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Wild Boar

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Wild boar have only very recently recolonised parts of the United Kingdom and their diet has not been investigated in detail. We do, however, have a good understanding of their feeding preferences from studies carried out elsewhere in the world. The following description of wild boar feeding behaviour is taken from a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food report published in 1998. 1

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"Wild boar are omnivorous and will consume a large variety of food items; plant food typically constitutes around 90 per cent of the diet, with animal matter constituting around 10 per cent, although a tendency for concentrating on a few preferred foods, such as forest fruits and grain plants can be shown where these items occur in abundance." 1 Current Status and Potential Impact of Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in the English Countryside: A Risk Assessment. (1998) M. J. Goulding, G. Smith, and S. Baker. Report for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, UK.

This report is available on the Defra website at: www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/reports.htm

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether wild boar have been known to attack persons in the United Kingdom.[HL1330]

Lord Whitty: We are not aware of any confirmed attacks on people in the United Kingdom, although there have been a small number of reported incidents involving wild boar. In one, a farm worker was apparently chased by a wild boar and took refuge on his tractor. In another, a woman was knocked over in a high street and injured by a farmed wild boar fleeing from a nearby abattoir.

Wild Birds: Border Inspections

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, without the requirement for a veterinary inspector's input, the current inspection regime for wild birds at border inspection points of the European Union is adequate.[HL1373]

Lord Whitty: Imports of captive birds (which have been wild caught in a third country) are checked by an official veterinarian of the State Veterinary Service at border inspection posts (BIPs) to ensure that they comply with EU import conditions. After clearance from the BIP they are held in quarantine for 30 days under veterinary control where they are tested for relevant notifiable diseases. The birds are only released at the end of the quarantine period if they are healthy and present no risk to the UK flocks.

Biofuels

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Economic Secretary on 22 January (HC Deb, 1420W), how much of the tax revenue raised from fuel duties was contributed by biodiesel and other fuels derived from renewable sources.[HL1292]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government introduced a reduced rate of duty for biodiesel, at 20 pence per litre below the rate for ultra-low-sulphur

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petrol, in July 2002. £1.3 million was raised in revenue from biodiesel sold at this reduced duty rate in the year 2002–03. This represents approximately 0.01 per cent of total duty revenues raised from all fuel duties.

Information is not available about the revenue raised from any other fuels derived from renewable sources which would have been charged at the standard rate of duty.

The revenue raised by the Exchequer from fuel duties is published by HM Customs & Excise at www.uktradeinfo.com in the Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin.

Illegal Meat Imports

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Where illegal meat seized at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports are incinerated.[HL1304]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Illegal meat and products of animal origin seized by Customs are destroyed at incinerators approved under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) Regulations 2003 and the Animal By-Products Regulations 2003. Seizures from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are destroyed at an incinerator at Edmonton in north London.

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy on passengers entering the United Kingdom at airports with illegal meat for their own consumption.[HL1316]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) Regulations 2003 passengers are allowed to import meat from other EU member states and a small amount of meat from some other European countries provided that it is for their own consumption and is free from disease. Passengers from all other countries may not import any meat but may, depending on the country from which the passenger has arrived, import up to 1 kilogramme each of fish, shellfish, honey or eggs. Full details of the concessions are available on the Defra website.

Railways

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 5 February (WA 120) in respect of Channel Tunnel services, to whom licensed railway undertakings apply for access through the tunnel; and which regulatory body may require access to be granted if the application is refused.[HL1331]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Licensed railway undertakings (or other applicants) seeking train paths through the Channel Tunnel can apply directly to Eurotunnel, or to another infrastructure manager

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working in co-operation with Eurotunnel to provide a one-stop shop for international paths. Eurotunnel's network statement, which it is preparing in order to meet the requirements of the European directive on allocation and charging of infrastructure capacity, will provide the necessary details for applicants.

The Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission will be the regulatory body to which applicants may appeal if access through the tunnel is refused.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the level of profits made by rolling stock companies, they will take steps to refer the three rolling stock companies to the competition authorities.[HL1356]

Lord Davies of Oldham: No. Competition in the rolling stock leasing market was considered by the Rail Regulator in 1998. The Government accepted his conclusion that potential problems could be remedied by means of voluntary codes of practice backed up by the Competition Act. The codes were published by the rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs) in February 2000. The Rail Regulator continues to keep under review both the codes and ROSCOs' adherence to them.

The rail review announced by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State on 19 January will cover all aspects of industry structure including rolling stock leasing arrangements.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ensure an adequate supply of rolling stock over the next 10 years; and[HL1357]

    Whether present shortages of rolling stock in some sectors indicate that the market is not working satisfactorily, and what measures they are taking to address these shortages.[HL1360]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Strategic Rail Authority published its rolling stock strategy in December. A key objective is to ensure the availability of rolling stock to enable operators to accommodate existing and anticipated passenger demand. The SRA also aims to ensure that there is an efficient and sustainable market for rolling stock supply that encourages innovation. A copy of the strategy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to overcome overcrowding of rolling stock in many provincial cities in England.[HL1358]

Lord Davies of Oldham: All train operating companies are required by their franchise agreements to ensure that adequate capacity is provided. The Strategic Rail Authority has published a rolling stock strategy, one of the key objectives of which is to ensure that incentives and commercial interests within the industry are properly aligned to ensure the availability of rolling stock for train operators to accommodate

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existing and anticipated passenger demand. The SRA has also announced its intention to review its policy on dealing with crowding. It plans to publish a consultation document later this year.

Computer Monitors: Excise Duties

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What view they take of the proposal of the European Union Committee on Excise Duties to reclassify computer monitors thereby permitting Customs authorities to impose higher rates of duty on them.[HL1345]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The customs duties charged in the European Community have evolved over time through various rounds of multilateral trade negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, now superseded by the World Trade Organisation. The information technology agreement (ITA) also represents what was negotiable within this complex multilateral framework. The ITA is promulgated in the common customs tariff of the European Communities (CCT).

When differing interpretations of the CCT arise, the European Commission takes steps to provide clarification to ensure uniform application across the Community. The European Commission is to publish a decision of the Customs Code Committee (Nomenclature Section), which advises it on these matters, in the form of a regulation on the classification of plasma monitors.

This proposal does not in fact reclassify computer monitors. It clarifies the distinction between them and other types of monitor, such as video monitors, which, within the terms of the ITA and the CCT, are classified separately from computer monitors and attract a higher rate of duty.

HM Customs and Excise together with the Department of Trade and Industry are satisfied that the proposed regulation provides a correct interpretation of the ITA and CCT. This clarification is intended to assist importers to clear their goods through Customs.


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