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Huw Irranca-Davies: The UK is committed to reducing cetacean by-catch and has put over £2 million from 2000 to date into researching by-catch mitigation measures and monitoring by-catch in the UK fleet. The purpose of the research is to try to identify those fisheries responsible for high levels of cetacean by-catch and test mitigation measures that are effective at deterring cetaceans over the long-term and are safe and cost-effective for the industry. This research is undertaken by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU).
Any video or photographic material collected is used by SMRU as a monitoring tool to corroborate findings and to verify observations of the crew and observers on board boats. SMRU does not maintain a photographic database on this issue and all video tapes are re-used once the information on them has been verified. These data are used to produce project reports (defined as project outcomes under the research projects) that are published on the DEFRA website. The outcomes of the research projects are therefore made publicly available.
The EU Habitats Directive places no obligation on the Department to publish data or research carried out into the incidental capture and killings of cetaceans by fishing activities. However, as outlined above, our research and findings are published. In addition, annual estimates of cetacean by-catch in the UK fleet are published on the DEFRA website.
As SMRU does not maintain a photographic database and has a policy of reusing video tapes, as in all other years, no video or photographic material collected under the research contract is in existence for the period of July 2008 to date.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings his Department has had with canine welfare organisations on the matter of dangerous dogs in the last 12 months. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: DEFRA meets regularly with canine welfare groups at both ministerial and official level to discuss a number of issues, including dangerous dogs. In the last 12 months we have specifically discussed the issue of dangerous dogs with the RSPCA on at least five occasions, the Dogs Trust at least three times and we have had two meetings that have included representatives from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's latest assessment is of the effects of koi herpes virus disease on fish stocks; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The range of fish species susceptible to Koi herpes virus is very limited. Only common carp and Koi carp are listed in EU legislation as being susceptible. Therefore, the effect of Koi herpes virus on fish stocks generally is considered negligible.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many foreign-registered vessels have pair trawled within the UK's 12 mile limit in each month since the ban on British pair trawlers inside the 12 mile limit was implemented; and when he next plans to discuss with the European Commission the extension of the ban to the vessels of other EU member states. 
The Commission has indicated that it will review Regulation 812/2004, concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries, in summer 2010. We will take the opportunity to discuss this matter with other member states and the Commission then.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to increase the proportion of food consumed in England which is domestically produced. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Research shows that consumers increasingly want to know how the food they buy has been produced and its provenance. We have helped to facilitate this choice by providing funding for a range of measures to help regional and local food producers improve their access to market. Examples include, "meet the buyer" events; the encouragement of food hubs, farm shops, farmers' markets and shared distribution facilities.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The most recent provisional estimate for the amount of food which was produced in the UK and consumed in the UK is 53 per cent. for 2008. 47 per cent. of food consumed in the UK in 2008 was imported.
This should not be confused with the measure of UK self-sufficiency in all food, which in 2008 was 60 per cent. (provisional figure), since self sufficiency shows the percentage of all UK food production, including UK exports, as a percentage of consumption. Both measures are based on the value of unprocessed food.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Marine and Fisheries Agency has spent on work by (a) external consultants and (b) other staff from (i) his Department and (ii) other Government departments in connection with the establishment of the Marine Management Organisation on Tyneside. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Since 1 April 2008, the Marine and Fisheries Agency has spent £631,000 on staff assigned or seconded to the agency from DEFRA or other Departments and £993,000 on external consultants and temporary staff in preparatory work for the establishment of the Marine Management Organisation. These figures exclude staff costs for those involved in the relocation of the Marine and Fisheries Agency headquarters from London to Newcastle as this activity is not directly related to the establishment of the Marine Management Organisation.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the transfer of the Marine and Fisheries Agency and other agencies to the Marine Management Organisation to be completed. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Subject to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill receiving Royal Assent, we are planning to launch the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in April 2010. Our intention is that existing marine functions (the bulk of which are currently discharged by the Marine and Fisheries Agency) will transfer at that point to the MMO, along with associated staff and other assets. The MMO will continue to mature and develop from launch, taking on new functions introduced by the Marine and Coastal Access Bill over the first years of its operation.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what further steps the Government plan to take to improve the regulatory framework for fine particle PM2.5 emissions in the UK; 
(2) what steps the Government plan to take to implement the objectives under the EU air quality directive and the UK's air quality strategy of monitoring and reducing exposure to industrial fine particle PM2.5 emissions. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe introduces new requirements for assessment and regulation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air. These largely mirror those in the 2007 UK National Air Quality Strategy.
