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28 Mar 2007 : Column 1572Wcontinued
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the percentage change in fares was across the Translink network in each of the past 10 years. 
David Cairns: The following table sets out details of average fare increases for 2007-08 together with increases in each of the previous nine years. The Department does not hold data for cross border rail services for all the years in question.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were (a) convicted and (b) charged with vandalising Translink property in each of the last five years; and what the average penalty imposed in each case was. 
David Cairns: Translink has advised that it does not maintain records of unsuccessful prosecutions. The number of successful prosecutions for vandalism is as set out in the following table.
|Number of convictions||Average penalty (£)|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of vandalism to Translink property were recorded in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to reduce such figures. 
David Cairns: Translink has provided details of incidents of vandalism in the following tables.
Table 1 refers to vandalism on Northern Ireland Railways property, covering damage to buildings, track and trains. The majority of incidents relate to damage caused to trains.
|Table 1 : Recorded number of incidents|
Table 2 refers to vandalism on property of Ulsterbus and Metro.
|Table 2: Recorded number of incidents|
|To buildings etc.||To b uses|
Translink is seeking to tackle vandalism by expanding CCTV coverage both at Translink premises and on board buses and trains. Translink may also employ covert surveillance, where appropriate.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of single farm payments in England are paid to persons who do not own farms. 
Barry Gardiner: People who claim under the single payment scheme (SPS) must be farmers with eligible land and payment entitlements. Under the scheme rules a farmer is defined as a natural or legal person, or a group of natural or legal persons, whatever legal status is granted to the group and its members by national law, whose holding is situated within the EU and who exercises an agricultural activity.
SPS claimants will include farmers who own farms, rent land and new entrants to the scheme who have land and have brought or leased in entitlements, allowing them to claim.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the legal consequences are for the United Kingdom of breaches of European standards for particulate matter air pollution in London in 2005 and 2006. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The primary legal consequence of breaches of air quality limit values is that the European Commission may bring the matter before the European Court of Justice under Article 226 of the European Community Treaty. Further sanctions are available to the Commission in cases where any member state fails to comply with the resulting Court judgment.
In the UK, compliance problems are not widespreadthey generally apply at highly localised hotspots (such as a street corner, which are greatly influenced by traffic). In 2005, most people (around 99.9 per cent. of the population) were already breathing air that complied with the PM10 standard.
The Ambient Air Quality Directive places a statutory obligation on the Government to produce a plan which explains action that we will take to bring areas of exceedence back into compliance.
Our national air quality strategy review, currently under way, considers additional policy measures that may be needed to help us achieve national and European air quality standards.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has made for arrangements for badger culling by farmers in the event of a decision to license culling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: No decision has been made on badger culling for control of TB including on the organisational questions. Therefore, no arrangements have been put in place.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) conducted and (b) evaluated on the separation of healthy from bovine TB-infected badgers for the purposes of culling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have not conducted specific research on the separation of healthy from bTB-infected badgers in order to identify badgers to be culled.
The research we have evaluated, such as the results emerging from the randomised badger culling trial, shows that bTB is a chronic disease which is endemic and self-maintained at a substantial level in the badger population over large areas of the country. This means that with the available limited blood test having to be repeated three times at intervals on individual animals, it is impractical and verging on the impossible to confidently separate healthy badgers from bTB-infected badgers. Even if a more accurate and rapid test were available, tackling bTB in this chronically infected wildlife reservoir by removing test-positive individuals is not considered a scientifically sound or practical policy.
We have also considered what use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for detection of Mycobacterium bovis in the environment could be in this instance. While this is yet to be validated for use in the field, it is clear from the researchers that, at the most, it may be possible to use this to identify areas, such as setts, where Mycobacterium bovis is present. However, this would still mean we could not identify individuals that were infected or, at this stage, whether the bacteria detected were viable and infectious.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what effect the claim on the reserve of non-cash programme resources to cover provision for disallowance arising from Common Agricultural Policy schemes will have on (a) the previously announced 2007 budget costs to British Waterways and (b) the future funding levels of British Waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 14 March 2007]: None.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the European Commission to make a decision on disallowances arising from Common Agricultural Policy schemes. 
Barry Gardiner: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 March 2007, Official Report, column 2182W. Detailed discussions will take place with the Commission over a number of years before a final figure is reached. The Government are committed to defending the UK's interests in these discussions.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the total administrative cost of complying with his Departments regulations, as defined in The Defra Simplification Plan Maximising Outcomes, Minimising Burdens November 2006, in each year since 2001. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA, in common with other Government Departments, took part in an exercise during 2005 and 2006 to measure the total administrative burdens imposed by regulations that were in force in May 2005. This exercise had not been undertaken before. The total annual administrative burden imposed on business by DEFRA regulations was assessed to be £527.8 million per year. DEFRA has made a commitment to reduce this burden by 25 per cent. by 2010.
My Departments simplification plan Maximising Outcomes, Minimising Burdens which was published in December 2006 provided an update on progress so far. During the year June 2005-May 2006 an additional £13.5 million of administrative burdens was imposed by new regulations. Against this, simplification initiatives during the period have delivered savings of £51.5 million, a net reduction of £38 million.
DEFRA will publish its next simplification plan toward the end of 2007.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Higher Level Stewardship Scheme applications were (a) received and (b) approved by (i) English Nature in each month from 2004 until the transfer of the scheme to Natural England and (ii) by Natural England since its inception; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner [pursuant to the reply, 28 February 2007, Official Report, c. 1325W]: The figures in the Natural England column for August 2006, November 2006 and February 2007 were incorrect. The correct figures are in the table. The rest of the answer remains correct.
The first Higher Level Stewardship agreements commenced on 1 February 2006 and were administered by the Rural Development Service (RDS) rather than English Nature. The environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service then transferred, on 1 October 2006, to form part of Natural England.
The Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme accepts applications on a quarterly rather than monthly basis. The following table sets out applications received and approved by both the RDS and Natural England during the quarterly timeframes the hon. Member refers to:
|Quarterly cycle date||Applications received||Applications approved|
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