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Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the devolution of greater control of fisheries management within the 12 mile limits of the UK to the UK Government, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. 
Mr. Morley: The United Kingdom Government has devolved fisheries management within the whole of the Scottish Fisheries Zone to the Scottish Executive. The National Assembly of Wales has assumed responsibility for the territorial sea off Wales and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for management of the territorial sea off Northern Ireland. In England the territorial sea remains the responsibility of Westminster. The 06 mile band off England and Wales continues to be managed by local authority Sea Fisheries Committees.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what her policy is on the Commission's proposal that there should be a 40 per cent. cut in the EU fishing fleet; 
Mr. Morley: We recognise that EU fleets are too large and that what is needed is a permanent reduction in tonnage. We therefore believe that where further cuts are needed, the priority must be to decommission vessels rather than to tie them up temporarily. If we return to present levels of fishing effort once stocks have recovered, we will simply recreate current problems of overfishing.
We have not yet however had the opportunity to question the Commission about the detail of their calculations. Nonetheless, they have made clear that they do not seek to impose cuts in fleet capacity on Member States. Their figures which detail fleet cuts by Member States are to be taken as purely illustrative. It will be for Member States to decide what measures to introduce in response to the decisions taken by the Council on reducing fishing effort. The scale of decommissioning will also depend on the decisions taken by fishermen in the light of the impact of these measures. Fisheries Departments in the UK have however already been running decommissioning schemes this year and we would want these taken account of in any necessary reductions which are ultimately agreed.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to prevent the over-exploitation of fisheries in international waters and in the waters of third countries outside the EU where EU vessels are fishing. 
Mr. Morley: We shall press for the EU to adopt a more sustainable and responsible approach to international fisheries as part of the reform of the common fisheries policy. In particular we shall be seeking improvements to the way the EU negotiates fishing agreements with third countries, in order to ensure the sustainable management of stocks.
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Mr. Morley: Dolphin and porpoise by-catch around the UK occurs in waters where vessels from other member states fish extensively, so action is required at EU level to resolve the problem. This is why I have been pressing the Commission to take action on this issue, particularly now that observations we have commissioned have demonstrated a dolphin by-catch problem in the pair trawl fishery for bass off south-west England. I was pleased to see recently that the Commission proposals for the reform of the CFP refer to the introduction by the end of 2002 of measures to reduce cetacean by-catch. We shall be looking for positive action on this in the course of the reform negotiations: we also intend to continue funding trials of adaptations to fishing gear that could reduce dolphin and porpoise by-catch.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy that no public aid will be used for building new vessels and modernising existing ones other than in the case of safety improvements and quality production. 
Mr. Morley: It is already Government policy that grants should not be paid for building new vessels or for modernisation that increases fishing effort. In the UK vessel grants are only paid for the adoption of sustainable catching methods and improvements to the quality of fish on board and working conditions.
Mr. Morley: The UK welcomes the importance placed on improving the quality of scientific advice for fisheries management in the Commission's recent communication on the reform of the common fisheries policy. In particular, we look forward to seeing the detailed action plan due to be published before the end of 2002. At this stage the proposal to develop a European Centre for Fisheries Assessment and Management is a long-term aim, one of many ideas to be explored during the course of the review. We feel confident, however, that the UK's fisheries scientists will continue to play a leading role in improving the quality of scientific advice available to fisheries managers.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the EU Standing Forestry Committee is next due to meet; whether experts nominated by the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The EU Standing Forestry Committee meets as and when business arises; the date of its next meeting has not been fixed as yet. The UK is represented on the committee by an official from the Forestry Commission, which reports to the forestry Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the EU Standing Committee on Agricultural Research is next due to meet; whether experts nominated by the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The European Commission has not yet set a date for the next meeting of SCAR. Experts from the Scottish Executive have not attended recent meetings of SCAR (which have been relatively infrequent), though officials in DEFRA liaise with their Scottish counterparts. There is no bar to their attending as part of the UK delegation as their needs and interests arise.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the pending applications for reservoirs in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland, with the proposed nation to which the water will be supplied where different from the source; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: In England and Wales, the Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to secure the proper use of water resources. The agency is not aware of any pending applications for new reservoirs in England or Wales. Nor are there any applications pending with the Scottish Executive, which presently has the same responsibility in Scotland.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department is giving to local authorities about signing long-term contracts for waste disposal services during the period when her Department is reviewing its waste strategy; and if the advice warns against signing contracts which could prevent meeting (a) future recycling targets being developed as part of the Government's waste strategy review and (b) future targets being discussed in the European Union as part of the revision of the Packaging Directive. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 June 2002]: Government guidance on local authority waste targets and how they should plan to achieve them is set out in 'Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies', published by DETR in March 2001. However, it is for local authorities to decide on the nature and timing of any waste disposal contracts. I would expect such contracts to be designed to provide sufficient flexibility to be able to take account of, and respond to, changed circumstances during the lifetime of the contracts, including any future statutory performance standards or new opportunities for increasing recycling and composting. The Government have issued no specific guidance on future targets in the context of the current review of its waste strategy or the revision of the Packaging Directive.
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been taken and (b) are planned by her Department to increase the number of trees planted in the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Forestry is a devolved matter. Our Forestry Strategy sets out our strategic priorities and programmes for forestry in England. Achieving a re-expansion of woodland cover is a key aim of that strategy, and is also one of our indicators of sustainable development.
We give grants for planting new woodland under the farm woodland premium scheme and the Forestry Commission's woodland grant scheme. We also provide support for new planting in the National Forest and the Community Forests. Over the seven year period of the England Rural Development Programme our target is to create 30,000 hectares of new woodland.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support for tree planting has been given by her Department in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Financial support for tree planting is made under the farm woodland premium scheme (FWPS) and its predecessor the farm woodland scheme (FWS); the Forestry Commission's woodland grant scheme (WGS); and the National Forest company (NFC) tender scheme.
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