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23 Jan 2007 : Column 1638Wcontinued
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) flood management and (b) building flood defences in each year since 1990; what forecasts he has made of annual expenditure on (i) flood management and (ii) flood defences over the next 20 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA has overall policy responsibility for flood risk management in England, funds most of the Environment Agency (EA)'s flood related work and grant aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities (LAs) and internal drainage boards (IDBs). The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities. DEFRA does not carry out works, nor direct the authorities on which specific projects to undertake. DEFRA expenditure from 1995-96 to 2005-06 and current estimates for 2006-07 to 2007-08 are shown in the following table.
Columns (c) and (d) in the table show funding support from DEFRA to the operating authorities for flood risk improvement projects, including for flood warning, and related studies. Column (e) shows DEFRA grant used by EA for other activities (maintenance of existing defences, public awareness, flood risk mapping, advising on development proposals etc).
|(b) Building flood defences, including flood warning||(a) Flood management, i.e. total of (c), (d) and (e)|
|(c) EA||(d) LAs and IDBs||(e) EA (other activities)|
|(1 )Current estimates|
Before 2004-05, the flood risk management function of the EA was funded primarily through a combination of grants from DEFRA for specific projects and levies on local authorities. The latter, which were largely supported by revenue support grant from the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, are not included in the table. Both forms of funding were largely replaced by grant in aid from DEFRA from 2004-05 onwards. The EA decides how best to use grant in aid to achieve outcomes agreed with Government.
The table excludes revenue spend by LAs supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This covers local authority own spend and their levies to the EA and IDBs. The table excludes expenditure on capital projects for coast protection. These often also provide significant benefit in terms of reducing risk of flooding from the sea but it would not be possible to identify the proportion resulting in flood risk benefit without incurring disproportionate cost.
I regret figures prior to 1995-96 are no longer available. Funding after 2007-08 is being considered in the 2007 comprehensive spending review.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what guidance he has issued on the status of hobby breeders who do not breed in connection with an economic activity under EC Council Regulation 1/2005; 
(2) what guidance he has issued to dog show exhibitors who do not transport animals in connection with an economic activity on their status under EC Council Regulation 1/2005. 
Mr. Bradshaw: EC Council Regulation 1/2005 does not apply to the transport of animals where the transport is not in connection with an economic activity. My Department has issued guidance on the regulation which is available on the DEFRA website at:
That guidance makes clear our view that the regulation does not apply to the transportation of animals as a hobby where the income source does not
exceed the expenses of the hobby and the primary purpose is for pleasure or competition and not as part of a business.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether strict liability for damage to biodiversity, land or water arising from the continued use of GM plants and animals is included in the Governments proposals for implementing the Environmental Liability Directive. 
Ian Pearson: The directive provides for two types of liability. Liability for environmental damage from certain categories of occupational activity is implicitly strict. All other activities are expressly subject to fault-based liability. Categories of activity for which liability is implicitly strict include two relating to genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms, and are defined in annex III of the Environmental Liability Directive as:
i. Any contained use, including transport, involving genetically modified micro-organisms as defined by Council Directive 90/219/EEC of 23 April 1990 on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms.
ii. Any deliberate release into the environment, transport and placing on the market of genetically modified organisms as defined by Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
However, this requirement for liability to be strict can be qualified in certain circumstances. For example, the directive provides that member states may allow the operator not to bear the costs of remedial action where he was not at fault or negligent in circumstances where the damage was caused by an emission or event authorised by a permit. The Governments provisional preference in relation to the exercise of this discretion is set out in the consultation document, available from the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/env-liability/index.htm
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has assessed on the use of ceramics for the containment of nuclear waste; and what the conclusions were of (a) the research and (b) his assessment. 
Ian Pearson: No research in this area has been undertaken by the Department.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has recently funded some work on immobilising plutonium residues in various materials, including ceramics. They will continue to review their forward research programmes in the light of the continuing international debate in this area.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with developed and developing countries on the proposal for greater use proposed for carbon offsets through protection of the rain forests. 
Ian Pearson: Emissions from deforestation in developing countries are currently not covered by the Kyoto protocol because of concerns that forestry protection projects would displace the deforestation elsewhere, with little or no net gain. Discussions are under way on how emissions from deforestation may be treated for future commitment periods. There are a number of proposals under discussion that would provide incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation below national (rather than project specific) baselines. Achievement relative to a national baseline would take account of any displacement of deforestation within a country. One issue is whether incentivised activities should give rise to formal offsets.
We are working actively with the EU and other international negotiating partners towards securing a substantive outcome on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries under the UN Climate negotiations in Bali in December 2007.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the trend in the rat population in England. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The most recent report by the Central Science Laboratory, Rodent infestations in domestic properties in England 2001, was published in July 2005. The report was compiled from data collected during the 2001 English House Condition Survey (EHCS) and included comparisons with data for 1996. The report concluded that the rates for both mice and rats inside dwellings were similar for 1996 and 2001 but the rate for rats outside dwellings was higher for 2001 than for 1996. A copy of this report has been placed in the library of the House.
A short report on temporal trends based on data from the EHCS for 2002-03 and 2003-04 will be available this summer.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he is taking to address the rat population. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) on 16 January 2007, Official Report, column 979W.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to public funds of the telephone use of the former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was from his official ministerial residence in 1 Carlton Gardens in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the former Foreign Secretary did not use 1 Carlton Gardens as his official ministerial residence in these years and would not have incurred any telephone charges in that respect.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to Fazul Haque on the conduct of elections in Bangladesh. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made no representations to Fazul Haque during his short tenure as the acting chief adviser of the caretaker government in Bangladesh.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) on 22 January, Official Report, columns 1448-49W, which outlines the policy of the UK on the political situation in Bangladesh and highlights the statement of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, and activities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our High Commission in Dhaka.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the British High Commission, Dhaka on the postponement of elections in Bangladesh. 
Dr. Howells: We closely monitor political developments in Bangladesh. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in London and at our high commission in Dhaka are in daily contact.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the UK Government have taken to prevent the transfer of British-made military equipment parts to the Burmese regime. 
Dr. Howells: There has been an EU arms embargo in place on arms exports to Burma since 2004, including a ban on the supply of equipment that might be used for internal repression. In addition to this we encourage all international partners not to sell arms to Burma and to observe responsible arms trade policies to any country whose activities may be a cause for concern.
All UK export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria on a case by case basis and will not be approved if the export contravenes the criteria or international commitments, including the EU embargo on Burma.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to prevent the import of cocaine into the UK from Colombia. 
Preventing the importation of cocaine into the UK from Colombia is a top priority for the UK's international counter-narcotics efforts. The UK
works closely with the Colombian authorities to disrupt trafficking and to interdict consignments of illicit drugs.
We have supported the Colombian Government's shared responsibility initiative, which was launched in London in November 2006. The initiative aims to convey to European consumers, the impact of drug consumption on the producing country.
The UK does not work with Colombia in isolation. We take a broad regional approach to tackling the trade in illicit drugs, through a mixture of political engagement, capacity building and law enforcement support in producer, transit and consumer countries. This includes working with governments of other producer and transit countries in Latin America, as well as with governments in countries along the main trafficking routes for drugs from Latin America (especially through the Caribbean and west Africa).
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