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Surveys

Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list each information, promotional, marketing and opinion survey contract, with its value, concluded by his Department and its agencies for the years (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99, (c) 1999-2000, (d) 2000-2001 and (e) 2001-2002. [32007]

Angela Eagle: The Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport published annual information on surveys and this practice will be continued by the combined DETR Survey Control Unit. I refer the right

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hon. Member to earlier responses given on this subject on 10 February 1998, Official Report, column 127 and 5 February 1998, Official Report, column 728.

It is not possible to provide costs for opinion surveys that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and its agencies have yet to carry out.

Social Services

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the level of the SSA on social services on elderly people in Oxfordshire. [31992]

Mr. Raynsford: No such assessment has been made, because the impact of any change in the level of the SSA for Personal Social Services for elderly people depends upon local authorities' decisions on the size and allocation of their budgets.

Hedgerows

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what length of hedgerow in England and Wales has (a) been destroyed in each year from 1992 to 1997 and (b) been created in each year from 1992 to 1997. [32246]

Angela Eagle: The latest survey into changes in countryside hedgerows in England and Wales, which was undertaken by the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology, covered the years 1990 to 1993. This estimated that on average some 3,600 km of hedgerows were lost due to outright removal each year, whilst an average of 4,400 km of new hedgerows were planted per year.

British Rail Land

Sir Raymond Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how much land in Wales previously owned by British Rail has been disposed of for (a) industries, (b) housing and (c) other developments since privatisation; [32240]

Ms Glenda Jackson: I regret that information on sales of land by British Rail since privatisation is not kept in the form requested. Disposal of land transferred by British Rail to Railtrack and other railway businesses at privatisation is a matter for the companies concerned.

Set-aside Land

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the proposals to improve access to open country apply to set-aside land. [32098]

Angela Eagle: Access to set-aside is already encouraged under MAFF's Countryside Access Scheme. The Government's proposals, set out in their consultation

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paper, "Access to the Open Countryside", identify mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land as the types of land to which priority for greater access should be given. The Government's proposals do not apply to developed land or to land used for agriculture (including set-aside), other than for extensive grazing.

Grouse Moorlands

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of (a) changes in the population of birds of prey on grouse moorlands since 1990 and (b) the reasons for such changes. [32211]

Angela Eagle: Two species of birds of prey are associated with predation of red grouse on grouse moors, the hen harrier and the peregrine falcon. The last survey of the hen harrier was undertaken in 1988, and a further survey will commence in the summer of 1998. However, recent work on the hen harrier has indicated that their survival rate on grouse moors was lower than on other moorland habitats, and this has been attributed to illegal persecution.

The peregrine falcon has significantly increased in recent years following a decline caused by the use of organochlorines in the 1950s and 1960s. However, persecution and environmental pollutants may restrict the population in some areas.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what policies are applied by English Partnerships when deciding whether to fund development proposals affecting sites of special scientific interest; and if he will make a statement. [32080]

Angela Eagle: English Partnerships' statutory remit is to regenerate derelict, contaminated, vacant and underused sites to bring them back into beneficial use. The Agency works exclusively in areas of economic and social need. The nature of the Agency's remit is such that the environmental impact of its work is almost always positive. Where it is involved in proposals affected by SSSIs, it is usually because the Agency is investing in enhancing the environmental quality of that area.

There are, however, hard cases where the Agency needs to consider development proposals which might adversely affect areas of special scientific interest. In these circumstances, the Agency considers all the environmental effects of the project including the removal of environmental hazards and nuisances, the potential visual improvement and nature conservation issues. These factors then have to be weighed alongside the economic and social needs of the local population.

The Agency also operates, however, within the statutory planning system. It would therefore expect issues concerning the status of an SSSI to have been considered in the local development plan and, subsequently, at planning application stage. Of particular relevance in this context is the role of English Nature as statutory consultee.

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Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list those SSSIs that have been affected by development projects funded by English Partnerships; and if he will in each case set out the nature of the damage; [32079]

Angela Eagle: I will write to the hon. Member.

Rainham Marshes

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he intends to call in the proposed development in the Thames Marshes SSSI at Havering Riverside (Rainham Marshes) promoted and funded by English Partnerships. [32081]

Mr. Caborn: This application is currently before the London Borough of Havering for their consideration. If they resolve to grant permission for the development, the application will then be referred to the Secretary of State under the Shopping Direction and consideration will be given to whether the application should be called in.

Climate Change

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Government plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. [31987]

Angela Eagle: It is the Government's intention that the UK should sign the Kyoto Protocol at an early date, subject to discussion with our EU colleagues to maximise the participation of Member States and the Community in signing the Protocol at the same time. Thereafter, the Government are keen that the Protocol should be brought into force at an early stage. However before ratification satisfactory progress on a number of outstanding issues is necessary, particularly with regard to the operation of flexible mechanisms such as emissions trading, joint implementation and the clean development mechanism.

Sludge

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those bodies classified as sludge producers that maintain registers for the purposes of the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989. [32186]

Angela Eagle: Registers are maintained by:














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