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15 Nov 2007 : Column 338Wcontinued
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he last met his Japanese counterpart to discuss the killing of dolphins in Japanese waters; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: There have been no recent discussions between DEFRA Ministers and Japanese ministers on this issue.
The UK recognises with deep concern that these actions still occur in Japanese coastal waters and regularly raise the matter with Japan at the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The UK will continue to be extremely critical of these small cetacean (dolphin and porpoise) hunts because of the limited regulation, cruelty and unsustainable numbers taken.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes he proposes to make in respect of the rules and regulations for keeping and breeding ducks for human consumption; what assessment he has made of the welfare of ducks being so bred; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 12 November 2007]: The Animal Welfare Act 2006 protects the welfare of animals on-farm and makes it an offence to cause suffering to any animal. The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 lay down requirements in respect of general welfare, inspection, housing and feeding for all farm animals. The welfare of ducks is also covered by a specific code of recommendations. Flock-keepers are required by law to have access to and be familiar with this code, which encourages high standards of husbandry.
Animal Health (AH) enforces the welfare legislation and carries out regular inspections at farm premises to check the welfare of livestock. AH also investigates all complaints and allegations about poor welfare on-farm.
DEFRA has funded a three-year research project to assess the welfare of ducks. The work involved a comprehensive assessment of different commercial systems currently in use in this country. The project is due to report back soon.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to launch the next tranche of consultations on the Environmental Liability Directive. 
Joan Ruddock: The second consultation on the Environmental Liability Directive, accompanied by draft regulations, draft guidance and a revised impact assessment will be launched early in the new year.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of boats using inland waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: As can be seen from the following table, the number of boats using our inland waterways owned or managed by British Waterways, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority over the last five years has risen and reflects the increasing popularity of boating. DEFRA does not keep records of boat numbers on waterways managed by other navigation bodies.
|British Waterways||Environment Agency||Broads Authority||Total|
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on British Waterways' proposed increases in (a) licence and (b) mooring fees for boats using the inland waterways network; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: These are operational matters for British Waterways. However, I have received various representations, in the form of letters, emails and parliamentary questions from hon. Members.
British Waterways is currently out to consultation on its proposals to increase its licence fees. On mooring fees, British Waterways has assured me that it is committed to a full formal consultation on its moorings trial after completion of a six month trial period. The results of this consultation, as well as the practical experience gained from the trial, will inform its decision as to whether it continues the trial and whether it makes it a permanent arrangement or not.
I have written to the chairman of British Waterways asking to be kept informed of progress and have his assurance that British Waterways is committed to engaging with its stakeholders on this and other issues. I plan to meet with a cross-section of waterway stakeholders in December to discuss a range of issues of concern to them.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to eradicate the illegal ivory trade in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: My Department part funds the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) which this year has, for the first time, produced an overarching UK intelligence survey of wildlife crime. This is an important step forward in our efforts to eradicate illegal wildlife trade and ivory is one of the key elements in this study. I am confident that this joint agency approach with the NWCU bringing all elements of intelligence collection together will pay real dividends in the fight against this illegal trade.
In addition we have spent considerable time raising awareness of controls and restrictions relating to ivory trade with the antiques trade through trade associations and auctioneers. We also commissioned research into ageing ivory which is important as antique worked ivory items are exempt from controls.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the international trade in illegal ivory is eradicated. 
Joan Ruddock: International commercial trade in ivory has been prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1989 and this is actively enforced by HM Revenue and Customs at our borders and the police service internally. The illegal import or export of ivory can result in a large fine and/or several years imprisonment.
The UK fully supports efforts undertaken by the CITES community to improve enforcement activity in source and destination markets as well as working to eradicate illegal trade within the UK itself. The UK financially supports two key CITES programmes related to ivory trade: the Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) programmes. These enable the international community to monitor poaching and illegal trade levels so resources can be targeted where they are most needed.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies have been undertaken by his Department into the (a) affordability and (b) safety of high efficiency light bulbs. 
Joan Ruddock: My Department, via the Market Transformation Programme, works with the lighting industry, the Energy Saving Trust and Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes to promote energy efficient lighting which is both commercially viable and acceptable to consumers.
