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4 Feb 2009 : Column WA117

Written Answers

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Agriculture: Cattle Emissions

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government are considering this and other relevant research as they develop a cost-effective policy framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture, forestry and land management sector, in response to recommendations made in the Committee on Climate Change's inaugural report.

Agriculture: Sheep

Questions

Asked by Lord Vinson

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): All sheep identified in England on or after 31 December 2009, with the exception of those animals intended for slaughter within 12 months of age, will need to be electronically identified.

Asked by Lord Vinson

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Detailed information about the cost of implementation is contained in the regulatory impact assessment on electronic identification of sheep and goats. This is available on the Defra website.



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An updated version to take account of changes to the regulation that were negotiated over the summer and more detailed implementation options will accompany the consultation that is planned for the spring.

Asked by Lord Vinson

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Individual records will be kept in the farm holding register and included in movement documents.

Asked by Lord Vinson

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: This is a matter for local authorities, which are responsible for enforcement of the sheep identification rules.

Statutory on-farm sheep and goat inspections will also be carried out in England by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The RPA employs in excess of 260 full-time equivalent multi-skilled inspectors, who conduct a range of farm and trader inspections under CAP and UK schemes, and at least 220 of whom are trained in sheep and goats inspections. These inspectors will have their skills enhanced to encompass electronic identification inspection requirements.

Asked by Lord Vinson

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Independent epidemiological modelling has identified that the introduction of electronic identification (EID) and individual recording could reduce costs of managing an outbreak of exotic disease over the current UK system by up to 13 per cent, as a result of fewer infected premises and fewer animals being culled. It will also improve our ability to track individual animal movements.

The direct financial benefits to the UK of implementing EID in accordance with EU law is a reduced risk of single farm payment disallowance and of EU infraction proceedings.

There will also be management benefits for those farmers who want to make use of EID and gather individual performance data to make their businesses more profitable. This could benefit such things as flock health status, lambing ratios, carcase quality, weight, milk yield et cetera.



4 Feb 2009 : Column WA119

Aviation: Baggage

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Passenger rights in respect of the loss, damage or delay to baggage are protected in the UK by the 1999 Montreal Convention, which came into force for the UK in June 2004.

The carrier is prima facie liable for luggage that has been delayed, damaged or lost, unless it can establish a defence under the convention. The liability for delay, loss or damage to baggage is limited to 1,000 special drawing rights (SDRs)—approximately £820. These are maximum limits. Claims are assessed individually.

Aviation: Passengers

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The department with responsibility for civil aviation policy matters is the Department for Transport.

An air passenger’s contract is with the airline, not with HMG. Compensation for baggage which gets lost or damaged is the responsibility of the airline, under the Montreal Convention 1999. Air passengers can complain to the industry complaints body, the Air Transport Users Council (the AUC), if issues cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the passenger and the airline. Occasionally baggage issues are raised in ministerial correspondence and drafts are prepared by departmental officials; there are no officials who work exclusively on baggage.

More widely, the Department for Transport is actively looking into how the overall experience of air passengers may be improved. This includes passenger survey work commissioned from the CAA and the department's review of the economic regulatory regime at airports.

Bailiffs

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Her Majesty's Courts Service magistrates’ courts warrants are executed by civilian enforcement officers and by private bailiffs through contracts between Her Majesty's Courts Service and private enforcement companies.

Civilian enforcement officers are directly employed by Her Majesty's Courts Service and are not required to be certificated. Civilian enforcement officers are bound by contracts of employment with Her Majesty's Courts Service and must adhere to any requirements that the contract refers. Newly appointed civilian enforcement officers undergo strict departmental vetting procedures and must successfully complete probation and training periods before they are considered to have met the standards required to execute warrants on behalf of magistrates’ courts.

Bailiffs employed by private bailiff companies which are contracted to Her Majesty's Courts Service to undertake the execution of warrants are not legally required to be certificated in order to carry out this type of work. However Her Majesty's Courts Service believes the certification process provides an increased assurance that staff working on these contracts are of sufficient quality and standing to carry out an important public function. The contracts stipulate that bailiffs employed by private bailiff companies which undertake work on behalf of Her Majesty's Court Service must be certificated.

