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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will set up the Rural Housing Challenge Fund through the Housing Corporation to build public housing in rural areas of South West England; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing £8.4 billion over the three-year period 2008-11 for affordable housing. This underlines the Governments commitment to tackling difficulties faced by those unable to afford a home. Regional allocations reflect the advice of the regional assemblies (and the Mayor of London) on priorities for their areas.
In the South West, a budget of £241 million has been allocated for 2008-09, an increase of 25 per cent. on the 2007-08 budget. This includes funding for local authority Decent Homes and private sector renewal in urban and rural areas. How much of this is spent on housing in rural communities is determined by the regional assembly, in consultation with local authorities, with ministerial agreement.
As part of its preparations for the comprehensive spending review (CSR) during the summer of 2007, DEFRA asked the Housing Corporation to provide advice on the feasibility of a potential revenue funding programme to support improvements in local capacity and delivery of affordable housing across rural England. That advice will be carefully considered in decisions about departmental spending priorities over the CSR period. No decisions about the fund have yet been made. We are currently finalising the Departments overall funding package and an announcement will be made shortly.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what role the Marine Management Organisation will have in delivering Government commitments on (a) the ecosystem approach, (b) sustainable development and (c) the protection of biodiversity in the marine environment; 
Jonathan Shaw: The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will be operating under the marine policy statement which will set out our commitment on a range of marine policies. The importance of the ecosystem approach and ensuring sustainable development will be an integral part of this policy statement.
With regard to the protection of biodiversity in the marine environment, the MMO will be subject to the duty contained in section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, to have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of its functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity. In addition, we are proposing that the MMO be responsible for making byelaws to protect marine conservation zones from potentially damaging activities.
The Marine Management Organisation will act as a champion for the integrated management of our seas, contributing to sustainable development by bringing together the delivery of many of the marine functions of the UK Government. The draft Marine Bill will reflect this, and objectives will be set in advance of the new organisation being formed, but we will not be setting out our objectives for the Marine Management Organisation in advance of the publication.
The exact timing of the development of the policy statement will depend on the passage of the Marine Bill. However, we are aiming to put the statement in place as soon as possible so that we can provide a clear policy direction to the MMO.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers will be included in the draft Marine Bill for the Marine Management Organisation to reject plans for offshore wind farms producing over 100MW on the grounds of a negative environmental impact. 
All consignments of meat from other EU member states must have been produced in accordance with the harmonised Community rules laid down in European Community legislation. Among other things, this legislation sets out the licensing,
structural and veterinary supervision requirements to be applied in production plants. The meat has to come from animals that have been subjected to anti- and post-mortem inspection to ensure they are healthy.
(i) come from approved third countries;
(ii) be accompanied by appropriate animal and public health certification; and
(iii) must come from EU approved plants in the exporting country.
|Pigs in breeding herd|
Pig breeding herd is sows and gilts in pig and suckled or dry sows for further breeding. Source:
June Agricultural Survey
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the number of communication and press staff listed as working for the Rural Payments Agency in the Central Office of Information's White Book differs from the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 280W, on the Rural Payments Agency. 
The RPA communications team, of which the press office forms part, is also responsible for a wide range of other communications functions. These include publications, advertising, internal communication and web management. All these staff are listed in the RPA's entry in the White Book.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 January 2008]: DEFRA's latest revised generic Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases, including classical swine fever, was laid before Parliament on 10 December 2007. The plan is amended annually (as required under the Animal Health Act 2002) and covers arrangements for dealing with a range of exotic animal diseases.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which local authorities have now ceased weekly collections of residual household rubbish according to records held by (a) his Department and (b) Waste and Resources Action Programme across the United Kingdom; 
(2) which local authorities in the United Kingdom have alternate weekly collections of household rubbish according to records held by (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme; and on what date the alternate weekly collection was introduced in each case; 
(3) which local authorities are undertaking pilot schemes in relation to introducing alternate weekly collections of household rubbish according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme records. 
Joan Ruddock: The Waste and Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) most recent list of local authorities providing an alternate weekly collection (AWC) service is shown in the following list. Most local authorities have weekly collections, alternating collection servicesone week for recyclables, one week for residual wastebut a number of scheme types exist and this includes cases where recyclables are collected every week. This list represents WRAP's best understanding at present of local authorities operating or implementing such schemes.
Alnwick District Council
Ashfleld District Council
Aylesbury Vale District Council(2)
Babergh District Council
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Bassetlaw District Council
Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council
Blackpool Borough Council
Blyth Valley Borough Council
Boston Borough Council
Braintree District Council
Breckland District Council
Bridgnorth District Council
Bristol City Council
Broadland District Council
Bromsgrove District Council
Broxtowe Borough Council
Burnley Borough Council
Cambridge City Council
Cannock Chase District Council
Canterbury City Council
Carlisle City Council
Castle Morpeth Borough Council
Charnwood Borough Council
Cherwell District Council
Chesterfield Borough Council
Chichester District Council
Chiltern District Council
Chorley Borough Council
Copeland Borough Council
Corby Borough Council
Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council
Dacorum Borough Council
Daventry District Council
Derby City Council
Derwentside District Council
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
East Hampshire District Council
East Lindsey District Council
Eastleigh Borough Council
Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council
Epping Borough Council
Erewash Borough Council
Exeter City Council
Fenland District Council
Forest Heath District Council
Fylde Borough Council
Gedling Borough Council
Gosport Borough Council
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Hambleton District Council
Harborough District Council
Hartlepool Borough Council
Havant Borough Council
Hertsmere Borough Council
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
High Peak Borough Council
Huntingdonshire District Council
Hyndburn Borough Council
Ipswich Borough Council
Kennet District Council
Kettering Borough Council
Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council
Lancaster City Council
Lichfield District Council
Lincoln City Council
London Borough of Harrow
Macclesfield Borough Council
Mansfield District Council
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