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Non-Native Species

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department will (a) issue a response and (b) launch a public consultation in response to the Department's Review of Non-Native Species published in March on its recommendations for dealing with invasive non-native species; and if she will make a statement. [126250]

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him on 12 June 2003, Official Report, column 1011W. The Department would expect the Government response to be available in September, with public consultation following shortly after.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to consult local, county and regional government and other non-statutory landowners on the recommendations of her Department's Review of Non-Native Species and the Government response to its recommendations for dealing with invasive non-native species, with particular reference to (a) their responsibility for habitats where invasive non-native weeds are growing and (b) their responsibilities in controlling these weeds; what discussions she had had with these bodies on the subject; and if she will make a statement. [126251]

The Department will consult widely on the Government's response to the review's recommendations. A wide range of stakeholders were directly involved in the Department's review, including organisations such as the Local Government Association, the National Farmers Union and the Country and Land Business Association. The review made a number of key recommendations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department is having on providing financial assistance to local government and non-statutory bodies with responsibilities for habitats where invasive non-native weeds are present to assist them in tackling and eradicating these weeds; and if she will make a statement. [126252]

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him on 12 June 2003, Official Report, column 1011W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under what circumstances a local authority may become involved with a control project to deal with invasive non-native plants; how a local authority may apply to be involved in such a project; what criteria she sets for such control projects; and if she will make a statement. [126253]

Local authorities may embark on their own programmes of control of invasive non-native plants. For example, a consortium led by Cornwall county council is undertaking a four year project researching the biological control of Japanese knotweed. This Department was approached and agreed to join the consortium and assist with funding the research. Guidance on control and disposal is provided by English Nature and the Environment Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from local, county and regional government, and non-statutory landowners regarding the (a) costs and (b) difficulties in controlling invasive non-native weeds on land under their custody; and if she will make a statement. [126254]

The Department regularly receives representations, on the telephone and in writing, from officers of local and county authorities and from individual landowners relating to invasive non-native weeds. These cover a variety of issues. No central record is kept of telephone calls.