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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role the Government played during the recent meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna; what representations he and his Departmental officials made; what assessment he has made of the outcome of the meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The UK attended the ICCAT meeting as part of the European Community delegation and also has a seat on behalf of overseas territories in the Atlantic ocean (Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos and St. Helena).
Prior to the meeting, the UK (in both its capacity as a member of the EC delegation and on behalf of the overseas territories) held bilateral talks with USA, Canada and Chinese Taipei. UK overseas territories also had regular discussions with the EC during the course of the meeting.
Regular EC co-ordination meetings were held and the UK made various representations at these on a range of issues including improved compliance in the ICCAT fisheries, conservation of sharks and blue fin tuna.
I consider that the outcome of the meeting was positive but I would have preferred to have agreed more stringent measures on the conservation of sharks and a smaller TAC for blue fin tuna. I do not believe that it is acceptable to only have conservation measures relating to live sharks and consider that dead sharks should be discarded at sea rather than landed. The EC campaigned vigorously on this point but encountered too much opposition to agree a consensus. The EC intends to continue to push for a stronger conservation regime for sharks and will do so with the whole hearted support of the UK.
On blue fin tuna, it would have been desirable to secure a smaller TAC for this stock, but I am satisfied with the enhanced control measures agreed for this fishery and are confident that it can now be effectively managed.
There were detailed discussions on the report of the independent body that undertook a review into the functioning of ICCAT. A working group will now be set up to discuss this report with a view to implementing the recommendations and the UK will look to play a role in these discussions.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what enforcement measures have been undertaken by each local council to impose penalties for litter under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005; how many fines have been imposed; and to what value. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, local authorities can issue a fixed penalty notice, namely an on the spot fine of up to £80, to anyone caught dropping litter. Local authorities can bring prosecutions for non-payment of charges which can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record upon conviction.
Number of fixed penalty notices issued for litter: 43,624
Total amount collected: £1,521,900.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fines have been imposed by local councils for the littering of (a) cigarette butts and (b) chewing gum in the last 12 months; and what the total monetary value of such penalties was. 
The number of fines issued by local councils is collated under the broad heading of litter and not broken down to the different types of
litter. The amount collected from fixed penalty notices for littering for the year 2006-07 (the most recent year for which figures are available) is £1,521,900.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the potential cost to businesses of the introduction of the new charging systems for licences under the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species. 
Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 16 December 2008]: An impact assessment of the new charging regime, which includes an assessment of the potential effect on businesses, has been published and is available on the DEFRA website. The impact assessment was informed by independent research.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 18 November 2008, Official Report, columns 308-09W, on pesticides, how much funding the Government has provided in respect of off-label applications; and when he expects the interim period to end. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The cost of off-label approvals is being increased incrementally in six stages beginning in April 2007 and ending in April 2012. During this period, the total funding being provided by Government are estimated at £175,000.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) the Irish government on the source of dioxins in pork. 
The source of the oil believed to have caused the contamination of feeding stuffs in Republic of Ireland, which resulted in dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in pork, is currently subject to a joint investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána, the national police service for the Republic of Ireland. The Food Standards Agency has been and continues to be in regular dialogue with officials from the Governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Huw Irranca-Davies: I can confirm that it is DEFRAs intention, in line with commitments made to Parliament, to make a code of practice under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on the private keeping of primates.
Huw Irranca-Davies: At present there are no plans to formally extend the Thames Path National Trail from its end point at the Thames Barrier. However, the provision of a long distance footpath on either side of the Thames from the Thames Barrier to Southend in Essex and Sheppey in Kent is a key ambition of the Thames Gateway Parklands Vision launched by Communities and Local Government (CLG) in October of this year. A scoping study was launched at the Thames Gateway Forum by CLG to help progress the initiative, outlining the feasibility and estimated costs of approx. £37 million. As yet there is no financial commitment for this Thames Gateway Parklands project, but its potential contribution to the Thames Gateway as the UK's first Eco Region is recognised.
The powers to enable the creation of a right of access to the coast of England set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill currently before Parliament, could be used up to the first pedestrian crossing point on the
Thames, subject to consideration of a number of criteria laid out in the Bill. The Bill places a requirement on Natural England to determine the appropriate approach to the Thames Estuary in consultation with land owners and stakeholders as set out in a statutory scheme for England approved by the Secretary of State. Natural England has published a draft of this scheme on their website and the Thames is used as one of the examples in this to illustrate the proposed approach to estuaries.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 30 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1181-4W, on the Rural Development Programme, if he will provide the figures requested, excluding projects where England Rural Development Programme legacy payments were made after 1 January 2007. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The following table shows the number of projects for which funding has been approved by each regional development agency under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), broken down by the categories previously requested.
|Regional development agency||Up to £5,000||£5,001-£100,000||£100,001-£1 million||£1 million+|
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