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Environment Protection: EC Law

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has made within the European Union on including measures to protect UK (a) priority species and (b) sites of special scientific interest in the Environmental Liability Directive; and if he will make a statement. [122556]

Barry Gardiner: It is for individual member states to implement the directive as required, and to decide independently whether, or to what extent, they wish to exercise the discretion in article 2.3(c) to extend the scope of the directive to nationally-protected biodiversity.

A public consultation on the options for implementing the directive in England, Wales and
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Northern Ireland is ongoing. The consultation sets out the Government's policy preference in this respect, and for other discretionary areas which the directive allows.

Environmental Stewardship Scheme

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme in (a) mitigating climate change and (b) conserving species; and if he will make a statement. [122520]

Barry Gardiner: The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme has only been in operation for about a year. Many of the outcomes it is seeking to deliver involve long term changes in land management practice, which is why agreements are drawn up to cover a period of 10 years. We are nevertheless planning an early review of progress, which will look at the effectiveness of measures already in place and seek information about how best to target new agreements. This will include doing more in respect of climate change mitigation and species conservation, taking account of evaluations and studies on these issues which we have already commissioned and which are due to report in the spring.


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) level of flood risk and (b) adequacy of flood defences. [123219]

Ian Pearson: Flood risk is defined as the probability that flooding may occur, together with its consequences. The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal operating authority with responsibility for managing flood risk and undertakes annual National Assessments of Flood Risk. The agency’s 2005 assessment identified 2.1 million properties in England at risk of flooding. The results from the 2006 assessment will be published shortly and are expected to be similar to those for 2005.

Assessments of location-specific risk are carried out by the flood risk operating authorities, primarily the EA. Relevant activities, include the current review of Shoreline Management Plans around the coast, and the development of catchment flood management plans inland.

The EA uses the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database to monitor the condition of its assets, with a quarterly review of progress. The frequency of individual asset inspection depends on the level of flood risk involved. Targets and standards for maintaining flood risk management infrastructure are set out in the EA’s corporate plan, and outturn is recorded in its annual report. Both of these are available from the EA’s website.

Food: Imports

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what checks his Department has made on imports of (a) food, (b) animals and (c) foodstuffs into Wales from Hungary over the past six months. [122100]

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Mr. Bradshaw: It is the responsibility of the authorities in each EU member state to ensure that animals and products produced there meet EU requirements and are moved to other member states in accordance with rules set out in EU law. Food derived from animals must be accompanied by a commercial document when it is moved between member states, and live animals must be accompanied by an official health certificate issued by the authorities in the member state of origin.

There are no routine checks on food of animal origin or live animals at the point of entry into another member state. Checks may be conducted on imported consignments at their destination. In general this will only be known for specific consignments in the case of live animals whose movement is recorded on an EU-wide computer system called TRACES, which is used to produce the health certificate. If, however, the authorities in any member state have information that a consignment of food of animal origin or of live animals does not meet Community requirements, they may carry out checks on that consignment at any stage in its movement and may take appropriate action if it is confirmed that it does not meet the necessary requirements.

In the specific case of Hungary, the authorities there have implemented the measures required under EU law to prevent the movement of susceptible animals and food products from areas under restriction because of avian influenza, except where those movements are permitted under EU rules.

The EU TRACES system indicates that two horses have entered the UK from Hungary in the last three months, neither of which went to Wales, although it should be noted that certain “registered” horses do not need to travel with a health certificate and therefore do not need to be recorded on the TRACES system. Data are not available on the system prior to that.

Inland Waterways: Freight

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the amount of cargo carried by means of the inland waterways in each of the last 10 years; if he will estimate the difference in carbon emissions resulting from such carriage as compared to carriage by road; and if he will make a statement. [122753]

Barry Gardiner: The following table shows the internal freight traffic carried by vessels on all UK inland waterways between 1995 and 2005.

Internal freight traffic on UK inland waterways, 1995-2005
Goods lifted (million tonnes) Goods moved (million tonne-kilometres)


































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The 1994 report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution noted that moving freight by water uses significantly less fossil fuel than other modes of transport and consequently results in lower emissions of carbon dioxide.

However, because of the variety of types and ages of vessels on UK inland waterways, it is not possible to obtain a precise figure for emissions from all these vessels. Defra makes annual estimate(1) of carbon dioxide emissions from all domestic shipping in the UK, but does not make specific estimates of emissions from vessels on inland waterways.

The Government wish to encourage the transfer of freight from the roads to waterborne transport where this is practical, economic and environmentally desirable.

Nature Conservation: EC Law

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether populations of (a) skylark, (b) otters, (c) red kite and (d) blanket bog in upland areas have favourable condition status as defined by the EU habitats directive. [122852]

Barry Gardiner: Under the EC birds directive there is no requirement to report on the conservation status of birds. The skylark is a red list species of conservation concern in the UK as a result of its long-term population decline. The red kite is undergoing population recovery, having been reduced to near extinction in the UK as a result of human persecution.

According to the definition within the EU habitats directive, the conservation status of a species will be considered as favourable when:

Applying the EC habitats directive reporting criteria, the initial overall conclusions for the otter is unfavourable (inadequate), and for blanket bog is unfavourable (bad).