It is recognised that the induction, training and certification process can be onerous and lengthy; therefore Her Majesty's Courts Service allows a six-month period in which certification must be achieved. The companies are required to report on progress of this certification process in their monthly management reports to Her Majesty's Courts Service contract managers.

Bloody Sunday: Inquiry

Question

Asked by Baroness Wilcox

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Lord Saville wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 4 November 2008, stating that he now expects to deliver the report of the inquiry in autumn 2009.

Burma

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury



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Lord Tunnicliffe: The Department for International Development (DfID) recognises that child malnutrition among internally displaced people in Burma is a significant concern.

In 2008-09 DfID has contributed £1 million to the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), which provides food rations to displaced people in Karen state as well as to Burmese refugees in Thailand. This funding represented a 30 per cent increase over our contribution in 2007-08.

In December 2008 TBBC submitted to DfID, through Christian Aid, a funding proposal covering three years from April 2009 to March 2012. DfID is considering this proposal in consultation with Christian Aid, other donors to TBBC and TBBC itself. The head of DfID's office in Burma discussed funding needs with TBBC's executive director on 19 January.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Lord Lawson of Blaby

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The recent developments in climate science and in the analysis of potential impacts referred to in the First Report of the Committee on Climate Change that have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals are referenced in chapter 1 of the committee's report. Since the Committee on Climate Change is an independent body, specific queries on its report should be addressed directly to the committee.

Climate Change: Emissions

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The current financial incentive mechanism for renewables, the renewables obligation, is not relevant to the distribution of allowances in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).



4 Feb 2009 : Column WA122

Large electricity producers (LEPs) have received fewer EU ETS allowances in phase II of the system for three main reasons: first, because the power sector has faced the effort required under the cap; secondly, the LEPs have to contribute to allowances in the new entrant reserve (NER); and thirdly, the allowances available for auctioning in phase II have been taken from those previously allocated for free to the power sector. From 2013 there will be 100 per cent auctioning to the power sector in the UK, which will remove the issue of windfall profits as a result of passing through costs to consumers.

Passing on the cost of EU allowances is a rational response from firms and it is also a desired response from the point of view of the effectiveness of the EU ETS.

Common Agricultural Policy

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): TheGovernment published AVision for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2005 setting out a blueprint for the future, envisaging the abolition of pillar 1 of the CAP by 2015-20. The vision also said that remaining expenditure would be based on pillar 2, and that rural development measures, including those targeted on protection and enhancement of the rural environment, would have a central rather than a peripheral role under a future CAP.

The UK believes there is a growing recognition that the CAP in its current form does not help equip the EU for the 21st century, and we will work with the European Commission and other member states to build support for genuinely fundamental, strategic and ambitious reform. There are a number of opportunities for doing so over the coming years, not least the current review of the EU budget.

Crime: Drug Interventions Programmes

Question

Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Recent international reviews analysing large numbers of evaluations of drug treatment programmes have concluded that, on average, drug treatment programmes reduce reoffending1. Drug interventions shown to be effective included: methadone treatment, heroin treatment, therapeutic communities, psycho-social approaches and drug courts. The most effective interventions to reduce drug-related crime seemed to be therapeutic communities, psychosocial approaches and drug courts.

For offences committed on or after 4 April 2005, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced the community order, which replaced all previous community sentences, including community rehabilitation orders (CROs) and drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs), for adult offenders. Under the Act, the court may impose a community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR). No robust assessment has been made to date of DRRs’ effect on reducing reoffending, however research2 concluded that DTTOs can reduce spending on drugs and reoffending, although it was not possible to determine to what extent these changes were due to the DTTO or whether other factors also contributed.

A community-based research study, NTORS (National Treatment Outcome Research Study), showed that, for every additional £l spent on drug treatment, there was a return of at least £9.50 in the cost savings associated with victim costs of crime and reduced demands being made on the CJS3.

Similarly, research into a cohort of individuals entering the drug interventions programme (DIP) in the community found that offending levels were around 26 per cent lower in the six months following identification by DIP through a positive drug test in the custody suite4.

Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen


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