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Fish stocks in EU waters are assessed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). There are linkages between sandeel fishing and other species through by-catch, although scientific advice indicates that by-catches of prime human consumption species within the sandeel fishery are relatively small compared to the fisheries for human consumption.
ICES annually calculates industrial by-catches; i.e. landings of non-target species, for whiting and haddock in the North sea. Landings of North sea whiting from the industrial fisheries were 1,230 tonnes and 1,020 tonnes in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Landings of North sea haddock from the industrial fisheries were 48 tonnes and 199 tonnes in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken on the effect on the level of fish stocks of industrial fishing techniques; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) My Department and the Scottish Executive have, in the past, commissioned research into industrial fishing. Although there are currently no specific projects being undertaken, the UK Government continue to support work on sandeels and their predators.
Most recently, a major study by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science which investigated the direct and indirect impacts of the sandeel fishery off the coast of eastern England was completed in March 2007. In addition, the Scottish Executive supported an EU-funded project: 'Interactions Between the Marine Environment, Predator Implications for Sustainable Sandeel Fisheries', which concluded before 2007.
(b) On the effect on the level of fish stocks of industrial fishing techniques, the UK, through the Scottish Government continues to support work on sandeels and their predators, through monitoring of the north- east UK area closure. Local studies of cod, haddock and whiting predation on sandeels before and after the closure was introduced in 2000, found no evidence of an effect, although the reduction in fishing mortality did lead to an increase in the abundance of age one and older sandeels. The lack of a fishing effect probably had more to do with the difference in the age of sandeel taken by these predators and the fishery.
The cod, haddock and whiting in this study mostly fed on young sandeels of the year, whereas the fishery targeted age one and older sandeels. The local abundance of cod and haddock in the study-region reflected wider North sea wide trends, suggesting that local conditions were not determining abundance. Had there been significant numbers of large cod and haddock in the region, then competition between the sandeel fishery and these species may have been more important, since the size and age of sandeels taken is limited by predator size.
Dan Norris: DEFRA's policies on waste oils are set out in Waste Strategy for England 2007. We are currently considering the responses to the stage one consultation on the transposition of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), including the provisions in article 21 on waste oils.
Dan Norris: Government policy is to manage waste as far up the waste hierarchy as possible-with energy from waste ranking higher than landfill but below waste prevention, re-use, and recycling. The Government's view of incineration and similar technologies is that they form just one among several approaches, all of which are needed for sustainable and effective waste management.
It is recognised that there will always be some waste streams that cannot be re-used, recycled or composted and recovering energy from that waste, including by incineration, results in less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the alternative of landfill. Producing energy from this waste, which would otherwise have gone to landfill, not only contributes to reducing carbon emissions, but also counts towards our renewable energy targets by displacing fossil fuel power generation.
The choice in technology needs to reflect local circumstances, with reference to the relevant waste strategies and plans, so that proposed waste incineration plants are of an appropriate type and scale and do not prejudice the achievement of local, regional or national waste management targets.
Huw Irranca-Davies: Natural England is taking action to protect and manage heather moorland habitats and is also taking additional steps to recover threatened species. A total of 354,000 hectares of heather moorland (comprising blanket bog and upland heathlands) have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). On 1 March 2010, 91 per cent. of these SSSIs were in favourable or recovering condition (up from about 57 per cent. in September 2006). 95 per cent. of eligible heather moorland is under agri-environment agreement.
In addition, about 40 heather moorland species have been listed as species of principal importance for the conservation of biological diversity under section 41 of
the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Many of these species, including hen harrier, black grouse and juniper, benefit from targeted recovery plans.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many entries have been registered under the voluntary reporting scheme for nanomaterials since its inception. 
Dan Norris: A trial of the UK's voluntary reporting scheme for engineered nanomaterials was carried out between September 2006 and September 2008. DEFRA received 13 submissions to the scheme during this period. Although the scheme has now officially closed submissions are still accepted.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government plan to bring forward proposals for a mandatory reporting scheme for nanomaterials used in consumer products. 
