|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Minister will be responsible for joint action between the Environment Agency and the Meteorological Office on flood warning and prediction matters; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC), announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 17 December 2008, will have no impact on existing ministerial responsibilities. The FFC is staffed by experts from the Environment Agency and the Meteorological Office and will ensure better integration of weather and flood warnings and related information.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Scottish Executive on (a) the (i) statutory duties and (ii) functions of the Forestry Commission and (b) proposals in the draft Climate Change (Scotland) Bill which relate to the Forestry Commission. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Officials in both DEFRA and the Forestry Commission England are in regular contact on a wide range of issues relating to forestry matters. This includes keeping in touch in general terms with relevant developments such as those relating to the Forestry Commission in Scotland. No detailed discussions have however taken place on the Scottish Climate Change Bill.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of potential (a) job losses, (b) voluntary redundancy payments and (c) involuntary redundancy payments at the Marine and Fisheries Agency following its replacement by the Marine Management Organisation. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: An estimate of potential job losses, voluntary and involuntary redundancy payments at the MFA is not necessary, as staff not wishing to relocate with the MMO will be supported in finding employment elsewhere or reassigned within DEFRA.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of setting up the planned Marine Management Organisation headquarters in each of the short-listed locations. 
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to announce the decision on the location of the headquarters for the Marine Management Organisation. 
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria will be used in deciding the location of the headquarters for the Marine Management Organisation; and what weight will be given to the desirability of a coastal location. 
Location in terms of wider Government agendas on Relocation (Lyons and Economic Deprivation);
Proximity to Marine Stakeholder Clusters;
Proximity to Institutions with Marine Specialisms; and
Good transport links in particular to key stakeholders and Brussels
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers he proposes the Marine Management Organisation should have in relation to the authorisation of (a) coastal barrages and (b) other large capital projects which will affect the marine environment. 
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will have the powers necessary to authorise most developments in the relevant marine
areas, including coastal barrages, but with some exceptions, such as nationally significant infrastructure projects as defined under part 3 of the Planning Act 2008.
Nationally significant infrastructure projects will be handled by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) established under the Planning Act. As the centre of marine expertise, the MMO will advise the IPC on proposals for nationally significant infrastructure projects and other developments which may affect the marine environment.
The MMO will have a particular role in advising the IPC on conditions that should be imposed to mitigate any adverse impact any development may have on the marine environment or other uses of the sea. The MMO will also be responsible for the subsequent monitoring and enforcement of developments approved by the IPC.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made under the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels to help reduce the numbers of seabird deaths caused by longline fishing in the British Antarctic Territory; and whether the treaty covers other British Overseas Territories in the region. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The waters around the British Antarctic Territory are wholly within the area covered by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). It is mandatory for all long-line fishing vessels to undertake measures to minimise seabird by-catch and to deploy an international scientific observer to monitor compliance with these requirements. In recent years, there has been no by-catch of seabirds in legal fisheries in these waters. There has thus been no need for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) to work to reduce by-catch in these waters and it has instead focused its efforts on by-catch reduction in other parts of the oceans. In those areas the Parties to the Agreement have begun to work with regional fisheries management organisations to advance the use of mitigation technologies as well as to improve by-catch monitoring and have agreed a strategy to take this forward.
The UKs ratification of ACAP includes all UK Overseas Territories in the range of the albatrosses and petrels covered by ACAP, for example, the Falkland Islands, Tristan da Cuhna, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctic Territory.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department is providing to pig farmers and the pig industry in 2008-09; and what account he took of minimum UK welfare standards in determining that support. 
The Government have been very supportive of a number of initiatives taken by the pig industry itself to address the challenging issues that have faced it during 2008-09. For example we are continuing to develop the public food sector procurement initiative
and are currently producing a model specification to enable public bodies to take account of animal welfare in their contracts for pork and bacon products.
The Department is also pursuing, with all parties including supermarkets, how best to provide better origin information so that consumers can make more informed choices, without imposing additional legislation on the industry.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the long-term economic sustainability of the pig industry; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: Industry organisations such as the British Pig Executive (BPEX) and the National Pig Association (NPA) have kept me fully appraised of the current state and future economic prospects of the English pig industry. At their invitation I have walked the pigmeat supply chain to gain a fuller understanding of its economic and environmental sustainability.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published their report on The English Pig Industry on 13 January. We welcome the report and we shall be making a full response to its recommendations in due course.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to enable local authorities to require local retailers to reduce significantly their use of single-use carrier bags; and whether he plans to enable local authorities to prohibit the use of single-use carrier bags in (a) their areas and (b) specific circumstances. 
