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9 Jan 2007 : Column 473W—continued

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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the (a) familiar sunshiner, (b) banded mining bee, (c) eight-spotted wasp-hoverfly, (d) Rosser's sac spider, (e) Pashford pot beetle, (f) Sussex diving beetle, (g) Brighton wainscot, (h) bordered gothic, and (j) orange upperwing are (i) extinct and (ii) extant in the UK. [110263]

Barry Gardiner: None of the species listed is considered to be extinct, though they are all thought to be close to it. All 10 are listed as priority Biodiversity Action Plan species and are still under investigation.

The current known situation of these species is as tabled:

Name Extant (last record)

(a) familiar sunshiner


(b) banded mining bee


(c) eight-spotted wasp-hoverfly


(d) Rosser's sac spider


(e) Pashford pot beetle


(f) Sussex diving beetle


(g) Brighton wainscot


(h) bordered gothic


(j) orange upperwing


Bovine Cohort Culling

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to implement (a) the strategic goals of the TSE road-map and (b) the goals relating to cohort culling in bovine animals; what recent discussions he has had with European Union counterparts on (i) the strategic goals and (ii) the goals relating to cohort killing in bovine animals; and if he will make a statement. [113070]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA participates in regular meetings with the European Commission and other member states through the Commission’s Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Working Group, which meets approximately every two months. DEFRA also attends the Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, which meets approximately every two weeks.

An amendment to Commission Decision 999/2001, enabling member states to apply for a derogation to allow the culling of cohorts to be deferred until the end of their productive lives, will come into force later this month. However, we would need to consider carefully whether to apply for such a derogation. Any changes to bovine spongiform encephalopathy control legislation must be carried out on the basis of a thorough risk assessment, based on sound science. It is unlikely that any change could be made before 2008 at the earliest. Meanwhile, we are required to enforce the legislation that is currently in place.

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Bovine TB

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the tests for bovine TB are carried out through the application of gamma interferon vaccine. [112928]

Mr. Bradshaw: The primary screening test for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle in Great Britain and the EU is the single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin (SICCT) test, which is commonly known as the tuberculin “skin test”.

On 23 October 2006, the Government introduced a new policy designed to improve the testing of cattle for bTB, by extending the use of the gamma interferon (g-IFN) diagnostic blood test, alongside the skin test, in certain prescribed circumstances. An estimated 45,000 to 50,000 g-IFN tests may be undertaken each year, depending on circumstances arising in the field. As about 4.8 million skin tests are undertaken annually, approximately one per cent. of tests for bTB will be carried out through application of the g-IFN test.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on bovine TB is expected. [112929]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB will publish its final report in the spring of this year.

Carbon Emissions

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how aircraft carbon emissions attributed to the United Kingdom are estimated; and if he will make a statement. [110159]

Ian Pearson: Emissions of carbon dioxide from aviation are reported in submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

In accordance with internationally agreed guidelines, the UK estimates emissions from both domestic and international aviation, including from military aviation. However, emissions from international aviation are recorded as a memo item, and are not included in national totals.

Emissions of carbon dioxide are estimated using aircraft movement data and the carbon contents of the fuels the aircraft consume. The current method estimates emissions from the number of aircraft movements broken down by aircraft type at each UK airport, and so complies with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Tier 3 (top tier) specification. The carbon contents of aviation fuels are estimated through periodic analyses of the aviation fuels produced.

Climate Change

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he last met representatives of leading businesses to discuss climate change. [109960]

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Ian Pearson: DEFRA Ministers have regular meetings with business representatives to discuss climate change, including meetings with the Confederation of British Industry and the Corporate Leaders Group.

Internationally, the UK has partnered with the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to encourage more business input to international climate change policies. The Secretary of State will be attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from 24 to 28 January where he will address chief executives from leading businesses on climate change.

Departmental Energy Efficiency

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage other Government Departments to adopt a policy of switching off computers at night. [109077]

Ian Pearson: Departments are committed to meet the sustainable operations targets on energy efficiency and carbon emissions that were announced in 2006. The targets are “outcome focussed”, and in order to meet them Departments are encouraged to put in place the most suitable means to attain them, which would include making sure computers are switched off at night. It is also mandatory for Departments to work with the Carbon Trust to identify energy savings and, when purchasing computer equipment, to do so in line with “Quick Wins” product standards, which specify only energy-efficient computers and monitors.

As well as routinely running staff awareness programmes, DEFRA are currently investigating the use of a tool to automatically shut down inactive computers at night.

Departmental performance against central Government estate targets, including carbon emissions and energy efficiency, is scrutinised in annual reports by the Sustainable Development Commission, the independent watchdog. The latest report is available at

Departmental Energy Policy

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the amount of carbon produced by his Department in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [113035]

Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 196W.

