Previous Section Index Home Page

Agricultural Land Tribunals

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the work of the Agricultural Land Tribunals over the past three years. [142297]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 December 2000]: MAFF is responsible for secretarial support to the seven Agricultural Land Tribunals in England. The Tribunal Chairmen and members are appointed by my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor and are responsible to him for the conduct of tribunal hearings under statutory rules made by him.

The following table summarises the workload of the seven English Agricultural Land Tribunals over the last three years:

Cases received301286249
Cases dealt with or withdrawn280282261
Number of hearings798257


Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on the risk of future flooding; and if he will make a statement. [142809]

Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Economic Secretary to the Treasury to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Ms Johnson) to the hon. Member for Clwyd, South (Mr. Jones) on 30 November 2000, Official Report, column 874W.

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 450W

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he has carried out to determine the area of land in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland which, being a river floodplain, is less than (i) 10 feet and (ii) 15 feet above the low water levels of the river. [142031]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 18 December 2000]: Flood defence is a devolved responsibility. No research has been undertaken to provide the information sought. However in 1995 MAFF commissioned the then Institute of Hydrology to provide estimates of potential flood risk areas in England and Wales. As part of this work, the Institute estimated the likely depths of flooding of land that would occur in a flood event with (a) an annual probability of approximately 1 per cent. and (b) an assumption that no flood defences were in place.

These estimated depths of flooding are based on theoretical models of flooding and on published information about ground levels. While they provide a general indication of the degree of risk it is important to note that they are based on the assumption that no defences are in place but, in fact, much of the land is defended.

Area of land (square kilometres)

Built-upNon built-upTotal
Up to 2.9 metres (9.5 feet) depth5488,5919,139
2.9 metres to 4.9 metres (9.5 to 16 feet) depth46655701
Greater than 4.9 metres (16 feet) depth17826843

No breakdown of these figures between England and Wales is available.

Set-aside Land

Mr. Cox: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much was paid in the last 12 months to land owners for putting land into set-aside; and if he will make a statement. [143145]

Ms Quin: In the 12 months to 30 November 2000, payments for land in the UK in set-aside claimed under the Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS) totalled £144,733,633, including the first two instalments of agrimoney compensation in respect of 1999.

It should be noted that under scheme rules claimants do not necessarily have to be land owners and that it is not possible to identify separately those who are. In addition, because of the timing of agrimonetary compensation and the fact that EU regulations allowed payments in 1999 to start one month earlier than in 2000, the total paid in this period may not be fully representative of similar periods at other times.

Bovine TB

Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cattle compulsorily slaughtered as TB reactors in the last 12 months for which

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 451W

records are available were (a) (i) over and (ii) under 30 months old, (b) on post mortem not showing signs of clinical infection, (c) condemned as unfit for human consumption and (d) sold by his Department for human consumption. [142989]

Ms Quin [holding answer 18 December 2000]: Provisional data for the 12 months to November 2000 show that 6,606 TB reactors were slaughtered of which 3,340 had no visible signs of TB at post mortem. It is estimated that between half and two thirds of reactors were aged over 30 months and did not enter the food chain. The more detailed information requested is not available.

Cattle under 30 months of age enter the food chain only after stringent meat hygiene inspection in line with EU rules and after removal of any visibly infected parts of the carcase. This practice is of long standing, applies across the EU and is considered to pose no significant risk to consumers. The Food Standards Agency has the responsibility to advise Ministers if there are any food safety considerations raised by this policy and practice.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average time is for the Forestry Commission to determine felling licence applications in England; and if there is a customer service target for such determinations. [143445]

Mr. Morley: The Forestry Commission took an average of 7½ weeks to process felling licence applications in England last year. The Commission's customer charter sets a target of issuing felling licences within 10 weeks of receiving an application.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his policy on restoring priority open ground habitats for biodiversity which are currently forested by (a) self-sown and (b) planted non-native tree species. [143444]

Mr. Morley: We exercise a general presumption against the conversion of woodland to other land uses, unless there are overriding public benefits, such as the restoration of valuable heathland habitat in accordance with our biodiversity action plan for lowland heathland.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidelines the Forestry Commission uses to determine felling licence applications for lowland heathland sites. [143533]

Mr. Morley: The Forestry Commission uses the guidelines in its publication "Lowland Heaths and Forestry", a copy of which is held in the Library. The Commission is currently drafting more detailed guidelines, and I have asked the Commission to send the hon. Member a copy of the draft when it is published.

Milk Development Council

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made to the Milk Development Council on its 'White Stuff' publicity campaign. [143573]

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 452W

Ms Quin [holding answer 19 December 2000]: The Government introduced the necessary legislative changes to enable the Milk Development Council to co-operate with processors in introducing the 'White Stuff' campaign. I have also taken part personally in promotional work for the campaign. The campaign is jointly funded by dairy producers, through the Milk Development Council and dairy processors. It will be subject to review by both parties after an initial 18 month period against pre-determined criteria.

Modernising Government White Paper

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list, for each financial year from 1998-99 until the latest date for which sums have been allocated, the amount his Department has spent and expects to spend on the implementation of the White Paper on Modernising Government. [143605]

Ms Quin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Mr. McCartney), on 21 December 2000, Official Report, columns 245-46W.


Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter of 18 September on behalf of Ms Forbes. [143579]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 19 December 2000]: A reply was sent to the right hon. Member on 15 December 2000.

Production Subsidies

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the total expenditure on production subsidies for each of the past 10 years. [144043]

Ms Quin: The figures are set out in the table. They cover expenditure on: Arable Area Payments Scheme (cereals, oilseeds, linseed and protein), Sheep Annual Premium Scheme, Beef Special Premium Scheme, Suckler Cow Premium Scheme and Beef Deseasonalisation Scheme, and include both national and EU contributions. The major increase in expenditure in 1993-94 reflects the switch from price support to production subsidies in the MacSharry reform. The farming industry also benefits from higher food prices as a result of the CAP, which are paid for by consumers.

April/March (financial years)£ million

8 Jan 2001 : Column: 453W

Next Section Index Home Page