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Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the likely financial correction to be imposed on the UK for non-respect of payment deadlines in 2005-06. 
Barry Gardiner: The current estimate of the potential financial correction to be proposed in relation to the UK for failure to meet payment deadlines in respect of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) for 2005 is around £70 million. The Government will continue to defend the UKs interests against such proposals with the aim of ensuring that any corrections are minimised to the fullest possible degree.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effects of algal blooms on (a) mussel beds and (b) inshore fisheries in the area covered by the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Neither DEFRA, nor the Welsh Assembly Government (which is responsible for water quality in Wales) have carried out such assessments. However, the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committees monitor and plot the locations of algal blooms in the sea.
The Food Standards Agency advises that some algae produce biotoxins, which may accumulate in shellfish and pose a risk to consumers. The UK has a statutory monitoring programme in place to check for the presence of biotoxins in live bivalve molluscs.
Under the programme, live bivalve molluscs, including mussels from the Morecambe Bay area, are routinely sampled and tested. Since June 2006, biotoxins have not been found to be a public health concern in the Morecambe Bay area.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in (a) England and (b) Wales have been prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in 2007. 
Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many notices have been served under Article 24 of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 by inspectors (a) at Dover, (b) at supervised loadings at departure premises and (c) at other places in respect of live calves destined for export; what remedial measures have been ordered by these notices; and if he will make a statement. 
2. For the period from 3 May 2006 to 30 April 2007, a total of 373 inspections have been carried out by animal health staff and 26 notices were served under Article 24 of the above order as detailed in the following table.
|Location of inspection||Number of inspections||Number of notices served|
|Notices served||Reason for the notice||Remedial measures ordered by these notices|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the grant settlement received by the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty from Natural England for 2007-08; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the grant on the establishment of the Cotswolds Conservation Boards. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA does not fund areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) directly. Most of the core (administrative) costs, and some of the project costs, involved are provided by Natural England. The relevant local authorities also make a significant contribution. It is for Natural England to determine funding levels for each AONB according to priorities and available resources.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the wider use of Wi-Fi technology on bee populations. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA has not made any assessment of the effects of electronic telecommunications networks on bee populations as there is no evidence to suggest that there is any link between this technology and colony mortality. Should a link emerge, DEFRA will consider what action should be taken.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the rules on pet bird imports have been relaxed, with particular reference to (a) the removal of the need for individual licences and (b) compulsory quarantine periods. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Before the recent change to rules on pet bird imports, there were more restrictions on movements of pet birds into the UK than on commercial birds of the same species. In respect of disease risk, there is no justification for imposing additional rules on individuals wishing to bring their pet birds into the UK. Pet birds are confined in a house or aviary, with minimal contact with wild birds or commercial poultry, and are closely observed, so disease is noticed promptly. Bird keepers are advised to be alert for signs of avian influenza or Newcastle disease at all times and to report any suspicion of disease to their nearest animal health office.
Following a public consultation, including an animal health risk assessment, moving pet birds to the UK from other European countries does not require licences or quarantine subject to conditions: there must be five or fewer pet birds, the import must not be intended for a commercial purpose and the birds cannot be poultry.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the regulatory framework is for those companies that offer carbon-offsetting services; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The carbon market is a growing and diverse marketplace. In practice, there are two different markets currently in operationthe voluntary market and the regulated market. The regulated market covers emission reductions generated under the Kyoto mechanisms, such as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and EU Allowances (EUAs). The voluntary market covers all emission reductions generated outside of the regulated regimecollectively known as Verified Emission Reductions (VERs). There is currently no regulatory framework governing the voluntary market.
DEFRA has published a consultation paper on establishing a voluntary Code of Best Practice for the provision of carbon offsetting to UK customers. The purpose of establishing such a Code is to ensure consumer confidence in this emerging market. Such confidence will also be an important factor in the markets continued growth. The consultation has now been completed and responses are being assessed. The intention is to have the Code operating in late 2007.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the environmental effectiveness of the services offered by carbon-offsetting companies. 
Ian Pearson: Carbon offsetting is not a cure for climate change, but it can to help raise awareness and reduce the impact of our actions. The biggest priority is to reduce our emissions wherever possible. However, where this cannot be achieved, offsetting can help by creating the equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
There are currently two markets in operation which generate emission reductions for carbon offsetting. The regulated market encompasses emission reductions generated under the Kyoto mechanisms, while the voluntary market covers those which operate outside the Kyoto regime. There is currently no regulatory framework governing the voluntary market.
In order to provide more confidence, DEFRA has published a consultation paper on establishing a voluntary Code of Best Practice for the provision of carbon offsetting to UK customers. The aim is to have the Code operating in late 2007.
The Code proposes that the most suitable carbon credits for offsetting are those from the regulated market because they are robust and verifiable. These credits include Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), EU Allowances (EUAs) and Emission Reduction Units (ERUs). However, it is possible to offset voluntarily, that is without a formal compliance obligation, and use regulated credits to achieve this. Government currently uses CERs within its own voluntary internal carbon offsetting schemes.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the catering industry is exempt from the EU Organic Food Standards adopted on 12 June 2007. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Council agreed that it was not currently appropriate to consider EU standards for the catering sector and that instead, it should be left to the control of national governments. The Commission have undertaken to review this by 31 December 2011.
Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 380W, on cattle: exports, what the journey length in hours was of each shipment of calves aged under 42 days exported to Spain between 1 January and 30 April 2007. 
|Destination||Number of shipments||Total number of calves||Average journey time (hours)||Number of short rest stops/journey||Number of 24 hour rest periods/journey|
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA Ministers, together with a range of stakeholders, received the final report of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on 15 June 2007. On 23 May, under cover of a letter from the chairman of the ISG, Ministers received an incomplete draft of the report.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he next plans to meet representatives of the Independent Scientific Group on bovine tuberculosis to discuss its recent report. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There are no current plans for DEFRA Ministers to meet representatives of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) to discuss its recent report. The work of the ISG has come to an end.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to ask Professor Godfray to carry out an evaluation of the recent Independent Scientific Group report on bovine tuberculosis. 
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