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Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Science Advisory Council last met to discuss (a) biofuels and (b) bovine tuberculosis; and if he will make a statement. 
The new DEFRA Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) agreed to report to Council on his progress in identifying priorities for future SAC advice, to assist with SACs long-term work planning. The CSA will prepare a strategy paper outlining these priorities, which will be considered in light of DEFRAs long-term research strategy, for SACs next meeting on 29 January 2008. The paper will include comment on whether SAC advice may be required on biofuels, and if so in what capacity.
All current SAC members have been asked to consider whether any new information, not previously available or considered by SAC since their last formal advice on this issue, impacts on the advice they had already given. This advice will be published on the DEFRA SAC website in due course.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice he (a) has sought and (b) has been provided with by the Science Advisory Council on (i) biofuels and (ii) bovine tuberculosis; and if he will make a statement. 
Consider the Literature Review of research on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and the comments from the peer review thereof, and provide an overview assessment for the CSA on the quality of the available scientific evidence.
This included an assessment of the extent to which the research was fit for purpose, robust and could be trusted by stakeholders, This also included a wider strategic consideration of any scientific issues, including uncertainties or unknowns, that might not have been considered by the reviews, and that may be relevant in preparing advice to Ministers.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his plans are to modernise sea fisheries committees (SFCs); whether they include proposals to change the composition of the membership of SFCs; and if he will make a statement; 
Jonathan Shaw: The Marine Bill White Paper sets out proposals to reform Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) in England. The proposals include a clear purpose and duties, strengthened byelaw-making and enforcement powers and enhanced funding arrangements. Under these proposals, the composition and membership of reformed SFCs will be:
i. local authority members (one third);
ii. Marine Management Organisation (one seat);
iii. Environment Agency (one seat); and
iv. Natural England (one seat).
The balance will be made up of persons acquainted with the needs and opinions of the fishing community and persons with knowledge of or expertise in marine environmental matters. The maximum number of members shall be 21.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department provided for marine biodiversity science in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department directly funds marine biodiversity science through its research and development programme for biodiversity. Since 1997, expenditure on marine science has grown from around £180,000 to well over £800,000 per year. A summary of approximate expenditure per year is outlined as follows:
A significant amount of the funding has been spent on cetacean research, in particular, the UK Standings Scheme and work to determine the abundance and distribution of cetaceans in UK waters. Funds have also been used to assist in expanding our knowledge of the range of habitats found in our seas. This has included the funding of marine surveys in areas beyond 12 nautical miles to identify Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and the development of UK Seamap; a series of marine landscape maps which are based on a modelling exercise to predict marine landscape types likely to be found in UK marine waters. Such research outputs will be useful in marine spatial planning.
In addition, marine biodiversity science is undertaken indirectly via other programmes within the Department. It is, however, harder to separate out the exact proportion of the spend which could be regarded as biodiversity research back to 1997. It is estimated that, this year alone, a further £400,000 could be regarded as marine biodiversity science research from the Marine Environment research and development programme.
The figures in the table do not include marine biodiversity science expenditure by the Conservation Agencies, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Natural England. These two bodies are responsible for the implementation of marine biodiversity policy in UK offshore waters and territorial waters of England respectively. DEFRA provides funds to these agencies for the delivery of marine nature conservation policy. Both of these organisations fund relevant science to ensure the effective delivery of policy. For instance, in 2007-08, the JNCC were provided with £1 million to complete offshore survey work, and a considerable proportion of this budget will be spent on commissioning offshore survey of areas believed to be important for conservation purposes.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he or his Ministers have had with the EU Commissioner or her officials on the possible use of sugar beet compensation funding for growers who were forced to cease production as a result of the closure of York and Alscott factories. 
[holding answer 3 December 2007]: Amendments to Council Regulations on sugar were discussed and agreed at the Agriculture Council in September. Subsequent to this, my noble Friend, the Minister of State for Sustainable Food and Farming and Animal Health (Lord Rooker), wrote to the
Commissioner about the implementing regulation, which was being discussed at the Management Committee.
British Sugar have made an application for restructuring aid, which includes a proposal based on consultation with the National Farmers' Union for the distribution of any aid due to growers and previous growers. The application is being considered.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of wild tortoises imported from Slovenia in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: No estimate has been made. Since Slovenia joined the European Union in May 2004, figures for the movement of tortoises from Slovenia to the UK ceased to exist. Tortoises can be moved freely within the Community. However, if the tortoises are being used for commercial purposes and are of a species controlled at the highest level within the EU (Annex A) then they will require certificates that have been issued under Article 10 of the European Wildlife Trade Regulations, granted by the member state where the specimen is located.
