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23 Jan 2008 : Column 2020Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what products featuring departmental or Government branding were procured by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Departmental Communications Directorate has procured the following DEFRA branded products:
Information about departmental or Government branded products procured by DEFRA agencies is not held centrally and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been conducted into the incident of MRSA bacteria within household rubbish. 
Joan Ruddock: I am not aware of any such research having been conducted by my Department.
People handling household waste should take the same hygiene measures they take every time they handle material which may harbour bacteria and wash their hands regularly.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what Government policy is on the measures outlined in Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002 and the future of access of non-UK fishing vessels within the 12 nautical mile limit after 31 December 2012; 
(2) whether the Commission has begun work on the report on the future of access to fishing waters and resources, as outlined in Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: I will consider carefully the Governments policy with regards to access to waters and resources within 12 nautical miles as we prepare for the next reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP).
I expect the rights the UK has under the current framework regulation (that is, to restrict fishing to vessels that traditionally used those waters and to pass laws to protect the stocks in our waters and manage UK vessels in the 0-12 mile zone) would be maintained beyond 31 December 2012.
The Government have begun to plan objectives for the 2012 review of the CFP as set in the draft implementation plan for Fisheries 2027 (published in October 2007), but UK policy on this has not yet been formulated.
I am not aware how far the Commission have progressed with their report regarding the future of access to fishing waters and resources. According to Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002, the deadline for the report is 31 December 2011, but I will press for adequate discussion in the run up to the CFP reform.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the European Commission has informed him of the need to reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet, as specified in Article 16(2) of Council Regulation 2371/2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The European Commission has not informed DEFRA of the need to reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet as specified in Article 16(2) of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether, with regard to Article 11 of Council Regulation 2371/2002, (a) the Government and (b) the European Commission have considered whether there needs to be an adjustment of fishing capacity for UK vessels over the next five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The measures in Article 11 of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002 establish reference ceilings for the capacity of the fishing fleet in terms of total tonnage and engine power of the fleet, while those in later articles, including Article 16(2), set out measures related to the control of fleet entries and exits. The UK is compliant with the provisions of these articles and hence there is no need for further consideration by the UK Government or European Commission of the need for adjustment of fleet capacity related to these measures.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2007, Official Report, columns 707-08W, on fishing catches, (1) for what reasons the discard data under Council Regulation 1543/2000 have not been systematically compiled; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps are being taken to ensure that discard data under Council Regulation 1543/2000 are systematically compiled; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what action is being taken by the Commission in relation to EU Member States which have not complied with their obligations under Council Regulation 1543/2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Commission monitors the degree to which member states comply with their obligations to collect data under Council Regulation 1543/2000, through a requirement to submit annual technical reports on the work carried out. These reports include a section where member states report on the scientific working groups to which they have provided data. The Commission compares this with reports from these working groups on the data received, to assess the level to which each member state has complied with their obligations.
Proposed changes to the regulation have been discussed. The UK has underlined the key aim of ensuring that the needs for information of such groups charged with providing advice to the Commission and member states are met. The Commission has taken this on board in the proposed changes to the regulation, formalising the requirement to provide information to scientific working groups within the regulation and proposing penalty measures to be applied to the level of funding granted to member states that do not comply with these obligations.
The UK will be supporting the Commissions intentions to ensure that data from all member states are accurate, timely and fit for purpose.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2007, Official Report, columns 997-98W, on fishing vessels, what plans he has to extend the deployment of observer schemes in 2008; 
(2) if he will place in the Library details of specific numbers of on-board observer schemes deployed in 2007; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the on-board observer scheme deployed in 2007. 
Jonathan Shaw: At the December Fisheries Council, a number of additional optional observer schemes were agreed as part of the effort and quota management package. We will be assessing the viability of these schemes for the UK and will continue to discuss these with the industry to consider the level of interest there is in participation.
Observers from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have already accompanied two trips by industry vessels this year as part of the fisheries science partnership and it is expected that more of these trips will take place during 2008.
I have asked officials to gather details of the numbers of observer schemes in which the UK participated during 2007. I will write to the hon. Member when these are available and arrange for a copy of my letter to be deposited in the Libraries of the House.
