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Sea Mammal Research Unit: Finance

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding he provides to the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at St. Andrews University; what proportion of the work carried out by the SMRU relates to whaling; and if he will make a statement. [203999]

Jonathan Shaw: Defra has committed £35,555 for the period 2008-09 for the research project entitled “Conservation of whales and the management of whaling”. The project is being taken forward by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU).

This project forms the basis for UK representation on the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee. Its overall aim is to provide independent scientific advice to Defra and the IWC, through its
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Scientific Committee, on matters related to the conservation of large and small cetacean populations and the management of whaling and other human-induced mortality, thus informing policy. The results are intended for Defra, the IWC and the wider scientific community.

The work which comprises this project will enable the scientific interests of the IWC to be pursued by: assisting the IWC Scientific Committee to provide the best possible advice to the Commission; providing scientific advice to Defra on IWC-related matters; summarising UK cetacean research in the annual National Progress Report to the IWC; and ensuring a high standard of publications in the IWC Journal of Cetacean Research and Management.

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the percentage of UK waters that would need to be turned into no-take marine reserves to (a) preserve biodiversity within the UK's marine environment and (b) help fish stocks recover from over-fishing. [203993]

Jonathan Shaw: Our objective is to designate an ecologically coherent network of well-managed marine protected areas by 2012. Various figures have been suggested for the proportion of our seas that might need to be protected to achieve that aim. These figures have been based on a range of assumptions and criteria. They have also been produced without the benefit of the detailed work which we have asked the statutory nature conservation agencies to undertake with stakeholders. At this stage, and without the detailed work having been carried out, we think it would be wrong to set a fixed target for the proportion of the sea which needs to be protected in order to achieve our conservation objectives.

Seas and Oceans: EU Law

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how he plans to comply with the UK’s mandatory obligations in relation to the marine environment under the EU Habitats Directive. [203967]

Jonathan Shaw: The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (“The Habitats Regulations”) transpose council directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (EC habitats directive) into national law. The Habitats Regulations apply as far as the limit of territorial waters (12 nautical miles from baseline) and allow the UK to meet its mandatory obligations under the habitats directive in this area.

DEFRA introduced the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations in 2007 to comply with the UK’s mandatory obligations under both the EU habitats and wild birds directives beyond UK territorial waters.

Tobacco: EU Grants and Loans

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid in 2007 by the EU to subsidise tobacco production in member states. [203894]

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Jonathan Shaw: The EU expenditure for tobacco premiums in 2007 was €335.5 million.

UK Emissions Trading Scheme

Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate has been made of the level of funds likely to be generated by the auctioning of allowances under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme in each year from 2008 to 2012; and how the funds will be disbursed. [199307]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 21 April 2008]: The UK is a participant in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, where it will auction 7 per cent. of its total allowances in Phase II (2008-12), amounting to approximately 85 million allowances. Revenues from auctions will depend on market conditions at the time of auction. The Government do not make price predictions and has not therefore made an estimate of likely auction revenues. Revenues from auctions will go to the Consolidated Fund.

Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations have been made to his Department on (a) charges for the collection of household waste and (b) regulations regarding powers to fine in relation to household waste offences, by police forces, police authorities or those representing them. [204503]

Joan Ruddock: No such representations have been received.

Waste Management

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance has been issued to waste collection authorities by (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme on (a) closed lid and (b) no-side waste collections. [204500]

Joan Ruddock: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14 January 2008, Official Report, column 869W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for the introduction and commencement of joint waste authorities. [204502]

Joan Ruddock: Powers to create joint waste authorities (JWA) commenced on 27 March 2008 under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional, Saving and Transitory Provision) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 2008/917).

Secondary legislation is required to establish the application details for becoming a JWA. This is currently subject to a consultation, available on DEFRA’s website, with a closing date of 9 June. After the consultation has been completed, we expect that the regulations will be laid in Parliament and finalised during autumn/winter 2008.

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Waste Management: Recycling

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of likely trends in the numbers of waste collection authorities operating commingled collections. [205014]

Joan Ruddock: DEFRA has made no assessment of the future use of different recycling collection services. Decisions on local waste collection and recycling services are rightly for individual local authorities to make in close consultation with their residents. Government strongly encourages local authorities to use good practice and to consider the overall carbon impact of their collection services. The Waste and Resources Action Programme provides local authorities with advice on good practice.

Whales: International Cooperation

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Prime Minister discussed possible legal action by Australia against Japan on whaling at his recent meeting with the Australian Prime Minister; and if he will make a statement. [201902]

Jonathan Shaw: Whaling was not discussed at this meeting. However, I recently spoke to the hon. Peter Garrett MP, Australian Minister for the Environment about whether legal action might reasonably be pursued and if so, how. I understand Australia is currently considering what, if any, legal avenues are available to challenge Japan’s whaling operations. I assured Mr. Garrett that we would be prepared to examine carefully any suggestions that the Australian government might feel able to make in the light of those considerations.

