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26 Jan 2009 : Column 58W—continued

Royal Parks: Nature Conservation

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Royal Parks Agency is taking to protect wildlife in London’s Royal Parks. [250896]

Barbara Follett: The Royal Parks advise that they take a range of steps to protect wildlife in all the sites under their care and management, and each of the Royal Parks has a management plan which incorporates ecological objectives.

The Royal Parks also advise that they carry out regular ecological surveys to provide data to inform management practice; biannual assessments and ongoing projects to improve the ecological quality of major water bodies; and where appropriate, employ consultants for specialist work. They also work in partnership with relevant organisations and with central Government to inform management and planning.

Although all parks staff receive training in wildlife management as required, the Royal Parks also employ staff with specialist skills and knowledge who have specific responsibility for wildlife protection and biodiversity enhancement and directly protect wildlife through a
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range of works. Projects include feeding wildlife in extreme weather, physically protecting vulnerable habitats, and providing nest and roost boxes for birds and bats.

The Royal Parks also create areas of conservation priority habitat, such as reed-beds, and manage and restore other habitats of biodiversity importance. The parks also include protected areas of land, such as Richmond Park which is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Management of these sites is undertaken in accordance with best practice and relevant legislation.

Sport England: Public Appointments

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the answer of 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1226W, on Sport England: public appointments, on what date the previous chairman left the employment of Sport England; and by what date he expects to appoint a new chairman and deputy chairman. [247358]

Andy Burnham: The previous chair of Sport England, Derek Mapp, resigned on 29 November 2007. Sport England board member, Michael Farrar, has been acting as interim chair since December 2007. The process to appoint a new chair and deputy chair is currently in progress and we expect to appoint a new chair by March and a deputy chair soon after. Both of these ministerial appointments will be made following an open competition regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Sports: Public Participation

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of his Department's 20 public service agreement 3 targets to increase the take-up of cultural and sporting opportunities by those aged 16 years and above from each of the priority groups have been achieved; and if he will make a statement. [249674]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 20 January 2009]: Four out of the 20 targets that make up the overall PSA3 target have been assessed as achieved. These are:

The assessment was made by comparing the baselines collected during 2005-06 with the final estimates from 2007-08.

We always knew these would be very challenging targets, and we remain committed to increasing participation in culture and sport across all sectors of the community. Our programme of research is helping us to better understand and address the barriers to participation. The results should help us in giving more people the opportunity to take part.

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Swimming: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many local authorities in Greater London have indicated that they have a short-fall in the funding awarded to them for the provision of free swimming. [249558]

Andy Burnham: I was delighted that of the 33 eligible London boroughs, 31 have chosen to participate in the free swimming programme.

In terms of the amount of funding available, the Government made it clear when the programme was announced that councils would not be forced to take up the offer. Indeed, we were keen that the programme should encourage local authorities to put in additional funding and to stimulate partnership at local level.

Swimming: Public Participation

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will place in the Library a copy of representations received by his Department from the Amateur Swimming Association on making two million more people active by 2012. [247572]

Andy Burnham: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 2200W, and the position remains the same.

The Department has not received representations from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) in relation to the policy of getting two million more people active by 2012. As the National Governing Body of Swimming, the ASA are working with Sport England to finalise their new whole sport plan. This will identify the contribution they will make to Sport England’s commitment of getting 1 million more people playing sport by 2012, as part of the wider 2 million target. The ASA are also working with the Department, Sport England, the Local Government Association and others in the design and delivery of the Government’s Free Swimming Programme.

Tourism: Olympic Games 2012

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he plans to provide additional funding for tourism in respect of the London 2012 Olympics. [250851]

Barbara Follett: I have no plans to provide additional funding for tourism in respect of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in this comprehensive spending round.

The Government remain fully committed to tourism, as illustrated by the Prime Minister in his speech at the National Tourism Summit on 8 January 2009.

VisitBritain’s strategic review, to be presented in February 2009, will make the most of the substantial amounts that the public sector puts into tourism.

VisitBritain: Consultants

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much VisitBritain spent on recruitment consultants in each of the last five years; and which companies provided these services. [249797]

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Barbara Follett: VisitBritain has provided the information in the table for spend on recruitment consultants:

Financial year Cost of recruitment agencies











The recruitment companies used were:

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