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Sea Fishing

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to introduce inshore netting restrictions for the UK’s recreational sea fisheries. [189946]

Jonathan Shaw: Last year I announced a review of bass nursery areas and inshore netting restrictions, for the benefit of both inshore recreational and commercial fishing. The next step will be to engage with stakeholders to agree how and when to take forward this work collaboratively this year. 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.

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Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the size of the UK seal population is; and what assessment he has made of risks to that population. [191283]

Jonathan Shaw: Seal conservation is a devolved issue. The most recent estimates of seal populations in Great Britain are between 50,000 and 60,000 for common seals and between 107,000 and 171,000 for grey seals. Of these, 85 per cent. of common seals and 90 per cent. of grey seals occur in Scotland.

The most significant threat to the common seal population was posed by the outbreaks of Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) in 1988 and 2002. This greatly reduced the common seal population on the east coast of England.

Under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, the Natural Environment Research Council has a duty to provide the Government with scientific advice on matters related to the management of seal populations. Such advice is provided annually and the latest report, for 2007, can be found on the Sea Mammals Research Unit website.

Seas and Oceans: EU Action

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he and his predecessors had with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the likely impact of the (a) proposed European Constitution and (b) Lisbon Treaty on (i) fisheries, (ii) the marine environment and (iii) marine biological resources; and if he will make a statement. [190469]

Jonathan Shaw: Since the new provisions are designed only to confirm existing Community powers as they relate to the common fisheries policy, I have not seen the need to undertake any substantive discussions with colleagues in other Government Departments. Experience in areas already subject to co-decision has shown that proposals can be improved. The additional scrutiny and debate in the European Parliament will offer new opportunities for the UK and other member states to secure better regulation. We have a lot of experience of dealing with the European Parliament and we will certainly draw on this—and our good reputation—when it comes to engaging with them on fisheries. But this will not apply to all aspects of the CFP, in particular the setting of annual catch limits, which will continue to remain the exclusive preserve of the Commission and member states acting in concert.


Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work is being undertaken to map the underground water drainage network. [190415]

Mr. Woolas: The 10 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales have a statutory duty to keep records of the location of every public sewer, lateral drain or disposal main which is vested in them. They
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must also keep a record of the location of those that are subject to a declaration of vesting and those where an agreement to make such a declaration has been made.

There is no requirement to keep, and no comprehensive record exists of, the location of private sewers or drains. In March 2007, the Government published a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) to accompany the announcement of its decision to proceed with the transfer of private sewers and drains in England and Wales into the ownership of the water and sewerage companies. The RIA recorded that the unpublished 2002 UK Water Industry Research report, ‘The Real Cost of Taking Over Private Sewers and Drains’, estimated that a mapping exercise for private sewers would cost £118 million.

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many responses he received to his consultation on the adoption of private sewers; if he will publish summaries of those responses; and what steps he now plans to take. [191408]

Mr. Woolas: A total of 119 individual responses to the consultation were received. In addition, 68 letters were received from franchisees in support of a national drainage contractor’s response and 26 identical letters in support of one from a residents’ spokesperson.

I will ask officials to inform the hon. Member when the full breakdown of responses has been made available on the DEFRA website.

DEFRA officials are currently working with a stakeholder steering group on the practical aspects of implementation. This is necessary before preparing any draft regulations which would put transfer in place. The Government will consult on these regulations before presenting them to Parliament for approval.

Sustainable Development: Products

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the energy-using products framework directive does not distort the market for such products. [190106]

Joan Ruddock: The Government’s Market Transformation Programme is currently assessing the full range of possible impacts of implementation of the energy-using products directive, based on the Commission’s current proposals.

DEFRA officials have invited key stakeholders, including members of the boiler and water heater industry, to discuss implementation of the energy- using products directive and raise any concerns on implications for the UK. The Commission is currently analysing responses from the industry and the alternative proposals it has put forward.

DEFRA officials have also attended meetings with the European Trade Associations in order to learn more about the issues the boiler and heating industry face across Europe.

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Waste Disposal: Small Businesses

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the proportion of the total waste stream attributable to small and medium-sized enterprises in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [191241]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 3 March 2008]: DEFRA does not hold data on the proportion of the waste stream attributable to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The most recent survey on industrial and commercial waste was carried out in 2002-03 by the Environment Agency. Information was collected from approximately 4,500 businesses and included the type, quantity and form of the waste, as well as the disposal or recovery method used. Data collection was limited to controlled waste and related to England only. Results for commercial waste from this survey show an estimated total tonnage of nearly 68 million tonnes. An unpublished analysis of the size of enterprise shows that, where employee size was known, around 15 per cent. of commercial waste was produced by those with fewer than 10 employees and around 37 per cent. was produced by enterprises with 10 or more, but fewer than 100 employees.

Further information is available, broken down by region, from the Environment Agency’s website.

