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In July 2007, Wightlink applied to the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) for a licence to undertake modification works to piles, fendering and linkspan bridges comprising parts of the ferry terminals at both Lymington and Yarmouth. The MFA's controls under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) and the Coast Protection
Act 1994 (CPA) only apply to the works proposed seawards of Mean High Water Spring Tide line (i.e. only including the foreshore).
In progressing the FEPA and CPA applications, the MFA is working with these regulators to address the need for more environmental data. The MFA have taken the view that the intended works should be subject to Appropriate Assessment' in compliance with the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994, which should also have regard to the potential effects on nature conservation that may arise from the operation of the proposed larger ferry vessels.
A meeting was convened in January with the other regulators and Natural England to clarify what statutory responsibilities applied to the various elements of the project and how their possible effects were to be assessed. A subsequent meeting was held with Wightlink, primarily to discuss what additional data regulators and their advisers considered necessary.
Wightlink also met separately with Natural England to clarify what further information would be needed to support an appropriate assessment, and they have commissioned marine consultants to prepare a report that will be submitted to each of the regulators. Lymington Harbour Commissioners have also set in train arrangements to monitor the hydrodynamic effects of the existing ferries as basis for considering any constraints that may be necessary, for health and safety reasons, to the operation of the new vessels.
In determining their respective applications, regulators will individually and jointly, make an assessment of the additional data in so far as it applies to their responsibilities. This will enable them to determine the extent of any adverse risk to protected conservation sites, whether any mitigation is required and, if so, how this can be ensured.
As the consultation process raised no concerns in respect of only those elements of the works proposed at Yarmouth, Wightlink made a further application to the MFA earlier this month in respect of those works. This application has been determined and a FEPA Licence and CPA consent were granted on 21 February.
Ms Angela C. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many convictions there have been for offences involving wild-taken peregrine falcons since 1981; and what effect the introduction of DNA testing of birds in 1992 has had on the number of such offences. 
Joan Ruddock: Records of offences and convictions do not distinguish between species. DNA testing techniques have provided a useful additional investigative tool for wildlife law enforcers, but it is not possible to measure their effect on the number of such offences.
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households have had roof and wall installations under the Warm Zone scheme in (a) Stockton South, (b) Teesside and (c) the North East. 
|Households fitted with cavity wall insulation under the warm front scheme||Households fitted with loft insulation under the warm front scheme|
|(1) Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, Redcar, Stockton North and Stockton South.|
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the costs incurred by small businesses as a consequence of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations. 
A full regulatory impact assessment was published alongside the UK WEEE regulations. There are no derogations for small businesses to be excluded from the scope of the WEEE directive. The UK WEEE regulations ensure that small businesses are not disproportionately affected and both the registration fees for producers and distributors are scaled according to company size.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the WRAP SME recycling programme on increasing the rate of recycling waste since it was established; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: The aim of WRAPs SME recycling programme was, through a series of trials, to increase and improve recycling services for small to medium enterprises. These businesses can find it difficult to access appropriate recycling services for the waste they generate for a variety of reasons; for instance, because they lack the internal resources needed to establish and manage a recycling scheme, and because individual SMEs generate relatively small quantities of waste.
WRAPs programme has involved a range of feasibility and demonstration trials to develop appropriate recycling services, charging mechanisms, sales and marketing approaches and advice on staff involvement in recycling. The overall aim was to make recycling at work easy, convenient and cost-effective. A number of deliverables were measured for these trials,
related to developing economic models for collection and good practice guidance for recycling service providers.
WRAPs activities formed a research, rather than a delivery programme. Therefore, impact in tonnage terms was not the primary purpose. Early figures indicate that over 3,000 SMEs were recruited to recycling services. However, it is important to recognise that the key performance indicators for this programme revolved around information relating to how businesses could be recruited to recycling, what systems worked for them, what charging regimes could be employed and what collection frequencies are appropriate to make recycling more attractive to SMEs. The findings from the trials will be made available through Good Practice Guidance and Executive Summaries. These will be available on WRAPs website. The programme will be subject to a full evaluation at the end of this financial year, and the results will be published in WRAPs next annual review.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have taken place with RTE on the effect on listeners in Northern Ireland of the removal of FM radio band from the end of March 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: The decision to switch off medium wave transmission of RTE Radio 1 is a matter for RTE and the Irish broadcasting authorities. I understand that RTE Radio 1 will remain available to listeners in Northern Ireland on FM and Long Wave (LW) bands and also on a variety of other platforms such as satellite television and the internet.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much time the Police Service of Northern Ireland spent on work to tackle the illegal production and distribution of cannabis in each of the last two years. 
|To 31 December||Lost||Stolen|
Mr. Woodward: The total statutory sick pay (SSP) paid to employees in 2006-07 was £168,478, however SSP covers only a small proportion of the cost of sickness absence, as the Department also has an occupational sickness pay scheme, the costs of which cannot be isolated out from the overall payroll costs.
We receive a statistical analysis based on average salaries, grade, and days lost, which estimated the cost to the Department for 2006-07 at £1.7 million. This figure excludes the NI Prison Service and the Department's NDPBs.
The Northern Ireland Office takes the management of sickness absence very seriously and has robust policies and procedures in place to deal with inefficiency which results from poor attendance. The health and safety of everyone in the Department is of paramount importance; we have a duty of care to help prevent staff becoming ill and to support them when they are.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on travel (a) within and (b) outside the UK for officials in each of the last 10 years; and what percentage of his Departments overall expenditure was spent on such travel in each such year. 
These figures are based on calendar year rather than financial year and cannot therefore be compared with the figures shown in the travel budgets. The following table shows the overseas travel costs from April 2004 to December 2007:
|Total costs (£)|
Expenditure for travel in the NIO is held for the current financial year to date plus the previous five financial years. The following table provides details of the NIOs total travel expenditure (excluding agencies and NDPBs) and compares this against the total departmental expenditure (excluding agencies and NDPBs) in each year since 2002-03:
|Total travel expenditure (£)||Percentage of travel expenditure against departmental expenditure|
Mr. Jeremy Browne:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many overseas visits by officials
in his Department took place in each of the last 10 years; which countries were visited; and how much was spent on such visits in each such year. 
My Department has recorded the cost of overseas travel by air and rail from April 2004 to December 2007. The countries visited include the USA, Republic of Ireland and other European countries. This information is set out in the following table.
|Total costs (£)|
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