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Lord Whitty: The interaction between game licensing and gun laws is not straightforward. For instance, the legislation governing game licensing permits certain birds and animals, including deer, to be killed using a gun or by other means, within specified dates, by a person holding the proper game licence. The Night Poaching Act 1828 makes it an offence to take or destroy any game or rabbits by night in any land with any gun or other instrument. Under the Poaching Prevention Act 1862, courts may in certain cases order the forfeit of any game or gun found on an offender. The Ground Game Act 1880 gives an occupier of land certain rights to kill ground game with firearms. The Deer Act 1991 prohibits the use of certain types of firearm for the purpose of taking, killing or injuring deer.
The main control on firearms in England, Wales and Scotland is the Firearms Act 1968. Firearms described in Sections 1 and 2 of the Act, including most hunting and target rifles, and shotguns commonly used for game shooting, may be held on a firearm or shotgun certificate respectively. Such certificates are issued by the local police. Game shooting is generally considered to be among the good reasons for which the police would issue a certificate for the possession of firearms.
Lord Whitty: There are a number of schemes that are partially administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Most of the schemes in question form part of the England Rural Development Programme, and are administered by the Rural Development Service and, in a limited number of cases, other parts of my department, with the RPA retaining responsibility for physically making payments and accounting matters. These schemes are:
Lord Whitty: The number of days of poor air quality fluctuates from one year to the next because of differences in weather conditions. Adverse weather conditions can increase the number of high pollution episodes, which can cause an increase in the number of poor air quality days. The increase in the number of days of poor air quality in 2001 compared to 2000 was due to differences in the weather between the two years.
There has been a long-term decline in the number of urban air pollution days mainly due to decreasing pollutant emissions from road traffic, electricity generation and industry in response to progressively tighter government standards and controls in these sectors. There is no clear trend in the number of rural air pollution days. This reflects the variability of ground level ozone, the main cause of pollution in rural areas.
The long-term improvement in urban air quality continued in 2002. In urban areas in 2002, days when air pollution was recorded as moderate or higher are provisionally estimated to be 14 days on average per site, compared with 24 days in 2001, 19 days in 2000 and 59 days in 1993. In rural areas, the provisional figure for 2002 is 23 days on average per site, compared with 30 in 2001. The number of days has fluctuated between 19 days in 1987 and 48 days in 1990.
Lord Whitty: Defra, together with the Department for Transport, is contributing a small amount of funding to a Transport 2000 study to model various transport distribution scenarios for a basket of three food products. The study is examining whether a shift to sourcing these products more locally would lead to greater or fewer CO2 emissions in the supply chain overall. The research is due to report shortly.
The research forms part of Transport 2000's Wise Moves initiatives and follows some initial modelling work carried out last year and funded by DfT. The report from the earlier modelling work is available on the DfT website at http://www.freight.dft.gov.uk/wisemoves/index.htm.
Lord Whitty: The working group completed a series of meetings in May 2002. We think that a combination of a levy and voluntary top-up insurance could provide a basis for a way forward. My officials are working on detailed proposals with a view to launching a wide-ranging consultation exercise in the summer 2003.
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