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Swine Fever

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 13 March 2001, Official Report, column 566W, if he will make a statement on which holding was responsible for the source of the disease, including evidence on the cause and possible transmission of classical swine fever. [158451]

Ms Quin: At this stage there is nothing further to add to my answer of 13 March 2001, Official Report, column 566W.

Throckmorton Burial Site

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what steps he is taking to minimise (a) odour, (b) light pollution and (c) noise from the Throckmorton airfield burial site; and if he will make a statement; [159271]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: Air pollution control engineers, Air Spectrum Environmental, have been contracted to deal with all aspects of odour control. A spray system is in place which has recently been increased by 300 per cent.

Flood lighting was installed at the Throckmorton burial site, because it was originally envisaged that some work might have to be carried out after the hours of darkness in order to clear the backlog of carcases. In the event, the operation did not require a prolonged period of night working and the lights have now been switched off at night following representations from local residents.

The facilities at the Throckmorton site are now running on mains electricity, which has allowed the generators to be switched off.

10 May 2001 : Column: 299W

Dioxin Emissions

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what analysis has been made of dioxins and other materials emitted by slow burning wood fires with particular reference to (a) foot and mouth cremation pyres and (b) forest fires. [158415]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 23 April 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

The Department of Health has recently published a risk assessment "Foot and Mouth--Effects on Health of Emissions from Tyres Used for Disposal of Animals" (available on www.doh.gov.uk). The risk assessment provides estimates of the release of dioxins and other air pollutants from pyres and predicted concentrations in air.

My Department has undertaken air quality monitoring in the vicinity of some larger pyres, being used to dispose of animal carcases. Some local authorities have also instigated such monitoring. In addition, the Environment Agency have assisted Government by monitoring and modelling air pollution in the vicinity of pyres.

Air quality monitoring has been undertaken at Sennybridge in Wales, and Holsworthy, Chumleigh and Okehampton in Devon. A limited survey was also undertaken around one pyre in Allerdale, Cumbria. At all sites, measurements of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particles have been made, and found to be generally low. At Sennybridge, Holsworthy, Okehampton and Allerdale monitoring for polyaromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls has also been carried out. Dioxin concentrations in air have been reported by Powys county council, measured in the vicinity of the pyre at Sennybridge, and Allerdale district council in the vicinity of the Allerdale pyre. At these sites dioxin concentrations in air, measured at locations between 1 km and 2 km from the pyres, ranged between 2.57-8.16 fg/m 3 I-TEQ. These concentrations are low when compared with average urban levels, and are of a similar order to those currently found in rural areas of the UK.

I am not aware of any corresponding work in relation to forest fires in the UK. However the national atmospheric emissions inventory estimates that 2 per cent. (5.8g) of the UK's annual emissions in the UK in 1999 was derived from natural fires.

Parliamentary Questions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he will answer the questions tabled for answer on 2 April, Refs. 156280 and 156277; [159445]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to her on 8 May 2001, Official Report, columns 122-23W, and 128W, and on 30 April 2001, Official Report, column 493W.

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he will provide a substantive answer to the question tabled for answer on 6 April. (Ref. 157364); [160102]

10 May 2001 : Column: 300W

Ms Quin [holding answers 2 and 9 May 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 8 May 2001, Official Report, column 124W.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will reply to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Vale of York on 27 March relating to exclusion zones (ref: 156280). [157366]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 April 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to her on 8 May 2001, Official Report, column 122W.

Livestock Movements

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what route sheep are being conveyed from Devon through Dorset and Hampshire for disposal in Sussex. [158101]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: Under the Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme all sheep slaughtered in Devon are landfilled in that county.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will assess the benefits of relaxing controls in East Sussex on animal movements to allow movement of cattle from winter quarters to summer pasture; if he will allow such decisions to be a matter for Trading Standards officers at East Sussex County Council; and if he will make a statement. [159588]

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 April 2001]: Local movement licences are available in East Sussex for welfare and management reasons. These licences are issued by MAFF Local Veterinary Inspectors who are usually members of local veterinary practices.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to tighten the rules concerning animal movements in the UK and the wider EU market. [160624]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 May 2001]: The Government have no such plans at present. Our priority is the control of foot and mouth disease, as a result of which animal movements in the UK are tightly controlled under licence. Proposals to have a 20-day stop following animal movements are out for consultation. The EU is currently reviewing the directions on animal movement and the UK will play a full role in that.

Agricultural Exports

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the rate of agricultural export subsidies is; to which agricultural exports they apply; and if he will make a statement. [160450]

Ms Quin: Agricultural export subsidies, called export refunds, are paid across a range of agricultural commodities. The Common Agricultural Policy currently includes provision for export refunds for cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil, fruit and vegetables, beef, milk powders, butter, cheese, pigmeat, eggs, poultrymeat and various processed products manufactured from cereals, rice, sugar, dairy products and eggs.

10 May 2001 : Column: 301W

Rates of refund vary between and within commodities depending on the actual product exported, the current market situation, including world prices and the euro/dollar exchange rate, and the destination. Currently there are in excess of 1,100 different rates many of which can, and do, change regularly in the light of trading conditions. For some products, the rate of export refund is currently zero. Detailed rates of refund are available, and can be obtained on request from the Intervention Board.

Forest Enterprise

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what (a) turnover, (b) profit and (c) amount of revaluation was recorded by Forest Enterprise in the most recent year for which figures are available. [160406]

Mr. Morley: The subject of the question relates to matters undertaken by Forest Enterprise. I have asked its Chief Executive, Dr. Bob McIntosh, to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Bob McIntosh to Mr. Christopher Gill, dated May 2001:





Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the quinquennial review of the Forest Enterprise executive agency. [161073]

Mr. Morley: The first stage of the review of Forest Enterprise has concluded that the agency has put in a strong performance on the sustainability of its forest management, has successfully involved communities and other stakeholders in its decision-making and has responded successfully to change--particularly devolution. The review has recommended that Forest Enterprise should retain its status as an executive agency of the Forestry Commission. Ministers in the UK Government, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales have accepted these conclusions and recommendations. They intend to review the options for further decentralising handling of forestry policy and management, in the light of continuing experience of the devolved structure. The report of the first stage of the review is available on the Forestry Commission's website and will be placed in the Library.


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