The UK has issued 8,700 such certificates for Annex A tortoises originating in Slovenia since May 2004. All of these have been for captive bred tortoises. No certificates have been issued since May 2004 for wild taken tortoises.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects a UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy to be implemented; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) will reach the end of its transition phase in January 2008. By then, the underlying concepts of the UKMMAS will have been embedded across the Government, devolved administrations, agencies, and other organisations responsible for the collection of marine monitoring data.
As we enter the business as usual phase of the UKMMAS, post January 2008, work will continue in ensuring its requirements can be met by all in the marine monitoring community. It is during this phase of the UKMMAS where the real benefits of improved co-ordination of marine monitoring activities will become apparent.
Instigating such a fundamental step-change in our approach to marine monitoring has, at times, been challenging. Support for the process has always been excellent and benefits are already becoming apparent by way of improved efficiencies and community building.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment
he has made of the effectiveness of the cod recovery plan; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The UK has recently provided the Commission with its views on the future of the cod recovery mechanism, copies of which I have arranged to be placed in the Libraries of the House. In the meantime, we are exploring with them and the UK industry, possible changes to the scheme for 2008, designed to reduce cod mortality in the short-term, which does not simply involve blunt cuts in days at sea. We will return to the longer term position next year in the context of the ongoing review.
Jonathan Shaw: I announced my decision to retain the minimum landing size for bass at 36 centimetres on 25 October 2007. My decision was made following the meeting I convened on 1 October 2007 to discuss this issue with representatives from the sea angling and commercial fishing sectors. Details of my announcement are set out in the autumn 2007 edition of Fishing Focus, available in the Library of the House.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to tackle the trade in wildlife on the internet in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) globally. 
Joan Ruddock: In the UK, the Government are working with various organisations such as the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), HM Revenue and Customs and the police to establish the extent of trade taking place over the internet that is illegal, and to find effective ways to tackle this. We are also working with the trade, website owners, enforcement experts and other stakeholders to establish codes of practice for internet providers and users.
Globally, we are working with other parties to the convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES) to carry forward the internet trade proposal agreed at the CITES 14th conference of parties (CoP14). This proposal will gauge the scale and nature of illegal internet trade in wildlife globally and then consider ways to tackle illegal internet trade.
We are working closely with enforcement agencies, NGOs, internet providers and website owners to contribute to the review from a UK perspective and the UK Government have already provided the CITES Secretariat with £15,000 to take this work forward.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received from (a) the Association of Chief Police
Officers and (b) the Police Federation on the proposed introduction and implementation of alcohol disorder zones. 
Mr. Coaker: There have been no representations received from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Police Federation on the proposed introduction and implementation of alcohol disorder zones since the consultation detailed in the Explanatory Memorandum laid with the associated Statutory Instrument in Parliament on 21 November 2007.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people under the age of 18 years were (a) arrested and (b) charged with possession of Class (i) A, (ii) B and (iii) C drugs in each police force area in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Coaker: The arrests collection undertaken by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform provides data on persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, by age group, gender, ethnicity, and main offence group, i.e. violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary, drugs offences etc. More detailed data about specific offences do not form part of this collection.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the applicability of the methods utilised in the Cambridgeshire Alcohol Project on a national scale. 
Mr. Coaker: We recognise and greatly welcome the success of Cambridgeshire's award winning Think 21 alcohol project in driving down the sale of alcohol to under age customers and have begun to assess the best ways in which to promote this scheme nationally.
This work is being taking forward in conjunction with recent national confiscation of alcohol and tackling under-age sales of alcohol campaigns as well as the ongoing responsible alcohol sales campaigns which clamp down on irresponsible retailers who break the law by selling alcohol to children while highlighting the law on under age drinking in public places.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representatives she has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public calling for the (i) removal and (ii) resignation of the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Home Office Ministers have received seven letters from right hon. and hon. Members about this matter. These enclosed or referred to three letters from members of the public. Home Office Ministers have received seven further letters direct from members of the public. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's letter of 6 November to the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis) made it clear that Sir Ian Blair has her full support.
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