The required monitoring and assessment is in place across the UK and the consultation Impact Assessment shows that, on the basis of current projections, the UK is on track to meet the new legal obligations for PM2.5, though this will be kept under review.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many megalitres of water were supplied to water companies serving the East of England from reservoirs in that region in (a) 1997, (b) 2002, (c) 2007 and (d) the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; and what the average cost of each megalitre was in each such period. 
Each reservoir is different and the cost of supplying a megalitre of water from each of them is not collected by Ofwat. Differences may be due to operational methods, location and requirements to pump.
1997-98: Report on leakage and water efficiency-page 36;
2002-03: Security of supply-page 52;
2007-08: Service and delivery report. Supplementary information-page 43;
2008-09: Service and delivery report. Supplementary information-page 43.
All of these reports are available on Ofwat's website at www.ofwat.gov.uk, apart from the 1997-98 report on leakage and water efficiency, a copy of which will be placed in the House Library.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy to provide to community organisations and parish councils which own community buildings the same concessionary water collection charges as church and scout organisations. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government are committed to bringing forward legislation to allow water and sewerage companies to operate concessionary schemes for community groups for surface water drainage charges. The legislation will enable DEFRA to issue guidance to companies on how to define community groups and which community groups should be considered for inclusion in concessionary schemes. This guidance will be subject to consultation.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will re-assess the funding formula for concessionary bus fares to reflect the actual cost incurred in each local authority area. 
Mr. Khan: On 4 November 2009, Official Report, 45-46WS, I made a written ministerial statement announcing the launch of a consultation on the distribution of concessionary travel special grant funding for local authorities in 2010-11. The consultation proposes a revised distribution of special grant funding for 2010-11 which takes into account the change in spending on concessionary travel by each authority following the introduction of the national concession.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what information his Department holds on the reimbursement rates offered by each local authority for journeys made under the concessionary bus fare scheme. 
Mr. Khan: Reimbursement of bus operators for concessionary travel is a matter for local authorities. The Department for Transport does not hold comprehensive information on the reimbursement arrangements entered into between local authorities and bus operators.
Where a bus operator believes that a local authority's reimbursement arrangements are unfair, they are able to appeal to the Secretary of State for Transport for an impartial assessment of the case. The Department for Transport holds information on the reimbursement rates offered by authorities that have been subject to such appeals.
Joan Walley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what representations he has received in respect of the removal of all but international and national coach services from the proposed EU regulation on passenger rights; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: The Department for Transport has received a number of representations in respect of the removal of all but international and national coach services from the proposed European Union Regulation on bus and coach passenger rights. The majority were received in response to the Department's consultation on the proposal carried out earlier this year.
Mr. Khan [holding answer 9 November 2009]: This Government remain fully committed to delivering the Crossrail Project. Good progress has been made since the launch of the main construction works in May 2009 and continues to accelerate at pace. Our best current estimate of the costs to the public purse of the delivery of the Crossrail project to June 2010 is as follows:
Project delivery costs-£950 million
Land/Property acquisition-£700 million
This estimate reflects the latest inflation forecast figures in use by Crossrail Limited. Project delivery costs include the costs of consultancy services procured by the Department for Transport to support the programme.
It is not possible to produce precise estimates as to overall expenditure if the project were to be cancelled. The costs associated with any cancellation would be substantial but would be contingent on a number of different factors, including contractual commitments and potential income from land no longer required. Naturally, the resolution of contractual arrangements would be a matter of significant commercial sensitivity and economic uncertainty.
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