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Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 June 2000]: More than 190 Council and Commission regulations have been adopted under the Common Fisheries Policy since May 1997. Many of the regulations have been time limited and routine such as those related to the setting of annual TACs and quotas and EU agreements with third countries or have concerned supplementary measures or amendments to basic regulations dealing with matters such as technical conservation, marketing and control.
Additionally more than 30 Statutory Instruments have been introduced primarily concerned with the enforcement of regulations or the closure of UK fisheries once quota allocations have been taken. This is normal practice where fisheries measures are likely to have a material impact on industry costs a regulatory impact assessment is prepared by the Ministry and placed in the Library of the House.
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 July 2000]: There are currently some 460,000 tonnes of Over-30-Months scheme meat and bonemeal (MBM) in store at 15 sites in the UK; two in Devon, two in Lincolnshire, one on Merseyside, three in Lancashire, one in Cheshire, two in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland. There are 10,000 tonnes of Selective Cull Scheme MBM at one site in Shropshire.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in what conditions meat and bonemeal from cattle is being stored; and whether such storage is (a) in containers and (b) open in warehouses. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 July 2000]: Meat and bonemeal (MBM) produced from the rendering of carcases of cattle slaughtered under the Over-30-Month and Selective Cull schemes is stored in bulk heaps in warehouses. The storage is carried out safely and securely in compliance with waste management licensing legislation enforced by the Environment Agency, and its equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for how long it is expected that meat and bonemeal from cattle will have to be stored pending its intended disposal through incineration; and when it is expected that all such material will have been incinerated. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 July 2000]: The Intervention Board has a target in its Service Delivery Agreement with the Treasury to incinerate 60 per cent. of Over-30-Months (OTMS) and Selective Cull Scheme meat and bonemeal (MBM) produced by March 2002. Recent forecasts indicate that the number of cattle entering the OTMS in future years, and the amount of MBM which will be produced as a result, will be greater
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than previously expected. Nevertheless, MBM stocks are expected to be at very low levels by March 2004, after which MBM will be incinerated as it is produced.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the practicability of disposing of meat and bonemeal from cattle by mixing it with lime and cement and depositing it in landfill sites. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 July 2000]: The Government have made no assessment of the practicability of this method of disposal of meat-and-bonemeal (MBM). Commission Regulation 716/96, under which the over-30-months scheme (OTMS) operates, requires these cattle to be directly incinerated or rendered and destroyed. Incineration with energy recovery remains the method of destruction preferred by both Government and the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee. The Intervention Board which operates the scheme has signed contracts with three companies for large-scale incineration facilities (subject to the companies obtaining the necessary consents) and these are expected to reduce stocks of OTMS MBM to very low levels by March 2004.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what financial assistance his Department has provided to the Long Ashton Research Station of the Institute of Arable Crops Research since 1997; and what this financial assistance is intended for. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 July 2000]: The Department commissions research from the Institute of Arable Crops Research, of which Long Ashton Research Station forms part. The MAFF research funding at the Institute for the last three financial years was:
In addition, in 1998-99 MAFF made £813,000 available to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. This was to help the Council meet redundancy costs at Long Ashton and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research due to changes in research priorities.
Ms Quin: We were pleased to secure the European Commission's agreement that, for the current year, we should continue to apply the rules on hedgerows and other types of field margin in the same way as we have done in previous years. For 2001 and subsequent years we are actively exploring with the Commission the options for dealing with the issue in a way which avoids environmental damage, excessive red tape, and adverse effects on farmers' returns from area-based payments. Our
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Ms Quin [holding answer 21 July 2000]: Suckler cow and sheep quota in the national reserve is already distributed to various categories of eligible applicants, including new entrants to farming. When consulted, the dairy sector showed no support for a scheme to siphon off quota being transferred.
We have received no proposals to merge the role of Official Veterinary Surgeons (OVSs) and meat inspectors in overseeing the slaughtering of animals. The Food Standards Agency advises me, however, that the Report of the Meat Industry Red Tape Working Group (the Pooley Report) recommended that discussions should be held with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons about the feasibility of providing appropriate training to enable non veterinarians to carry out some work done by OVSs. These have taken place and it has been concluded that further consideration should be postponed until the future arrangements for meat inspection under the Commission's recent food hygiene proposal are clearer. The Pooley Report also recommended that where economically beneficial to the plant (mainly small, isolated premises), the OVS should undertake the post mortem inspection of carcases. This has been implemented.
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The cause of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is unknown. The view of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee is that the most likely explanation of the cases of variant CJD (vCJD) to date is exposure to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
We have implemented all the measures which experts have advised to protect the public from the risk of BSE. These are set out in "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Great Britain--a Progress Report", published every six months by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. A copy of the latest version, published in December 1999, is available in the Library.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his plans for adopting the recommendations of the Task Force on Meat Inspection Charges. 
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