|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions special advisers have been consulted in replying to freedom of information requests to his Department; and what his Department's policy is on the role of special advisers in the answering of freedom of information requests. 
Barry Gardiner: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not keep such records. Special advisers carry out their duties in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct for special advisers.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution of the Heugh Breakwater to coastal sea defences for Hartlepool and the North sea coast. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England, funds most of the Environment Agency's flood-related work and grant aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities and internal drainage boards. The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities within the framework of desired outcomes for the programme set by DEFRA. This Department does not carry out works directly, or direct the authorities on which specific individual projects to undertake.
(a) a review of the shoreline management plan from the Tyne to Flamborough Head which includes Hartlepool and is being led by Scarborough borough council
(b) a more detailed strategy study by Hartlepool borough council which is considering the importance and condition of the Heugh Breakwater.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have visited inland waterways since their appointment. 
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact on environmental awareness and activity of the proposed closure of the Climate Challenge website; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what factors he took into account when deciding to close the Sustainable Development Commissions website under the Transformational Government strategy; what plans he has for the future internet presence of the Commissions services; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many monthly users there were of the websites for (a) the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, (b) Climate Challenge, (c) the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, (d) the Sustainable Development Commission, (e) the Drinking Water Inspectorate, (f)
Sustainable Development, (g) Waste Matters, (h) Netregs, (i) Tomorrows England (climatechangeandme.net), (j) the National Non-Food Crops centre (nnfcc.co.uk), (k) the English Food and Farming Partnership (effp.org.uk) and (l) the Waste and Resources Action Programme (wrap.org.uk) in the last month for which figures are available; whether these figures were taken account of in the decision to close of sites under the Transformational Government Strategy; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) which of the services provided by the websites for (a) the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, (b) Climate Challenge, (c) the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, (d) the Sustainable Development Commission, (e) the Drinking Water Inspectorate, (f) Sustainable Development, (g) Waste Matters, (h) Netregs and (i) Tomorrows England which have been identified for closure under the Transformational Government strategy will (i) continue to be provided through alternative websites and (ii) be suspended; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA fully supports the Transformational Government strategy and is taking a leading role in working with the Cabinet Office to deliver website rationalisation. DEFRA is taking a pragmatic approach to this complex process and has already begun to plan its delivery. The initial phase will review content and services of almost 50 websites for convergence on Directgov and Business Link, as outlined in the Transformational Government implementation plan.
DEFRA will be working closely with website stakeholders, including those of the Sustainable Development Commission, to ensure that online resources are delivered in the most appropriate manner in line with the principles of Transformational Government.
The aim is to retain and strengthen the availability and accessibility of the information and services which customers need via a smaller number of high quality websites, including Directgov and Business Link. We anticipate that the number of people benefiting from these services will increase as they become easier to find and use; we will not be closing any sites precipitously.
In the case of Climate Challenge, we believe that by making more use of sites like Directgov, which served almost 900,000 unique visitors in the week commencing 22 January, more people will visit and engage with the Tomorrows Climate, Todays Challenge initiative.
|Unique visitors||Month for which stats available|
|(1) Not available|
(2) Private company, not a Government website
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations he has made to the EU review of the movement of pet animals; and what steps he has taken to ensure that there will be no diminutions in the provisions of the UK pet travel scheme; 
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA is currently carrying out a review of rabies import policy to ensure that UK controls on all rabies-susceptible mammals are proportionate and sustainable. This will help to inform the UKs response to the European Commissions review of certain requirements of EU Regulation 998/2003 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals.
Regulation 998/2003 requires the European Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament and Council, based on experience gained and risk evaluation. The report must be submitted, together with proposals for the future rabies regime for pets, by February 2007. The UK has already submitted scientific and field information to assist this process.
The UKs own review of national rabies import controls is nearing completion. The evidence received so far from Government vets, officials and veterinary risk assessments indicates that our current controls may no longer be proportionate to the risk of rabies entering the UK and we may need to consider modernising processes and regulation in this area. Our controls must also be consistent with current thinking on better regulation. I am seeking further views before reaching conclusions.
In order to move freely around the European Community, and into the Community from certain other countries, pet dogs, cats and ferrets must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of EU Regulation 998/2003 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals. One of the requirements is for the animal to be vaccinated against rabies with a vaccine authorised for use in the qualifying country of use and administered in accordance with the vaccine manufacturer's
data sheet recommendations. Booster vaccinations must be given within the time interval specified in the vaccine manufacturers data sheet in order for the animal to retain its eligible status to travel.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Trade and Industry on encouraging the retail industry to reduce energy use. 
Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly meets the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to discuss a range of issues, including encouraging energy efficiency, where DTI and DEFRA both have a key role to play in their successful delivery.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage retail outlets to reduce energy use, particularly on lighting outside opening hours. 
Ian Pearson: The Department funds the Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company that works closely with business to encourage sustainable use of energy, establish energy efficient practices and systems, and develop low carbon technologies.
The Carbon Trusts products and services for the retail sector include helpline and web advice, an interest-free loan scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises to purchase energy-efficient equipment, site surveys for companies with energy bills over £50,000 a year, and a strategic carbon management programme for large, multi-site companies. DEFRAs enhanced capital allowance scheme lists 68 lighting technologies for which businesses can claim 100 per cent. capital allowance in the year in which the investment is made.
The Carbon Trust also holds free lighting workshops, and produces a number of publications specifically focused on lighting in the retail sector. These include the Retail Sector Overview, which contains advice on reducing lighting outside opening hours, such as through use of occupancy sensors, low energy bulbs, light switch labelling and a switch off policy.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have provided to the Tyndall Centre for research projects in each of the last five years. 
|Financial year April-March||Project||Amount (£)|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research (a) his Department, (b) its executive agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies which it sponsors have (i) carried out and (ii) commissioned into variable waste charging. 
England's waste strategy is also currently being reviewed. In this context, DEFRA is considering the full range of tools that could encourage producers and consumers to change their behaviour regarding waste and recycling in general. The use of financial incentives, such as recycling rebates, is only one of a number of options being considered and any decisions would be made in light of the results of Sir Michael Lyons' inquiry into local government.
Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception. While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still too many families and people who are not engaging with local waste reduction, recycling and composting schemes.
Those in favour of financial incentives argue that they would reduce waste and increase recycling rates, which would help tackle climate change (by diverting waste from landfill) as well as reducing the costs of managing waste.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|