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Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report figures for the importation into the United Kingdom of frozen rabbit meat and live rabbits, and the countries of origin, for the last five years.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Data on imported rabbit meat are not available for the years prior to 1988. For 1988, imports of frozen rabbit meat were not separately identified. But imports for 1988 of all presentations of rabbit meat (fresh, chilled, frozen and edible offal) were :
Country |Rabbit meat and offal |(kg) ------------------------------------------------------------------ France |113,800 Poland |1,700 China |2,314,100
Imports of live domestic rabbits and countries of origin for the last five years were :
Country |Live rabbits (kg) ------------------------------------------------------ 1984 France |1,076 Irish Republic |3,000 1985 France |720 1986 France |412 1987 USA |490 1988 USA |3,362
Mr. McLoughlin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is yet in a position to make an announcement about the outcome of his consultation on the proposed guidelines by the Food Advisory Committee on the use of the word "natural" and similar terms in the labelling and advertising of food ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : We have received a large number of comments on the proposed guidelines from consumer, trade and enforcement bodies and from others with an interest in the proposals. I am pleased to say that there has been general support for the principle of the FAC's guidelines and for the voluntary approach proposed. However, concern has been expressed about the detail of certain parts of the guidance and some clarification has also been requested. In view of this, I asked the FAC to consider all the responses received and advise whether, in the light of these, they wished to amend their guidance. My colleagues and I have now received the committee's further advice. After careful consideration the committee has reaffirmed its recommendation for voluntary self regulation, in the first instance, in this area of labelling.
Column 250The committee has also agreed some important revisions to the text of the statement, which I believe directly address many of the concerns raised by respondents, generally by clarifying or expanding on certain principles in the statement to ensure that they are as clear and unambiguous as possible. My colleagues and I consider the committee's revised statement to be a sensible basis from which answers to problems in this area of labelling might be developed. I am sending the FAC's advice out to all interested parties in the United Kingdom with a firm suggestion that in future, when considering food labelling, they observe and adopt the principles that the Food Advisory Committee has set out. I shall watch carefully to see whether this voluntary approach achieves the desired results, and will consider whether further action would be appropriate. The FAC has also reaffirmed its advice that an advisory group of interested parties, to which cases of doubt could be referred, would ease adoption of the principles proposed. The committee has emphasised that it is not their intention that such a group should in any way circumvent the legal process but simply assist in interpretation of the guidance for particular cases. I cannot see, however, how such a group could operate effectively without becoming involved in matters of legal interpretation which are the responsibilities of the courts. I shall therefore not pursue this idea, but I shall ask my officials to inquire from the various interested parties, in 12 months' time, how the FAC's guidelines are working out in practice.
I have also written to the European Commission enclosing the FAC's advice, and commending this approach to them in formulating their own policies for Community rules in this area of labelling.
We secured agreement to an important amendment to restriction on beam trawl lengths that would have applied on 1 July. This will assist our inshore beam fleet and allow them to continue their operations without incurring costly modification. This is most welcome.
We also secured in the negotiations a commitment from the Commission to review urgently this year's total allowable catch for Channel cod and other precautionary TAC's.
After a difficult discussion the Council adopted a regulation laying down common marketing standards for preserved sardines. I ensured that our traditional sardine pastes and pates could continue to be marketed to the benefit of consumers.
On quota-hopping, I stresed the Community-wide nature of the problem and expressed my hope that the Commissioner will come forward urgently with a Community solution. I received strong support from five other member states, and the Commissioner undertook to examine the problem and present the proposals to the
Column 251Council. The Commissioner also undertook to ensure that in enforcing Community rules there would be no discrimination between member states.
As we requested last December, the Commission reported on recent scientific advice reviewing the TACs for North sea cod and haddock. We have to accept that there is no case for increasing these this year if we are to safeguard the future of these stocks.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much land he expects to be taken out of agricultural production under the set-aside scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : United Kingdom arable farmers who joined the scheme for the 1988-89 crop year have set aside some 55,000 hectares of land. The scheme is open until 31 July 1989 for applications from farmers wishing to join for the 1989-90 crop year. The amount of additional land entered for the scheme, in this and future years, will depend on the decisions of farmers in the light of their own circumstances and the continuing reductions in support for arable crops under the stabiliser system.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made by the United Kingdom and other European Economic Community countries towards meeting the targets set in the fisheries multi-annual guidance programme.
Mr. Donald Thompson : A number of member states are deemed by the Commission to have made sufficient progress towards meeting their programme targets. The United Kingdom is currently considering with industry representations various options for reducing fleet capacity.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the largest number of cases of BSE recorded on a single farm ; what is the average number of cases per affected herd ; what is the proportion of affected herds which have had a single case ; and what is the proportion of all dairy herds that have had one or more cases.
--largest number of confirmed BSE cases on a single farm--18 --average number of cases per infected herd--1.5
--proportion of affected herds having a single case--71 per cent. -- proportion of all dairy herds having one or more cases--6.5 per cent.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Caerphilly of 19 June, when he intends to introduce recording of the information concerning the incidence of BSE at EEC approved and non-approved slaughterhouses.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the public policy considerations which underlie the decision to operate a slaughter with compensation scheme for cattle infected with tuberculosis but not for deer infected with tuberculosis.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I announced on 16 June at column 563, in reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Westmoreland and Lonsdale, (Mr. Jopling) my intention to introduce a slaughter with compensation scheme for deer suffering from tuberculosis.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in respect of which notifiable animal disease he operates a slaughter without compensation scheme ; and if he will list such schemes together with details of the appropriate authority.
