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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) guidance and (b) legislation is in place with regard to benthic fauna; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) provides a framework for the conservation of species and habitats, including benthic fauna, as well as the integration of biodiversity into all areas of policy. The UK BAP has some 40 individual action plans for important marine and coastal habitats and species, including mammals, fish, molluscs, sea anemones and algae.
The EC Habitats Directive requires member states to protect areas that support certain habitats and species, including examples of benthic fauna. My Department is working with the statutory conservation agencies to identify and select special areas of conservation in and beyond the UK's territorial waters.
Under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, a licence is required before any material can be deposited in the sea for either disposal or construction purposes. As part of the licensing process, a full environmental assessment is carried out taking account of all potential impacts on the marine environment, including benthic fauna.
Mr. Meacher: Measurement of the diversity of benthic fauna is a key component in understanding the health of UK coastal waters. We have set in place a National Marine Monitoring Programme that, on an annual basis, assesses the benthic community at a network of sites in our coastal seas.
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stressors and pollutants, the UK's coastal waters are generally healthy and support diverse benthic fauna showing no detrimental changes.
CEFAS is currently engaged in a repeat of a detailed 1986 survey of benthic communities across the North sea in association with European Marine Institutes under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the sea. This survey will provide the most comprehensive study to date on changes in benthic communities in the North Sea.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent on (a) programmes and (b) campaigns conducted by her Department related to changing individual
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behaviour in relation to the environment (i) in each year since 1997 and (ii) since 7 June 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Department supports several programmes to change individual behaviours in relation to the environment. They develop work undertaken before the General Election by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. These include work by the Energy Saving Trust, Environmental Campaigns Limited (incorporating the former Tidy Britain Group and Going for Green organisations), and the recipients of Environmental Action Fund grant. The "Are you doing your bit?" campaign was launched by the former Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1998 and covers both environmental and transport topics. We have also consistently taken advantage of opportunities to promote individual action in other projects and public engagements, notably in the build-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
|Environmental Action Fund, most of which supports individual action||3,651||4,260||3,909||4,161||698||3,492|
|DETR/DEFRA support for ENCAMS for core costs and programmes to promote individual action||3,997||3,697||3,763||3,763||590||2,952|
|DETR/DEFRA support(12) for Energy Saving trust advertising to promote individual action||3,313||3,532||3,726||4,208||792||3,959|
(10) 1 April to 6 June 2001. Estimated by taking two-twelfths of annual spend.
(11) 7 June 2001 to 31 March 2002. Estimated by taking ten-twelfths of annual spend.
(12) It is not possible to disaggregate a small element of Scottish Executive support from this figure.
(13) Representing expenditure on the "are you doing your bit"? campaign launched in 1998.
(14) Most of the campaign's planned resource were allocated in 200102 to rural support during the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
(All figures are out-turn, in £000. Figures before 7 June 2002 relate to expenditure by the former Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions).
|Higher Executive Officers||38|
|Senior Executive Officers||19|
|Senior Civil Service||2|
The situation in core-DEFRA's regional offices (excluding its Agencies) is also subject to available funding. The regional organisations such as the Rural Development Service and State Veterinary Service are currently assessing vacancies in the light of budgets for this financial year.
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 3 July 2002]: The Director General of Water Services' powers and duties are set out in the Water Industry Act 1991. He uses his powers to place conditions on companies that, among other things, set their annual price limits. The Director General also has powers to make enforcement orders to secure companies' compliance with their conditions of appointment or with other requirements.
The Director exercises his powers and duties in a manner which he believes facilitates competition and promotes economy and efficiency. In the absence of a fully competitive market for water and sewerage services, the Director uses proxies for market competition, primarily comparative competition.
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Commission. In considering the effects of the proposed merger on the public interest, the Commission is required by the Water Industry Act 1991 to have regard to the principle of avoiding prejudice to Ofwat's ability to make comparisons between different water enterprises.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers Ofwat has to control the level of charges for services provided by water and sewerage companies. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 3 July 2002]: The Director General of Water Services has powers to set price limits. Within its price limit, each company is responsible for deciding individual charges. Under the Water Industry Act 1999, companies must publish these charges annually in a charges scheme, for which they must obtain the Director General's approval. Companies are prohibited from charging household customers other than in accordance with an approved charges scheme.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent (a) representations and (b) discussions she has had; what assessment she has made regarding game excise licences; and what plans she has to change them. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 5 July 2002]: The Government have received a number of recent representations on game licences. This is a highly complex area, and we are considering these and their implications for the future of the game licensing regime.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department and its predecessors have spent on country sports, broken down by category, in each of the last 10 years. 
Alun Michael: The Department has no provision in its budgets for promoting country sports. Further, I am not aware of any such spending on country sports in respect of MAFF and the parts of the Home Office which came into DEFRA before June 2001.
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