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Water Level Management

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the water level management plans being implemented; and what percentage of the total number of water level management plans this represents. [69628]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 July 2002]: According to our records, there are 90 Water Level Management Plans (WLMPs) currently being implemented on the following sites:
Gordano Valley
Puxton Moor PSSSI
Yanal Bog
Fancott Woods & Meadows
Tebworth Marsh
Alderford Common
Delph Bridge Drain
Holme Fen
Shippea Hill (Geol)
Soham Wet Horse Fen
Stow Cum Quy Fen
Pevensey Levels
Ashleworth Ham
Chaceley Meadow

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Upper Severn Estuary
Walmore Common
Burley Dene Meadows
Moseley Common
Barton and Barrow Clay Pits
Haxey Grange Fen
North Killingholme Pits PSSSI
South Cliffe, Hotham Carr & North Cliffe
Holborough-Burham Marshes
Preston Marshes
Sandwich Bay & Hacklinge Marshes
Bratoft Meadows
Horbling Fen
Tattershall Old Gravel Pits
Petney Blow Wells
Ant Broads & Marshes
Aslacton Parish Land
Badley Moor
Beetley & Hoe Meadows
Booton Common
Broad Fen Ditham
Bryants Heath, Felmingham
Burgh Common & Muckfleet Marshes
Buxton Heath
Calthorpe Broad
Damgate Marshes, Acle
Decoy Carr, Acle
Dersingham Bog
East Ruston Common
Flordon Common
Halvergate Marshes
Ludham-Potter Heigham Marsh
Potter & Scarning Fens
Priory Meadows
Roydon Common Sea Mere
Shallam Dyke Marshes
Smallburgh Fen
Swannington Upgate Common
Upper Thurne Broads & Marshes
Upton Broads & Marshes
Whitewell Common
Winterton to Horsey Dunes
Yare Broads & Marshes
Aubert Ings (River Midd)
Bishop Monkton Ings
Burr Closes
Farnham Mires
Forlorn Hope Meadow
Hay-A-Park SSSI
Heslington Tillmire
Kirkby Wharfe
Skipworth Common
Mission Line Bank
Mission Training Area
Tealham & Tadham Moors

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Shirley Pool
Went Ings Meadows
Baswich Meadows
Doxey & Tillington Marshes
Rawbones Meadow
Fox Fritillary Meadow, Framsden
Lakenheath Poors Fen
Minsmere/Walberswick: Tinker's Marsh
Minsmere/Walberswick: Southwold Town Marshes
Minsmere/Walberswick: Minsmere
Minsmere/Walberswick: West Wood and Dingle Marshes
Minsmere/Walberswick: Home Covert Marshes
North Warren and Thorpeness
Pashford Poors Fen (Lakenheath)
Sizewell Marshes
Wilde Street Meadow
Amberley Wild Brooks
Pagham Harbour
Waltham Brooks

This represents 18 per cent of the total number of WLMPs. However this list does not include sites where the WLMP did not identify any changes to be implemented, or sites where the plan identified a need for further monitoring before effecting any changes. The implementation of a number of other plans was delayed by and access restrictions during the foot and mouth outbreak.

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department are taking to ensure that water level management plans comply with the EC Water Framework Directive; how many completed water level management plans comply with the EC Habitats and Birds Directives; and what steps she is taking to ensure that water level management plans deliver conservation benefits. [68169]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: When the EC Water Framework Directive is transposed into English and Welsh law, it will require consideration of all aspects of the water cycle with an emphasis on ecological water quality. In implementing the Water Framework Directive, it will be important to ensure effective integration between the Directive requirements and Water Level Management Plans (WLMPs). WLMPs are designed to be reviewed at regular intervals and should incorporate any guidance which arises as a result of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

The operating authorities (Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards or Local Authorities) are the competent authorities in respect of ensuring that WLMPs comply with the Habitats and Birds Directives. They have a duty to ensure that their activities, including those relevant to water level management, comply with the Directives, as implemented in the UK by the Habitats Regulations. Under these Regulations they are required to assess whether any schemes which are not necessary for site management for nature conservation are likely to have a significant effect on the site. If so, an Appropriate Assessment must be undertaken before any works can be carried out. We are not aware of any Appropriate Assessments completed to date in relation WLMPs.