While the upfront cost of energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) has been historically greater than inefficient tungsten filament bulbs, research carried out by the Energy Saving Trust suggests that, because they last up to 10 times longer and use significantly less energy to generate equivalent light levels, efficient bulbs can save householders up to £60 over the lifetime of a bulb in reduced energy bills and replacement costs.
New products are continually being developed and the retail prices of efficient bulbs have fallen significantly in recent years. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Commitment scheme has helped to drive down the price of energy efficient products, including CFLs, as energy suppliers work with retailers and manufacturers to offer good quality and affordable products to customers. Under the scheme, approximately 82 million CFLs have been distributed or sold to consumers since 2002.
We are not aware of any particular safety issues associated with high efficiency light bulbs such as CFLs. CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, typically 3-4 mg, and should be disposed of responsibly. The European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive places a responsibility on manufacturers to ensure that these bulbs are disposed of in a safe manner.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 apply to UK companies that sell products which
were packaged in (a) other EU countries which have implemented the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC and (b) non-EU countries. 
Joan Ruddock: Any business which places packaging or packaging materials on the UK market and has an annual turnover of more than £2 million and handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year is obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 to recover and recycle a proportion of the packaging they handle.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has considered the merits of compelling packaging on products sold in the UK to carry a compliance mark to signify that the producer has complied with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. 
Joan Ruddock: In the UK, only companies which have a turnover of over £2 million and handle over 50 tonnes of packaging a year are obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. Therefore, companies below this threshold level would not need to comply with the provisions in the regulations and would not carry a compliance mark. A mandatory compliance mark could therefore be misleading for consumers.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to increase recycling rates for paper associated with direct mail. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 14 November 2007]: In July 2003 the Government signed an agreement with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which represents about 900 members involved in the direct mail and promotions industry, to raise recycling levels of direct mail to 30 per cent. by the end of 2005, 55 per cent. by the end of 2009 and 70 per cent. by the end of 2013. In 2003 about 13 per cent. of direct mail was recycled. The DMA estimates that recycling of direct mail rose to 28-30 per cent. in 2005.
The DMA also agreed to further develop the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to improve the targeting of addressed direct mail, provide greater flexibility for both consumers and producers, and increase awareness of the service among householders. The DMA estimates that registrations with the MPS rose from 1.1 million in 2003 to 2.7 million in 2005.
Together with the Waste and Resources Action programme (WRAP), the DMA is working to develop a recycle logo to be printed on all direct mail. The DMA is also working with WRAP in conjunction with the paper mills and adhesive manufacturers to minimise the use of materials that may contaminate the recycling process.
The Waste Strategy for England 2007 commits the Government to working with the DMA to develop an opt-out system for unaddressed direct mail, and to exploring with them whether an opt-in system would be an appropriate mechanism to further reduce unnecessary direct mail. These discussions are underway.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what consideration has been given to the relative environmental merits of plastic milk bottles and re-usable glass bottles; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether consideration has been given to the introduction of deposits on glass and plastic bottles; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: My Department has not made any assessment of the merits of using plastic milk bottles or re-usable glass bottles. Assessing the most sustainable option for packaging containers will depend on a number of factors, including transport and the re-use or recycling of materials.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is currently undertaking a life-cycle analysis of milk packaging, which will look at the various different glass and plastic options and will include consideration of the impact of returnable packaging systems. This project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2008. WRAP is also working with local authorities and manufacturers to increase recycling of both glass and plastic bottles.
A deposit system for bottles has an obvious appeal to the public, however there would be difficulties in implementing such a system in the UK. In 2004, DEFRA commissioned a project to evaluate whether a deposit system could provide additional value, in combination with the current packaging waste recovery system established in the UK, to achieve wider EC Directive targets. This work took into account existing deposit and return schemes in Europe, the USA and Canada.
The report's conclusion was that a deposit scheme may not achieve our overall environmental goals since such systems favour packaging formats that do not necessarily deliver environmental benefits.
A deposit scheme would be extremely expensive when compared to the existing UK packaging system, which uses a market mechanism and a tradable packaging waste recovery note (PRN). This system is reputedly the most cost-effective system in Europe for implementing the Packaging Directive.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has discussed the planned UK Marine Bill and associated White Paper with (a) the European Commission and (b) counterparts from other countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA ministers and officials have regular discussions with counterparts from member states and the European Commission on a wide range of marine issues, including our proposals for marine legislation.
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