Dan Norris: As stated in the Government's June 2009 response to the Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution's December 2008 Report "Novel Materials in the Environment: The Case of Nanotechnology", we recognise that, given increasing interest in this area, additional work to boost our understanding is required. Work is currently ongoing to define in more detail how any successor to the voluntary reporting scheme could effectively be introduced, including whether or not it should be mandatory.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the European Court of Justice's ruling on goods from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank on his Department's policies on food imports. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The European Court of Justice's recent ruling in the case of C-386/08 (Brita-Gmbh) concerned the procedures which a EU member state's customs authority should follow in a case where imported goods are shown as being of Israeli origin, and preferential customs tariff treatment is claimed under the EC-Israel Association Agreement, but where there is reason to suppose that the goods in question did in fact originate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).
This ruling will have no effect on DEFRA's policies on food imports originating in the OPTs, since the Court's ruling confirms the correctness of the procedures that are already operated in the UK by HM Revenue and Customs. There are no inconsistencies between the Court's ruling and the technical guidance concerning the labelling of produce grown in the OPTs that was issued by DEFRA on 10 December 2009.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of the waste oil regeneration industry; and if he will make a statement. 
Representatives of the waste oil processing industry are members of the Stakeholder Group relating to the transposition of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), including the provisions in Article 4 on the waste hierarchy and Article 21 on waste oils. They were also involved in the Hazardous Waste Steering Group, which helped advise on proposals for a Strategy for Hazardous Waste Management in England.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions the joint working group on energy from waste policy plans to hold on regulatory barriers to energy from waste deployment; 
(i) Potential volumes of waste that could be used to produce energy
(ii) Technology choice
(iii) Location and scale of plants, including planning considerations
(iv) Financial issues affecting delivery of energy from waste plant
Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
Department for Transport (DfT)
Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG)
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
The Environment Agency.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects of the dam on the River Severn at Shrewsbury on the flow of the River Severn and its tributaries in Montgomeryshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency, in conjunction with Shropshire council, has assessed the potential benefits of combining a proposed road scheme with a flood storage area and dam in Shrewsbury to reduce flood risk along the River Severn.
The aim was to discover whether the combination of both schemes could make the flood storage area and dam more viable. The work carried out has shown that there are no financial savings in having a combined scheme and there are no current plans to progress the construction of a dam in Shrewsbury.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish the draft statement setting out the principles of an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The written statement to fulfil the requirement in Section 123(6) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 will be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State on 10 or 11 March 2010.
The statement will set out the principles and other matters that Government will follow when designating a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). They include: the seven principles of ecological coherence which will underpin the network design; Government's commitment to an ecologically coherent network of MPAs by 2012; social and economic considerations; protection levels for MPAs including sites to allow recovery of damaged or diminished features; and links with other legislation such as the marine strategy framework directive.
The Government believe the ecologically coherent network of MPAs created through the Act will represent a significant step towards our vision for clean healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas, and increase resilience to climate change.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the investigations conducted by Animal Aid into practices at slaughterhouses; and if he will take steps to ensure that those establishments adhere to high animal welfare practice standards. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), an Executive agency of the Food Standards Agency, enforces the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 in slaughterhouses on behalf of DEFRA. Animal cruelty within a slaughterhouse is not tolerated by the MHS who take appropriate enforcement action if there are breaches of animal welfare legislation.
Animal Aid passed to the MHS undercover footage taken in four abattoirs during 2009, where CCTV footage appeared to show evidence of animal cruelty by slaughterers at two slaughterhouses. In one of the slaughterhouses a slaughterer has had his licence revoked and the case has been referred for prosecution along with the operator of the plant. In the second two, slaughterers have had their licences revoked and a third slaughterer has been suspended. The case has been referred for investigation with a view to prosecution.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate the Forestry Commission has made of the (a) initial and (b) maintenance cost of planting and maintenance of an urban tree. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Forestry Commission in England has made an estimate of the cost of planting a tree in an urban site in London as part of the London Trees and Woodlands Grant Scheme. This varies from between £250 for planting in a grass verge to £450 for planting in paved areas. Protective guarding of a tree can add £130. Maintaining a tree for the first three years, which includes watering, general maintenance and formative pruning is estimated at £300.
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