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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the effect of the implementation of his Department's definition of sustainability on population growth in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. 
For the UK Government and the devolved Administrations, that goal will be pursued in an integrated way through a sustainable, innovative and productive economy that delivers high levels of employment; and a just society that promotes social inclusion, sustainable communities and personal wellbeing in all communities, rural and urban. These principles will be carried forward through four priorities for action:
Sustainable consumption and production;
Climate change and energy;
Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement; and
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what legal provisions exist for restricting fishing activity in order to protect marine biodiversity in UK (a) inshore and (b) offshore waters. 
Jonathan Shaw: Within six nautical miles, sea fisheries committees in England and Wales have powers under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 to introduce byelaws to restrict fishing activities for fisheries management and marine environmental purposes. In addition, the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers have powers under the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 to restrict fishing activities for fisheries management and marine environmental purposes.
In the 6-12 nautical mile zone, the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers have powers under the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 to restrict fishing activities for fisheries management and marine environmental purposes. Where it is intended that such restrictions should apply to the vessels of another member state, they must be approved by a Commission Decision (or a Decision of the Council) following consultation with the Commission, affected member states and the regional advisory council.
Outside of 12 nautical miles, the UK would approach the Commission and other member states to seek adoption of appropriate measures through the common fisheries policy where a need is identified for controls to be placed on fisheries activities in order to protect an area, habitat or species of national importance.
Jonathan Shaw: The regulation of fishing activity in offshore waters is the responsibility of the EU Fisheries Council and the European Commission. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee has advised that, in respect of the offshore sites which it is so far proposed to designate as Special Areas of Conservation, the use of heavy towed gear should be prohibited in order to protect the features for which designation is proposed. Such controls already apply to the Darwin Mounds site, but it will be for the Commission to propose and ultimately for the Council to decide what measures, if any, should be applied in respect of the other sites proposed for designation.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Dogger Bank has not been formally approved as a proposed offshore Special Area of Conservation; and when he expects the approval process to be resolved. 
Jonathan Shaw: Survey of the Dogger Bank was not completed in time for this site to be included among those in respect of which the Joint Nature Conservation Committee launched a consultation process at the end of last year. It is hoped that we will be able to include this site in next years tranche of offshore Special Areas of Conservation, to be notified to the European Commission by the end of August 2009.
Jonathan Shaw: The coverage of marine conservation zones (MCZs) proposed for designation under the draft Marine Bill will depend on the outcome of stakeholder-based regional projects being established by the statutory conservation agencies. However, for the purposes of assessing costs and benefits in the impact assessment for the draft Bill, it was assumed that there would be 92 MCZs in English territorial waters and UK offshore waters, covering approximately 71,000 square kilometres, or 8.2 per cent. of UK waters to the limits of the continental shelf.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the UK territorial waters will need to be protected as Special Areas of Conservation to meet the UKs obligations under the EU Habitats Directive. 
Jonathan Shaw: Given that the Habitats Directive requires us to protect sites containing particular types of habitat, it is not possible to make an estimate of the sea area likely to be affected by designation in the absence of completed surveys of the sea-bed in UK offshore waters. The survey process is ongoing.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the UKs seas will need to be protected to fulfil the UKs obligations under the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment, OSPAR. 
Jonathan Shaw: All of the UKs seas in the North East Atlantic are within the scope of the OSPAR Convention. The convention requires contracting parties to prevent and eliminate pollution and to take the necessary measures to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems.
Theoretically, all of the UKs seas are covered by the UKs OSPAR obligations, but in practice, OSPAR operates a risk-based approach to protect those areas, species and habitats that are vulnerable and likely to be affected.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the UKs seas must be protected to achieve Good Environmental Status as required under the EU Maritime Strategy Directive. 
The directive requires member states to carry out an initial assessment of the state of their seas and to determine in more detail what Good Environmental Status means for their marine waters by July 2012. Until this work has been completed we will not be in a position to assess what the programme of measures will need to comprise in order to achieve Good Environmental Status.
The directive also requires member states to co-operate with other member states in their marine region to ensure the requirements of the directive are co-ordinated
at a regional level. The UK will be using its role within the OSPAR Convention to pursue this aspect of the directive.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the Government have not introduced acoustic deterrent devices, as required by the EU by-catch regulation (EC) No. 812/2004. 
Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 May 2008, Official Report, column 1777W, which sets out the UK Government's position in regard to acoustic deterrent devices, as required by EU Regulation 812/2004.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the annual cost of measuring life satisfaction as part of the sustainable development indicators. 
Mr. Woolas: The intention is for questions on life satisfaction to be included in various surveys run by Government Departments for other purposes, thereby enabling life satisfaction to be analysed alongside other survey data. The annual cost will be small in comparison with the overall costs of the surveys concerned.