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is currently co-ordinating a report for the Government on implementation of the EC habitats directive in the UK. This includes, for the first time, assessments on the conservation status of UK habitats and species listed in the annexes to the directive.

Nature Conservation: Finance

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to announce the final grants for conservation and woodland protection; and what discussions he has had with the National Trust on the matter. [122333]

Barry Gardiner: Grants for conservation and woodland protection will be offered under the Rural
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Development Programme for England 2007-13, through Environmental Stewardship and the English Woodland Grant Scheme.

A significant proportion of the funding for the programme will come from voluntary modulation. The EU regulation governing voluntary modulation, which must be in place before we can finalise our budgets, is still under negotiation at EU level and is not expected to be adopted until the spring. We will not be able to announce the final amounts of funding available for the next programme until after this has been resolved. The details of our Rural Development Programme, including grant rates, will then be subject to approval by the EU Commission.

A wide range of stakeholders, including the National Trust, have been consulted on the development of the new programme. The National Trust attended a meeting I held with stakeholders about the next programme on 9 November 2006.

Petrol Alternatives: Garages and Petrol Stations

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many refuelling and recharging stations received payments from the Energy Saving Trust’s Refuelling and Recharging Infrastructure Grant Programme in each year of the programme; and if he will make a statement; [122192]

(2) what his latest estimate is of the percentage of transport fuels sourced from renewable sources in 2006-07; and what his most recent forecasts are for 2007-08 and 2008-09; [122322]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of the density and distribution of refuelling and recharging stations for renewable transport fuels that would be necessary to create a viable supply infrastructure; [122323]

(4) what steps his Department has taken to develop a refuelling and recharging infrastructure for renewable transport fuels; and if he will make a statement. [122324]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

In the financial year 2006-07, the Department for Transport, via the Energy Saving Trust (EST), provided grants towards the installation of 11 refuelling pumps for high-blend (“E85”) bioethanol fuel and 29 recharging points for electric vehicles under the Refuelling and Recharging Infrastructure Grant Programme. In the first year of the programme (2005-06), one grant was provided towards the cost of a natural gas refuelling point. Further details on the availability of renewable transport fuels across the UK are available via the EST website at

The Government are due to introduce a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in April 2008. This will ensure a significant and stable market for renewable road transport fuels. The level of the RTFO will reach 5 per cent. in 2010-11, which should mean that by that date, some 2.5 billion litres of renewable transport fuels per annum will be sold in the UK. The Government are currently consulting on the detailed design of the RTFO and on how it might evolve over
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time. Copies of the consultation are available via and are available in the Libraries of the House.

In the short to medium term, biofuels are likely to make up the great majority of renewable transport fuel sales in the UK. Biofuel sales made up some 0.5 per cent. of total transport fuel sales in 2006. Monthly and annual UK fuel sales data are available via the HM Revenue and Customs website at http://www.uktrade Sales of biofuels in 2007-08 will depend on a variety of factors, including the relative prices of crude oil and biofuel feedstocks. As a result of the introduction of the RTFO, sales of biofuels in 2008-09 should reach some 2.5 per cent. of total transport fuel sales, rising to 3.75 per cent. in 2009-10 and 5 per cent. in 2010-11.

Achieving these targets will not require any significant changes to the transport fuel supply and distribution infrastructure, since biofuels can already be blended at low levels into conventional fossil fuels with no adaptations to either the vehicle or the refuelling point.

In the longer term, other renewable transport fuels (including renewably produced hydrogen or electricity) are also likely to become more widespread. Hydrogenpowered vehicles would require a dedicated refuelling infrastructure, the costs of which were considered in the Government’s response to the 2004 report “A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy in the UK”, which is available in the Libraries of the House and at html

Pollution Control: Fees and Charges

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the basis is for charging for inspections under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations regardless of whether an enterprise pollutes. [122629]

Mr. Bradshaw: The integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) directive (96/61/EC)(1) is about preventing pollution, rather than reacting to it. Each installation subject to the directive must have a permit containing conditions which are set to achieve a high level of protection for the environment. Those conditions comprise pollutant emission limit values and other operating conditions.

Member states are required by the directive to ensure that the conditions of the permit are complied with. To ensure that, and hence to ensure the environment is protected from pollution which might otherwise be caused, it is essential that each installation is inspected regularly.

Inspections incur costs which have to be recovered through the charging system from each operator. The Environment Agency has developed a risk-based approach to determining inspection frequencies, under which compliant installations are visited less frequently than those with a history of non-compliance, and this is reflected in the charging scheme.

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Public Sector Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its executive agencies; and if he will make a statement; [113823]

(2) when he will answer question 113823, on public sector pensions, tabled on 5 January 2007 by the hon. Member for Yeovil. [120261]

Barry Gardiner: The total cash equivalent transfer value for pensions for seven of the 10 highest paid members of staff in Defra are disclosed in the 2005-06 Departmental Resource Accounts.

One of these individuals is not a member of the civil service pension scheme arrangements and therefore there is no cash equivalent transfer value.

I will write to the hon. Member with details of the cash equivalent transfer value of the pensions for the three other highest paid members of staff in Defra as soon as the information is available. A copy of this letter will be placed in the Library.

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