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Livestock: Transport

Gwyn Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the ability of un-weaned calves to drink from devices installed in livestock vehicles for that purpose; and if he will make a statement; [153412]

(2) what devices for supplying liquid to un-weaned calves are in use on livestock vehicles to enable them to be given liquid on board the vehicle after nine hours travel; and if he will make a statement. [153413]

Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has funded many research projects into the welfare aspects of animal transportation. Of these, there has been one specific project assessing the devices installed in vehicles to provide liquid to un-weaned calves. This study confirmed that calves can use mechanical systems to satisfy their fluid requirements, but may need time to become familiar with such systems.

All member states are required to approve vehicles for long journeys. This approval involves an assessment of the vehicle equipment for providing water to animals. In the UK, there is a detailed checklist to ensure an inspector systematically assesses and thoroughly checks the vehicle and equipment, including the means of provision of feed and water.

Vehicles must be equipped with a water supply from which the attendant can provide water instantly when needed. Watering devices must be of suitable design, be positioned for access to water by each animal, and carry a water supply of a capacity 1.5 per cent. of that of the maximum payload. Attendants must be able to check the water level of the tank, and drain and clean it after the journey.

There are a wide range of devices used on livestock vehicles to provide liquid to un-weaned calves. At a basic level there are systems with buckets or bowls which can be fixed at a suitable height to ensure they are not overturned. Troughs are used on some vehicles, which are either fixed in place or fitted temporarily at the appropriate rest period. There are also more elaborate systems with nipple drinkers and other variations which allow calves to obtain liquid.

No particular mode of delivery is specified in Regulation 1/2005EC. It does, however, require that water and feed be presented in a way that minimises contamination and that due regard is paid to the need of animals to become accustomed to the mode of feeding and watering.

Animal Health assesses vehicles at markets, during roadside checks, at ports and at supervised loadings. If suitable equipment is not carried on a vehicle the journey can be prevented by the service of a notice requiring the correction of the problem, or additional requirements before the journey is started. The type and number of water delivery mechanisms, their height and location within the vehicle, and the calves' familiarity with them are assessed.

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Animal Health also issues and approves journey logs as required by Regulation 1/2005EC and ensures that any failure to comply with the welfare aspects of the legislation are investigated. When appropriate, enforcement action is considered, together with notification of the non-compliance to the appropriate member state if the transporter is registered outside Great Britain.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Minister of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 15 June 2007, in reply to DEFRA Reference: MC24643/JH. [153494]

Mr. Woolas: I apologise for the delay. A reply was sent on 10 July 2007.

Meteorology: Manpower

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for (a) Innovation, Universities and Skills and (b) Defence on the number of meteorologists which will be required over the next 20 years. [153665]

Mr. Woolas: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had no discussions with the Secretary of State for (a) Innovation, Universities and Skills or (b) Defence.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many submissions the Government have received from (a) industry and (b) academia under its voluntary reporting scheme for engineered nanoscale materials since its launch in September; what steps the Department is taking to encourage submissions under the Voluntary Reporting Scheme; and what other steps the Government are taking to improve understanding of where nanoscale materials are being used or could be used in the future; [152770]

(2) when the Government plans to review the merits of the Voluntary Reporting Scheme for engineered nanoscale materials; and what the timescale is for such a review. [152771]

Mr. Woolas: My Department launched the UK Voluntary Reporting Scheme for engineered nanoscale materials in September 2006. To date (July 2007) we have received a total of nine submissions, seven from industry and two from academia.

We have been working with a variety of stakeholders to encourage further awareness and uptake of the Scheme. Regular updates on the Scheme are presented to the Nanotechnologies Stakeholder Forum which meets quarterly; the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) and the European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance (ENTA) have raised the Scheme with their members and have offered assistance with completion of the paperwork; and we are addressing the research community via the Research Councils.

