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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in the Balkans. 
Mr. MacShane: The problems in Macedonia threaten the stability of the Balkans region. Following international facilitation, there appear to be early signs of progress: a ceasefire was agreed last week, and Macedonian party leaders are now in talks to agree a final political settlement. Regionally, we are working with partners and key international organisations to help foster peace and stability, focusing on regional co-operation, inter-ethnic reconciliation and economic reform through the Stability Pact and the EU's Stabilisation and Association Process.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the future of the horticultural research site at Efford near Lymington. 
Mr. Morley: The Chief Executive of Horticulture Research International informs me that its Efford site is very much part of the future of the organisation as set out in its restructuring plan approved by my predecessor last
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year. The new site manager is working closely with the horticulture industry to ensure that Efford carries out the research and knowledge transfer activities which can best support growers. HRI is also exploring the scope for collaborative work and joint ventures with Southampton University and Chilworth Science Park.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what genetically- modified crops are being grown at the horticultural research establishment at Efford near Lymington. 
Mr. Meacher: HRI has informed us that a small number of genetically modified banana plants are being grown under Health and Safety Executive approved and licensed containment conditions under glass at HRI's Efford site. These plants contribute to a doctoral research project undertaken in collaboration with a UK University which is investigating the fundamental processes in the ripening of fruits.
Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress with international agreements on whaling. 
Mr. Morley: The next meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is to take place from 2327 July in London. We shall take this opportunity to reaffirm our opposition to all forms of whaling other than some subsistence whaling by indigenous people. We shall also resist any attempts by those in support of a resumption of commercial whaling to lift the current moratorium. There will be further discussion on the Revised Management Scheme, welfare aspects of whaling killing, Whale Sanctuaries in the South Pacific and South Atlantic and on whale stocks.
The Government will be making a statement shortly on the line we propose to take at the IWC meeting.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will announce a decision on the artificial reef project off Whitsand Bay. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The application to place a vessel on the seabed in Whitsand Bay is currently under consideration and our decision on whether to issue a licence under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 will be announced shortly.
Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many CAP grants were paid directly into foreign banks in each year from 1997 to date; and how much money was paid in each year. 
Mr. Morley: No CAP grants were paid directly into foreign bank accounts in any of the years from 1997 to date.
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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the European Commission's proposals to (a) reduce the UK national ceiling for beef special premium claims and (b) reduce the stocking density limits. 
Mr. Morley: The overall effect of the proposal to reduce the EU national BSP ceilings is to reduce the potential for expansion of production. Based on recent usage figures it does not imply an immediate significant reduction in production. As the UK has historically used the majority of its available ceiling we have not had to bear the more severe cuts imposed on some other member states, and suffer only a 4 per cent. cut in ceiling. Forecasts have predicted that production in 200203 will be almost the same level as that of 1997. This would mean that the UK would have a total number of claims below its revised ceiling and producers would not be subjected to clawback on their beef special premium claims.
The overall effect of lowering of the stocking density limits on beef special premium and suckler cow premium claims, from 2.0 livestock units per hectare (LU/ha) to 1.9 LU/ha in 2002, is difficult to assess since the reduced limits will have different effects at the level of individual producers. In some cases it is possible that farmers might have to reduce claims in order to meet the stocking density limits. However, all assessments will be clouded by the restocking position of farmers who have been affected by foot and mouth disease controls.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will reintroduce in areas which have been declared provisionally free of foot and mouth disease the over-30- months slaughter scheme for cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the need to reopen the over- 30-months scheme. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 July 2001]: The over-30-months scheme has been suspended, other than in Northern Ireland and for casualty animals in Great Britain, due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. As a consequence beef and dairy producers have had to retain eligible cattle longer than they would wish, incurring feeding and other costs and without income from scheme payments. The scheme will be reopened as soon as the processing capacity, which has been diverted to deal with the foot and mouth outbreak, can be made available to the scheme.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if energy suppliers can meet energy efficiency targets set under the Energy Efficiency Commitment scheme by expansion of the gas network. 
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Mr. Meacher: Under the proposed Energy Efficiency Commitment for 200205, gas and electricity suppliers will be required to meet energy efficiency targets. It is proposed that companies should be free to develop the most cost-effective schemes. The Regulator would be responsible for determining whether any proposed action qualifies towards a supplier's energy efficiency target and, if so, what improvement in energy efficiency should be attributed to it. I propose to issue a consultation paper on the commitment in the summer.
Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to set higher targets for recycling. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government set out our programme for delivering sustainable waste management in "Waste Strategy 2000", published in May last year, and have set out statutory targets under best value for local authorities to double the amount of household waste recycled within three years and almost treble it within five years. We will keep the targets for household waste recycling and composting under review, and increase them as appropriate once these initial targets have been reached.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what efforts are being made to encourage young farmers in the agricultural industry, with particular reference to family and livestock farming. 
Mr. Morley: One of the key tasks for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is to work with all concerned to develop an economically viable, sustainable, diverse and dynamic farming industry. The enthusiasm and fresh ideas young farmers bring to the industry will be vital in helping to secure this aim, as are the skills of the many family-run livestock farms which are currently struggling to cope with the appalling difficulties caused by the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
The Government are supporting the industry in many ways. These include the measures in the Agriculture Strategy launched last year and the food and mouth recovery programme announced on 8 May by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Work, the then Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Together these measures will help create the economic conditions in which a restructured industry can flourish once foot and mouth disease has been eradicated. This will be of benefit to all farmers including young farmers and family-run farms.
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