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Dan Norris [holding answer 10 December 2009]: The Forestry Commission, through its Forest Research Agency, is carrying out research into a number of pests and diseases of trees including, more recently, increased investigation into Acute Oak Decline. It is also continuing collaborative research into a better understanding of the diseases caused by Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae as part of the five-year programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) on 3 March 2009.
The Forestry Commission has also recently set up a Biosecurity Programme Board with representation from key partners in the forest industry sector. The board will advise the Forestry Commissioners on how best to deliver a programme of protecting trees and woodlands against pests and diseases. This will be set out in a new Plant Health Strategy the Commission is helping to develop which it intends to publish in 2010.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the amount of hydrofluorocarbon emissions which would be saved by (a) reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons through reducing leakage and improving energy efficiency and (b) the introduction of a widespread ban; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The impact assessment (IA) for the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 published in February, considered the impacts of the action taken to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) through the EC F Gas Regulation and 10 associated Commission Regulations. The principal objective of these measures is to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of HFCs. The IA considered both the "direct" savings relating to reductions in HFC emissions and also the "indirect" savings resulting from reduced energy consumption. A copy of the IA is available on the DEFRA website at:
The introduction of a widespread ban on HFC use would lead to significant global reductions in HFC emissions that would otherwise not occur. However, the timing and scale of reductions would depend on how such a ban was implemented.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress by departments in reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons on their estate; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government's view is that the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with high global warming potential is not sustainable in the long term. The Government's "Buy Sustainable: Quick Wins" procurement standards state that HFCs should only be used where other safe, technically feasible, cost-effective and more environmentally acceptable alternatives do not exist.
All central Government Departments are required to comply with these procurement standards. Support for delivery and compliance with "Quick Wins" by central Government Departments is overseen by the Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement in the Office of Government Commerce.
Data are not collected centrally on HFC use or emissions but the Government are currently reviewing the targets for the sustainable operations on the Government estate, and are considering expanding the scope of the climate change targets to include the six key greenhouse gases, including HFCs, in departmental carbon budget allocations for estate and operations from 2012 onwards.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to extend the end of waste criteria for the purposes of including recycled metal. 
Dan Norris: The point at which scrap metal is recycled and ceases to be waste has been set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in cases C-444/00 (Mayer Parry) and C-457/02 (Niselli). The practical effect of these judgments is that scrap metal does not cease to be waste until it is reprocessed into products such as ingots, sheets or coils of steel. It is not legally feasible for DEFRA to adopt criteria which purport to set the end-of-waste point for scrap metal at a point earlier than that set by the ECJ. However, the European Commission has announced its intention to bring forward EU-wide end-of-waste criteria for ferrous, aluminium and copper scrap metal using the powers available to the Commission under article 6 of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC). UK officials have participated in the working groups established by the Commission to develop the technical aspects of proposals for ferrous and aluminium scrap.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list all guidance issued to Natural England under section 16 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, giving the date when each was published. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Section 16 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 gives the Secretary of State power to give directions to Natural England. No directions have been issued to Natural England under this section of the Act.
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason guidance to retailers on the voluntary labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank no longer appears on his Department's website. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The earlier guidance on labelling goods from the West Bank was felt to be in need of revision because it did not offer assistance in the specific matter of distinguishing those goods which were of Israeli settlement origin from those which were from Palestinian producers. As I explained in the debate on 2 December 2009, Official Report, column 106WH, the Government hope to be able to make an announcement shortly on this matter.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the contribution of the Minister of State of 2 December 2009, Official Report, column 106WH, if he will make it his policy to include in the guidance on the voluntary labelling of produce imported from Golan the description "Made in Occupied Syrian Land". 
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tabled a written ministerial statement on 10 December 2009 concerning technical advice on the labelling of produce from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). That advice has been issued in response to consumer and retailer concern about a lack of clarity on whether such produce comes from Israeli settlements or Palestinian producers. The situation in Israeli occupied Golan is quite different: we are not aware that there is such confusion between different producers, and we have not received representations from consumers or retailers. Therefore, the Government have not addressed the issue of produce imported from the Israeli occupied Golan in the technical advice to which I have referred.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made on developing guidance on the labelling of food products sold in England which are produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 10 December 2009]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tabled a written ministerial statement on 10 December 2009 concerning technical advice on the labelling of produce from the occupied Palestinian territories. That advice has been issued in response to consumer and retailer concern about a lack of clarity on whether such produce comes from Israeli settlements or Palestinian producers.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by Natural England on administering the Regional Development Programme for England (RDPE) on behalf of his Department in the last 12 months; and whether any of the costs within Natural England's Annual report are attributable to the RDPE. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Natural England was allocated £13,600,000 in 2008-09 to cover its direct costs associated with delivering the Rural Development Programme for England under the common agricultural policy. In addition to this, £22,400,000 was allocated to Natural England to cover the costs of DEFRA's Genesis IT system which is the IT system to manage and administer the Rural Development Programme for England. This running cost includes depreciation, cost of capital and third party support.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much matched funding and other Treasury funding has been committed to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE); and what the (a) consequences to date and (b) estimated consequences are of the change in the exchange rate of the euro to sterling on (i) amount of sterling to be funded from UK sources and (ii) the total amounts available for each Axis 1, 2 and 3 of the RDPE. 