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English Nature and the operating authorities are working with DEFRA on guidelines to provide advice to operating authorities in undertaking such an Appropriate Assessment.

Operating Authorities draw up WLMPs in consultation with English Nature, who propose conservation objectives for each plan. All WLMPs must be agreed with English Nature before implementation.

In 1999, MAFF issued guidance to flood and coastal defence operating authorities on conservation benefits and WLMPs. This guidance was agreed with English Nature and the RSPB, as well as the operating authorities.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on whether internationally designated sites have (a) water level management plans for individual hydrological units and (b) a single water level management plan for numerous hydrological units. [69178]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The decision as to whether a Water Level Management Plan (WLMP) is based on individual hydrological units or numerous units will depend on technical, environmental and economic factors which vary significantly between sites. As a result, all Water Level Management Plans are designed and implemented on a case-by-case basis and there is no policy on a preferred approach. In many cases, particularly for relatively small, discrete sites, operating authorities have prepared a single plan to cover all the hydrological units within an international site. However, for larger sites with separate hydrological units that have different operating authorities (e.g. the Somerset Levels), separate WLMPs have been prepared, for example, for each constituent Site of Special Scientific Interest.

DEFRA is currently working with English Nature and the operating authorities to prepare guidance on the effects of the Habitats Regulations on Water Level Management Plans. Amongst other things, this will advise operating authorities on the geographical scale at which the implications for the Habitats Regulations should be considered.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) the Environment Agency, (b) the Internal Drainage Boards and (c) local authorities have spent on consultants to prepare water level management plans in each of the last five years. [69180]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: I regret that DEFRA does not hold this information as preparation of Water Level Management Plans is the responsibility of the operating authorities. The information cannot therefore be obtained in the form requested except at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent on the preparation and production of water level management plans in each of the last five years. [69179]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The flood and coastal defence operating authorities (Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards and Local Authorities) have funded the preparation of Water Level Management Plans (WLMPs) from their own budgets. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs does not fund

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preparation and production of WLMPs. We do, however, provide grant aid for flood management works required to implement WLMPs.

Departmental Spending Plans

Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the spending

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plans for her Department and for the Forestry Commission are for the next three years following the 2002 Spending Review; and if she will make a statement. [72215]

Mrs Beckett: The results of the Spending Review for DEFRA and the Forestry Commission are summarised in Chapter 16 of the White Paper on "2002 Spending Review" (Cm 5570). The key figures are as follows:

£ million2002–032003–042004–052005–06
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Resource Budget2,4432,7652,7422,792
Capital Budget241316344354
Total Departmental Expenditure Limit(3)2,5232,9022,8902,944
Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs(3)2,4262,8082,7962,850
Forestry Commission(3)97949494
Near-cash spending in DEFRA DEL(4)2,3412,7272,7102,757

(3)Full resource budgeting basis, net of depreciation.

(4)Consistent with previous control basis.

When DEFRA was created, the objective was have a step change in the way environment, agriculture and rural issues were treated in Government. The aim was to create a department with sustainable development at its heart—and with responsibility for supporting sustainable development across Government. For DEFRA this means working to achieve a better environment at home and internationally. It also means a food and farming industry working within a prosperous countryside, producing the food that consumers want in harmony with the environment.

