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Land Use

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of land in England was (a) under cultivation for crops and (b) used for animal rearing in (i) 1975, (ii) 1985, (iii) 1995 and (iv) the most recent year for which figures are available. [14059]

Mr. Morley: The information is given in the table.

Thousand hectares1975198519952001
Total area of England(19)13,042
of which:
Percentage total crops30.133.729.629.0
Percentage animal rearing40.236.434.333.1

(19) Including inland waterways


1. Crops including all arable crops, some of which are grown for stockfeeding.

2. Animal rearing is all grassland and rough grazing.

3. Common land has not been included in the figures for animal rearing. There are 427,889 hectares of common land in England.


1. Crops and Animal Rearing—June Agricultural Census 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2001 (main and minor holdings).

2. Total Area of England—Office for National Statistics (2001 data).

Common Agricultural Policy

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the principal changes her Department is seeking on reform of the common agricultural policy. [12812]

Mr. Morley: The CAP needs further reform to deliver better outputs for our farmers, consumers and taxpayers. The Government are committed to striving to secure a more economically rational CAP, and one which is sustainable in relation to the countryside environment and rural economy. In particular, the Government want to see market price support and production controls phased out, with transitional support payments to help farmers to adjust. This should be complemented by a shift towards the "second pillar" of the CAP, expanding the resources available for targeted support for rural development and agri-environment schemes.


Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford of 29 May on behalf of his constituent Mr. J. Matchett of Langton Ave., Chelmsford; and if she will make a statement about the reason for the delay in replying. [8266]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 October 2001]: I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for the delay in providing a reply to his letter. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Rural Affairs replied to his letter yesterday. We have recently identified a real problem with the correspondence system which has led to a backlog of correspondence which Ministers and officials are working hard to clear. I am sorry the hon. Gentleman's letter was caught in that backlog.

Farming Assistance (Exmoor)

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to speed up the process of the collection of cattle and assist farmers with welfare problems in Exmoor. [10778]

Mr. Morley: Under the animal movement restrictions which apply to control the spread of foot and mouth disease, collection for movement is permitted to only a single destination on any one day at present.

Following representations from Exmoor farmers, veterinary advice is that provided there is proper cleansing and disinfection between batches, it will be possible to allow more than one operation per day of gathering for movement to a single destination, without an undue increase in disease risk. Officials are therefore finalising changes to the collecting centre procedures to allow more than one batch per day subject to cleansing and disinfection between each batch and these should be implemented shortly.