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Written Questions

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he expects to provide a substantive answer to question 138625, on grammar schools, tabled by the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras on 17 May. [140694]

Jim Knight: A response was issued to my right hon. Friend on 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 121W.

Electoral Commission Committee

Political Parties: Finance

Mr. Francois: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission if he will make a statement on the progress of the Electoral Commission's investigation into the legality of donations made by Mr. Michael Browne to the Liberal Democrats. [140026]

Peter Viggers: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer on this matter to my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 16 May, Official Report, column 748W.


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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Cattle: Exports

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will prohibit the export of live young calves. [139731]

Mr. Bradshaw: No, the UK cannot place a unilateral ban on exports because to do so would be illegal under EU law.

Environment Protection: Publications

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish the consultation paper on the social and environmental guidance due in March 2008. [141027]

Ian Pearson: I assume the hon. Member is referring to the social and environmental guidance to Ofwat. This will be influenced by the Government’s new water strategy which is being developed for publication during the summer. We expect to carry out a public consultation on the draft social and environmental guidance in the autumn.

Eunomia Consultancy

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies has paid to the Eunomia consultancy; and for what purpose. [104104]

Barry Gardiner [ pursuant to the reply, 8 January 2007, Official Report, c. 273W]: My answer for the financial years, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 were incorrect. The correct figures are in the table.

The rest of the answer remains correct and is detailed in full as follows. From information held centrally, the sums paid to the company Eunomia are as follows:

Financial year Value (£)

2002-03

23,860.42

2003-04

107,094.23

2004-05

428,972.25

2005-06

711,929.20

1 April 2006 to 30 June 2006

9,380.49


The expenditure with Eunomia covers work commissioned by DEFRA on environment regulation policy and the waste implementation programme. Data on any expenditure with Eunomia by DEFRA’s agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Fly-tipping: Cambridgeshire

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many incidents of fly-tipping were reported in Cambridgeshire in each year since 2004; and what the estimated cost was of dealing with such incidents; [139584]


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(2) how many (a) prosecutions and (b) successful prosecutions there were in Cambridgeshire for fly-tipping in each year since 2004; and how much has been recovered in related fines. [139585]

Mr. Bradshaw: Flycapture, the national fly-tipping database was set up in 2004 by DEFRA, the Environment Agency and the Local Government Association, to record the number of fly-tipping incidents dealt with by the Environment Agency and local authorities.

The table shows the number of incidents and prosecutions recorded by local authorities in Cambridgeshire on Flycapture:

Total number of incidents in Cambridgeshire Estimated clearance costs (£) Number of prosecutions taken to court Number of successful prosecutions

2004-05

8,037

488,523

0

0

2005-06

11,978

665,420

2

2


Data for 2006-07 are not yet available, but will be published in the summer.

Flycapture does not record details of any costs awarded to local authorities by courts following successful prosecutions.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Disclosure of Information

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requirements exist on reporting of greenhouse gas emissions for which companies (a) subject to and (b) not subject to the European Emissions Trading Scheme are (i) directly and (ii) indirectly responsible; and how such reports are verified. [140401]

Ian Pearson: Installations participating in the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme are required to have their annual emissions verified by an independent accredited verifier. Installations that fail to do this will have their annual emissions determined by their regulator. Installations must also submit an annual report to the regulator on how they will improve their monitoring and reporting of emissions.

The data on emissions and associated energy use are made available to the Department for Trade and Industry in compiling the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES). The data are also made available to the UK National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

To meet requirements of the EU Accounts Modernisation Directive (AMD) (2003), the Companies Act (2006) contains a requirement for large companies to produce a business review, contained within the annual report and accounts. This includes information on environmental matters where it is considered to be important to company performance.

Further to the EU AMD, the Government have introduced additional requirements. From 1 October 2007, quoted companies will need to ensure their business review includes information on environmental matters to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance and position of the company’s business. Where appropriate, the review will be required to include key performance indicators (KPIs). Directors
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have responsibility to decide what environmental matters and KPIs are included and this may contain information on climate related issues and greenhouse gas emissions data.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what expenditure plans he has for the £7.5 million funding designed to improve the relationship between Warm Front and the Energy Efficiency Commitment, as described in paragraph 7.42 of the 2006 pre-Budget report; and if he will make a statement; [139697]

(2) how local authorities planning area-based energy efficiency programmes will be able to access the £7.5 million proposed expenditure noted in paragraph 7.42 of the 2006 pre-Budget report; whom he expects to benefit from the expenditure; and if he will make a statement. [139699]

Ian Pearson: Following the announcement in the pre-Budget report, details have been developed for a competitive bidding process to determine the allocation of the £6.3 million of this funding that is available in England.