For the Government as a whole, sustainable development goes much further. The vital importance of sustainable development for Government as a whole underlay the decision to make it a central theme of the Spending Review. As custodian of the Government's sustainable development strategy, I particularly welcome the elements of the Settlement, for my own Department and for others, which will deliver significant improvements in key policy areas. These include: Climate change—where we will invest in innovation to meet our Climate Change objectives, building on existing funding for renewable energy sources with an additional £38 million in 2005–06 compared with 2002–03, and make further progress towards our greenhouse gas emissions targets Health—where we have announced the biggest ever sustained spending growth in the history of the NHS, to improve health outcomes and the quality of care for patients; Education—where increased spending and further reforms are aimed at getting and helping 16–19 year olds into further education; And Crime—where extra funding for the police will help them target reductions in vehicle crime, domestic burglaries and robbery, and reduce the gap between the highest crime local areas and the best comparable areas In addition, new spending on transport and regeneration will improve the quality of our local environments. For example, capital expenditure on capital transport plans—which includes expenditure on home zones, cycling, walking and local safety schemes—is doubling in real terms from 2001–2011 as part of the Ten Year Transport plan. The Neighbourhood Renewal fund is being increased from £400 million in 2003–04 to £525 million in 2005–06, in part reflecting an increased commitment to safer and cleaner communities. Let me now explain how the Spending Review settlement will impact on DEFRA's programmes over the next three years and will assist the Department in pursuing its aims and objectives. Departmental Spending Plans Sustainable Farming and Food When DEFRA was created, the farming industry was in crisis. Foot and mouth disease, coupled with the lowest farm incomes in many years—had destroyed farmers' confidence, and in some cases, their livelihoods. The Review provides DEFRA with the resources to make progress—working together with the industry—towards a more sustainable future for the farming and food industries. Investment totalling over £500 million over three years will be available to support the key recommendations of the Policy Commission chaired by Sir Don Curry, and to improve animal health and welfare: Action through the England Rural Development Programme, including: A new broad and shallow agri-environment scheme which will reward farmers for delivering environmentally friendly outcomes to be piloted over the next 2 years and then rolled out in full in 2005–06; An expansion of schemes such as the Rural Enterprise Scheme, the Processing and Marketing Grants Scheme, and the Vocational Training Scheme, to assist people in rural areas retrain, diversify and extend their businesses; A more efficient food chain; Enhanced farm advice; Further measures to improve animal health and welfare, including livestock identification and tracing systems, enhanced testing for TSE-type disease (such as BSE); and further action to prevent illegal meat imports. The additional funding will rise to £200 million in 2005–06 of which £75 million has been specifically allocated to fund, alongside equivalent EU funding, the

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full roll-out of the new agri-environment scheme in England. Additional funding will also be made available to the Devolved Administrations to allow them to increase expenditure on their Rural Development Programmes. In return for the investment in their industry, farmers will be expected to play their part in making the industry sustainable, for example by acting to reduce the risks of animal diseases. I know they will co-operate with us fully in achieving these joint goals. The Government will continue to press for radical reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) in the negotiations on the Mid-Term Review of Agenda 2000 which began earlier this week. But the resources allocated in the Spending Review allow DEFRA to press ahead with reform and modernisation of the farming industry now. The Department will publish its strategy for sustainable farming and food in the autumn. I am very pleased that Sir Don Curry has agreed to chair a Group which will act as a driver and overseer of change in the farming and food sectors through the implementation of the farming and food strategy, to ensure that we move rapidly towards a more sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food industry which contributes to a thriving rural economy. The Group will report to me. The Settlement recognises the need to prevent, control and manage the risk of animal disease, where we are driven by the memory of last year's outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease as well as the legacy of BSE. The additional resources provided will allow funding of a wide range of work on animal health issues These measures will be set in the context of a comprehensive animal health and welfare strategy, as recommended by the Policy Commission. This will address ways in which the industry should bear its share of the costs of animal health controls and services. I am also please to be able to announce that we have secured additional funds to deal with Bovine TB this year. These will be used to pay for the extra staff and resources already committed to work on the TB testing backlog and control measures, and additional casual staff who will be recruited to supplement this work. Testing is being carried out on the basis of a veterinary risk assessment, with those posing the greatest risk being tested first. A countryside for all to enjoy In addition to the new agri-environment scheme, which will play an important role in making the countryside more attractive and in helping to preserve biodiversity, the Spending Review has allocated an additional £5 million in 2004–05 and £10 million in 2005–06 for work in bringing our major wildlife sites into favourable condition. In addition, the extra funding of £5 million in 2003–04 and £10 million in the two following years to implement the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act will increase public access and enjoyment of our beautiful countryside landscapes. Thriving rural economies and communities The investment in sustainable food and farming, in improving the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and in opening up access to the countryside will benefit the wider rural economy. However, DEFRA's leadership role on rural affairs goes beyond this and our new rural PSA target reflects this. It commits us to reducing the gap in productivity between

