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Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government have taken to address the impact on animal welfare of farmers being unable to sell this year's light lamb crop as a result of the continuation of the export ban. 
Mr. Morley: The Government have taken steps to avoid welfare problems being developed by lambs that have no market outletprincipally light lambs, nearly all of which go to the export trade. The livestock welfare disposal scheme has been extended to pre-empt a welfare situation developing among light lamb. £10 per lamb will be paid. It has to be clear to the farming industry that this is a one-off schemeit will not be repeated next yearso decisions have to be based on that in terms of breeding plans for next year. Our priority is to ensure that we encourage as far as possible the sale of lambs into the food chain.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has held with the Rural Affairs Secretary at the National Assembly concerning the likely trend in lamb prices during the autumn. 
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Government estimate, the buying up of lighter lambs will cost in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 (i) in total and (ii) per lamb. 
Mr. Morley: Under the Light Lamb Scheme introduced from September 2001, the Government are prepared to pay £10 for the buying up of light lambs for which there is currently no export market because of the foot and mouth export ban. This could cost up to £25 million in purchase costs but estimates of uptake are uncertain. The scheme will not operate in 2002. We expect farmers to seek to sell lambs into the food chain as their first priority.
Mr. Morley: This Department has a Public Service Agreement (PSA) target to reverse the long-term decline in the number of farmland birds by 2020. A number of existing policy measures will help to achieve that targetnot least the significant expansion of our agri-environment schemes under the England Rural Development Programme. However, we recognise that the reasons for the decline in farmland bird numbers are complex and we have commissioned research from the British Trust for
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment the Government have made of the occurrence of fly tipping; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The action being taken by the Government on fly tipping, and other forms of unlawful waste disposal, was set out most recently in the Government's response to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's Report on the Environment Agency (Cm 4832paragraphs 5560).
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when a water Bill, including provision to protect wetland habitats, will be introduced; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 July 2001]: We will introduce the Water Bill as soon as parliamentary time allows. The Bill will contain provision to improve water resources management and stronger powers to deal with abstractions that are causing environmental damage.
The Department is routinely in discussion with RSPB on a range of wetland related issues. In particular, RSPB is a member of the UK Ramsar Committee chaired by the Department which meets every six months to take an overview of the UK's implementation of the Convention on Wetlands.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of which breeds of birds depend on wetlands for survival in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 July 2001]: My statutory scientific advisers on wildlife conservation, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, conduct work on assessing bird populations of wetland areas throughout the UK. We know from surveys and research that many different species of bird depend on wetland habitats for their survival. To allow thorough assessment of these species throughout the year, several different national surveys are carried out regularly and are complemented by occasional special surveys.
For example, the Wetland Bird Survey is a long-running survey of all waterbird species on UK wetlands (2,000 sites are surveyed in every month from September to March of each year). It is run in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 July 2001]: All species of bird that depend upon wetland habitats at any time of the year are at risk from threats to those habitats. Several wetland birds, such as the bittern, aquatic warbler and reed bunting, are regarded as priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and Species Action Plans have been agreed that outline the conservation actions needed. The Government have taken a variety of steps to conserve wetland habitats, including designation as Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas, and Sites (or Areas) of Special Scientific Interest. A variety of schemes provide positive management incentives.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the top 10 companies to which her Department contracted out their construction and refurbishment work in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Morley: The top 10 companies to which the Department contracted out construction and refurbishment work in the last 12 months as defined by the values of the contracts being undertaken for the Department are as follows:
Kier Construction Ltd.
Chase Norton Ltd.
Keller Engineering Ltd.
Bryen Langley Ltd.
Clean Room Construction Ltd.
Barnes & Elliott Ltd.
Thomas Armstrong Ltd.
Walter Lilley Construction Ltd.
Symons Construction Ltd.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with EU partners on ensuring common standards for organic produce; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: I have had no such discussions, but my officials are in regular contact with our European partners in respect of the enforcement and development of the common standards for organic production laid down by Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 as amended.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many complaints to the Environment Agency have been made since 1997 in respect of the Reprotech site at Pebsham, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex; 
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(3) how many Environment Agency unannounced inspections of the Reprotech site at Pebsham, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex have been carried out since 1997. 
Mr. Meacher: As of 19 September, 117 complaints had been made to the Environment Agency since the beginning of 1997 in respect of the Reprotech site at Pebsham, Bexhill on Sea. From 1997 to date the Environment Agency has carried out 46 inspections of the site, 18 of which have been unannounced. Throughout this period the company has been compliant from a regulatory point of view. Results of the company's emissions monitoring from 1997 to date will be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will refer proposed changes to the bird registration system, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime for comments; 
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(3) how many convictions for possession of birds listed on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which have relied on DNA samples as evidence, have been successful; and for how many of these her Department provided registration details, maintained under section 7 of the Act, to the police; 
(4) what fees are charged to birdkeepers by her Department for registration of birds listed on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; and to what extent these fees cover the cost of running the registration scheme. 
Mr. Meacher: There have been a total of 15 convictions for possession of birds listed on Schedule 4 of the Act, which have relied on DNA evidence. DEFRA released information from the database, held under section 7 of the Act, in relation to each of these convictions.
|Non-club members||Recognised club members||Zoo federation members|
|Renewal of properly registered birds||£9 per bird||£7 per bird||£7 per bird|
|Registration of new birds||£20 per monitored bird||£14 per monitored bird||£14 per monitored bird|
|£9 per non-monitored bird||£7 per non-monitored bird||£7 per non-monitored bird|
|Transfers (payable by recipient)||£17 for every bird||£17 for every bird||£17 for every bird received from non Federation members(107)|
(107) No charge if received from federation members
As to the future of the bird registration system, including its scope, we shall be consulting widely before reaching any decisions, and so I cannot give any commitments about the eventual outcome. The consultation process will certainly include the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime who represent an important section of the law enforcement community.
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