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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proportion of UK commercial floor space is provided by buildings which are (a) larger than 1,000 square metres, (b) larger than 500 square metres and (c) larger than 100 square metres. 
Ms Keeble: We do not currently have UK floorspace broken down as requested. In England and Wales in 2000, there were 1,340,780 commercial and industrial hereditaments with a total floorspace of 568,909 sq m. (A hereditament is a rateable unit of property and corresponds mainly to groups of buildings, individual buildings or parts of buildings.)
More information is available in 'Floorspace and Rateable Value for Commercial and Industrial Properties 2000', a copy of which has been placed in the House Library. The data in the publication come from the administrative databases of the VOA.
Mr. Jamieson: Our ports policy paper, "Modern Ports: A UK Policy", published last November, recognised a need to be better informed about developments in the UK port industry. The Department recently issued a discussion paper, "Recent developments and prospects at UK container ports", which notes that most industry forecasts point to an overall shortage of container movement capacity in the UK over the next 10 years. Market pressures are driving up the size and draught of container ships, which means that container facilities need to offer deep water with good tidal windows and ample manoeuvring room; there is only a limited number of sites capable of meeting these criteria. Market considerations, such as proximity to principal shipping lanes and markets,
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and other criteria such as transport access, including the availability of deep water concentrate demand in the south-east and east of England.
As indicated in "Modern Ports", the Government believe there are important national economic benefits in meeting the growth in demand. We recognise that this would require significant container port capacity increases in the south-east and east of England over the next few years. There are relatively few specific sites where such capacity can realistically be provided which meet the criteria previously noted. At the same time, we are well aware that some expansion proposals may have significant local environmental impacts and that these represent a challenge to which those proposing port development need to rise. Planning decisions will have to take due account of these considerations.
The discussion paper discusses recent trends and prospects for demand at container ports and how it might be met. Its purpose is not to discuss in detail all the issues which planning procedures have to address, but to promote a better understanding of the ports and shipping business, and of the demands which are now causing pressure on capacity. Copies of the paper are in the Library, and it is also available from my Department (EAMI Division, Zone 1/34, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SWIP 4DR) and on the Department's website. A further consultation paper is planned discussing project appraisal criteria to be applied to port developments.
Mr. Meacher: The fly tipping forum, under the chairmanship of the Environment Agency, has commissioned research to assess the problem of fly tipping on farmland. However, the survey, which is an essential part of the project, was suspended on the outbreak of the foot and mouth epidemic. The project will be carried out as soon as practicable.
The action being taken by the Government on fly tipping and other forms of unlawful waste disposal was set out most recently in the Government's response to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's report on the Environment Agency (Cm 4832paragraphs 5560).
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence she has received of a slaughter team in Yorkshire cutting off the ear of a live bovine in order to get an ear tag. 
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David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will use the veterinary laboratories at Stormont for foot and mouth blood testing as a supplement to Pirbright; 
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent assessment is of the impact of foot and mouth disease on the economy of rural Northumberland and its market towns. 
Alun Michael: Foot and mouth disease restrictions have had a massive impact on rural economies. We have commissioned a study to help quantify the impact on a selection of areas typical of those affected, and Newcastle university is currently undertaking research specific to Northumberland.
Twelve market towns in the north-east, including Berwick-on-Tweed and six others in Northumberland, have been selected for inclusion in the market towns regeneration programme announced in the rural White Paper. This will help counter the effects of foot and mouth by providing a boost to the economies and communities of the towns and their rural hinterlands.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has received in favour of treating the north of Northumberland as a foot and mouth disease free area; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 30 October 2001]: The Department has received a number of representations on this subject. When the autumn movements arrangements were announced, Ministers said that foot and mouth free status would normally be gained on a county or unitary authority basis. However, it was also made clear that we would consider splitting counties between different foot and mouth disease status if circumstances warranted this. So far, this has been done only in Powys and north Yorkshire, but we are keeping other candidates, including Northumberland, under constant review.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the cases of FMD in sheep in Wales were diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms alone; and how many were confirmed positive by laboratory tests. 
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Mr. Morley: Since the start of the foot and mouth disease outbreak, the number of infected premises in Wales which had sheep present totals 107. Of these 107 premises, 94 had laboratory tests conducted of with 54 returned positive results.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations the Government have received about a public inquiry into the handling of the foot and mouth disease outbreak. 
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of recent research into the relationship between the number of animals slaughtered during the foot and mouth outbreak and the promptness of the implementation of a 24 hour slaughter policy. 
Mr. Morley: The foot and mouth disease control policy is to slaughter all susceptible animals on infected premises within 24 hours of the infection being reported and, with allowance for limited local veterinary discretion, all susceptible livestock on contiguous premises within 48 hours.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many individual payments have been made to farmers following foot and mouth disease of (a) £1,000,000 to £1,999,999, (b) £2,000,000 to £2,999,999, (c) £3,000,000 to £3,999,999 and (d) in excess of £4,000,000. 
|Number of payments|
|£1,000,000 to £1,999,999||56|
|£2,000,000 to £2,999,999||8|
|£3,000,000 to £3,999,999||3|
|In excess of £4,000,000||1|
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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contiguous culls were started more than 48 hours after samples had been collected from infected animals on the contiguous infected premise in Powys in the foot and mouth outbreak. [R] 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers the three inquiries into foot and mouth have to compel (a) Ministers and (b) officials to give evidence. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 November 2001]: Given their non-statutory nature, Ministers and officials may not be compelled by the two Government inquiries or the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food to give evidence. However, Ministers and officials are expected to co-operate fully with the two inquiries and the policy commission and compulsion is not an issue.
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