|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were prosecuted for fly-tipping in the London borough of Enfield in each of the last five years. 
I have arranged for a table to be placed in the Library of the House showing the number of fly-tipping incidents and prosecutions recorded in each local authority by local authorities on Flycapture for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the relationship between biofuels and rising food prices; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government are concerned about the effect of rising food prices. Although not the main cause, the demand for biofuels is a contributing factor. Other factors include adverse weather conditions affecting recent harvests, the increasing demand for meat and hence for animal feed in developing countries, trade restrictions imposed by Governments on exports and higher production costs, such as a rise in fertiliser prices.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his officials last raised with the European Commission the ban on the import of UK thoroughbred bloodstock by the Indian Government. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has raised the issue of the ban on the export of breeding horses to India with the European Commission (and others) several times over many years, most recently in March this year. We will continue to do so as we and the Commission is very keen to resolve this long-standing issue in line with international protocol (World Animal Health Organisation) for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM). The Commission has recently urged the Indian authorities to accept our invitation to visit the UK to see our CEM controls but the Indians have not so far taken up the offer. The Indian ban affects all countries in which CEM has occurred in the past three years, which includes other member states.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty from the effects of aircraft noise pollution. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has no formal role to play in how airspace is utilised. The Civil Aviation Authority is charged with scrutinising airspace change proposals and reaching a decision on them, balancing all the competing interests. I understand that Department for Transport guidance requires the Civil Aviation Authority to be rigorous in identifying and reviewing all significant environmental effects of airspace changes, and to notify the Secretary of State for Transport should an airspace change have a significant detrimental effect on the environment.
However, I recently asked my officials to write to the Civil Aviation Authority to remind it of its duty to have regard to the purposes of the National Parks under the provisions of section 11A(2) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, and the purpose of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty under the provisions of section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Following advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the water vole, short-snouted seahorse, spiny seahorse, roman snail and angel shark have now been given enhanced protection in England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
On 28 August 2007, I announced a new UK list of priority species and habitats (containing 1,149 species), which provides a focus for conservation action over the next decade and will be used to inform statutory lists under legislation in each of the countries of the UK.
On the wider international stage, at the 2007 Conference of Parties to the convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES), the UK fully supported the increased protection of a range of species affected by international trade including the slow loris, the European eel and brazilwood. During 2007-08, DEFRA provided funding of around £1 million towards the operation of CITES and other major conventions, most notably the convention on biological diversity (CBD) including targeted funding for specific projects to protect and conserve albatrosses and petrels, migratory sharks, African elephants, Indian ocean marine turtles and tigers. In addition,
DEFRA provided £75,000 for the Flagship Species Fund, which included projects on endangered sea turtles, primates and conifers.
Mr. Woolas: Ofwats expenditure is entirely funded through licence fees paid by appointed and licensed water companies in England and Wales. The fees recovered in 2007-08 came to a total of £12.4 million.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to encourage (a) supermarket shoppers to re-use plastic bags and (b) supermarkets to use less packaging; and if he will introduce schemes encouraging supermarkets to provide fewer plastic bags to shoppers. 
The UK retail sector set itself a shared objective with the Government and the Waste and Resources Action programme (WRAP) to reduce the environmental impact of carrier bags by 25 per cent. by the end of 2008.
The Prime Minister announced on 19 November 2007 that we needed to go furtherto eliminate single-use carrier bags altogether in favour of long-lasting and more sustainable alternatives. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget on 12 March that we will introduce legislation to impose a charge on single-use carrier bags in 2009 if we have not seen sufficient progress on a voluntary basis.
The management of packaging and packaging waste is covered by two sets of regulations in the UK: the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 and the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended). The aim of both sets of regulations is to minimise the amount of packaging used in the first place, and therefore reduce packaging waste. An additional objective of the regulations is to encourage reuse of packaging and increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.
My Department continues to encourage supermarkets to take greater responsibility for the waste they place on the market and to encourage producers to reduce their waste. Apart from the two sets of packaging regulations described above, WRAP is currently working with retailers through the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement which aimed to halt packaging growth by March this year and make absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of local authorities
charging for pest control services at the latest date for which figures are available according to estimates of (a) his Department and (b) the Audit Commission. 
