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27 Oct 2009 : Column 226W—continued

In addition over £118 million was provided for local major road projects in the East of England over this five year period. For Suffolk specifically the Department contributed £29.621 million towards the South Lowestoft Relief Road and £12 million towards the B1115 Stowmarket Relief Road.

Revenue expenditure on transport is generally supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government's formula grant. Transport for London are directly responsible for London's strategic roads and receive financial support from the Government's Greater London Authority Transport Grant.

Transport: Infrastructure

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much is budgeted to be spent from the public purse on transport infrastructure improvements in (a) the South West and (b) Dorset in 2009-10. [295167]

Mr. Khan: A budget for total Department for Transport expenditure on transport infrastructure improvements by region is not available. The following figures show allocations of local and regional funding for combined spend on the Integrated Transport Block (generally schemes costing less than £5 million) and highway maintenance, and Major schemes (generally schemes costing more than £5 million).

South West


The Department spends funds on the strategic road network through the Highways Agency (HA). The HA's reporting systems do not record actual expenditure for local authority areas; expenditure is recorded by project and activity.

Tunnels: Mobile Phones

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what studies his Department has made of mobile telephone coverage in road and rail tunnels; and how many road and rail tunnels are equipped with GSM transceivers. [295611]

Chris Mole: The Department for Transport has not conducted studies on mobile phone coverage in tunnels.

The Heathrow Express rail service does offer uninterrupted mobile coverage in its tunnel sections. However in general rail tunnels are not equipped with GSM transceivers.

Most existing Highways Agency tunnels have Airwave transmission to support emergency services and traffic officer communications. Where provision is made for public mobile phone coverage in tunnels, suitable agreements are required with the individual mobile phone operators.

For new, longer Highways Agency road tunnels such as at Hindhead, and where tunnels are currently being upgraded such as on the A1 (M) at Hatfield, the infrastructure is being provided to support mobile phone usage. Mobile phone coverage is also available in both bores of the Dartford tunnel. For shorter tunnels generally the mobile phone signal spills through the portal enabling reception in most of the tunnel.

The management of the local road network in England is the responsibility of local highway authorities. Data on how many road tunnels on local roads in England are equipped with GSM transceivers are not held centrally.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Environment Protection

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce levels of (a) greenhouse gas emissions and (b) biodiversity loss arising from intensive farming practices; and if he will make a statement. [293670]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan published on 15 July is the most systematic response to climate change of any major developed economy, setting out the Government's approach to securing reductions from the agriculture sector. It challenges the English farming industry to develop a voluntary plan to deliver three million tonnes CO2 of emissions savings from livestock and fertiliser-which will reduce emissions in English agriculture by about 10 per cent. by 2020.

To achieve this, Government will be supporting farmers to take action by ensuring they have access to a comprehensive low-carbon advisory service; continuing our support for Anaerobic Digestion; improving the national inventory for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farming; and working with the Carbon Trust to make farming businesses eligible for its interest-free loans for low-carbon activity.

The Plan commits Government to review progress on the voluntary plan by 2012 and intervene if the voluntary plan is failing to deliver. Government will publish its options for intervention in its Carbon Reduction Delivery Plan in spring 2010.

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We have also worked closely with the dairy sector to produce a Dairy Roadmap to develop opportunities to mitigate climate change impacts and assess the positive benefits to the landscape and biodiversity of cattle husbandry. A Beef and Lamb Roadmap is now being developed by the industry with DEFRA support and the newly formed Pig Meat Supply Chain Task Force will be working with the industry's Pig Environment Partnership to deliver similar roadmap for the pig sector.

Agriculture can have both positive and negative impacts on biodiversity. These effects are monitored through a variety of sources. These include the Farmland Birds Index, which represents a general indicator of the state of the farmed environment, research and analyses through the Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory and the continued development of Environmental Accounts for Agriculture. The aim is to quantify and value the full range of impacts using the best available evidence from a range of sources to help inform policy responses.