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the least well performing rural areas and the English average and making services more accessible for rural people. DEFRA will work with other Government Departments and agencies to deliver this and to ensure that the rural-proofing of their policies and programmes helps to deliver real improvements in prosperity and access to public services. The Spending Review White Paper sets out a range of commitments from other Departments to deliver key services in rural areas, and ensure that rural people benefit from the extra resources delivered through the review. The extra £25 million allocated in the Settlement over three years, will further increase the additional funds announced in the Rural White Paper to help regenerate in market towns and improve the ability of rural communities and the rural voluntary sector to deliver services in support of the socially excluded and progress towards solutions to key rural concerns in each region. Protecting our communities from flooding Government investment in flood defence has increased significantly in real terms since 1997. Additional funding of £15 million a year was made available in the wake of the autumn 2000 floods. The new funds over and above this which have been allocated in the Spending Review will ensure that this growth will now accelerate to reach 8.6 per cent a year in real terms over the SR2002 period. The further allocation to the Department of £15 million in 2004–05 and £40 million in 2005–06, together with the amounts available for grants to local authorities and the revenues we expect to be able to raise from new funding mechanisms, will deliver an increase of £150 million in the third year of the Review. This level of resources, together with simplification of the administration of flood defences and effective partnership working with homeowners, local government, the Environment Agency, scientists and the insurance industry will allow us to reduce the risk of threats to life and damage to property from flooding. Sustainable use of resources: the challenge from waste The Spending Review Settlement takes into account the pressures on local government and provides for spending on environmental, protective and cultural services, including waste management, to rise by £671 million by 2005–06. The funds will also enable them to deal with the short-term problems of fridge disposal and changes to the legislation on hazardous waste. Final decisions on additional resources for addressing the challenge of growth in municipal waste and moving away from landfill disposal and on other policy measures will be made available when the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) publishes its report into sustainable waste management in the autumn. These decisions and those on landfill tax and the future of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) will deliver a step change in performance. DEFRA's PSA target of 25 per cent recycling and composting of household waste by 2005–6 demonstrates the government's commitment to radical reform of municipal waste management. Science Evidence-based policy work is central to DEFRA's approach. I want, at the very least, to maintain the Department's expenditure on research in real terms over the Spending Review period. This is consistent with our commitment to the development of a strong and high quality science base. It will ensure that DEFRA's policy

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making continues to be based in the latest evidence and scientific and economic analysis. We will aim to increase science spending in our identified priority areas. These include: environmental horizon-scanning, climate change and extreme weather, a supercomputer to strengthen the UK climate change research capability, non-food crops, organic food production, and animal disease. We will also examine the findings of the Foot and Mouth Disease inquiries closely and determine if any additional funding for research is required in these areas. Investment in the Department A theme of the Spending Review across all Departments has been ensuring that they have the necessary capacity to deliver. That has been a primary focus of the Developing DEFRA change programme that was set up after the Department was created last year. Additional funding of £140 million over the Spending Review period for investment in the Department will enable it to take forward the next phase of the change programme flowing from the recent Joint Strategic Review carried out with the Office for Public Service Reform (OPSR). The investment will give staff the tools they need to change their ways of working, focus on customers and deliver the high quality services that will build DEFRA's reputation as a respected, high performing, and efficient Department. Forestry Commission The Forestry Commission is funded on a net basis after taking account of the income it received, mainly from sales of timber from the public forests. Its timber income has fallen significantly in recent years due to a worldwide slump in timber prices. The Spending Review Settlement provides additional funding of £5 million a year on top of the 2003–04 baseline to enable the Commission to continue to drive forward the Government's England Forestry Strategy despite the reduction in timber income. This new money underlines forestry's important place in England's rural affairs and will allow the Commission to extend sustainable forests management, restore more native woodlands, increase community forests and the role of forests in tackling industrial dereliction. In addition to the funding shown in the White Paper, the Commission is also benefiting from special funding from the Capital Modernisation Fund and the Invest to Save Budget amounting to almost £11 million in the next 2 years. Conclusion Spending by the Department in 2005–06 will be more than £400 million higher than in 2002–03, supporting a programme of reform. It fulfils the Government's pledge to introduce a significant programme of measures to move the food and farming industries to a long-term sustainable basis, to create thriving and prosperous rural economies and communities and to improve the environment. And it takes full account of the Department's lead role in promoting sustainable development across Government for the good of our citizens, both now and in the future.

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