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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the value of EU payments to Lancashire horticulturalists in the last five years. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: Payments under the EU Aid Scheme for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are made to Producer Organisations for approved Operational Programmes. Since membership of Producer Organisations frequently extends beyond County boundaries, financial information is not available in the form requested. Payments to UK Producer Organisations has increased from £5.7 million in 1997 to about £9 million in respect of 2000.
Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the total cost of BSE to public funds. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: Total expenditure on the BSE crisis is estimated to be £4.4 billion to the end of this financial year. Of that amount, the other European Union member states contribute about £500 million when the Fontainebleau mechanism is taken into account. Therefore, the net cost of BSE to public funds is about £3.9 billion to the end of 2001-02.
Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the total payment has been to date of payments made to farmers in England in respect of the Arable Area Payment Scheme. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: 42,750 applications made to the Ministry for aid under the Arable Area Payments Scheme have been paid representing £852,219,681.92.
A further 44,116 AMC 2000 1st Tranche payments with a total value to date of £28,275,505.01 has also been paid to farmers.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is Government policy to encourage farmers to lay disinfected straw on roads adjacent to livestock farms to help prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: Disinfected straw laid across the entrance to a farm will provide a limited measure of protection against the spread of the foot and mouth virus. However, even with regular topping up, disinfectant will only be applied to the tyre treads of the vehicles passing over them. The best method of disinfection is the combination of thorough cleansing, preferable with a pressure hose, followed by the use of an approved disinfectant applied to all exposed surfaces using a hose or spray. The advice to people working in the countryside contained on the MAFF website (http://www.maff.gov.uk/) emphasises the importance of thorough spraying.
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Mr. Loughton: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information his Department received about outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom (a) between May 1997 and December 1999 and (b) in 2000. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: There were 29 suspected cases of foot and mouth disease reported to the Department during the period between May 1997 and December 1999. However, following investigations these were found to be negative.
There were no suspected cases of foot and mouth disease reported during 2000.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what contingency plans his Department had in place to deal with an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom in the period up to the notification to his Department of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease at Heddon-on- the-Wall. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: MAFF has contingency plans for dealing with outbreaks of serious animal disease. These include detailed operational instructions for use by the State Veterinary Service. The general contingency plan for foot and mouth was updated and submitted to the European Commission in July 2000.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what stocks the Foot and Mouth Reference Laboratory in Pirbright holds of live unattenuated foot and mouth viruses; and what strains are held. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The Foot and Mouth Reference Laboratory in Pirbright holds a library of over 5,000 strains from all over the world as part of their responsibility as the FAO/OIE nominated World Reference Laboratory.
Mr. Cash: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the powers which he is using in order to halt the spread of foot and mouth disease; which powers derive (a) from EU legislation and (b) from domestic law, with special reference to (i) slaughter, (ii) disposal of carcases, (iii) movement of livestock (A) without and (B) with transport, (iv) compensation, (v) diagnosis and veterinary inspection, (vi) quarantine arrangements, (vii) limiting access to specified areas, (viii) use of animal byproducts not for human consumption, (ix) health and safety and (x) use of the armed services. 
Ms Quin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Prime Minister on 4 April 2001, Official Report, column 200W.
The following points are in addition to that answer.
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Ms Quin: The level of compensation payable for animals slaughtered as a result of a foot and mouth outbreak is governed by Schedule 3 of the Animal Health Act 1981.
If an animal is infected with foot and mouth disease, the compensation for slaughter is the value of the animal immediately before it became infected. In all other cases (eg where animals have been exposed to the infection but are not affected, or showing signs of the disease) compensation is the value of the animal immediately before slaughter.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will raise the age limit for vets assisting local veterinary inspectors to above 65 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The terms and conditions for Local Veterinary Inspectors (LVIs) who are contracted on an hourly basis to carry out work on behalf of the Ministry require that the appointment shall terminate on reaching the age of 65, unless the Minister decides that it shall continue. Under the special circumstances that apply at the present time discretion is being used as appropriate.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the value was of exports of pig and sheepmeat in the last year; and what he estimates the value to be in the first year following the end of the outbreak. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: In 2000 the value of exports of pigmeat was £186 million and of sheepmeat was £200 million. We hope that, once they resume, exports will steadily return to comparable levels.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the effect of burning culled cattle on the possible spread of BSE to neighbouring farms. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: We have commissioned a risk assessment from DNV Consulting on the BSE risk to cattle of disposing of cattle carcases during the foot and mouth disease outbreak. We expect to receive the risk assessment shortly and copies will be made available to the Libraries of the House.
DNV have produced an assessment of the BSE risk to human health of disposing of cattle carcases during the foot and mouth disease outbreak, and is available in the Libraries of the House. Our procedures for disposing of cattle carcases reflect the results of this risk assessment following advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee.
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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the import into Britain of livestock products is allowed from countries in which foot and mouth is endemic. 
