Previous Section Index Home Page

26 Nov 2008 : Column 1614W—continued


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1615W

(2) what proportion of planted ancient woodland sites managed by Forest Enterprise are (a) scheduled for and (b) in the process of restoration, broken down by forest district. [237686]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Forestry Commission’s overall objective is to manage ancient woodland sites across the estate to improve their ecological value and ultimately restore them to native woodland.

The majority of restoration work on Ancient Woodland sites is and will be undertaken by thinning and the gradual removal of non-native species. There has been an increase in ancient woodland sites with more than 80 per cent. native species from 16,209 hectares in 2003 to 17,577 hectares in 2007, and a decrease in ancient woodland sites with less than 20 per cent. native species from 26,011 hectares in 2003 to 24,152 hectares in 2007. Many more areas have had thinning work undertaken and are moving towards a more natural state. To supply the information on this restoration work carried out by Forest District would be at disproportionate cost.

At 31 March 2008 the Forestry Commission classified 1,476 hectares of ancient woodland sites as clear felled ready for or in the process of regeneration and 413 hectares as having been restocked or naturally regenerated with broadleaves in the last three years. The areas of this restocking and natural regeneration by Forest District are given in the following table:

Forest District Area (hectares)

East Anglia

77

Forest of Dean(1)

0

Kielder Forest

4

North West England

50

New Forest

17

Northants

106

North York Moors

5

Peninsula Forest District

20

Sherwood and Lincolnshire

0

South East England

92

West Midlands

42

(1) The Forest of Dean is classified as ancient woodland special history and past patterns of clearance, Natural England has agreed with the Forestry Commission that special arrangements will apply.

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what proportion of planted ancient woodland sites managed by Forest Enterprise have been replanted with conifers since 2005, broken down by forest district; [237687]

(2) what proportion of planted ancient woodland sites managed by Forest Enterprise are scheduled for replanting with conifers in current management plans, broken down by forest district. [237709]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The total area of ancient woodland sites managed by the Forestry Commission is in excess of 50,000 hectares. As of 1 April 2008, 31,942 hectares of this was recorded as Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). Since 2005, 137 hectares of PAWS sites have been replanted with conifers. This represents 0.4 per cent. of the total area. The area replanted with conifers in each Forest District is given in the following table.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1616W
Forest District Area (hectares)

East Anglia

8

Forest of Dean(1)

0

Kielder Forest

0

North West England

7

New Forest

0

Northants

0

North York Moors

12

Peninsula Forest District

89

Sherwood and Lincolnshire

0

South East England

13

West Midlands

8

(1) The Forest of Dean is classified as ancient woodland but, because of its special history and past patterns of clearance, Natural England has agreed with the Forestry Commission that special arrangements will apply.

Forest Design plans, which include plans for felling and regeneration, are reviewed and revised on a 10-year rolling programme. The areas of planted ancient woodland sites in these plans that are shown as conifer regeneration could be provided only at disproportionate cost. As some of these plans pre-date “Keepers of Time: A Statement of Policy for England’s Ancient and Native Woodland”, many of the proposed activities in these plans will not be implemented. The Forestry Commission’s overall objective is to manage ancient woodland sites across the estate to improve their ecological value and ultimately restore them to native woodland.

Greyhounds: Animal Welfare

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to ensure that the destination of individual greyhounds no longer used by the racing industry is (a) reported to the relevant local authority and (b) published. [237778]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 November 2008]: No. This proposal would create a significant additional bureaucratic burden for local authorities. Any animal welfare benefits that might arise would be outweighed by the administrative costs.

Insects

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of trends in the populations of pollinating insects in the last five years. [239808]

Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Legal Opinion

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much expenditure from the public purse was paid to legal professionals outside his Department for the purpose of acting on its behalf in legal proceedings in which his Department was named as a defending party in (a) each of the last five years and (b) 2008 to date. [239731]


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1617W

Huw Irranca-Davies: The expenditure paid to legal professionals outside the Department for the purpose of acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which his Department was named as a defending party in 2008 to date is £365,741.59. The resources needed to answer the question in relation to each of the last five years would be disproportionate.

