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17 July 2008 : Column WA179



17 July 2008 : Column WA179

Written Answers

Thursday 17 July 2008

Agriculture: Recycled Plant Matter

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): A small amount of cereal straw is composted for use by the mushroom industry, but very little other agricultural plant material is composted. Most of the biogas plants in the UK are fuelled by animal manures and waste from the food processing chain, rather than crop residues.

Around 9 per cent of the sugar beet crop (around 650,000 tonnes a year) is used in the production of transport biofuels. Around 2 per cent of cereal straw (around 200,000 tonnes) is used to generate electricity in dedicated biomass power stations. Around 200,000 tonnes of agricultural residues (including cereal straw), wastes and energy crops, are used to generate heat. Around 2.3 million tonnes of a wide range of woody biomass and biomass wastes (including forestry residues, paper industry waste and imported plant wastes), are co-fired with coal.

The vast majority of the remaining residues from crop and horticultural production are either returned to the soil to help build soil organic matter content and provide nutrients for following crops, or are used as animal feed or bedding, which is then recycled to land.

Airports: Heathrow

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In line with the Better Regulation Executive's impact assessment guidance, the department is currently updating the Heathrow impact assessment following the consultation. This will include updating of any underlying assumptions including oil price projections.

Lord Watson of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government support the development of a third runway at Heathrow subject to meeting local environmental conditions on air quality and noise, and improving public transport access. This position was set out in the 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper.

In February this year, the Government completed the consultation “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” which provided evidence on meeting the conditions for a third runway with associated passenger terminal facilities. Decisions on this are expected later this year.

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: During the period January to June 2008, 191 dispensations were granted, 177 related to delays, seven were VIP flights and seven were emergency related.

There have been restrictions on night flights at Heathrow since 1962. The underlying principle of these restrictions is to preserve the balance between the need to protect local communities from excessive aircraft noise at night and the operation of services where they provide economic benefits. These restrictions are reviewed periodically.

The current regime which applies from October 2006 until October 2012 comprises restrictions on the types of aircraft which may be operated throughout the “night period” (11 pm to 7 am).

In addition, further restrictions apply between 11.30 pm and 6 am (the night quota period). In the latter period, first, the noisiest types of aircraft cannot be scheduled to operate. Secondly, the Department for Transport sets two limits—on the number of aircraft movements and on the amount of quota points that may be used. Neither limit may be exceeded. The quota points system allocates a quota count (QC) number to each different type of aircraft for landing and taking-off according to the amount of noise generated. Every time the aircraft operates in the night quota period its number of QC points is deducted from the total for the season. There are two seasons—summer and winter.

The regime provides for a stepped reduction in noise quota over the life of the current regime (i.e. until 2012), encouraging operators to use the quietest aircraft available to them.

There is provision for certain flights to be disregarded from the requirement to be counted against the movements and quota limits in exceptional circumstances. These include cases where there are:

delays to aircraft which are likely to lead to serious congestion at the airport or serious hardship or suffering to passengers; anddelays to aircraft resulting from widespread and prolonged disruption of air traffic.

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Normal operational delays do not fall under these rules and provision has to be made for these to be covered within the allocated movement and quota limits.

Bonuses: DCLG

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): I refer the noble Lord to the reply given to the honourable Member for Twickenham (Dr Vincent Cable) by my honourable friend the Member for Gloucester. (Parmjit Dhanda) on 25 June 2008, Official Report, col. 343W.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The European Commission has provided no such confirmation, but none has been sought. It is unlikely that infraction proceedings against the UK would be considered on these grounds and no such proceedings are anticipated.

There is no specific legislation giving the European Commission power to start infraction proceedings against the United Kingdom for not culling badgers in bovine tuberculosis-affected areas. There are of course general obligations under European law to control the spread of TB, and infraction proceedings can arise whenever the Commission considers there has been a failure correctly to implement EU law. The decision to set a policy of not issuing licences to farmers to cull badgers to prevent bovine TB has not resulted in any such failure.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: The role of maize in the spread of M. bovis has not been specifically investigated by any Defra-funded research projects. However case-control studies carried out as part of the randomised badger culling trial (RBCT) did investigate associations between a number of feed types and risk of a herd TB breakdown. Studies TB99 and CCS2005 found an association between feeding silage and the use of grass feeding types for grazing/forage and an increase in risk of TB breakdown, respectively. The findings of these studies are in the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on cattle TB. In addition, TB99 also identified not using feeding supplements as a risk factor for confirmed cases of TB.

Defra remains open minded about the possibility of a nutritional link but because of the number of variables involved and the likelihood a causal link could never be proven, we are not inclined to fund further research into this subject.

No research projects have been carried out which specifically investigate the association between BTB and trace element deficiencies in badgers.

Cluster Munitions

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Bilateral discussions with the United States on the implications of the Oslo Convention on US cluster munitions stockpiled on UK territory are continuing. We expect to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion soon.

Environmental Protection: Protective Costs Order

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information requested is not held by the Ministry of Justice. It could be compiled only through a manual file search covering all relevant cases heard by the Administrative Court in the past eight years.

Equality: Disabled People

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Government welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s proposal for a new anti-discrimination directive and will work constructively with our European and domestic partners to ensure that any directive adopted is effective in tackling discrimination across the EU.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The department is working with its catering contractor to implement the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative. All pork and bacon is purchased from British farm-assured suppliers.

Football: Crowd Surges

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: This information is not held centrally. However, the Football Licensing Authority (FLA), the body responsible for spectator safety at football grounds, has advised that it is aware of the following incidents at Football League grounds in England and Wales during the period concerned where deaths or significant numbers of injuries occurred and where crushing or crowd surging may have been a factor:

YearGroundDeathsInjuries

1978

Leyton Orient

-

30

1980

Middlesbrough

2

Not recorded

1981

Hillsborough

-

38

1984

Walsall

-

20

1989

Hillsborough

96

400+

1989

Middlesbrough

-

19

The FLA is also aware of a number of incidents where smaller numbers of spectators and/or stewards have been injured in crowd surges since 1989 but does not hold detailed information on these.



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The major improvements in the grounds and in crowd management over the past 15 years have largely eliminated crowd surges in seated areas, though they have occurred when spectators have spilled over into gangways or when players have gone to the crowd during a goal celebration.


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