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Ian Pearson: An extensive review of private sewers began in 2001, prompted by the concerns of householders. A consultation in 2003 revealed a high level of support for transfer, and the Government concluded there was a clear case for action. Further informal consultation and research by DEFRA and key stakeholders explored customers views, estimated the costs and bill impacts of transfer, developed implementation options and identified further questions for the next stage of consultation.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles of sewers there are in (a) Pendle and (b) East Lancashire; what percentage is over 100 years old; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: DEFRA does not hold this information. United Utilities are responsible for the public sewers in Pendle and East Lancashire and would hold any available information relating to the age and length of sewers in this area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial
contribution was made by the Waste and Resources Action Programme to each local authority in England in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is currently being collated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme. I will write again to the hon. Member when it has been prepared and place a copy in the Library of the House.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Waste Strategy for England 2007 contains a high-level implementation plan which summarises the key actions flowing from the Strategy, the timeframes for these actions, and responsibilities for delivery.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the efficacy of water-based mechanical-biological treatment systems in the processing of solid urban waste. 
Mr. Bradshaw: My Department has not made an assessment specifically on the efficacy of water-based mechanical-biological treatment systems to process solid urban waste. However, studies have been carried out on behalf of DEFRA by Enviros Consulting on the mechanical-biological treatment of waste, including technologies that use water. The final reports, Mechanical Biological Treatment and Mechanical Heat Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste and Advanced Biological Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste, are available from the DEFRA website.
New technologies to treat waste have the potential to play an increasingly important role in extracting materials and energy from waste for recovery, as well as reducing the quantities remaining for disposal.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had on water supply infrastructure to Peterborough with (a) the Department of Communities and Local Government, (b) Anglian Water and (c) Rutland county council; and if he will make a statement. 
I had a meeting with Anglian Water in December 2006 at which the company briefed me on its operations and gave me its views on a number of contemporary water policy matters. Improvements to resilience of supply, including to Peterborough, were among the many issues raised by the company but no discussion took place on specific infrastructure developments. Any such discussion would have been inappropriate since proposed infrastructure projects could come before Ministers for decision on appeal against
refusal of planning permission. For that reason, my Department has had no other discussions with these or any other bodies specifically about water supply infrastructure serving Peterborough.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with Japanese environment ministers regarding the international ban on whaling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK has been, and will remain, at the forefront of the fight to ensure that anti-whaling countries do not restart commercial whaling or reduce the level of protection for cetacean species around the world.
At this years annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the UK and other anti-whaling countries were able to secure a resolution that reaffirmed the continued need for the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling. This resolution subsequently served us well in the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, enabling us to defeat proposals aimed at eventually allowing trade in whale products to take place.
Ian Pearson: I opened the £18 million River Quaggy Flood Alleviation scheme in Lewisham, London, with the chairman of the Environment Agency Sir John Harman. I asked people to mark World Environment Agency Day by identifying the one change they can make in their everyday lives to protect the environment and fight climate change. I also urged people to go to the Environment Agencys Mend the World online survey, which was the core component of the Environment Agency's campaign this year for WED. This has been asking people for the number one action they can do to tackle climate change, the one extra action they could take and what was stopping them from doing so.
I also announced that the Government are to hold a second competition for youth Climate Change Champions to communicate climate change across the country. The nine inaugural champions, aged between 10 and 18, have been active in speaking out about climate change. Their efforts have reached an estimated 18 per cent. of the adult population and have engaged a large number of young people in the debate about what
needs to be done. The competition will kick off in the summer, and nine new champions will be appointed in the autumn.
DEFRA also released a new booklet, Climate Change: Your Guide to Inspiring Action to help organisations communicate the ways in which people can make changes in their lives to help fight climate change. The first guide has been downloaded 40,000 times and 6,000 hard copies have been distributed. It is available on
I also highlighted a number of other initiatives that took place on WED, which have received DEFRA funding through the Climate Challenge Fund scheme. These included the launch of the Royal Society of Arts/Tesco Carbonatoran online CO2 calculator aimed at children aged 7-14 to raise awareness of climate change and the Royal Geographical Societys new website for 11 to 18-year-olds linking climate change to the geography curriculum. The fund provides financial support for communications projects seeking to achieve positive changes in public attitudes about climate change. The 83 projects cover a wide range of communications initiatives and media and are supported by £8.5 million of funding.
