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Farmland Birds

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Regional wild bird indicators drawn from the Common Birds Census are currently available for 4 regional populations from 1970 to 2000. Regional data are limited because of an insufficient number of sampling sites. In order to address this problem the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology will be using data from the Breeding Birds Survey (BBS), a new survey set up in 1994 in order to improve upon the coverage of the Commons Birds Census, which was originally used to produce the wild bird population indicators.

Figures for 2001 were not produced due to lack of data due to field restrictions to sample sites due to foot and mouth disease. It is hoped that data from the BBS will first be used to produce the 2002 national indicators which will be available in December 2003, with regional results, including additional regional indicators, following in early 2004. The better regional

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coverage of the BBS should enable more regional indicators to be produced.

Because of foot and mouth disease restrictions on field visits in 2001 no figures were produced for that year.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given that Regional Quality of Life Counts shows that both farmland and woodland birds are either declining in population or not increasing to recover their previous population, whether they will increase the effort they put into biodiversity.[HL4143]

Lord Whitty: Considerable efforts are currently being made to increase the effort we put into biodiversity and encourage a growth in farmland and woodland bird numbers. A number of initiatives are under way. These include:

Agri-environment schemes, which provide significant funding for promoting environmentally sustainable farming practices; more than £1 billion has been made available for the seven-year period 2000 to 2007. We are currently reviewing the schemes with the aim of streamlining and simplifying them while also improving their effectiveness.

The introduction in February this year of a pilot entry-level agri-environment scheme to reward a range of simple management practices designed to benefit a range of biodiversity and landscape objectives. It is designed to be eventually available to all farmers. If successful the Government will roll out the scheme throughout England from 2005. It is designed to be eventually available to all farmers

Biodiversity action plans for certain species which have suffered significant declines such as skylark, corn bunting and song thrush;

Various Defra extensive monitoring and research programmes, funded by Defra, to which the Forestry Commission and other partner organisations contribute that will provide an evidence base for new policy measures and guidance on reversing the declines.

Slug Pellets

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 10 March (WA 152) in which he stated that research shows "increasing pesticide use may indirectly contribute to the decline of 20 species of song birds", whether they have plans to gather statistics on the sales of slug pellets.[HL4144]

Lord Whitty: Defra does not collect statistics on the sale of pesticides and has no plans to collate information on slug pellet sales.

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Genetically Modified Crops: Public Debate

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By what date and in what form they have asked the independent steering group running the GM public debate to present their conclusions as to public opinion on genetically modified crops to (a) the Government and (b) the public.[HL4145]

Lord Whitty: The independent steering board, which is managing the GM public debate at arm's length from government, will present its report on the outcome of the debate to Ministers by the end of September. The report will be written in readily understandable language and will be published on the debate website ( together with a summary. Hard copies of the report will also be available on request.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What evaluation procedures will be used to measure the public's response to the GM debate.[HL4146]

Lord Whitty: Feedback forms were provided to organisers of meetings held as part of "GM Nation?" to allow each person at a meeting to complete a form and so communicate his or her views to the independent public debate steering board. The form was also available online through the debate website at The board is currently analysing the completed forms and they will inform the board's report on the outcome of the debate, due to be submitted to Ministers in September.

In addition to the feedback forms, transcripts of the six regional launch meetings and some regional meetings are available on the debate website and are being fed into the debate report. The views of the public were also evaluated through reconvened focus groups, allowing more in-depth views to be recorded, and the results of these groups will also feed into the final report.

Agricultural and Flower Shows: Defra Expenditure

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs expenditure for the most recent 12-month period on hiring, equipping and manning exhibition stands and marquees at agricultural shows, flower shows and any similar events; and what monitoring is carried out to evaluate this expenditure.[HL4147]

Lord Whitty: The following is a list of the events commissioned centrally Defra which were part of the department's 2002–03 publicity programme, at a cost of £1.2 million.

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Exhibitions/Shows 2002–03 Agrivision (Midlands) Stafford. Permanent Exhibition—Brockhole Visitor Centre, Lake District ESA, Cumbria. Sprays & Sprayers 2002, NAC, Stoneleigh. Lincolnshire Show, Grange-De-Lincs, Lincoln. Tatton Park Flower Show 2002, Tatton Park, Cheshire. Fruit Focus 2002, East Malling, Kent. Pig and Poultry Fair, NAC, Stoneleigh. Devon Country, Westpoint, Clyst St. Mary, Exeter. Grassland (and MUCK), NAC, Stoneleigh. Beef 2002 Woolner, Northumberland. Royal Bath and West, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Royal Cornwall, Wadebridge, Cornwall. South of England, Ardingley, W. Sussex. Cereals 2002, Sleaford, Lincs. Three Countries Show, Malvern, Worcs. East of England, Peterborough. BBC Gardener's World Live, NEC Birmingham. Royal Norfolk, New Costessey, Norwich. Hampton Court Flower Show, Hampton Court. Great Yorkshire, Harrogate, N. Yorks. CLA Game Fair, Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire. New Forest and Hampshire, Brockenhurst, Hampshire. Royal Lancashire, Astley Park, Chorley, Lancs. Northumberland Show, Corbridge, Northumberland. National Scrapie Plan Stand (Various Locations). Royal Show, NAC, Stoneleigh. Great Yorkshire Show—Harrowgate. Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells. Sheep 2002, Malvern. The Royal Smithfield Show—Earls Court, London. Skills City Careers Exhibition, Salford, Manchester. International Food and Drink Exhibition Excel, Dockland. European Dairy Event, NAC, Stoneleigh. Discover Dogs, Earls Court, London. Town & Country Show 2002, NAC, Stoneleigh. The Supreme Cat Show 2002, NEC, Birmingham. The National Cat Club Show, Olympia 2, London. The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, Earls Court. Conferences/Seminars/Launches 2002–03 Eight Regional Events On Suistainable Food & Farming—Government Office Regional Conferences. Career Fair & Welcome Events. Annual Report of Sustainable Development, Canal Museum, Camden.

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Abbots Hall Farm, (Agri-Environment Schemes)—ESA's Re-introduction of Grazing on the Coastline, Great & Little Wagborough, Kent. Wildlife Crimes Unit. Marine Stewardship Event, National Maritime Museum. Launch of New Atlas of British & Irish Flora, Kew Gardens. Community Renewable Initiative Workshop. Defra Hearings on Hunting with Dogs. OECD Launch, Room 808, Nobel House. Public Appointments Seminars, Scunthorpe, Leeds, Greenwich, Tyne-Side and University of Kent. Scientific Advisers Presentations, Horseguards Hotel & Nobel House. British Equine Event 2002, NAC, Stoneleigh. Sustainability in Public Service. Sustainable Development Events, QEII Centre, London. Bio Energy Conference. Flood and Coastal Management Conference, Keele University. Countryside Stewardship Campaign, 10th Anniversary Conference—Kew Gardens. Noise Forum Conference, Chartered Institute Environmental Health, Waterloo. Creating the Future 2002, Central Hall, Westminster.

The show and events programme is overseen by a departmental events steering group who decide upon the progamme content based on the need to get messages to specific target audiences around the country.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Permits

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many integrated pollution prevention and control permits have been issued by poultry farmers to date; and how long it took to issue them.[HL4167]

Lord Whitty: Five integrated pollution prevention and control permits for operators of large intensive livestock units have been issued to date in England and Wales. The permits were issued by the Environment Agency under the provisions of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. The time taken to issue each of the respective permits was two, three, four, seven and eight months.

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