White Fish: Conservation

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will introduce measures to protect spawning bass. [189947]

Jonathan Shaw: 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. I currently have no plans to introduce measures to protect spawning congregations of bass. However, 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.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour: Shopping Centres

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government has taken to tackle antisocial behaviour in shopping precincts since 1997. [190535]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 29 February 2008]: While we have not taken any specific steps to tackle antisocial behaviour in shopping precincts, we have provided practitioners with a toolkit to tackle antisocial behaviour, which they operate according to local priorities, and a practitioner website and advice
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line. The case studies and advice provided help tackle antisocial behaviour in a number of settings, including shopping precincts.


Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers were removed from the UK (a) in total and (b) at port in each of the last five years. [178728]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 4 February 2008]: Published figures are available in “Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom”.

Copies of this publication and others relating to immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office research, development and statistics directorate website at:


Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of closed circuit television cameras in each region of England and Wales. [189675]

Mr. Coaker: No data on the number of CCTV cameras operating on a local or on a national level is centrally held by the Home Office.


Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change there has been in (a) crime and (b) detection rates in (i) each category of offence and (ii) overall in each basic command unit in the last (A) year and (B) five years for which figures are available. [186312]

Mr. Coaker: The available information is given in the tables placed in the House Library. Data from 2002-03 has been used in the calculations rather than using data from five years ago (i.e. 2001-02). This is because data for 2001-02 is not directly comparable with that for later years.

Some forces have re-structured their basic command units which has resulted in many comparisons not being possible.

It should be noted that non-sanction detections that contribute to the percentage change in detection rates have fallen in recent years reflecting a significant shift by many police forces away from recording detections of crime where no further action is taken. For this reason overall detections rates over time are not fully comparable. From 1 April 2007 the rules governing recording of non-sanction detections were revised to reduce the scope within which they can be claimed to a very limited set of circumstances.

Crime Prevention: Schools

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government plans to take to tackle criminal activities at or near school entrances in Coventry. [180718]

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Mr. Coaker: The Government are committed to improving the life chances of children and young people, by having fewer young people affected by crime and reduce youth victimisation.

There is already a great deal of work going on across Government to tackle offenders and help vulnerable young people achieve the Every Child Matters outcome to ‘Stay Safe’. Initiatives include Safer School Partnerships, Youth Inclusion Support Panels and the Youth Inclusion Programme and since 2004, we have invested over £45 million in youth offending teams which have pioneered antisocial behaviour prevention activities for young people at most risk.

Safer Schools Partnerships (SSPs) were launched in 2002 in England and Wales and they help tackle criminal activity at or near school entrances. SSPs are a successful mechanism for ensuring joint working between schools and police, to identify and support children and young people regarded as being at high risk of victimisation, offending and social exclusion. There are now about 500 SSPs of one form or another. Evaluations have shown that they are proving effective in improving behaviour and attendance, developing strong and positive relationships between the police and young people, and to help young people develop a sense of being part of the local community.

Reports from front-line staff suggest that the introduction of school-based officers under SSP have gone some way to improve the overall safety of the schools in Coventry and the wider community. One school has suggested that crime fell between 70-80 per cent. since the introduction of these measures.

There is also a local scheme (Operation Rhyme) encouraging schools to stagger the end of school days in an effort to minimise potential problems between pupils. The school entrances are patrolled by uniformed police officers with the assistance of police community support officers.

The use of metal search archways and the use of a police dog have also been used as a deterrent in some Coventry schools. This has been at the consent of the schools involved as well as the pupils and parents. Local police officers involved in the scheme say it has lead to a greater well-being and safer school environment.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department has taken to work with schools to reduce crime on school premises since 1997. [180719]

Mr. Coaker: The main initiative to tackle crime on school premises in the last 10 years has been the Safer School Partnerships (SSPs).

SSPs are a successful mechanism for ensuring structured joint working between schools and police. Evaluations have shown they are proving effective in improving behaviour and attendance, with truancy falling significantly and pupils and staff feeling much safer. Originally launched in areas targeted by the Street Crime Initiative in 2002, there are now over 500 SSPs in one form or another across the country.

Because of the proven success of SSPs, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has been working closely with the Home Office, the Association
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of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to encourage more schools and police to engage in this type of early intervention and preventative work which is so vital to achieving the outcomes we are all committed to.

DCSF also announced, in October 2006, that schools had a power randomly to screen pupils using metal detectors in arches or hand-held wands. The use of screening arches in schools and other places was introduced in May 2007 by the Government and brought in force a new power for schools to search without consent, pupils suspected of carrying a weapon.

The great majority of schools don’t have a problem with knife crime. Nevertheless, in a very small number of schools it may be necessary, at the discretion of the school and working with the police, to search pupils. The Government introduced in May last year new measures to enable the searching of weapons by teaching staff to ensure schools continue to be safe and secure places to learn. The use of search arches—in schools and other places—is currently being considered by the Government as part of a range of measures to tackle knife crime, which will be featured in the Violent Crime Action Plan to be published in February.

The Government have also launched various wider initiatives which contribute to reducing crime in schools.

Since 2004, it has invested over £45 million in youth crime prevention funding to youth offending teams which have pioneered crime prevention activities for young people at most risk. Their work includes:

The Home Office has invested in other prevention programmes such as Positive Futures. Around 22,000 young people are currently involved in Positive Futures projects nationwide.

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