Policy mechanisms include regulation and incentives, as well as providing information and advice to farmers on how to improve their environmental performance. Earlier this year there was a review of baseline standards in cross compliance that farmers have to meet as a condition of the Single Payment Scheme. Cross compliance protects a variety of habitat features and in future will place greater emphasis on protecting water resources and water quality. These standards are complemented by our agri-environment schemes such as Environmental Stewardship which reward farmers for positive habitat management.

Environmental Stewardship has recently been reviewed resulting in new options to further encourage farmers to manage their land in an environmentally friendly way and an overarching climate change theme. In particular there will be a new component specifically designed for uplands farmers which will be launched in January 2010. Our agri-environment schemes have been popular and successful with 65.8 per cent. of farmland currently under agreement. Natural England has a target to increase the coverage of the schemes to 70 per cent. by March 2011.

Agriculture: Subsidies

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many individuals have been paid £200,000 or more under the single farm payment scheme in each year for which figures are available; and how much was paid to each such recipient in each such year. [291920]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The overall Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments made to individuals who received £200,000 or more in the last three years and total amounts are reflected in the following table. The details for each recipient will be placed in the House Library.

SPS year Individuals Total amount paid (£)( 1)










(1) The total payment value for each year does not account for any additional payments made as a result of any modulation refund due to individuals.
(2) This line reflects the 2008 claim payments made to date. The Rural Payments Agency continues to work on a small number of applications that are not yet validated for full payment.

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Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the sum approved by the European Commission Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health for implementation of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme will be available to tackle bovine tuberculosis in Wales. [295359]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The money will be split between England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the division of the funding has yet to be agreed.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conditions govern the use of the grant provided by the European Commission Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health for implementation of the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme. [295436]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The European Commission Decision that was approved by the Standing Committee allows allocated EU funding to be used to reimburse member states for three measures: the costs of tuberculin testing, gamma interferon blood testing and compensation for cattle slaughtered.

The Decision sets out the maximum of the costs that member states can claim for each:

Climate Change: Farming

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned on the effect of farming methods on climate change. [295194]

Jim Fitzpatrick: DEFRA has commissioned a number of studies, some of which are ongoing, to assess the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from several agricultural commodities throughout their lifecycle. This includes assessment of commodities produced in different farming systems (including organic). The most relevant studies are listed as follows:

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Iraq Committee of Inquiry

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has received a request to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. [293563]

Hilary Benn: I refer to the Prime Minister's answer on 9 October 2009, Official Report, column 1210W.


Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date his Department first proposed that a neighbourhood noise strategy would be published; and when he now expects the strategy to be published. [295166]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In December 2002, the Government noted that there was a need for a Neighbour Noise strategy to compliment the support that had been received for developing an Ambient Noise strategy. Subsequently, it was agreed that it would be sensible to combine the proposed ambient and neighbourhood strategies into a single strategy addressing environmental, neighbour and neighbourhood noise.

However, 2002 was also the year that the environmental noise directive (END) became law, and its implementation has had to be the Department's main focus of activity regarding noise. In meeting the requirements of the END, we are now progressing noise action plans, and this is helping to refine existing policy as evidence on the effects of noise continues to emerge.

The Government are in the process of consolidating, for all sources of noise, their longer term noise management policies, some of which can be found in the draft noise action plans, and determining how these could be best delivered.

Rights of Way: Yorkshire and the Humber

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to what percentage of the coastline of the Yorkshire and the Humber region the right of public access is legally secure. [295624]

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Huw Irranca-Davies: In the Yorkshire and the Humber region, 70 per cent. (approximately 122 miles) of the coast has legally secure access on existing public rights of way. This includes access by public footpath, road and promenade.

Sheep: Tagging

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the merits of providing funding from the public purse for the purchase of electronic readers and software by livestock producers required to comply with electronic sheep tagging regulations. [295007]

Jim Fitzpatrick: DEFRA has no plans to fund any equipment or software required for compliance with electronic sheep tagging regulations (EID). However, some rural development funding may be available to support training for livestock producers to help prepare them for EID implementation, where such purposes are in line with regionally determined priorities.

Water Supply

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations his Department has received on low water pressure. [296073]

Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA has not received any recent representations on low water pressure.

However, since 1 April 2008, Ofwat, the independent economic regulator for the water industry, has received three representations on the subject, and the Consumer Council for Water has received 595.

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