A list of zoos is published on the DEFRA website, based on information supplied by English local authorities that administer the provisions of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. The list provides information on 255 zoos currently operating in England.
Mr. Bradshaw: Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 the Secretary of State is required to specify detailed standards for zoo management that zoos are expected to comply with. The Secretary of States Standards of Modern Zoo Practice are designed to ensure that the welfare of animals in zoos is adequately protected.
The current standards state that euthanasia in zoos is an acceptable procedure only if an animal cannot be provided with captive conditions which meet the Five Principles of animal welfare, or if it cannot be released into the wild. These Five Principles are based on the Five Freedoms drawn up for livestock by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and they comprise: provision of food and water; provision of a suitable environment; provision of animal health care; provision of an opportunity to express most normal behaviour; provision of protection from fear and distress.
if, in the opinion of a vet, an animal is suffering from an incurable disease, or severe pain or suffering which cannot be alleviated.
if a zoo has to close, euthanasia may be the only option for some animals and the most humane for others.
if the animal poses a serious and unavoidable threat to human safety (e.g. because it has escaped);
culling of surplus stock (including unacceptable sex ratios) where overcrowding compromises the welfare of the animals so that it is impractical to maintain them within the Five Principles.
The standards further recommend that zoos have a policy, with appropriate protocols, which should be made available to zoo inspectors during their regular inspection visits under the Zoo Licensing Act. This should also form part of the zoos audit process. Zoos are also expected to have in place an ethical review process, which would address issues such as the establishments culling policy.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on advertising with The Guardian newspaper, including online, advertorials and advertising features, in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Derek Twigg: The following table shows how much the Ministry of Defence has spent on advertising with The Guardian newspaper in the last year. The Naval Service has not advertised in The Guardian newspaper in Financial Year 2006-07. Details of Ministry of Defence civilian advertising expenditure are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of (a) the capabilities of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and (b) whether the Taliban is being assisted by Iranian elements. 
Des Browne [holding answer 16 May 2007]: The Taliban are currently able to threaten Afghan and international security forces in parts of eastern and southern Afghanistan by means of improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and small-scale ambushes. They have not been able to hold territory in the face of offensive action by Afghan and international security forces.
Iran is an influential neighbour in the region and has a strategic interest in a strong and stable Afghanistan. Nevertheless some support for the Taliban emanating from within Iran gives cause for concern, not least the illegal movements of munitions across the border with
Afghanistan. Any Iranian links to illegal armed groups either through the supply of weapons, training or funding, would be completely unacceptable. We have made this clear to the Iranians and will continue to do so.
Derek Twigg: Both the current and former Assistant Chief of General Staff occupied the same Substitute Service Accommodation in 2006 for which the Department paid a rent to a private provider. The provider is responsible for carrying out the required repairs and maintenance at the property, but is not required to provide MOD with details of the costs of doing so, which are included in the rent.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost was of (a) gardening and (b) repairs and maintenance at properties occupied by (i) the Chief of the General Staff, (ii) the Adjutant-General and (iii) members of the Army Board in 2006. 
Derek Twigg: The Army Board consists of the Secretary of State for Defence, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, the Chief of the General Staff, the Second Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Commander in Chief Land Command, Adjutant-General, Assistant Chief of the General Staff, the Director General of Land Equipment, Master General of the Ordnance and General Officer Commanding (Northern Ireland).
Military Army Board members are accommodated under a variety of arrangements. For only some of these arrangements are costs separately identifiable. In some cases such costs are included in the rent payable.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to review and amend the council tax liability of members of the Armed Forces on active service abroad. 
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