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Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity on 21 May (Official Report, Commons, cols. 1037-38W), whether the fall between 2006 and 2007 in the proportion of sites of special scientific interest in target condition in the east, south-west and West Midlands reflects a decline in performance or a loss of sites of special scientific interest in favourable condition to other uses.[HL4192]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): SSSI units are assessed once every six years using common standards as part of a continuing rolling programme. A change in the condition of a unit can reflect either a change in its physical condition or a reassessment of the impact of activities on the unit.
The main causes of the decline in condition of SSSI land between 2006 and 2007 in the east of England related to water abstraction and water quality issues and unsustainable fishing practices. In the south-west, the main causes were fires, under-grazing, low summer water levels and inappropriate woodland management. In the West Midlands, the main causes related to water quality, invasive freshwater species, under-grazing, inappropriate woodland management and deer grazing.
For all these different reasons, a variety of remedial mechanisms has been identified in order to resolve the problems by 2010. This involves work by Natural England, the Environment Agency, internal drainage boards, water companies, the Forestry Commission, national park authorities and others. Land managers will be supported to deliver the right management through environmental stewardship and the English Woodland Grant Scheme.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Revenues collected by HM Revenue and Customs include road-specific fuel duties and company car tax (including fuel benefit charge), which stood at £23 billion and £2.5 billion respectively in 2005-06. Vehicle excise duty receipts in 2005-06 were £5 billion, collected for the Exchequer by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
What steps they will take to ensure that producers do not prevent, through specific design features or manufacturing processes, waste electrical and electronic equipment from being re-used, as stated in Regulation 59 of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/3289). [HL4137]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The Government are committed to ensuring that producers recognise the importance of design in the sustainability agenda and will continue to work with the business community on this issue. As part of the UK WEEE system, the DTI will be establishing an independent WEEE advisory body to provide advice to government on issues arising from the implementation of the WEEE regulations. How to encourage product design to assist with re-use and recycling will be one of the areas the DTI will ask it to address.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The Welsh Language Board was established under the Welsh Language Act 1993 to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language. The board monitors the implementation of Welsh language schemes by public bodies and has reported a steady rise in the number of bodies with Welsh language schemes. There are currently 423 statutory and 53 voluntary schemes in operation.
The 2001 census showed that the number of people able to speak Welsh had increased by around 80,000 since 1991, from 18.7 per cent of the population to 20.8 per cent. The Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Language Board are currently working with the Office for National Statistics to develop a set of questions for use in the next census to provide more comprehensive data on the language.
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