We also discussed the meeting I held with the Japanese deputy ambassador on 8 January to express the UK's outrage over Japan's ‘scientific’ whaling activities. I assured Mr. Garrett that I had left Japan in no doubt as to the strength of feeling in the UK on the issue and that the UK government will continue to make our opposition to whaling known to Japan at every appropriate opportunity.

We also discussed the recent seminar on commercial whaling I attended in Copenhagen on 10 March. The event was co-hosted by the British embassy and the Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals. The aim was to raise awareness among the Danish public of the cruel and unsustainable nature of whaling and to attempt to persuade Denmark to take a more pro-conservationist approach at this year’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting.

I confirmed the UK will once again play an important role in the conservation and protection of cetaceans at the next annual meeting of the IWC to be held in Santiago, Chile in June 2008. We agreed our countries would continue to be at the forefront of the fight to ensure that countries seeking to remove protection for cetacean species around the world do not succeed.

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White Fish

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many vessels from (a) the UK and (b) other EU countries are involved in the pair trawling fishery for bass in the Western Channel. [203994]

Jonathan Shaw: Current information indicates that there is only one UK bass pair-trawler operating in the Western Channel at present. We do not hold information on pair-trawlers from other member states.

Prime Minister


Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister on what occasions (a) he and (b) his special advisers have attended (i) conferences and (ii) meetings where (A) abortion and (B) euthanasia were discussed in each of the last six months; on what dates such conferences and meetings took place; where each took place; and if he will make a statement. [205011]

The Prime Minister: My officials and I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects.


Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on referendums on the future of the constitution of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [205193]

The Prime Minister: I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects.

Women and Equality

Departmental Sustainable Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality when the Government Equalities Office plans to publish its sustainable operations policy statement. [195945]

Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office is a small department based in Eland House in London, the Communities and Local Government headquarters building. Sustainable operations policy relates mainly to assessing, reporting and improving performance in managing land and buildings sustainably, and GEO, as a tenant of CLG, is party to CLG’s sustainable operations policy and practices and has no plans to develop its own policy.

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Innovation, Universities and Skills

Higher Education: Kettering

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will meet the hon. Member for Kettering and local authority representatives to discuss the provision of a university in Kettering. [197390]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 31 March 2008]: I am delighted by the interest that our new university challenge has generated. This policy offers towns and cities the opportunity to unlock the potential in their area by working with those involved in regeneration and economic planning to provide locally-based HE provision. The Secretary of State has agreed to meet a delegation from Kettering to discuss these issues.

Teachers: Training

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of those universities which offer a degree in teaching provide special educational needs teacher training at (a) undergraduate and (b) postgraduate level. [205032]

Bill Rammell: All universities which offer initial teacher training courses provide special educational needs teacher training at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.


Apprentices: Olympic Games Sites

6. John Robertson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what additional training opportunities for apprentices will be available on London Olympic Games sites during the construction phase. [204435]

Tessa Jowell: The Games give us a tremendous opportunity to create a lasting skills legacy. The Olympic Delivery Authority, together with its partners, aim to get at least 2,000 people (approximately 4 per cent. of the workforce) into trainee apprenticeships and work placements up to 2012 on the Olympic Park and other venues. This will benefit local people, including previously workless people.

Contracts: Companies Outside London

7. Ms Keeble: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what percentage of contracts for the 2012 London Olympic Games have been awarded to companies based outside London. [204436]

Tessa Jowell: 46 per cent. of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s contracts to date have been awarded to businesses based outside of London. This includes 2 per cent. of the total which was awarded to overseas businesses.

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8. Mr. Allen: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what assessment she has made of the effects of the 2012 London Olympic Games on Nottingham. [204437]

Tessa Jowell: Nottingham stands to gain from the wide range of opportunities created by the 2012 Games, in the same way as other towns, cities and regions across the UK. Over the next four years I want to see all parts of the UK taking advantage of the sporting, cultural, economic and other opportunities that will be available.

I understand that the ODA has already awarded 27 contracts to companies registered in the East Midlands and 26 facilities from the region are included in the official pre-Games Training Camp Guide.

2012 Olympic Games: Housing

Lyn Brown: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what steps are being taken to ensure the housing built for the 2012 Olympic Games will be made available to local people for affordable rent or purchase after the Games have taken place. [204434]

Tessa Jowell: At least 30 per cent. of the homes created from construction of the Olympic Village will be affordable. We want the legacy housing to be mixed tenure, available to a wide range of people, including those from existing local communities, to create new, diverse, sustainable neighbourhoods. The allocation of affordable homes after the Games will be agreed between the relevant London boroughs and the Housing Corporation.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Arrests

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) arrested for, (b) proceeded against for and (c) convicted of the offence of being drunk and disorderly in 2006. [193586]

Jacqui Smith: The Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform—within the Ministry of Justice, shows that the number of people proceeded against at magistrates courts for the offence of drunk and disorderly under the Criminal Justice Act 1967 S.91(1) in England and Wales for the year 2006 is 16,143. The number of people found guilty at all courts for the same offence is 13,939.

In addition, under the penalty notice for disorder (PND) scheme, fixed penalty notices of £80 may be issued by the police for the offence of ‘drunk and disorderly’. The number of PNDs issued for the offence in England and Wales was 43,556 in 2006.

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