A higher than planned euro value has contributed to an underspend of the European budget allocated to the programme to date. Under EU regulations, unspent European budget may be rolled forward to be spent in later years and therefore remains as part of the total programme budget. For the remainder of the programme we plan to take advantage of the higher sterling value of the EU budget to contribute to savings in the Exchequer funded element. This will contribute to achieving the saving of £92 million in 2012-13 announced in the pre-Budget report(1) to be delivered from efficiencies in Environmental Protection and RDPE. This saving can be achieved within the total of £3.9 billion planned for the programme.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions he has met (a) the Government chief scientific adviser and (b) his Department's chief scientific adviser in the course of his official duties in the last 12 months. 
Dan Norris [holding answer 7 December 2009]: The Secretary of State has had no formal meeting with the Government's chief scientific adviser in the past 12 months, but has had the opportunity to meet him at various committees and events they have both attended. The Secretary of State meets DEFRA's chief scientific adviser regularly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 13 July 2009, Official Report, column 15W, on Waste and Resources Action Programme, if he will undertake
an investigation into the appropriateness of the Waste and Resources Action Programme hiring Chelgate public affairs to lobby hon. Members and noble Lords. 
Dan Norris: Chelgate was contracted by WRAP for a period of six months to organise a series of meetings with parliamentarians from all three major parties, where WRAP explained its role and functions. No lobbying took place at any time.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009; for what reasons he does not plan to review the regulations before 2013; and if he will make a statement. 
Dan Norris: We received extensive responses to two public consultations on the review of exemptions, the second being on the draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2009, which is due to come into force on 6 April 2010 but will not, subject to transitional provisions, be fully implemented until October 2013.
We are committed to introducing a system to regularly review and amend exempt waste operations in the future. We have suggested that the first review should be conducted in 2013, to coincide with the end of the transitional period for existing operations to have re-registered or applied for an environmental permit.
This will provide the opportunity to draw on operational experience to assess how well the revised exemptions are working. However, DEFRA would consider specific amendments to the exemptions if it becomes necessary to do so.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what methodology his Department used to estimate the costs for policy option three as referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. 
Dan Norris: An explanation of the methodology used to estimate the costs for policy option three is provided in chapters six and seven of the impact assessment which accompanies the Explanatory Memorandum to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009.
These chapters explain the risk based approach adopted during the development of the revised exemptions and give an overview of the types of administrative and direct costs incurred under each option.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of metals recycling businesses which will experience a net financial (a) benefit and (b) cost as a result of implementation of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. 
Dan Norris: Based on the available information, we believe that around half of the metal recycling operations (c460) operating under the current chargeable paragraph 45 exemption from environmental permitting would continue to do so if the proposed tonnages applied.
Under the revised regime those operations which remain exempt or could register for an exemption for the first time would no longer be subject to either the initial registration fee (currently £724) or annual re-renewal fee of £272. The remainder will incur additional costs associated with applying for an environmental permit which are likely to exceed the current registration fee.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to issue guidance on individual exemptions that arise as a result of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. 
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of rivers he expects to meet the criteria for the classification of good ecological status under the European water framework directive by 2015. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The proportion of rivers expected to meet the criteria for the classification of good ecological status under the European water framework directive in England by 2015 is 29 per cent. This is as a result of measures implemented through the first set of River Basin Management Plans, to be published this month.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that it meets the requirements of the European water framework directive by the deadlines set in the implementation timetable for that directive. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: To date, we have met all the requirements of the European water framework directive as set out in the implementation timetable. The next key deadline is the publication of the River Basin Management Plans which we intend to publish on or before 22 December 2009, as required by the directive.
Huw Irranca-Davies: There are a number of mechanisms within the river basin management plans relating to diffuse pollution from agricultural sources, and non-agricultural sources. Non-agricultural sources can include run-off from transport, on-street activities such as car washing, industrial estates, forestry and leisure industries and discharges from contaminated land and disused mines. Examples of the mechanisms include the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative which provides advice to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture and the pesticides statutory code of practice.
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