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19 Feb 2007 : Column WA167

Written Answers

Monday 19 February 2007

Agriculture: Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): I recently met representatives of the intensive livestock rearing industry to discuss permit charges and, in particular, how annual charges might be reduced through streamlined approaches to inspection. The Environment Agency (EA) and the National Farmers’ Union are currently considering options, including what greater use might be made of assurance scheme visits.

The Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 require permit applications to be accompanied by the prescribed fee. The EA must seek to recover its full costs in accordance with HM Treasury guidance. The EA will review the costs when the majority of the applications have been assessed and the full extent of the work is known.

Agriculture: Sheep

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The UK currently operates under a temporary derogation from the requirement to double-tag under EC Regulation 21/2004. Subject to a regulatory impact assessment, the UK will consider other derogations within the scope of the regulation, which will benefit the UK sheep industry while maintaining protection of the public interest.

The UK welcomes the priority that Commissioner Fischer Boel places on simplifying the common agricultural policy. We are working closely with the Commission and the member states to ensure that this initiative results in a reduction of red tape in the agriculture sector.

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Air Pollution

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

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The system of local authority pollution prevention and control covers air pollution from industrial installations known as “Part Bs”. Permit applications from industrial operators must be advertised and permits must be put on a public register, as well as any monitoring information required supplied to the local authority. Authorities also collect and publish data about Part B processes as part of their air quality management responsibilities. The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory also contains information about emissions from Part B processes, and we are considering the feasibility of expanding it. However, we do not currently have any plans to integrate data from Part B installations with Environment Agency pollution inventory data.

Ambulance Service: London

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Following the events of July 2005, the Cabinet Office asked departments to consider putting people forward who had played a part in the aftermath of the incidents on 7 July as part of the normal submission of the New Year honours list 2006. The department submitted four nominations at MBE level for ambulance personnel and one at OBE level

Separately, the department has recently requested that the Cabinet Office Honours and Decorations Committee consider a business case proposal for the introduction of a Queen's ambulance service medal. This would recognise individuals working in the ambulance service who have gone beyond the call of duty. Similar medals exist for the police and fire services.

Animal Welfare: Wild Birds

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

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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): It is difficult to gauge how much money is directly spent on the monitoring of CITES-listed species in their country of origin, as much of the Government’s financial assistance that might meet this description is part of a range of broader projects that focus on building capacity in developing countries to conduct this work. However, the Government with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the statutory adviser on international nature conservation, provided £42,000 in 2005-06 and £7,957 in 2006-07 toward research conducted in Guinea to survey the occurrence and relative abundance of diurnal raptors subject to international trade. In addition, in 2006 the Government provided £20,000 of funding toward the African-Eurasian waterbird agreement to help to develop an international partnership that will support work associated with population assessments of waterbirds, including species listed on CITES, such as the Egyptian goose, red-breasted goose, Cape teal, Eurasian widgeon, giant heron, great egret, slender-billed curlew, greater flamingo and the demoiselle crane.

In addition, through the Darwin Initiative, the Government have provided funding for a range of projects that aim to assist monitoring generally through capacity building, monitoring and population assessment focused generally at wild birds, not just CITES-listed species. The Darwin Initiative seeks to assist countries that are rich in biodiversity but have scarce financial

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and other resources to fulfil their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

As part of the Government’s support for biodiversity in the overseas territories, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, jointly with the Department for International Development, provides funding to a broad range of programmes under the Overseas Territories Environment Programme, which assists in environmental management and the implementation of environmental charters in the overseas territories.

The Government recognise the need to assist developing countries in conserving biodiversity and therefore support the Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1991, to help developing countries to fund projects and programmes related to biodiversity, among other things.

Animal Welfare: Wild Deer

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The most recent deer population estimates are:

England1Wales1ScotlandEstimated annual percentage increase

1. Red deer



No data

6 to 7 per cent

2. Sika deer



No data

1.5 to 2 per cent

3. Fallow deer



No data

3.5 to 4 per cent

4. Roe deer



No data

4.5 to 5 per cent

5. Muntjac



No data

14 to 15 per cent

6. Water deer



No data

12 to 13 per cent

1 The Deer Initiative (2006)

Estimating the number of deer in a particular area has always been problematic and the quality of records varies greatly. The Deer Commission for Scotland no longer publishes populations estimates and concentrates only on impacts of deer. There are no specific population figures for wild deer numbers in Northern Ireland, although the perception is that overall numbers are increasing. The general trend for all species throughout the UK in recent years is that they are increasing.

Armed Forces: Coroners' Inquests

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The MoD takes seriously its duty to assist coroners in their preparations for inquests into the deaths of service personnel. Internal service inquiry reports are provided to coroners to assist them with their preparations for their own independent inquiry. These internal investigation reports may be service police reports, boards of inquiry, ship or land accident investigations or air accident reports, dependent on the service involved and what was required by the circumstances surrounding the death of the service person. Exhibits and unused material are included, or an explanation provided as to their exclusion. However, third-party information and UK-sensitive material is provided on an in-confidence basis, with a clear

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explanation of how such material should be handled and protected. The MoD seeks to co-operate, subject to any operational, security and third-party considerations, with additional requests from a coroner for disclosure of material held by the MoD. Where it is necessary to explain the operational context or to cover security-sensitive material, briefings from subject-matter experts are arranged.

It is the responsibility of the relevant service organisations to provide a copy of their internal investigation reports to coroners in a timely manner so as to provide helpful background on the circumstances of an incident and to assist coroners in conducting their own investigation and in identifying whom to call as witnesses or subject-matter experts to give oral evidence.

Armed Forces: Military Covenant

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Army uses the term “military covenant” to describe the mutual obligation between the nation, the Army and each individual soldier: an expectation of personal sacrifice and the forgoing of some personal rights and freedoms on the one hand, and of fairness, respect and appropriate terms and conditions on the other. The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force do not use the term “military covenant”, but share the same understanding. The Army last reviewed the military covenant in 2005 and no further review is planned at present.

Aviation: Ministerial Air Travel

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: It is the responsibility of everyone, wherever possible, to think about how we can avoid and reduce emissions. As part of the Government's carbon offsetting commitment, carbon emissions arising from official and ministerial air travel have been offset since April 2006.

Aviation: Security Alert

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): There were 25 people arrested, resulting in 17 individuals being charged. Two individuals who were charged with failure to disclose

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information have since had their cases dismissed by the judge due to insufficient evidence.

Children: Abuse

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): There are already explicit laws in place to protect children from maltreatment and these laws can be used against anyone who aids or abets abuse. Under Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, it is an offence for any adult with responsibility for a child to wilfully assault, ill-treat, neglect or abandon the child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health, or to counsel or procure such suffering or injury. The maximum penalty on conviction of either offence is 10 years. It is also an offence for anyone to aid or abet someone who causes a child suffering or injury. A belief in “spirit possession” is relatively widespread, although abuse linked to such beliefs is rare. The Government published guidance for consultation on 2 February which aims to help local agencies to apply their general child protection procedures to such cases so as to most effectively safeguard and promote the welfare of the children involved.

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