An update for 2008 will come from the Department of Health Healthy Foundations Life-Stage Segmentation survey, which is looking at the drivers for behaviour relating to smoking, obesity, alcohol and substance abuse, sexual health and mental health. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has contributed £4,400 to ensure the inclusion of the life satisfaction question in this survey.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to what premium Sky, digital terrestrial or cable television channels (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies subscribes; and at what yearly cost in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the incidence of (a) bleeding canker in horse chestnut trees, (b) sudden oak death, (c) oak processionary moth and (d) defoliation of horse chestnuts by the leaf-mining caterpillar cameraria ohridella in the last 12 months. 
A survey of horse chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum) in Great Britain was undertaken between June and August 2007. This was to provide information, based on visual assessment of symptoms, on the likely incidence and severity of the disease known as Horse Chestnut Bleeding Canker, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pathovar aesculi. I will arrange for a copy of the survey report to be placed in the Library of the House.
In 2004, the Forestry Commission carried out a major survey of woodlands in Great Britain to determine whether there was any evidence of the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, referred to in the USA as Sudden Oak Death. Further surveys have been carried out each year and since. I will arrange for a copy of the Report on the Forestry Commission Re-Survey of Woodlands 2007 to Assess the Level of Incidence of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae in woodlands in England and Wales to be placed in the Library of the House.
The Oak Processionary Moth was first found in London in 2006. I will arrange for a copy of the Report on survey for Oak Processionary Moth Thaumetopoea processionea (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Thaumetopoeidae) (OPM) in London in 2007 to be placed in the Library of the House. Surveys this year suggest that the outbreak area has not expanded and, in many locations, the numbers of new nests has been significantly reduced.
Cameraria ohridella, the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, was first detected in Wimbledon in 2002. Since then, it has continued to spread outwards and is now found as far north as South Yorkshire and in East Anglia and parts of Wales.
Joan Ruddock: I attended the High-Level Segment of the Ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Bonn in May this year. Ministers from across the world attending the High-Level Segment discussed the issue of genetically modified trees. Their conclusions are reflected in the decision agreed by the conference and are to:
Reaffirm the need to take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees;
Authorize the release of genetically modified trees only after completion of studies in containment, including in greenhouse and confined field trials, in accordance with national legislation where existent, addressing long-term effects as well as thorough, comprehensive, science-based and transparent risk assessments to avoid possible negative environmental impacts on forest biological diversity;
Also consider the potential socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees as well as their potential impact on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities;
Acknowledge the entitlement of Parties, in accordance with their domestic legislation, to suspend the release of genetically modified trees, in particular where risk assessment so advises or where adequate capacities to undertake such assessment is not available;
Further engage to develop risk-assessment criteria specifically for genetically modified trees;
Note the results of the NorwayCanada Workshops on Risk Assessment for Emerging Applications for Living Modified Organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/4/INF/13);
Welcome the decision of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management that is also mandated to address the issue of genetically modified trees;
Collaborate with relevant organizations on guidance for risk assessment of genetically modified trees and guidance addressing potential negative and positive environmental and socio-economic impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity associated with the use of genetically modified trees;
Provide the available information and the scientific evidence regarding the overall effects of genetically modified trees on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to the Executive Secretary for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to widening the remit of the Forestry Commission to include (a) amenity and (b) urban trees in relation to pests and disease. 
Joan Ruddock: The Forestry Commission's statutory remit under the Plant Health Act 1967 charges them with the responsibility for the protection of forest trees and timber against attack by pests. This statutory remit does not specifically extend to monitor amenity and urban trees in relation to pests and disease. In practice the Forestry Commission occasionally does this, either by individually financed surveys aimed at detecting specific pest problems, or by monitoring the issues raised in calls for advice through the Tree Health Diagnostic and Information Service operated by Forest Research. I have asked the Forestry Commission to consider whether there is a need to extend their remit to include a more targeted approach to amenity and urban trees.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice (a) his Department and (b) the Waste Resources Action Programme has given to waste collection authorities on the number of different recycling and rubbish bins that should be given to local authorities. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government believe local authorities are best placed to make decisions on the waste management strategy for their communities. Local authorities are free to chose how they fulfil their waste collection duties including the frequency of the collections, the priority, degree of effort and resources required.
The authority can specify the number, size, construction and maintenance of receptacles, what can be placed in each, where and when they are to be placed for collection and can require the waste to be treated prior to placing it in a receptacle (usually washing or rinsing containers).
All recycling systems require the use of more than one receptacle, so the guidance published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in July 2007 offers some consideration of specific issues associated
with the containers for recycling and residual waste, in the context of alternating collections of recylates and residual waste.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme is taking to improve advice services provided to local authorities on local waste collections. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)s recycling and organics technical advisory team (ROTATE) provides advice to local authorities in England and Northern Ireland on reducing residual waste for disposal, increasing recycling and diversion from landfill and waste prevention.
The advisory service is free. So far, over 300 local authorities have benefited from WRAPs local authority advisory service on their collection programmes for kerbside, civic amenity and bring schemes. Areas where advice is provided include collections and recycling, waste prevention and monitoring and evaluation. The service has been improved this year by integrating support for local communications with advice on collection systems so that authorities will receive a more comprehensive service. The service has also been extended to include support for authorities preparing business cases for PFI funding to ensure that they can meet the required level of recycling.
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