questions with the retracted and corrected answers. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 November 2006]: English Nature, now Natural England, has had lengthy correspondence and meetings with a number of constituents over a period of time on this case. Natural England has listened carefully and provided a large amount of information in response to requests. At no time has Natural Englands view of the science and evidence changed. By working with the local authority, Natural England is confident that the potentially damaging impacts of the scheme can be overcome by appropriate mitigation. The Countryside Agency lodged no objections on landscape grounds although some concerns were raised.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how he will assess whether claims to open up public rights of way discovered under the Discovering Lost Ways Project would (a) conflict with current land use and (b) be detrimental to the environment; and how he will deal with such claims. 
Barry Gardiner: Whether rights of way are identified through the Discovering Lost Ways Project or otherwise, the legislation that provides for them to be recorded on the definitive map and statement (the local authorities legal record of rights of way) is concerned only with whether the right of way can be proved to exist in law. No other considerations may be taken into account.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what resources his Department has made available to (a) local authorities and (b) the Planning Inspectorate to process claims made as part of the Discovering Lost Ways Project. 
Barry Gardiner: The Discovering Lost Ways Project was triggered by legislation, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, to set a cut-off date for claims to record historic rights of way. At the time that this legislation was passed, a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) was prepared in which it was estimated that the cost to local authorities of processing the resulting claims would be £1.6 million a year until the cut-off date of 1 January 2026. This was one of several new burdens arising from part II of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which were funded by the Government through the un-hypothecated Environmental Protection and Cultural Services block of the Revenue Support Grant.
The RIA estimated that the cost to Government for resulting public inquiries would be some £56,000 a year. To date, no extra resources for processing claims have been given to the Planning Inspectorate, as no claims under the Discovering Lost Ways Project have yet been made.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of the Discovering Lost Ways Project has been to date; and what the cost was of processing claims deriving from the project through to determination. 
Barry Gardiner: The cost of the Discovering Lost Ways Project to date has been £2.5 million. So far, there has been no cost in processing claims deriving from the project through to determination as no such claims have yet been made.
Barry Gardiner: The right of pedestrian access to land for open-air recreation has been implemented throughout England and Wales under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This includes some riverside areas which have been mapped as open country and registered common land.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had on the future funding of maintenance of the Rochdale Canal with British Waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 November 2006]: It is for British Waterways to prioritise its expenditure in the light of competing demands. My Department is engaged in discussions with British Waterways over its funding for 2007-08 and its likely impact over a range of areas.
Barry Gardiner: The Species Recovery programme aims to achieve the long-term self-sustained survival in the wild of species of plants and animals currently under threat from extinction. It focuses on the recovery of Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priorities and other species of national or international importance, and has supported work on 472 species since it began in 1991. The latest BAP reporting data show that 46 per cent. of BAP species are now stable or increasing and the decline has slowed for a further 9 per cent.
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA is not aware of what data on timber procurement were held by individual departments prior to 2004. Departments began to provide DEFRA with data on their timber purchases after July 2000 when the current timber procurement policy was introduced. All the data that were collected centrally by DEFRA are summarised in the Sustainable Development in Government reports, commencing with the 2002 report, which covers the year commencing 1 April 2001. The full reports can be accessed on the SDiG Website at:
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information on timber procurement by central Government is collected (a) centrally and (b) departmentally on (i) the (A) species, (B) volume, (C) financial cost and (D) source of timber purchased and (ii) the certification scheme which certified the timber. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA has requested departments to report their spend on (a) timber that was certified by a recognised standard such as that of the Forest Stewardship Council and (b) timber that was not certified but had evidence of sustainable and legal sourcing and (c) timber that had no evidence of sustainable and legal sourcing. Departments have not been requested to report on species, volume or source of timber, or by name of certification scheme.
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