Energy Using Products Directive

Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in (a) bringing forward regulations under the eco-design for energy-using products framework directive and (b) discussions with retailers
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and manufacturers on the process for removing inefficient lighting products from shelves in advance of the introduction of regulations. [109903]

Ian Pearson: The eco-design for energy-using products (EUP) framework directive requires the European Commission, in consultation with member states, accession countries, industry and other interested parties to bring forward a three-year work plan by July 2007. In the interim, the Commission has committed to bring forward proposals for implementing measures following the priorities in the EU Climate Change Programme. 14 product studies are currently under way, with a further six due to start before June 2007. These studies will provide the basis for decisions as to whether the products should be subject to mandatory implementing measures under the EUP directive. The products currently being studied include televisions, motors, domestic cold appliances, plus a study on standby.

The Government's Market Transformation Programme is engaged with the project teams carrying out the studies to provide detailed information and advice from the UK's perspective. This will help to make sure the studies are robust and comprehensive. As a result of pressure from the UK and other member states, the Commission has recently agreed to “fast-track” a study on simple set-top boxes, while respecting the terms of the directive.

The Government's Energy Review, published on 11 July 2006, clarified our intention to work with other governments, manufacturers and retailers to phase out the least efficient light bulbs. There are ongoing discussions between the Government and the Lighting Association and retailers about the best way to achieve this.

Environment Agency

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken by the Environment Agency to update the 1997 guidance on requirements for authorisation for disposal facilities on land for low and intermediate level radioactive waste. [109963]

Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency, together with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland), has embarked on a programme to review the 1997 guidance. The agencies are currently working to prepare draft guidance documents for public consultation in early 2008, so that final versions can be ready later that year. We envisage that two separate documents will be issued, one dealing with deep geological disposal of the more highly radioactive and longer-lived wastes and the other with near-surface disposal of the remaining types of radioactive wastes.

European Parliament

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make representations to his counterparts in the EU to end the two sittings of the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg on environmental grounds. [113598]

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Ian Pearson: It is up to the Members of the European Parliament to take any decisions on their working practices.

Farming: Methane Reductions

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to help UK farmers to reduce emissions of methane through (a) increasing milk yields, (b) promoting advanced food types and feeding regimes and (c) aiding research into (i) the use of probiotics and (ii) other proposed solutions. [112857]

Ian Pearson: DEFRA announced a £750,000 investment in research on ruminant nutrition regimes to reduce methane and nitrogen emissions in December 2006. This research project will build on our knowledge base and take an integrated approach to the development of ruminant nutrition regimes to deliver reductions in total greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, per animal and per unit of meat and milk output. Approaches for consideration include the modification of forage based diets, alterations to concentrate feed formulation and ingredients, and feed supplements. All options and solutions will be looked at.

This research builds on a wealth of past work, where MAFF and DEFRA have invested in research to improve the productivity of dairy cattle. The resulting increases in individual cow milk yields can reduce methane emissions per unit of milk produced. The DEFRA research has included for example developing grass varieties that are high in sugar and lead indirectly to a reduction in methane emissions. Complementary private sector research, including research sponsored by DEFRA through our Sustainable Livestock LINK Programme, has raised the efficiency of dairy production.

The Government are also developing a strategy on anaerobic digestion (AD), a system that can be used to capture and utilise methane emissions from livestock wastes, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. AD is particularly applicable and effective on dairy units, and provides a potential source of renewable energy and heat.

Foundation Degrees

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of funding received from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for the validation of foundation degrees is retained by each awarding university; and if he will make a statement. [109524]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

Franchising arrangements involving the validation of foundation degrees by awarding universities can provide opportunities to build effective links between different types of institution and we expect many such arrangements to continue in future. We do not hold data centrally on the proportion of HEFCE funding retained by individual validating institutions but the proportion is likely to vary to reflect, among other things, the variety in the division of responsibilities
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between higher education institutions and further education colleges, and the different levels of service that the former may offer the latter.

Global Carbon Emissions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution to global carbon emissions deriving from the burning of forests in South East Asia for the purposes of creating agricultural land; and if he will make a statement. [113184]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 8 January 2007]: The Stern Review says that around 18 per cent. of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, and highlights the importance of reducing deforestation as part of the global effort to combat climate change.

In South East Asia, particularly Indonesia, there has been an observed increase in use of fire in land management (via slash-and-burn agriculture) and for large-scale conversion of primary and secondary forests into permanent agriculture or tree plantations.

There is a pressing need to find effective ways to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation, not only to tackle climate change but also because of the co-benefits to communities dependent on forests and for biodiversity. The UK Government's policy is that emissions reductions from reduced deforestation should be part of developing countries' participation in climate change agreements and our strategy to achieve this is to participate actively in the climate negotiations and associated technical discussions that can bring it about.

The UK has also supported action to improve forest governance through the work of the Department for International Development (DfID). For example, DFID's Multistakeholder Forestry Programme in Indonesia is supporting civil society-government partnerships, to change the way in which forestry policies are made and address tenure rights for forest-dependent people. This means giving a stronger voice to local citizens and a higher priority to environmental sustainability.

In 2002 the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia that commits both governments to work together to tackle illegal logging and the associated trade in timber between the two countries. In January 2006, new funding of £24 million over five years to tackle illegal logging and underlying governance problems was announced. This will focus on tropical countries in Africa and Asia.

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