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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what monitoring the Government undertake of nitrous oxide levels in water supplies in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: Nitrous oxide is a gas, and as such it is not monitored for in drinking water. Water companies are required by law to test for nitrate and nitrite. The Drinking Water Inspectorate publishes the results of these tests annually.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the retail price of chicken meat products of the introduction of the EU chicken welfare rules in 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: It is not easy to forecast what proportion of industry costs may be passed on to consumers, as this partly depends on market conditions. However, this issue will be considered as part of a final regulatory impact assessment.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list the water reservoirs which (a) have become operational in each year since 1990 and (b) are planned; and who the operating company is in each case. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency collects on discharges of sewage into rivers; which rivers are monitored; and what data are collected in each case. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA does not collect this information. In 2006, the Environment Agency monitored 10,258 sewage discharges to receiving waters in England and Wales. Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), ammonia, suspended solids and pH were monitored routinely, along with other parameters presenting a risk to the environment.
The Environment Agency also monitored 6,180 river sites for water chemistry and 5,982 river sites for biology in 2006. This covered approximately 40,000 kilometres of river length in England and Wales. Monitoring at these sites included macro-invertebrates, dissolved oxygen, BOD, ammonia and nitrate.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average monthly cost to consumers was of (a) water services and (b) sewerage services in each water supply area in 2005-06 (i) in total and (ii) for those who were (A) metered and (B) unmetered. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his Department will introduce a requirement on water companies to submit an application for water scarcity status before seeking permission for any new reservoir capacity. 
Ian Pearson: No. In their 25-year water resource management plans, water companies are expected to follow the twin-track approach of considering the need for new resources, such as reservoirs, in parallel with the full range of options for reducing demand. New resources should be developed only where the scope for managing demand is clearly insufficient or unjustified in terms of cost.
An application for water scarcity status would have to demonstrate that the measures proposed by the company, taking into account the water resources that are or could be made available, would be insufficient to address the deficiency of water resources.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) merits,
(b) practicality and (c) costs of constructing a water grid to enable the transportation of large volumes of water over long distances. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what volume of water in each region was supplied from (a) watercourses, (b) aquifers, (c) reservoirs and (d) other sources in the last period for which figures are available; what change each figure represents from the previous period for which figures are available; and how demand is expected to change in future years. 
Ian Pearson: The data in the following table are taken from the e-Digest of Environmental Statistics, published on the Department's website, and shows an average for the whole year of estimated abstractions expressed in daily amounts (mega litres per day). The data originate from the Environment Agency. Estimated actual abstractions differ from the maximum abstraction permissible under the terms of individual abstraction licences. The level of future abstractions will depend on the extent to which abstractors use their licensed capacity together with that abstracted under new licences granted.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations the Government has made to the European Commission on revisions to the water framework directive. 
Ian Pearson: The European Commission has proposed an amendment to the EC water framework directive (WFD). This is part of a wider package to align certain existing directives with the new comitology decision, which introduced a new regulatory procedure with scrutiny. If adopted, the amendment would include the European Parliament in the scrutiny of decisions made by the Article 21 Committee of the WFD. The UK and the European Commission are engaged in ongoing negotiations about this amendment.
Negotiations are also continuing on the WFD daughter directive on priority substances, including proposals to amend Annex X of the WFD. Again, the UK and the European Commission are engaged in this process.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding the Government plan to make available for the physical restoration of water bodies to meet the objectives of the water framework directive. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA is consulting on what measures may be needed to deliver water framework directive (WFD) requirements for hydromorphological conditions in water bodies, including restoration work. The consultation closes on 28 May 2007 and papers are available on the DEFRA website.
The competent authority is not in a position to know whether physical restoration is needed to achieve good status (the default objective of the WFD) until detailed investigations have been carried out on the impact of morphological changes on the ecological status of individual water bodies.
Where physical restoration is required, the competent authority must determine whether the cost of this work is in proportion to the environmental improvement to
be gained. As an alternative, the WFD provides for the application of different status objectives on the grounds of disproportionate cost. Economic tools for determining disproportionate cost are being developed through a collaborative research programme led by DEFRA and involving different parties affected by the WFD, including central government, regulators, industry and non-government organisations.
It is not possible to assess how much funding may be required for physical restoration of water bodies until the investigation of need and analysis of cost effectiveness has been completed for draft river basin management plans, which will be issued for consultation in 2008. When better estimates are available, the provision of funding will need to be considered in future spending reviews.
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