|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Further to the Written Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 December (Official Report, Commons, col. 113WS), whether Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food officials reported appropriately the conditions on Burnside Farm to line managers and Ministers, given their attendance at the making of the video by Northumberland County Council on 24 and 27 February 2001; and, if so, on what date such a report was made. [HL466]
Lord Whitty: No such report was made to line managers or Ministers nor was there any requirement on the veterinary officers present on Burnside Farm on 24 and 27 February to make such a report. The overriding objective of the veterinary officers in attendance at Burnside Farm on 24 and 27 February was to oversee essential disease control operations on the farm.
What are the date and reference number for the Procurator Fiscal's report on the incident reported to the Pesticides Safety Directorate involving the death of a man following his use of aldicarb, pencycuron and imazalil. [HL703]
Further to the statement on flooding by the Minister for the Environment and Agri-Environment, Mr Elliott Morley, on 11 January (Official Report, Commons, col. 203), what was the warning system activated and by which agency or department; and why only certain people received the warning. [HL735]
The agency issued flood warnings in respect of the recent damaging flooding in Carlisle to the emergency services, the local authorities, those members of the public who had opted to receive warnings direct by telephone, and others. In addition, Radio Cumbria broadcast warnings throughout the event and both Cumbria Police and the Environment Agency used vehicles with loud hailers to warn people of the severe risk of flooding.
Direct warnings were given to those people who had subscribed to the flood warning service. The Environment Agency is active in encouraging properties and businesses to subscribe to the service, where it is available. The agency does not have the power to include properties without the owner's consent.
The agency is reviewing the flood event in Carlisle. The event was extreme and the weather conditions hostile. Carlisle endured storm force winds that brought down power cables and telephone lines and disrupted most mobile telephone networks. Although the adverse weather was one of the factors, it is too early to say why some people did not receive warnings.
What assessment they have made of the claim made by Dr Peter Cox on the BBC's "Horizon" programme on 15 January that a rise in average global temperature of two degrees could precipitate the melting of the Greenland ice cap and a rise in sea level of seven to eight metres. [HL790]
Lord Whitty: Research funded by the department suggests that a local temperature change in Greenland of 2.7 degrees (compared to 1990 levels), which roughly corresponds to a global temperature change of two degrees, could trigger melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
Total melting of the ice sheet would depend on whether the temperature change was sustained or increasing. A sustained temperature change of
26 Jan 2005 : Column WA166
2.7 degrees would result in a slow decrease in the size of the ice sheet over millennia and, possibly, its eventual elimination. A further increase in the temperature change is likely to result in the elimination of the ice sheet, over a timescale of a thousand years or more, depending on the size of the temperature rise. Complete melting of the ice sheet would result in sea level rise of approximately seven metres.
Lord Whitty: The potential release of methane from hydrates trapped under the ocean has not yet been quantified, but is the subject of research under the Defra-funded Climate Prediction Programme at the Hadley Centre. Warmer temperatures could trigger such a release, as they can destabilise the conditions under which the hydrates can exist. The Hadley Centre is investigating the conditions under which the hydrates could become unstable, and the temperatures that could initiate a release.
Lord Whitty: The Government are promoting the production of bioethanol through the 20 pence per litre cut in the duty rate that came into effect on 1 January this year. Work is also being carried out on a feasibility study on a renewable transport fuel obligation, and consideration is being given to the application of enhanced capital allowances to biofuel processing plants. The UK's 2005 and 2010 targets under the biofuels directive for the use of biofuels should also help to stimulate the bioethanol industry. The directive does not require the target for 2010 to be set until 2007. But the Government will announce an ambitious but realistic 2010 target as soon as possible in 2005, once the feasibility study on the obligation has been completed and possible delivery mechanisms have been considered.
What role English Nature plays in the protection of English coastline areas; and whether public consultation is invariably held in cases where work is carried out at the request of English Nature. [HL818]
Lord Whitty: English Nature has a statutory role in the selection and management of designated sites both at the coast and inland. There are around 380 coastal Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). English Nature is required to consult widely over the designation of SSSIs, and is continuing to improve the openness and transparency of the designation process for all stakeholders. These procedures are set out in the Government's Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Encouraging Positive PartnershipCode of Guidance published by my department in 2003. For each SSSI there is a list of operations where consultation is required. This consultation is either between English Nature and the owner-occupier, or, where another public body is the consenting authority, between that body and English Nature. English Nature is a statutory consultee in respect of plans and projects likely to affect SSSIs or internationally important sites.
English Nature is currently in the process of producing its maritime strategy. This will inform the revision of English Nature's coastal policy and has been subject to a wide public consultation process in 2004. Communication is a key element of this strategy, in particular to improve the wider understanding of
26 Jan 2005 : Column WA168
English Nature's approach to sustainable coastal management.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 15 December (WA 95), whether Brittany Ferries has yet conducted its trial of the carriage of assistance dogs on its cross-channel services. [HL907]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Following discussions between the Department for Transport and Brittany Ferries to discuss its policy on the carriage of guide dogs, we understand a trial took place on 15 and 16 December 2004 involving a return trip on the Portsmouth to Ouistreham crossing. A veterinary surgeon was present in addition to representatives from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA). A report is being prepared and the GDBA is due to meet with Brittany Ferries shortly to discuss the findings.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|