We have also been seeking additional advice on ways in which we may improve participation. The UK
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Advisory Committee for Hazardous substances (ACHS) recently reviewed the Scheme and made suggestions for clarifying the guidance for participants, particularly in defining how the data submitted will be used and what information might be relevant. My Officials will take these recommendations forward. We are also working with international partners, including members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials to share experiences of implementation of similar Schemes.

The Voluntary Reporting Scheme is intended to operate for two years. Therefore my Department will undertake a thorough review of the process in September 2008.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government will respond to the Council for Science and Technology review of the Government’s nanotechnologies policies. [152772]

Mr. Woolas: The Government responded to the Council for Science and Technology’s review of its progress on nanotechnologies policies on 17 May 2007.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will increase the funding provided for research into the environmental and health impacts of nanotechnology. [152773]

Mr. Woolas: Funding for research into potential Environment, Health and Safety impacts of Nanomaterials is co-ordinated across Government Departments, their Agencies and the Research Councils through the Nanotechnology Research Coordination Group. Direct funding from Departments up to the end of 2006 amounted to around £13 million. This was supported by responsive mode funding through the Research Councils’ Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration on Nanotechnology of £19.8 million between 2002 and 2007.

At this stage there are no plans to increase funding levels however, in order to maximise the use of available funding, my Department is working to achieve greater cooperation and collaboration between the above funding bodies and will seek more joint working with the nanotechnologies industries. DEFRA is working closely with the Research Councils to influence more funding in ‘directed mode’, in an approach similar to that adopted by the DEFRA co-funded Environmental Nanoscience Initiative and we will be working with the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills’ Technology Strategy Board and National Measurement Systems Programme to identify further opportunities. In this way we would seek to encourage the development and safe use of nanotechnologies in universities and the nanotechnologies industries.

National Fruit Collection

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Friends of Brogdale Horticultural Trust on the future of the
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National Fruit Collection; and if he will make a statement. [152624]

Jonathan Shaw: A number of letters have been received from the Friends of Brogdale. These representations support retaining the collections at Brogdale.

Office of Climate Change: Manpower

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff are employed by the Office of Climate Change, broken down by salary band; and what the staff equivalent or annual cost is of (a) employment agency temporary staff, (b) consultants and (c) contractors being employed by that office. [151741]

Mr. Woolas: There are 29.6 full-time equivalent staff currently in post. It is our policy not to comment on staff grades where individuals could be identified.

As at 30 June 2007, the Office of Climate Change is employing three temporary staff. It has also employed two consultants on a part-time basis over the past four months. No contractors have been employed.

Office of Climate Change: Publications

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the title is of documents produced by the Office of Climate Change for (a) publication, (b) Ministers and (c) other purposes. [153743]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of Climate Change (OCC) published the Draft Climate Change Bill in March 2007 (Cm 7040). This was accompanied by “A brief summary of the scientific case for action”, following the OCC’s audit of UK analysis on climate change. This document was placed in the House Libraries.

As part of its role in providing internal advice to Ministers, the OCC produces various documents and reports. The OCC is in the process of setting up a website where appropriate documentation will be published.

Recycling: Schools

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding has been allocated for school recycling projects in each London borough in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [153545]

Joan Ruddock: No specific funding has been provided by my Department for school recycling projects in London. If recycling services are provided to schools, these would be funded directly by the local authority.

However, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, which is funded by DEFRA, is developing a programme of support for schools as part of its ‘Recycle Now’ campaign aimed at helping them minimise, reuse, recycle and compost their waste.

DEFRA also provides financial support for the operation of Eco-Schools, an international programme developed by the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) and managed in England by Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS). Eco-Schools promotes environmental awareness around nine main
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themes, one of which is waste minimisation and recycling. DEFRA will be providing a total of £65,000 for Eco-schools in 2007-08. £100,000 is also provided from non-grant sources, mainly from other sponsorship.

Shellfish: Colchester

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 383W, on shellfish: Colchester, what progress has been made in determining the application for a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for the Colchester Native Oyster; when he expects to announce the issuing of a PGI; and if he will make a statement. [152967]

Jonathan Shaw: Following a constructive meeting in May between officials and representatives of the applicant group, an announcement regarding the next stage of this process was expected to be made in June.