DEFRA officials are involved in ongoing discussions with the industry and other Government Departments, to draw conclusions from the observer schemes deployed in 2007. The results of these discussions will be deposited in the Libraries of the House later this year.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures the Government are taking to stop the export of live horses and ponies from the UK to continental Europe; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 22 January 2008]: Horse and pony exports include horses and ponies being exported for breeding, racing, and other equestrian events and companion horses and ponies being taken abroad by families relocating as well as animals being exported for slaughter. We are therefore not proposing to ban the export of horses and ponies. Furthermore, a unilateral ban on live exports would be illegal under EU free trade law.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the live transportation of horses across Europe before slaughter; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 21 January 2008]: Officials have held recent discussions with the International League for the Protection of Horses on the operation of the new welfare in transport rules contained in Regulation 1/2005; with a view to identifying whether any further welfare measures might be needed to protect the welfare of horses during transport across Europe when the Regulation comes up for review. We have also received representations in the form of letters, emails and questions from hon. Members.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department provides to the public on the disposal of spent long-life light bulbs; and what regulatory requirements apply to such disposals. 
Joan Ruddock: Low-energy light bulbs should be disposed of responsibly and advice on their safe disposal has been made available on DEFRAs public website.
From 1 July 2007, waste compact fluorescent light bulbs (the most common type of energy efficient bulbs) have been subject to the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations. Those who sell items such as energy efficient bulbs must provide information to the public about where they can
take waste bulbs and other WEEE. Some retailers will also take them back in store. However, most retailers have funded designated collection facilitiesthe majority of these are at local authority civic amenity sites. From this point, producers of such equipment fund its transport, treatment and recycling.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what consultation was undertaken by his Department on the criteria to be used to assess best value when considering tenders to provide long-term relocation of the fruit collection at Brogdale; 
(2) what steps he is taking to protect the long-term continuation of the fruit collections at Brogdale; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of those steps; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [ holding answer 22 January 2008]: The National Fruit Collection is currently maintained by the Brogdale Horticultural Trust and scientifically curated by Imperial College.
In response to an open competition, which allowed DEFRA to look at all the available options for the future of the collections, tenders were received and assessed by expert peer reviewers and an internal selection panel. The selection process also included visits to all prospective sites and presentations from the applicants. The selection process was carried out in line with the guidelines set out in DEFRAs Science Handbook.
Any potential relocation of the collection was considered to be a relatively low risk procedure as there are a number of suitable locations in the UK for growing fruit trees. The whole collection was moved successfully from Wisley to Brogdale in the 1950s, and fruit trees are regularly re-propagated as a matter of course.
On 19 December 2007, DEFRA announced the Collections would remain at Brogdale for the foreseeable future. From 1 April 2008, the maintenance and curation of the collection will be managed by the University of Reading, subject to agreement with the landlord to extend the lease at Brogdale.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the level of protection for wildlife in the Moray Firth against oil spillages from ships. 
Jonathan Shaw: The relevant nature conservation regulations are the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No.2716) (as amended) as they apply to merchant shipping operations. Under these provisions, the Moray Firth is designated a special area of conservation and formal assessment of whether plans or projects will adversely affect the integrity of relevant nature conservation sites must take place, where there is likely to be a significant effect on such sites.
Regulation of merchant shipping is dealt with under Merchant Shipping legislation. Ports where oil is handled have their own oil spill contingency plans, compliant with the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998, (SI 1998 No.1056). Additionally, all of our seas and coasts are protected by the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was to local authorities in England of (a) collecting and (b) disposing of road sweepings in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Joan Ruddock: My Department does not hold specific data relating to the cost of the collection or disposal of road sweepings.
Local authorities are required to make revenue outturn returns to the Department for Communities and Local Government. This includes their expenditure and income on street cleansing (not chargeable to the Highways Department). In 2006-07, the net total cost of street cleansing to local authorities in England was £667 million. These figures are not available broken down into collection and disposal costs.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the purpose is of his Departments Spatial Information Repository; and which datasets it will hold. 
Jonathan Shaw: The purpose of the Shared Spatial Information Service (SPIRE) is to provide a managed data service which supports the delivery of services and policy making by providing access to both up to date geographic information layers which meet agreed data standards, as well as common background data against which other geographic information can be viewed.
SPIRE currently contains approximately 350 business specific layers relating to the strategic outcomes of DEFRA, spanning land and marine environments. These layers include information gathered by the Department, its agencies and non departmental public bodies, Government Departments and non governmental organisations.
SPIRE also holds and manages Ordnance Survey mapping, aerial photography and marine mapping layers as contextual information.
SPIRE has the capacity to deliver data for the management of disease emergencies. This service has been used operationally by members of the DEFRA Network including the Animal Health agency, the Central Science Laboratory, Pesticide Safety Directorate and the RADAR veterinary surveillance team.
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