Regional office :
Divisional offices :
Midlands and Western Region
Regional office :
Divisional offices :
Regional office :
Divisional offices :
South Eastern region
Regional office :
Divisional offices :
South Western region
Regional office :
Divisional offices :
Staff of my Department's Agricultural Development and Advisory Service are also located in Wales, but the Welsh Office is responsible for their accommodation.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with which organisations he or his ministerial colleagues had meetings to discuss the price fixing of agricultural produce prior to their agreement in Brussels in 1988.
Mr. MacGregor : In 1989, as in 1988 and previously, Agriculture Ministers and senior officials held meetings with a number of organisations to discuss the Commission's price fixing proposals. In 1989 these discussions involved, in particular, the following bodies :
Agricultural and Allied Workers National Trade Group of the Transport and General Workers Union
Consumers in the European Community Group
National Farmers Union, Scottish National Farmers Union, Ulster Farmers Union
Farmers Union of Wales
Food and Drink Federation
A number of other organisations were offered invitations to attend meetings to discuss the Commission's price proposals but declined to do so.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he intends to designate all the areas on the original list submitted to him by the Countryside Commission and Nature Conservancy Council as environmentally sensitive by the end of 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : I have no plans at present to designate any further ESAs. All the areas shortlisted for ESA status in England by the Countryside Commission and the Nature Conservancy Council have been designated. These schemes are being monitored and I plan to carry out a full review of ESA policy before the first agreements terminate in 1992.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of grants approved under the farm diversification grants scheme ; and the number that were rejected on environmental grounds.
Mr. Ryder : During 1988, 669 applications for capital grant were approved under the farm diversification grant scheme ; 137 applications were rejected but none were on environmental grounds. Between 1 January and 31 May 1989, 332 applications were received and 87 were rejected. I regret that information on the reasons for rejections during this period is not readily available.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the names of all grant schemes available to farmers for planting hedgerows, giving their date of introduction, when they ceased ; and whether they are still available, since 1959 ;
(2) if he will list the names of all grant schemes available to farmers for renewing hedgerows, giving their date of introduction, when they ceased, and whether they are still available, since 1959.
Name of Scheme |Date Introduced |Date Closed to |Applications ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Farm improvement scheme |1 September 1957|31 December 1970 Horticulture improvement scheme |14 April 1960 |31 December 1973 Hill land improvement scheme |14 August 1967 |31 December 1970 Farm capital grant |30 September scheme |1 January 1971 |1980 Horticulture capital grant |30 September scheme |1 January 1974 |1980 Farm and horticulture |30 September development scheme |1 January 1974 |1980 Agriculture and horticulture |30 September development scheme |1 October 1980 |1985 Agriculture and horticulture grant scheme |1 October 1980 |9 July 1985 Agriculture improvement |28 November regulations |1 October 1985 |1988 Agriculture improvement |29 November scheme |1 October 1985 |1988
The closing dates quoted are those for the receipt of new applications. Expenditure incurred before the closing date could be claimed subsequently and where the applicant held an approved plan of investments, the expenditure too could be incurred after the closing date. Claims are still being accepted from holders of approved plans under the agriculture and horticulture development scheme and the Agriculture Improvement Regulations.
Grants of 50 per cent. in the less favoured areas and 40 per cent. elsewhere for the provision, replacement or improvement of hedges are currently available under the farm and conservation grant scheme which was introduced on 20 February 1989.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give the number of training courses given on protectiing rivers and streams from agricultural pollution by the agricultural development advisory service officers on (a) a national basis and (b) a regional basis ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : ADAS provides routine training for new entrants and specialist and general advisers on pollution avoidance and control measures. The training is undertaken at national and regional level as an integrated part of discipline training, but records are not available of the precise number of courses held.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give the number of training courses given on conservation of wildlife and landscape by the agricultural development advisory service offices on (a) a national basis and (b) a regional basis in each year since 1981 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : Since 1981, 35 national training courses have been held by ADAS on conservation of wildlife and landscape involving approximately 900 advisory officers. Information on regional training over the same period is not available, but since 1987 more than 20 conservation courses have been held in regions. Conservation is also included as an integral part of discipline training for new entrants and ADAS advisers.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many planning applications he has commented on (a) within national parks and (b) outside national parks since 1986 ; and in each category how many were opposed ;
(2) how many planning applications he has commented on (a) within environmentally sensitive areas and (b) outside environmentally sensitive areas since 1987 ; and in each category how many were opposed ;
(3) how many planning applications he has commented on (a) within areas of outstanding natural beauty and (b) outside areas of outstanding natural beauty since 1986 ; and in each category how many were opposed.
Mr. Ryder : The statistics on consultations with MAFF by planning authorities about development involving agricultural land are not kept in the format requested. The information is, therefore, not readily available.