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Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he proposes any change in the amounts payable for set-aside to take account of inflation ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what initiatives to combat the greenhouse effect he introduced to the Council of Agriculture Ministers on 25 to 26 September in Brussels.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance his Department has issued to farmers who store straw and stubble in open fields close to public highways and in the vicinity of private property, in respect of height of stack, and closeness to properties to avoid a fire risk.
Mr. Maclean : Officers of my Agricultural Development and Advisory Service will advise farmers on how to store straw in open fields in such a way as to keep to a minimum any possible risks from fire to people, highways and private property.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tonnes of organically grown grain have been imported during the current year ; and what is the figure for organic grown grain produced in the United Kingdom.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what rules govern the publication of findings of research projects at his research laboratories ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : When the work has been completed and necessary steps taken to protect intellectual property rights, the findings of research projects at MAFF laboratories are published in appropriate scientific journals. For research funded on a contract basis for an outside customer, the question of publication is a matter for the terms of the individual contract.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor), Official Report, 20 October, columns 281-82, what percentage of eggs produced for the second quarter of 1989 were classified as free range ; and what steps he is taking to encourage free range egg production.
Mr. Curry : Information on free range egg production is available only on an annual basis. In 1988 registered egg packing stations marketed under the description "free range eggs" (as defined in Commission Regulation (EEC) 1943/85) around 796,000 boxes of 360 eggs each. This figure is just under 3 per cent. of the estimated United Kingdom packing station throughput for the same period.
Any encouragement for the expansion of free range egg production must come from the customer rather than the Government.
Mr. Curry [holding answer 23 October 1989] : The Farm Animal Welfare Council is currently engaged on a study of transport conditions for poultry and I look forward to receiving its findings. In the meantime the Welfare of Poultry (Transport) Order 1988 contains detailed provisions aimed at protecting the welfare of poultry (including battery hens destined for slaughter) during loading, unloading and carriage. We have also supported the introduction of a welfare guide on handling of end-of-lay hens which the industry has prepared.
Mr. Gummer [pursuant to his reply, 19 October 1989 c. 210] : I represented the United Kingdom at the 23-24 October 1989 Agriculture Council meeting together with the Parliamentary Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry).
The main items discussed were the proposed reform of the Community's agricultural structures policy, the proposal to increase the Community's milk quota by 1 per cent. subject to certain conditions, proposals to amend the rules for charges on imports of pigmeat into the Community, proposals to allow additional coresponsibility levy charged on cereals to be amended after an initial harvest determination by the Commission in the light of further information, and proposed regulations governing veterinary checks on intra-Community trade. On all these points I argued strongly the well- established United Kingdom position. The President indicated that he hoped that conclusions could be reached on some or all of these issues at the November Council on the basis of a compromise proposal he expected to put forward.
The Council also discussed the proposed Council directive concerning the protection of water against nitrate pollution on which the Environment Council takes the lead. I pointed out that this proposal had to take better account of the potential effects on agriculture, and in particular that any restraints ultimately imposed must be proportionate to the benefits gained by reducing pollution, as is required by the EEC Treaty.
Decisions were reached on the consumption aid for olive oil for 1989-90 at the same level as applied in the previous marketing year and on extensions of less favoured areas in three member states and on a national aid for wine production in Rheinland Pfalz.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he takes to ensure that the United States Air Force management of RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk complies with standards set by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in regard to off-site discharges of (a) raw sewage into the river Lark, (b) chlorinated solvents, (c) mercury, and (d) cadmium ; and if he will make a statement on off-site discharges of polluting chemicals from RAF Mildenhall in relation to EEC environmental directives.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The management and operation of the RAF Mildenhall sewage treatment plant is the responsibility of the Property Services Agency. Discharges from the plant are checked by both the PSA and the National Rivers Authority to ensure compliance with standards agreed between both parties. Mercury and cadmium are not used at the base, and any chlorinated
Column 509solvents are collected after use and are not discharged into the sewers. It is the Government's policy to ensure that the requirements of EC environmental directives are fully complied with. Discharges from RAF Mildenhall meet these requirements.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what programmes have been implemented to aid staff recruitment and retention at AWE Aldermaston and at AWE Burghfield since 21 June ; and what programmes it is envisaged will be implemented at these establishments over the course of the next two years.
Mr. Neubert : A number of measures to improve recruitment and retention at AWE (Aldermaston) and AWE (Burghfield) have been pursued vigorously for some time. These have been further assisted by introduction from 1 October 1989 of further enhancement to special pay additions for those categories of staff for which recruitment and retention needs are greatest. Recruitment campaigns are continuing, and the situation for the future will be kept under review.
Mrs. Rosie Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give for the latest year for which figures are available and the preceding three years the number of women in receipt of attributable family forces pensions who died during the year.
Mrs. Rosie Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give the latest estimate of the value of the buildings owned by Her Majesty's Government and operated as armed services recruitment offices in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Attributable forces family pensions arise from the provisions of the occupational pension schemes for members of the armed forces, as amended in 1973. These amended provisions applied to personnel who gave service on or after 31 March 1973. The family pensions provide an appropriate element of income for the eligible widows and dependent children of those service personnel whose cause of death, whether in service or in retirement, is recognised as being attributable to their service in the armed forces. The provisions were intended, as far as practicable, to place service families in an overall position broadly comparable with those of other public servants whose death occurs as a direct consequence of their employment.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give for each of the years 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 the number of widows in receipt of attributable forces family pension.