Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 February 2008]: Scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea in 2004, and subsequent advice to DEFRA from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, suggests that the bass stock is fished sustainably. With a view to providing additional protection for stocks of bass, I announced last year a review of bass nursery areas and inshore netting restrictions, for the benefit of both inshore recreational and commercial bass fishing. I am also currently consulting on a draft recreational sea angling strategy which considers a package of measures for the development of recreational sea fishing. The consultation closes on 31 March.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) state of the inshore bass fishing industry and (b) availability of large mature adult bass. 
[holding answer 25 February 2008]: The most recent advice on bass from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea was produced in 2004. This was based on analytical assessments of UK
inshore bass stocks and concluded that bass stocks appear to be fished sustainably. Updated assessments have been carried out on behalf of DEFRA by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in 2006 and 2008. These confirm the earlier assessment and indicate that levels of bass landings by the commercial fishing industry (including the inshore sector) reflect the increase in stock abundance since the mid 1990s.
Bass are fully mature at eight years and older. Although stock assessments by CEFAS indicate that adult bass are more abundant than historically, large adult bass tend to be less available inshore, where smaller younger bass are more prevalent.
Ms Angela C. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how birds issued with Transaction Specific certificates under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species regulations may be traced for DNA testing once they have been sold to another birdkeeper. 
Under most circumstances, there is no requirement for bird keepers to notify Animal Health if they sell CITES-listed birds, providing that they possess a valid sales certificate. If there is a need to trace specific species or specimens because of conservation fears, then the UK CITES management authority can apply a condition to any certificate which stipulates the seller must inform the management authority of any sale and who the specimen is sold to. This condition could not be applied retrospectively and could only apply to birds certificated from that date forward, not to birds already provided with certificates.
It would, however, be an abuse of the powers contained in the EU regulations to apply such conditions in a blanket fashion and we would need to be able to prove from a conservation viewpoint that such additional conditions were fair and reasonable.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on ensuring greater competition in the dairy industry whilst protecting farm incomes. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by Senior Civil Service staff in his Department and its agencies in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
Jonathan Shaw: A total of £229,702.30, including VAT, was paid to senior civil service staff in DEFRA and its agencies, in respect of reimbursable expense claims for the 12 month period to 31 December 2007.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the UK heating industry about the proposals for heating and hot water products contained in the Ecodesign of Energy-using Products Directive. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 25 February 2008]: DEFRA Ministers have received representations from a number of trade associations and companies in the boiler and water heater supply chains highlighting their concerns with the proposed Energy-using Products Directive.
My officials have also held a range of meetings with members of the industry to present the Commission proposals and to discuss their concerns on the implications for the UK industry. The Commission is currently analysing responses from the industry on its proposals.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the European Fisheries Fund Operational Programme was not developed between October and December 2006 as planned; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent changes he has made to the licensing scheme arrangements for the 10 metre and under fleet; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations he has held on changing the licensing scheme arrangements for the 10 metre and under fleet; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: I have held no consultations on changing the licensing arrangements for the 10 m and under fleet. However, I have recently written to 10 m and under vessel licence holders informing them that I plan to consult them later this year on possible changes to the current licensing system.
Jonathan Shaw: The aim of these groups is to gather the views and opinions of a wide range of interested groups involved in the inshore fishing industry around the coast of England and Wales. As such, there is no set membership for each group. They are currently being set up by the district inspectors of the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA). Once established, it is intended that the details of the meetings held, those that attended and notes of the issues discussed at each meeting will be made available through the MFA website.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the Quota Management Change Programme formal consultation paper was not published between January and March 2007 as planned; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the European Fisheries Fund can be used to decommission fishing vessels; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: I am currently considering the possibility of running a limited decommissioning scheme targeted at those under 10 m vessels that catch at, or close to, the monthly catch limits set by the Marine and Fisheries Agency.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy was on fishing vessel decommissioning in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Departmental policy on fishing vessel decommissioning in the years 2006 to 2008 has been that general decommissioning schemes are not the most effective, nor the fairest way of reducing fleet capacity. Specifically, they do not encourage fishermen to make long-term business decisions, or provide value for money.
However, smaller targeted schemes can work when linked with other management measures. For example, the 2007 scheme for South-West beam trawlers was linked to the agreement of a long-term management plan for Western Channel sole.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to treat fly-tipping on private land in the same way as that which occurs on public land. 
Joan Ruddock: Where there is refuse or fly-tipping on public land, then the relevant local authority has a duty to clear it and bear the cost of removal. However, neither the local authority nor the Environment Agency are under any legal obligation to assist with the removal of illegally dumped waste from privately owned land.
Some authorities are ready to work with landowners to investigate and prosecute repeated incidents of fly-tipping and to tackle specific problems or issues. However, to place a duty on the authorities and the Environment Agency to remove waste from private land would create a fly-tippers' charter. This would encourage illegal dumping rather than tackle the problem. Moreover, such a duty would place significant additional burdens on local authorities and the Environment Agency.
Among recent measures that have been introduced, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 gave courts the power to make an order against anyone convicted of the main offence of illegal waste disposal to pay for costs incurred by a landowner in removing waste that has been illegally deposited.
DEFRA also sits on the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group which identifies better ways of preventing and tackling fly-tipping on private land by working closely with organisations like the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association, Network Rail and the National Trust. It has also issued guidance to landowners on how to deal with this problem.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much refuse-derived fuel was imported into the United Kingdom from each country in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 21 February 2008]: In the last five years, England and Wales have only given their permission to import refuse derived fuel in 2006 and 2007. The following table gives details of those imports. In all cases, the waste was imported for use as a fuel, (a recovery operation).
|Amount imported (tonnes)
|Country of origin
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many licences were (a) granted, (b) refused and (c) revoked by the Gangmaster Licensing Authority in each year since 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) started issuing licences to gangmasters in April 2006. The number of licenses granted, refused and revoked in the last two financial years is as follows:
|(1) To 22 February 2008.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Welsh Assembly Government on the inclusion of mechanisms to enforce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the Climate Change Bill. 
Mr. Woolas: In accordance with the general principles set out in the overarching Memorandum of Understanding between Devolved Administrations, the UK Government have consulted the Welsh Assembly Government from an early stage in the development of legislative proposals in the Climate Change Bill.