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Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what use his Department makes of data obtained from earth observation satellites; and what payment is made for such data, where applicable. 
Mr. Hoon: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency use satellite derived images to monitor pollution at sea within 200 miles of the United Kingdom. These are obtained under the Clean Seas Net system supported by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). No direct payment is made for these images, although the UK does pay a subscription to EMSA.
Mr. Hoon: Government Hospitality (GH), in Protocol Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, manages official ministerial hospitality for all Government Departments. GH does not serve branded low alcohol or alcohol-free wine at any of its events, and has no plans to do so.
8. Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with South East Water on the establishment of a reservoir near Ringmer, East Sussex; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: South East Water has included a proposal for a reservoir near Ringmer as part of its draft Water Resources Management Plan. These are statutory plans, and have recently been subject to public consultation. Ministers have not at this stage entered into any discussions with South East Water on its proposals, although officials, especially at the Environment Agency, have done so.
Jane Kennedy: Based on each companys draft business plans for 2010 to 2015, companies in England and Wales expect the average annual household bill for 2009-10 to be £326. Ofwat will be in a position to say what the forecast average household bill in 2009-10 will be after it has approved companies 2009-10 charges schemes, early in 2009.
11. Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the effects of genetically modified crops on the environment. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Under European Union legislation, proposed GM crops are subject to a robust case-by-case assessment of their potential impact on human health and the environment. We will only agree to the release of a GM crop if we are fully satisfied that it is safe, based on the evidence.
12. Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution of the Kopernikus programme to environmental monitoring. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA has undertaken several studies to assess the benefits of Kopernikus in the UK and supported further studies in Europe, in order to ensure that decisions taken on the programme are based upon sound evidence. These studies show that Kopernikus data could contribute to our understanding of the environment, when combined with information from the many other monitoring and research programmes that the UK supports.
13. Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the effects on air quality in the area around Heathrow of the proposed third runway. 
14. Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce the electronic identification of sheep; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: Council Regulation 21/2004 provides for the mandatory introduction of electronic identification of sheep from 31 December 2009. There is a serious risk of disallowance on our farm payments and potential EU infraction proceedings if we fail to comply with EU law. We will therefore introduce electronic identification in England from 31 December 2009.
15. Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations made in the Pitt report on flooding. 
Hilary Benn: We have already taken a number of steps in response to Sir Michael Pitt's findings, which I reported to the House on 25 June 2008, and we will be publishing a detailed response, together with a prioritised action plan shortly.
16. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in his Department's discussions with the farming industry on sharing the costs of the animal disease strategy. 
Jane Kennedy: Considerable progress has been made with the farming industry on responsibility and cost-sharing, as reflected in the 2006 report of the Joint Industry-Government Working Group and the work of the Consultative Forum between December 2007 and July 2008. We will be looking to build on this as part of an extensive consultation on specific proposals for sharing responsibilities and costs for animal health in England which the Government intend to launch later this year.
17.Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had with farmers' representatives on the pricing of their goods in supermarkets. 
Jane Kennedy: None. We do not discuss prices offered by supermarkets as we believe they are for the market to determine within the constraints of competition law. The Department, at both official and ministerial level, holds frequent discussions with different sectors of the industry on a range of issues that concern them, including the encouragement of long-term sustainable relationships between suppliers and retailers.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his policy is on whether any reduction in bovine tuberculosis in areas which were examined by the Independent Scientific Group might be deemed as new scientific evidence; [R] 
(2) what research on bovine tuberculosis transmission has been carried out or commissioned by his Department in the areas where culling took place under the Krebs trials in the period after Professor Bourne and the Independent Scientific Group reported; [R] 
Jane Kennedy: No licences will be issued for culling badgers for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle although we remain open to exceptions. Circumstances might arise in the longer term which require a re-evaluation of the policy. New scientific evidence which, for example, supports changes to a culling methodology may change the position.
New evidence around the reduction in bovine TB in areas involved in the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) could be relevant, but that would depend on the reasons for the decrease and the time scale over which it was observed. The paper, The effects of annual widespread badger culls on cattle tuberculosis following the cessation of culling by Helen Jenkins and Christl
Donnelly from Imperial College and Rosie Woodroffe from the Institute of Zoology, published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in May 2008 showed some changes over the course of the RBCT and over the period after culling stopped. However this evidence was fully considered by the Secretary of State before making his decision in July.
Other research that has been carried out in the RBCT areas includes the monitoring of badger numbers through distance sampling. Recently four further projects have been commissioned to use the data collected during the RBCT, including projects to consider the effects on herd breakdowns in relation to the time and location of badger culling.
A meeting with Helen Jenkins of Imperial College is welcome since her work is included in a DEFRA-funded project which looks at herd incidence in areas involved in the RBCT since culling stopped. This project will continue until 2011 and the Secretary of State is kept-up-to-date on progress.
There are no plans to provide additional funding to local authorities in regard to their participation in the Carbon Reduction Commitment. There are already funding streams in place to help local authorities monitor and reduce their energy use via the Local Authority Performance Framework Climate Change Indicators and the SALIX Finance fund. The additional administration costs of the emissions monitoring required by the Carbon Reduction Commitment are not substantial.
Overall the energy efficiency benefits of participating in the Carbon Reduction Commitment are calculated to outweigh the administrative costs. Economic analysis indicates that local authorities are well placed to perform well in the scheme as there are significant opportunities for local authorities to increase the energy efficiency of their operations.
Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has a strong ongoing programme of research on agriculture and climate change. This includes many strands of research that inform our knowledge of the potential effects of climate change on the production of crops and other agricultural products. Topics covered by recent studies include: the vulnerability of UK agriculture to extreme events; the timescale of potential farm level responses and adaptations to climate change in England and Wales; physiological and technological constraints on the yields of UK crops and livestock and expectations of progress to 2050; and challenges from climate change for disease management in sustainable arable systems.
As part of the climate change adaptation project within DEFRAs Farming for the Future programme, a major literature review has recently been completed to bring together and summarise the significant body of research by DEFRA and other organisations on the effects of climate change on agricultural systems (including both agricultural production and the natural environment), and potential adaptation measures. The findings of this review show that climate change presents a range of both threats and opportunities to agriculture, horticulture and forestry.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the five most serious disciplinary breaches in his Department were in the last 12 months; and what steps were taken in response to each breach. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham of 9 October 2008, Official Report, column 713W, on domestic waste: waste disposal, what targets or goals have been set for local authorities in relation to national indicator 191 on residual household waste. 
|Region||Authority||Waste disposal authority (if waste collection authority)||2006/07 (baseline)||2008-09||2009-10||2010-11|
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