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Teaching (Environment and Conservation)

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial resources and support is being put into teaching children at school about the environment and conservation in the current financial year. [69394]

Mr. Meacher: Through the Environmental Action Fund, the Department funds a range of projects providing educational materials and other support which can be used by teachers and children. Many of the projects in the current programme of £4.2 million are relevant in varying degrees to young people's understanding and awareness of environmental issues both in and outside school, but it is not possible to assign specific amounts to the schools element.

In addition, the Department has, with the Department for Education and Skills and the devolved Administrations, funded and supported the World Wildlife Fund school initiative, the Our World Project, in the run up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. A schools 'makeover' competition and internet debates have offered pupils of all ages the opportunity to engage with key sustainable development issues.

All pupils between the ages of five and 16 study the national curriculum in maintained schools in England. Environment and conservation are covered within a range of subjects including science, geography and citizenship. The Department for Education and Skills is funding web-based resources to support teachers on sustainable development issues.

Sustainable development in schools has also been addressed by the Government's Sustainable Development Education Panel, which is jointly supported by my Department and the Department for Education and Skills.

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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on plans for local authority utilisation of duty of care provisions in the waste movement field. [69238]

Mr. Meacher: As part of the local public service agreement initiative, some local authorities have argued that to assist their ability to combat fly tipping, they should be given the power that the Environment Agency has to require companies and individuals to provide the Agency with copies of the duty of care paperwork which these companies and individuals are required to maintain. This proposal is supported by the fly tipping stakeholders' forum. The Government are currently seeking the views of key stakeholders not represented on the forum, but who may be affected, with a view to making the necessary legislative change as soon as possible.

Livestock Premium Quota

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers successfully applied for reinstatement of quota which was withdrawn by the Agenda 2000 Suckler Cow Premium Scheme quota cut on the grounds that they qualified under an extensification scheme in (a) Gloucestershire and (b) the UK. [69871]

Mr. Morley: Under the Agenda 2000 Suckler Cow Quota Cut Exercise, four extensification reinstatement applications were received from farmers in Gloucestershire, none of which were successful. In the United Kingdom as a whole, a total of 83 extensification reinstatement applications were received, of which five were successful.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) suckler cow and (b) sheep annual premium quota has been purchased by the Government; and at what cost. [69819]

Mr. Morley: Up to and including the 2002 scheme year, no sheep or suckler cow quota has been purchased by the Government.

Illegal Meat Imports

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions the British Government have had with African counterparts on the question of illegal imports of meat. [69990]

Mr. Morley: Since 1997, concern about the increasingly unsustainable nature of the bushmeat trade and its effects on endangered species led to my Department raising the issue within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This resulted in the establishment of a Bushmeat Working Group to help Central and west African range states develop and implement their own solutions. We have contributed £55,000 to the working group to help the range states participate and to support the recruitment of consultants to revise and harmonise their own wildlife policies and legislation. Work on this is currently under way and progress will be reported to the next conference of CITES parties, to be held in Chile in November.

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We have also funded research analysing existing knowledge and expertise on the bushmeat trade, highlighting gaps in data and understanding, and making recommendations on further action. The results of this research have been made available to the CITES Bushmeat Working Group and we expect them to be discussed at the group's next meeting. This is due to take place in Brazzaville later this month and the UK will be represented at the meeting by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we have also been using the UK diplomatic missions in Harare, Accra, Abuja, Cairo, Pretoria, Kampala, Abidjan, Maseru, Dakar, Luanda, Nairobi, Kigali, Mbabane and Tunis to raise the profile of UK import restrictions and rules.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the tonnage of illegal meat imports from Africa in the last five years. [69948]

Mr. Morley: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) set up a centralised database of seizures of illegal meat and animal products last year, receiving data from all the enforcement agencies. From 1 April 2001 until 12 July 2002, 797 seizures of consignments that included meat and animal products were reported to the database that had arrived on flights and ships from African countries. The volume of these seizures was approximately 1.58 tonnes.

However, under-reporting and differences in the reporting procedures of the different agencies mean that these are likely to be underestimates of both the total seizures that included meat and animal products and their volume.

The number of seizures does not reflect the total amount of meant and animal products brought into the country illegally. However, a risk assessment is currently being carried out by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency which will provide information on the likelihood of an animal disease outbreak linked to illegal imports of meat and animal products. The risk assessment will provide an estimate of the probable amount of illegally imported meat from a number of countries, including African countries, per year. This risk assessment is due to be completed in autumn 2002.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations she has had, and with which organisations, on the (a) directive on the disposal of refrigerators and (b) draft directive on waste electronic electrical equipment. [69821]

Mr. Meacher: The regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer sets requirements related to the recovery of CFCs and HCFCs contained in waste refrigerators. We consulted widely during the negotiations of the regulation. More recently we have continued to work closely with retailers, local authorities, the Environment Agency, the waste management industry and others to implement the regulation.

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A formal DTI consultation on the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive was issued in summer 2000. Results were published in December 2000. Approximately 300 consultation documents were sent out. Government Departments are in regular contact with industry about the proposed WEEE directive and its implementation in the UK, and report back to industry on developments in the negotiations in Brussels as they happen. A series of meetings is currently being held with local authorities and with retailers to discuss the collection and recycling requirements of the WEEE directive and possible implementation methods. A series of events has been arranged by the Small Business Service to raise awareness in the regions and discuss the directive with all stakeholder groups. Officials will also be visiting several other member states to discuss implementation of the directive and to learn from those who already have legislation in this area.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she plans to hold public hearings as part of the consultation on hunting with dogs. [69791]

Alun Michael: Hearings will take place in Portcullis House on 9, 10 and 11 September as part of the current consultation on hunting with dogs.

The hearings will explore the issues of preventing cruelty and recognising utility and how best to apply principles, building on the conclusions reached by the Committee of Inquiry chaired by Lord Burns. A number of expert witnesses will be invited to provide evidence. This process will help towards the drawing up of legislation based on clear principles, as indicated in my statement to the House on 21 March and is being organised in co-operation with the Countryside Alliance the Campaign for Protection of Hunted Animals, and the Middle Way Group. Details will be posted on the DEFRA website from early August ( hunting/hunting.htm).

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