Joan Ruddock: DEFRA holds no information on either the number or proportion of local authorities which charge for pest control services. It is for local authorities to decide on the most appropriate pest control programme in their own area, whilst having regard to their duties for controlling rats and mice under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what statistics his Department collects on (a) the size of the rodent population and (b) incidences of vermin infestation in England. 
Joan Ruddock: DEFRA does not collect statistics on the size of rodent populations. DEFRA will shortly be publishing an interim report on rodent presence in domestic properties as revealed by the English House Condition Survey data for 2002-03 and 2003-04. Key findings are that the occurrences of rats inside and outside properties in these years are not significantly different from those observed in 2001.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of plastic bags used (a) by supermarket shoppers in the last 12 months and (b) in England in the last 10 years. 
Joan Ruddock: The Waste and Resources Action programme (WRAP) estimates that over 13 billion carrier bags are distributed in the UK each year. Of these, the supermarket signatories to the WRAP's voluntary agreement on carrier bags accounted for 12.7 billion bags in 2006 and 11.6 billion in 2007, of which 89 per cent. were plastic in 2006 and 80 per cent. were plastic in 2007.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he last discussed the seal hunt in Canada with the Canadian Government; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The last meeting with the Canadian Government at ministerial level took place on 28 March 2007 when Ian McCartney, the then joint Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), together with officials from DTI, FCO and DEFRA, met with a delegation from Canada to discuss the seal hunt.
More recently, officials from my Department, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory
Reform (BERR) and FCO, met with a delegation from Canada on 31 March this year to discuss the Canadian seal hunt.
I also wrote to the Canadian High Commissioner on 22 April agreeing to a meeting with me, or Ministerial colleagues at BERR or FCO, once the EU-commissioned report on the impact of any regulatory or other EU-wide measures in response to seal hunting has been published.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the compulsory use of electronic identification for sheep; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: EC Council Regulation 21/2004 provides for the mandatory introduction of electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats from 31 December 2009 for member states with flocks above a certain threshold number. In the UK only sheep will have to be electronically identified. We will be working in partnership with industry over the coming months to discuss how we can implement EID in a way which is practical and which the industry can make work.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on the use of CCTV footage to monitor waste disposal. 
In addition, I can advise that local authorities are responsible for planning and monitoring their CCTV systems and that there has been no guidance issued by my Department on their use at municipal waste facilities or to monitor recycling.
My Department has recently announced that it has awarded PFI credits to four projects across England to improve local waste management. The projects will help local authorities deliver carbon benefits and divert over a million tonnes of waste from landfill. Each of the four projects will support the local authoritys waste ambitions. All aim to reduce the overall amount of waste created, and it is anticipated they all will deliver a minimum of a 50 per cent. recycling rate by 2020, with some aspiring to reach 60 per cent.
My Department is also consulting on draft regulations and draft guidance for proposals for
establishing joint waste authorities in England. The consultation outlines that neighbouring local authorities, working together, can deliver better integrated and cost-effective waste services.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which is partly funded by the Government, continues to support local authorities in their work to deliver better recycling services and more waste reduction.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how long on average it took for a successful applicant for the Women's Land Army Award to receive their badge in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: There have been over 28,000 applications for the Women's Land Army and Timber Corps badge. The badges are currently being manufactured and it is anticipated that they will be distributed to all applicants towards the end of June 2008.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications his Department had received for the Womens Land Army Award at the latest date for which figures are available; how many of those applications had been acknowledged; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: We have received approximately 28,200 applications for the Womens Land Army and Timber Corps badge. Completed application forms have not been acknowledged due to the high volumes received. However, all other written correspondence, approximately 3,000 pieces, has been acknowledged.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 10 September 2007, Official Report, column 1969W, on council tax: valuation, if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreement between the Valuation Office Agency and the IDeA in relation to Valuebill, redacting any commercially confidential elements. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the Gate 4 review of the valuations project undertaken in relation to the Valuation Office Agencys planned council tax revaluation in England. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|