Mr. Nick Brown: The importation of meat is not permitted from regions where foot and mouth disease is present. EC rules permit imports from those regions of the relevant countries which are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not pose an FMD risk may be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. Because of their FMD situation prohibitions are currently in place on imports of meat of FMD susceptible species from South Africa, Swaziland and Argentina. All meat imported from third countries is subject to veterinary checks at Border Inspection Posts to ensure that import requirements are met.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) on what dates in the last nine months his Department made inquiries of T. G. Norman Timber Ltd., of Longtown, Cumbria, about the availability of timber, with particular reference to old railway sleepers; 
(3) what inquiries his Department has made in the last 12 months to establish the availability of timber, suitable for use in pyres for burning deadstock. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: I assume that the hon. Member's questions relate to the media speculation that the Government were aware that foot and mouth existed in the UK prior to the first notification of disease in Essex on 19 February. Such speculation is entirely without foundation.
The Ministry has contingency plans to deal with all notifiable exotic animal diseases, including foot and mouth disease. These are regularly updated and tested by the State Veterinary Service. As part of this process, Animal Health Offices, including the one at Stafford, will quite correctly contact contractors from whom they may need services or supplies during a disease outbreak. Any inquires directed to the businesses mentioned by the hon. Member would have been made as part of these contingency planning arrangements.
Information on all the timber stockists contacted by the Ministry over the last year is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Baldry: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 21 March 2001, Official Report, column 249W, on foot and mouth, what actions the Government will take under the term "kick start the rural economy"; and what estimate he has made of when the disease will be eradicated. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The Rural Task Force is continuing to look very carefully at measures to help the rural economy. On 20 March my
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right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment announced a package of measures to assist rural business, but the Government have also made it clear that the best way of helping business in the countryside is to encourage people to visit it so far as is consistent with measures to deal with the disease. As a further measure to help counteract the fall in demand and restore confidence, the Government have issued guidance to local authorities to help them assess whether rights of way in their area can be re-opened.
The Government have published independent research on the epidemiology of the foot and mouth outbreak. The epidemiological forecasts both foresee the outbreak lasting at least until June and possibly beyond July.
Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) on what date (i) an official and (ii) a Minister in his Department first informed (a) an official and (b) a commissioner in the European Commission that the UK had its first (1) suspected and (2) confirmed case in the foot and mouth disease outbreak; 
Ms Quin [holding answers 30 March 2001]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe on 30 March 2001, Official Report, columns 797-98W.
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average sums are paid in compensation for each class, type and age of livestock slaughtered as a consequence of the present outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Ms Quin: We are not able to give average compensation payments for each of the specified categories (class, type and age) of livestock slaughtered, as such specific figures are not recorded. We can however, give average payments for each species of animal. These are as follows:
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what emergency provision has been made for the release to local veterinary inspectors of foot and mouth vaccine to vaccinate at-risk animals. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 April 2001]: Local veterinary inspectors are working hard on measures to control foot and mouth disease and we are anxious not to divert them from this important work. The vaccination contingency plans which we have been developing do not envisage the use of local veterinary inspectors to administer vaccine.
Sir John Stanley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what warnings were given to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department of the risk of spreading foot and mouth prior to the present outbreak through contaminated meat imports. 
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Ms Quin [holding answer 4 April 2001]: MAFF Ministers and officials have long been aware of the possibility that foot and mouth disease might be introduced through contaminated meat imports. Foot and Mouth disease is a notifiable disease under Community and Office International Des Epizooties (OIE) protocols and the risks are well known. Notified outbreaks necessarily lead to trade restrictions. Responsibility lies with the European Commission to inform member states of disease controls in other countries and to take appropriate action to safeguard the Community from the risk that disease might be introduced in imported meat. Community law permits member states to take unilateral action to limit imports from countries where a particular risk has been identified, pending the introduction of Community measures.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce a programme of vaccination against foot and mouth for deer to allow the Royal Parks to be re-opened to the public. 
Mr. Morley: Bushy Park, Richmond Park and the Home Park at Hampton Court re-opened on 11 April.
Mr. Duncan: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his estimate is of the number of dairy herds in foot and mouth infected areas. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 5 April 2001]: On 1 April there were 7,792 dairy holdings (as classified in June 2000 Agricultural Census) in the infected areas in England and Wales.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the total value of United Kingdom meat exports in each of the four years following the elimination of foot and mouth disease. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 5 April 2001]: Exports of meat and meat products in 2000 amounted to £630 million. We hope that, once they resume, exports will steadily return to comparable levels.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to ensure that the farming sector is not adversely affected by the foot and mouth outbreak when trading with large supermarket chains. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The Ministry holds regular meetings with all its stakeholders, including retailers, to consider the impact of foot and mouth disease across the food chain and to ensure that all sectors of the industry are working together.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the Soil Association on the role of vaccination in tackling foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The Prime Minister met representatives of the Soil Association on 2 April. The evidence submitted by the Association has been carefully examined by our scientific and veterinary advisers as part of our ongoing assessment of the case for using vaccination against foot and mouth disease.
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Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (a) sheep, (b) pigs and (c) cattle have been moved through or into Montgomeryshire from outside the county since 1 March; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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