Organisations will be able to bid, against a set of criteria, for resources to support them in the development and delivery of local area-based initiatives designed to promote the installation of energy efficiency measures in households and tackle fuel poverty. Organisations will be encouraged to work in partnership with others and are required to secure agreement from the relevant local authority(ies), as their involvement is important in ensuring the success of local initiatives. Bidders will have to demonstrate their ability to provide a cost effective and sustainable service that works effectively and efficiently with the Energy Efficiency Commitment and Warm Front. I expect the open tender to be launched soon, with the successful bidders being selected on a competitive basis thereafter.

Further information is available on the fuel poverty pages on the DEFRA website.

Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to reply to the Fourth Report of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Fourth Report on Radioactive Waste Management: an Update. [141122]

Ian Pearson: The Department expects to provide the Government’s response to the Committee’s Report within the recommended two month deadline.

Water: Publications

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish the Water Strategy; and what account it will take of affordability. [141028]

Ian Pearson: Our aim is to publish the Government’s new Water Strategy later this summer. The Strategy will set out a coherent policy framework to underpin our commitments for water availability and quality.


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Its aim is to improve standards of service and quality while balancing environmental impacts, water quality, supply and demand, and social and economic effects. It will take into account affordability concerns, particularly for those on low incomes and vulnerable groups.

Weed Control

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the use of Diquat to control weed growth in watercourses; and if he will make a statement. [138830]

Ian Pearson: Along with all other pesticides approved for use in the UK, Diquat has been subject to the review programme initiated under the Plant Protection Products Directive 91/414/EEC. This ensures that risk assessments are updated in the light of the most recent scientific information. Diquat was approved under the directive, but aquatic use was not allowed because of the risks to fish, invertebrates and non-target plants. This restriction took effect in June 2004. As an interim measure, an emergency authorisation for the aquatic use of Diquat in the UK was granted in 2005 and in 2006 to enable the control of weeds. Emergency authorisations can be granted where there is an unforeseeable danger that cannot be controlled by other means.

In 2006, Ministers concluded that no further emergency authorisations would be granted until the Advisory Committee on Pesticides was satisfied by evidence that risk mitigation measures would render the aquatic use of Diquat acceptable.

Earlier this year, the Committee considered an application for a further emergency authorisation. It concluded that it was not appropriate to recommend a further emergency approval this year. The Committee noted that no new data were available proving acceptable risk. Furthermore, there was no evidence that alternative methods of control had been tried.

If the Government receive new evidence which demonstrates that this herbicide can be used without unacceptable risks to the aquatic environment, we will ask the Advisory Committee to review it and will consider any resulting advice.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Armed Conflict: Journalists

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions her officials have had with (i) European partners and (ii) others (A) regarding respect for the professional independence and rights of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel during armed conflict and (B) to obtain universal compliance with relevant obligations under international law to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international law against such persons; and if she will make a statement. [140893]


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Dr. Howells: The Government are committed to promoting freedom of expression worldwide and to defending and protecting the professional independence and right of journalists and media professionals to work without fear of reprisal during armed conflict. Journalists, media professionals and associated personnel must be provided with the protection that they need under domestic and international law.

Last month, at the World Press Freedom Day, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, reaffirmed our commitment to promote, defend, and protect the professional independence and right of journalists and media professionals to work without fear of reprisal. He also spoke out against impunity for crimes deliberately targeted against journalists. To intentionally direct an attack against civilians not taking direct part in hostilities is a war crime as defined under Article 8 (2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Under Article 79 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, journalists are regarded as civilians, provided they do not take action adversely affecting their status. These provisions provide journalists, media professionals and associated personnel with protection under international law. The key challenge for the international community is to ensure that international law is respected and enforced in order to provide a strong deterrent.

To assist this process, and raise awareness of the violence directed against journalists in conflict zones, the UK and its EU partners tabled UN Security Council Resolution 1738 in December 2006. The resolution condemned violence directed against journalists in conflict zones. It called on parties involved in conflict to stop deliberate attacks against journalists and respect them as civilians under international law.

In addition to our discussions over the tabling of Resolution 1738, we also discussed this matter with outside experts at the meeting of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advisory Panel on Freedom of Expression on 24 May. We will continue to work with our EU partners and others to support efforts to promote and strengthen respect for international law, in particular in this area. An essential part of this is our strong support for the international criminal tribunals, including the ICC, which are a key part of international efforts to combat the crimes of most concern to the international community. We also discuss with EU partners and others joint action to protest at mistreatment of journalists.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions her Department has had since the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 1738, on the protection of journalists in armed conflict, with States Parties to the Geneva Conventions, in order to ensure that (i) all necessary action is taken to search for persons who have committed, or ordered others to commit, breaches of those conventions and (ii) such people are tried before their own courts so that they are handed to another concerned state; and if she will make a statement. [140894]


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