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Mr. Morley: The June Agriculture Council unanimously adopted a resolution instructing the European Commission to bring forward early proposals for changes to the current rules on the welfare of animals during transport. This debate on the proposals will provide an opportunity to discuss the options for reducing the number and duration of long-distance journeys of farm animals to slaughter. Our preference is for a trade in meat rather than the long distance transport of animals for slaughter.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been allocated to the Greater London flood defences by her Department in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Morley: This Department provides grants for flood defence capital works that satisfy essential criteria but responsibility for all expenditure on flood defences rests with operating authorities, such as the Environment Agency and local authorities. The Environment Agency estimates that its flood defence expenditure in Greater London in the last three years was as follows:
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has to undertake a review of responsibility for flood defence management and funding; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Morley: The purpose of the review of flood and coastal defence funding arrangements was to ensure that funds were appropriately sourced and targeted, and delivered effectively and efficiently. Funding and institutional arrangements are inextricably linked. In addition to researching funding options and prioritisation, the review has gone on to consider whether current institutional arrangements were fit for purpose. The conclusions of the review are expected to be published later this autumn. The Government are satisfied that the outcome of this review, and other on-going reviews relating to flood management, will contribute substantially to ensuring a focused, integrated, efficient and effective service.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the additional annual investment that would be required to ensure all flood defences in England and Wales are classified by the National Audit Office as being at least in good condition. 
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Mr. Morley: The National Audit Office's March 2001 report on inland flood defences includes condition ratings for flood defences made by the Environment Agency. These data form part of the input for two recent research projects on the "National Appraisal of Assets at Risk from Flooding" which were commissioned by this Department; the most recent report of this research was published in September. It suggests that investment in capital and maintenance would need to be increased from current levels by between £110 million and £120 million a year to maintain current standards of defence, with a further £30 million a year to improve to indicative standards.
Alun Michael [holding answer 25 October 2001]: A veterinary risk assessment regarding the possible relaxation of the foot and mouth disease controls over hunting with dogs in England and Wales has been carried out by the State Veterinary Service and is currently being considered by Ministers. Hunting with dogs takes a variety of forms all of which pose different levels of risk, and therefore require different levels of risk management measures. The assessment will shortly be published on the DEFRA website http:/www.defra.gov.uk/ and copies will be made available in the Library of each House.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish the results of the risk assessment in relation to hunting with dogs in areas free of foot and mouth disease; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The veterinary risk assessment regarding the possible resumption of hunting with dogs is currently being considered by Ministers. It takes account of the varying degrees of risk in different parts of the country. Hunting with dogs takes a variety of forms all of which pose different levels of risk and therefore require different levels of risk management measures. In the context of the Government's clear commitment to do everything possible to prevent future outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, this needs careful consideration. We hope to be able to reach a decision and will publish the veterinary risk assessment on which our decisions will be based.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the work of the Milk Task Force; and when she expects it to publish its report. 
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Alun Michael: There have been a number of recent reports which have made reference to production and/or marketing of local foods including the report of the rural task force, which I chair, and the report by Lord Haskins on rural recovery after foot and mouth disease. We are currently considering our response to the recommendations of the rural task force report and the Haskins report and we will respond shortly.
Mr. Morley: Allocations for the environmental protection work performed by the Environment Agency are made on a national basis, and not by county. On flood defence, I have recently announced the allocations to flood and coastal defence operating authorities for 200203. The capital allocation, on which we are prepared to pay grant, for the Environment Agency in Somerset is £4.4 million (compared with £2.5 million in 200102). The rate of grant has been increased by 10 per cent. to 75 per cent.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) other UK Government Departments and (b) her EU counterparts regarding the effect of coffee prices on developing countries; and if she will make a statement. 
The UK, like other EU member states and the European Commission, is a member of the International Coffee Organisation. At the 85th meeting of its governing body, the International Coffee Council, on 2528 September 2001, the Council resolved to establish a Quality Committee to facilitate measures for the withdrawal from the market of defective beans and those with a moisture content above a certain level. This will provide practical advice and support to a resolution by producers aimed at reducing the total amount of low-grade coffee beans on the world market. The beans would not be stockpiled but either destroyed or diverted to other purposes such as cosmetics, animal feed or fuel.
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