However, officials are still waiting for further information from the applicant, including confirmation of the exact geographical area for the production of this product.


David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take action against the organisation, which suggests on its website moving grey squirrels about the country contrary to law. [153438]

Joan Ruddock: The website was brought to the attention of Natural England some months ago. Natural England sent an e-mail to the website on 23 March 2007 to make them aware of their legal responsibilities under the Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). They have since responded, indicating that they no longer ‘take in’ squirrels and apologised for giving an incorrect impression through their outdated website. A further e-mail has been sent by Natural England to the website asking for clarification as it is not completely clear that they no longer do so. The licensing application process which can allow the legal captivity of grey squirrels has been explained to them.

DEFRA and Natural England do not have the power to take action, or indeed prosecute anyone regarding the possible failure to apply for licences to possess and release grey squirrels. This is the responsibility of the police, who are the primary enforcement agency of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Natural England have already referred this matter to the Wildlife Crime Officer (WCO) of Hampshire police.

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to ensure that his Department’s regional officers in England are all operating the same policy on red squirrel protection. [153440]

Joan Ruddock: The England Squirrel Forum has responsibility for co-ordinating the delivery of those parts of the Red Squirrel Species Action Plan (RSSAP)
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that relate to England. The forum is made up of representatives from conservation bodies, woodland management organisations and woodland owners and is chaired by the Forestry Commission.

The RSSAP is being implemented through a broad partnership of Government, statutory conservation agencies and the private and voluntary sectors.

Implementation of the RSSAP is not the same in all regions as the threat to red squirrel populations, where they remain, is different across the country. For example in the south east, where there are secure populations of red squirrel on the Isle of Wight and Poole Harbour Islands, the focus is on ensuring that grey squirrels do not arrive on the islands and are controlled if they do. In northern England the focus of attention is on 16 reserves designated for red squirrels and preventing or reducing the impact of grey squirrels in these areas. Delivery here depends on a combination of factors including the level of engagement of the private and voluntary sectors.

Water: Conservation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the effect on demand for water of the likely change in the use of domestic power showers over the next 10 years; [153742]

(2) if he will estimate the (a) increase over the last decade and (b) predicted future increase over the next decade of the number of (i) swimming pools, (ii) jacuzzi and other water spa pools and (iii) decorative domestic water features and ponds; and what assessment he has made of the likely impact of these changes on per capita demand for water. [153747]

Mr. Woolas: The Government’s Market Transformation Programme (MTP) allows us to assess the impact of a range of products on water use, including toilets, taps, showers and baths. The MTP is also undertaking a scoping study to determine which other products use significant amounts of water. This will include an assessment of the amount of water consumption associated with swimming pools, hot tubs and spa baths. There is currently no evidence to show that ornamental garden water features involve significant levels of water consumption.

The MTP will shortly be setting out, for public consultation, the Government’s current evidence and analysis on showers. This consultation is part of a wider annual review and policy development process, supporting delivery of the Government’s objectives for energy, water and for sustainable consumption and production.

The paper includes indicative targets and eco-design standards for showers which are sold and used in the UK. The MTP work indicates that if no new policy
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actions are taken, and current underlying trends continue, water consumption by showers is expected to rise by 48 per cent. by 2020 compared to the 2006 baseline. The policy actions proposed in the document show how this projected increase can be constrained.

Water: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 15 June 2007, Official Report, column 1374W, on water: fees and charges, which (a) public sector organisations and (b) private sector consultants or research companies are assisting with updating this research. [153723]

Jonathan Shaw: This research is looking at the distributional impacts of a range of measured and unmeasured tariffs and has involved a large number of organisations. The public sector organisations that have been involved in this work are DEFRA, Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water and HM Treasury. Private sector companies include the water companies of England and Wales and their research organisation UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR). The contractors carrying out this work are ICF consulting with assistance from WRc.

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