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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): It would be a disproportionate use of resources, due to the amount of research involved, to provide figures for the total number of new offences created in the period concerned, and how many were attributable to Defra or its predecessors.
Defra is responsible for a large amount of secondary legislation each year, including implementation of European Community obligations. Such legislation may re-enact existing offences or draw down the application of an offence in primary legislation to activities within the scope of the statutory instrument. Some offences are short-lived, being contained in legislation to deal with animal health emergencies.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government set out their plans for public spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2007. The next update on the UK fiscal position will be at the 2008 Pre-Budget Report. It will set out how we are supporting the economy in the short-term, whilst taking the necessary decisions to ensure the public finances remain on a sustainable path in the medium term.
Whether they will make representations to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo regarding their decision to allow logging in their rainforests; and what their assessment is of the likely damage to the environment. [HL5803]
Lord Tunnicliffe: The Interministerial Commission for the review of logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reported its preliminary findings on 6 October 2008. It recommended the cancellation of approximately 70 per cent of existing logging titles, reducing from 22 million hectares to 7 million hectares the forest area dedicated to industrial logging. When presenting the findings, the DRC Environment Minister also confirmed that the current moratorium on new logging concessions will remain in place for another three years, which is welcome news. At the same time, it is important to note that the most important drivers of deforestation are agricultural and fuel wood production which are likely to grow in importance as the DRC economy continues its recovery after years of conflict.
If implemented in full, the Commission's recommendations should be positive for the DRC environment because they will actually reduce the area open to commercial logging to 11 per cent of the country's productive forests. The same ratio for the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) region (excluding the DRC) is 73 per cent. We are therefore not planning specific representations to the DRC Government on the Commission's findings, but will instead help strengthen governance and management of the forestry sector. Through a partnership with Germany funded by the Congo Basin Forest Start-up Fund, the UK is working directly with the DRC Forestry and Environment Ministry to strengthen its capacity at national and provincial levels.
What assessment they have made of the progress made by football clubs in implementing the requirements of the accessible stadia guide to ensure that the experience of visiting their grounds is equal for both disabled and able-bodied supporters. [HL5751]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): Through the accessible stadia guide, the Government have ensured that the minimum standards for disabled facilities at sport stadia are clear and understandable. Save where there are specific safety concerns, assessments on implementing the guide's recommendations is not a matter for the Government.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 17 October (WA 7778), how many of the 3,621 land-based diploma places carry an assurance of 10 days in the workplace at each level. [HL5924]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Government can give the assurance that all learners taking land-based and the environment diplomas at each level from September
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Every year, some half a million 14-to-16 year-olds undertake work-experience placements. These are mainly arranged through education business partnership organisations that are also supporting the delivery of diplomas.
To secure approval to deliver diplomas, 14-to-19 consortia of schools and colleges will have demonstrated effective local employer engagement with named employers in their Diploma Gateway applications. 14-to-19 consortia have also been taking action to strengthen local employer support and to ensure there are sufficient high-quality work-experience placements available for all their diploma students. To assist them, we published Employer EngagementA guide for Diploma Consortia in July 2007 which is available on the department's 14-to-19 website.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The results of each local referendum on a directly elected mayor have been published by the council concerned as required by regulations made under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000. I have placed today in the Library of the House a table summarising the result for all such referendums held to date.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Department for Communities and Local Government marks the main religious festivals of the major faiths with a goodwill message posted on the department's website. In the past 12 months messages have been posted to celebrate Diwali, Vaisakhi, Chanukah, Easter and Ramadan. At Christmas, the department sends Christmas cards.
Further to the Written Statement by Baroness Andrews on 29 September (WS 16263), how the Homes and Communities Agency will decide in
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The HCA will not decide where people will choose to live. As at present, regional and local authorities will determine what new housing is needed and where it can best be provided through the planning framework. In relation to accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers, regional spatial strategies will set out the number of pitches required in each local planning authority area, with local authorities identifying land in development plan documents sufficient to meet that need.
The HCA's role will be to ensure that the housing targets identified in plans are delivered in a way that creates the kind of communities people want to live in. It will do so either directly, through its funding programmes, the use of surplus public sector land, and the other expertise it can offer, or indirectly, by supporting local authorities, other public sector bodies and private sector partners.
Further to the Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 12 December (Official Report, col. 225), what progress has been made on the pilot scheme to allow over-the-counter access to the contraceptive pill; and whether they are planning to introduce further measures to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in the United Kingdom. [HL5609]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): To date, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority has not received any applications to reclassify oral contraceptives from prescription-only medicine to pharmacy status.
The Government have invested an additional £26.8 million in 2008-09 to improve women's access to contraception and help reduce the number of teenage pregnancies. Funding will continue in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Some primary care trusts are using this funding to pilot the supply of a range of methods of contraception in pharmacies under National Health Service arrangements.
The department is working with these areas to assess the success of these pilots over the next two years. The department is also undertaking a programme of work to support reductions in teenage pregnancy and abortions including a new targeted campaign to highlight contraceptive choices available to women, strengthening links between abortion and contraception services and issuing new guidance Good Practice Guidance on Commissioning Contraceptive and Abortion Services which will be published shortly.
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