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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the reason for the time taken from when the Government first learned about the contamination of Advanta rapeseed with GM varieties to the date at which it first made a public announcement on this matter. 
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment first met to discuss the contamination of Advanta rapeseed with GM varieties. 
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 5W
Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 19 June 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 19 June 2000, Official Report, columns 1-2W.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total value of organic food sales in the UK for each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what he estimates sales will be in each of the next five years. 
Ms Quin: There are no official estimates. However, estimates covering some of these years will be found in the Soil Association publication "The Organic Food and Farming Report 1999" (ISBN 0 905200 73 X).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy that (a) 30 per cent. of agricultural land will be organic and (b) 20 per cent. of food consumed will be organic, by 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: No. We do not believe that setting arbitrary targets for the area of land in organic farming or for the consumption of organic food is sensible. But we do wish to see organic farming succeed and we have made available considerable sums of money in support for farmers converting to organic farming through the Organic Farming Scheme. We will make a further £140 million available in support for organic conversion when the European Commission has approved the England Rural Development Programme later this year.
Mr. Love: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cattle were affected by BSE in each of the last two years for which figures are available; what the projected numbers are for the next five years; when he expects that BSE will be eradicated from the United Kingdom herd; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin: BSE was confirmed in 3,178 animals first placed under restriction in 1998, and in 2,254 animals first placed under restriction in 1999. To the end of June 2000, 611 cases of BSE had been confirmed with 223 diagnoses outstanding (of which about 80 per cent. are expected to be confirmed). The latest (3 July) forecasts of the BSE epidemic produced by the VLA model are given in the following table:
|Year||Estimated confirmed BSE cases||95 per cent. confidence levels|
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 6W
Mr. Nick Brown: The Ministry owns a number of farms. Some of them are leased to ADAS Consulting Ltd. and some are leased to Horticulture Research International. Others are used by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Research commissioned by the Ministry is undertaken on the farms.
Mr. Nick Brown: Under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983 and the Ministry's responsibilities for sponsorship of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, my Department pays a grant in aid towards the body's staff, running costs and for certain capital works.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the recorded incidences of rabbit haemorrhagic disease in the United Kingdom in each of the list five years, indicating if the rabbits concerned were (a) domestic and (b) wild. 
(1) to October for Great Britain
Ms Quin: According to our records, 188 primates were imported through Dover in May and 164 primates were imported through Dover in June. Records of primate exports from Great Britain are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 7W
Mr. Levitt: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the (a) cost and (b) impact on the environment of disposing of over-30-months scheme cattle carcases by (i) rendering, (ii) burning and (iii) other methods. 
Ms Quin: Four companies have contracts to render OTMS carcase material at an average gate fee of £80 per tonne (equivalent to approximately £40 per animal). The Intervention Board has concluded contracts with three companies for the large scale incineration of meat and bone meal derived from the rendering process at an average gate fee equivalent to approximately £10 per animal. Five companies have contracts to incinerate OTMS carcase material from approved abattoirs at an average gate fee of £88 per animal, and 16 companies have contracts to incinerate casualty OTMS animals at an average gate fee of £80 per animal.
Mr. Levitt: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the cost to the UK in terms of lost compensation from the EU if the target for the disposal of over-30-months scheme cattle is not met. 
Ms Quin: Compensation from the EU is not dependent upon disposal targets being met. It is dependant upon the remains of all purchased cattle being destroyed by incineration. Where such cattle have initially been disposed of by rendering, 80 per cent. of the available compensation is claimed at that point. Once an equivalent amount of the resultant meat, bonemeal and tallow produced from the rendering process has been incinerated, the balance of the compensation can be claimed.
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Although the EC Regulation governing this scheme lays down no time limit by which such destruction has to take place, the UK has an internal target of incinerating 60 per cent. of all meat and bonemeal produced by 31 March 2002.
Ms Quin [holding answer 6 July 2000]: As part of the "Action Plan for Farming", agreed at the Prime Minister's 30 March meeting with industry leaders, the Government decided to introduce a Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme (PIRS). £26 million was made available to the scheme in its first year and bids have been made for funding in subsequent years. Under state aid rules, the European Commission must approve the scheme before it can be introduced. To begin that process, the scheme was formally notified to the Commission on 30 March. The Commission has since carried out its studies of the scheme and raised a number of questions which have been addressed. The outgoers element of the scheme has just ended its consultation period and will be introduced as soon as possible following Commission clearance. This part of the scheme will operate in order to reduce UK pig production capacity by 16 per cent. from 1 June 1998 total, using a sealed bid system.
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