Marine Animals: Conservation

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proposals his Department plans to put forward at the next European Fisheries Council on measures to protect sharks and other endangered or threatened species from the impact of over-fishing. [238645]

Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Natural England: Finance

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what real terms reductions there were in the headings of the budget for Natural England in 2008-09 compared with 2006-07. [237237]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Natural England's core grant is as follows:

Natural England Core Grant (£million)

Current value (£) Real terms value (£) Rural Development Programme for England funding (£million)

2006-07(1)

163.13

163.13

246.2

20008

175.32

170.11

316.6

2008-09

169.855

160.01

363

(1) The comparative figure for 2006-07 of £163.13 million covers the grant funding available to its predecessor bodies for the functions that Natural England inherited. Natural England was established on 1 October 2006.

The core grant figures take account of agreed efficiency savings arising from the creation of Natural England.

Natural England received additional funding from the Rural Development Programme for England of £246.2 million in 2006-07, £316.6 million in 2007-08 and £363 million in 2008-09.

Figures exclude additional income from DEFRA and external sources, non cash items such as depreciation, budget neutral recharges for common services and capital expenditure.

2006-07 is used as the reference year in the above table for calculating real term values of the budgets for years 2006-07 to 2008-09.

GDP Deflators are extracted from Treasury Website.

Natural Gas: Grants

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of central gas government grants went to (a) rural and (b) urban areas in the most recent period for which figures are available. [227918]


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1618W

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

The Warm Front Scheme in the current scheme year (1 April to 30 September 2008) has assisted 16,796 properties classified as rural. The scheme does not specifically record the number of urban properties assisted. However, during this period the scheme assisted 108,673 households in total; following the working definitions of rural and urban used by the national audit office, this would mean that the scheme has assisted 91,877 properties that may be classed as urban. The proportions, according to these definitions, are:

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1218-20W, on non-departmental public bodies, if he will break down the budget savings over 2008-09 to 2009-10 for (a) Natural England, (b) Carbon Trust, (c) RPA Operations and (d) Animal Health by main spending areas; [239607]

(2) if he will break down the budget savings over 2007-08 to 2008-09 of (a) Nature England, (b) Carbon Trust, (c) Encams, (d) RPA Operations and (e) Marine and Fisheries Agency by main spending areas. [239610]

Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Pesticides

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department plans to take on pesticide spraying following the recent high court ruling by Mr. Justice Collins on the matter. [239354]

Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Invertebrates

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the populations of (a) bees, (b) moths, (c) butterflies, (d) beetles, (e) upwing flies and (f) other invertebrates in the UK in each of the last five years. [239358]

Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Plastics: Recycling

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans his Department has to fund new mixed plastics recycling plants; and if he will make a statement. [238638]

Jane Kennedy: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1619W

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many local authorities are not served by a mixed plastics recycling plant. [238639]

Jane Kennedy: The rigid mixed plastics plant recently commissioned by J&A Young in Mansfield has a capacity of circa 80,000 tonnes per annum and as such could process all the rigid mixed plastics packaging waste currently collected by UK authorities.

Public Relations: Forestry Commission

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 476W, on public relations: Forestry Commission, if he will break down the indicative cost for 2007-08 by category of services provided. [239465]

Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 25 November 2008]: The nature of the Forestry Commission's activities means that individual staff deal with several aspects of communications as part of a single project and it is therefore not possible to break down costs into discrete communications activities. An indicative breakdown can be given for the broad areas of activity.

Promotion of the public forest estate, including advertising and marketing of events, promotion of visitor facilities and attractions and literature for walks, cycling facilities etc., amounted to £316,000.

Press, media and internet communications carried out by Forestry Commission staff and external agencies working on the Commission's behalf amounted to £544,000.

Corporate publicity, which includes the promotion of sustainable forestry policy and practice, grants and licences literature, events and trade shows amounted to £120,000.


Next Section Index Home Page