Jane Kennedy: The Government have no such plans. It would be illegal under EU law to prohibit the use of bags, and the Government have no plans to do so or to empower local authorities to do so. A very significant reduction in the number of single-use carriers distributed by supermarkets is in prospect following the agreement reached between the Government and the British Retail Consortium in December, under which leading supermarkets have pledged to reduce bags by 50 per cent. by the spring.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost per compost bin of the sales promotion under the Recycle Now Campaign was in each of the last two years. 
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has run a home composting programme since 2004. During this period it has sold nearly two million home composting bins through partner local authorities. WRAP has also provided advice and
support to those householders who have adopted home composting as an effective means of reducing their waste.
Huw Irranca-Davies: It is established Government policy that the needs and interests of rural people, businesses and communities should be appropriately reflected in all Departments' mainstream policies and delivery plans. Rural proofing is one of the main tools available to departments to achieve this. DEFRA works with other Government Departments to advise and encourage them to take account of rural interests in developing and implementing their policies, including meeting the requirement to address rural implications in published impact assessments.
DEFRA also sponsors the Commission for Rural Communities which publishes detailed rural proofing guidance, and works closely with Departments on the rural implications of their policies. DEFRA and the Commission for Rural Communities are currently working together to refresh and relaunch the support arrangements and materials available to national, regional and local government to improve rural proofing.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for further review of the effects of the policies set out in the Rural White Paper on rural communities. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Rural White Paper 2000 set out a vision of a living, working, vibrant and protected countryside in which people had fair and equitable access to the jobs and services they require. That vision is underpinned by the Rural Strategy 2004, and continues to be reflected in the Government's mainstream policies as they affect rural areas. The Government established the Commission for Rural Communities in 2005 to monitor and advise on the impact of its policies on rural areas, and currently has no plans to carry out any separate review.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken by (a) his Department and (b) the Commission for Rural Communities to measure (i) community involvement and (ii) community activity in rural areas. 
The Government are committed to supporting community involvement and activity in all areas, including rural ones, and is seeking to promote this through the initiatives announced in the Community Empowerment White Paper. DEFRA does not measure
levels of community engagement, but the Department for Communities and Local Government has a range of mechanisms for this.
In addition, the Commission for Rural Communities has undertaken a number of activities in relation to community engagement, including a participation inquiry which looked at the role of local councillors as democratic champions acting on behalf of their communities.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to bring forward proposals to assist the rural community buildings network; and what funding is being made available to the networks. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA supported the formation of the Rural Community Buildings Network which was set up in July 2006 to improve communication on matters that affect rural community buildings, share information and best practice, and provide a unified voice to influence local and central government.
DEFRA does not fund this network, and has no plans to bring forward new proposals for it. However, DEFRA will continue to organise and host its regular meetings, and work with the group to promote the benefits of community buildings in rural areas.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure developers and contractors in the housebuilding industry consider the whole-life costs in the production process of housing; and whether he plans to introduce producer responsibility requirements for (a) construction industry and (b) housebuilding industry products. 
Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has no plans to introduce new regulatory requirements with respect to whole-life costs in the production process of housing. However, the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes contain standards that encourage developers voluntarily to use materials with lower environmental impacts over their lifecycle. DEFRA has also worked with BSI and the Carbon Trust to develop a method (the PAS 2050) for any business to assess the lifecycle carbon emissions of a product or service. This was published on 29 October 2008.
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA funds Keep Britain Tidy to undertake the annual Local Environmental Quality Survey of England which assesses a variety of local environmental quality indicators, including fly-posting. The survey shows that fly-posting levels over the last four years have been low and judged as good.
Since the introduction of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, local authorities have had the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for fly-posting offences. The number of FPNs issued has increased from 883 with a payment rate of 59 per cent. in 2005-06 to 1,133 with a payment rate of 78 per cent. in 2006-07.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|