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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent measures she has taken to clean up contaminated land sites in England and Wales; if she will take steps to recover costs from companies responsible for contaminating land; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 November 2001]: In April 2000 the new contaminated land regime (under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990) came into force in England. It places a duty on local authorities to inspect their areas for contaminated land. The enforcing authority will then establish the appropriate person(s) to bear the costs of remediation, decide on the remediation required, and ensure that it takes place, whether through agreement, or by serving a remediation notice on the appropriate person(s), or by doing the work and then recovering the costs.
In most cases the appropriate persons will be those who caused or knowingly permitted the contamination, but if they cannot be found liability passes to the current owner or occupier unless the problem is solely one of water pollution. There is provision for waiving or reducing liability in certain circumstances, including cases of hardship. In this way, the regime reflects the "polluter pays" principle. It is described in detail in DETR Circular 02/2000, "Contaminated Land".
The Department's Contaminated Land Supplementary Credit Approval programme provides assistance to local authorities for capital works such as site investigations, and remediation where they are themselves the appropriate person or are unable to recover costs from others.
In addition, there are various other powers to deal with contamination arising from a breach of a current licence or permit. These also follow the polluter pays principle.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list by region the amounts paid to farmers in Scotland for each of the (a) CAP and (b) UK schemes for which she is responsible, for the last five years. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 November 2001]: The Rural Payments Agency implements one scheme on behalf of Scottish Ministers with direct payments to
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farmers. This is the Slaughter Premium Scheme in respect of over-30-month animals only. The amounts paid, which are not available by region, were as follows:
|2000 Scheme Year Payments||1,371,756|
|2001 Scheme Year Payments(17)||283,426|
(17) To date
Other schemes involving payment direct to Scottish farmers are the responsibility of, and are implemented by Scottish Ministers.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy; how these reforms will be beneficial to agriculture in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales; whether the policy was agreed with the devolved Administrations; and how the United Kingdom's policy on reform of the CAP has changed since devolution. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 November 2001]: Successive United Kingdom Governments have long been committed to radical reform of the CAP in order to bring benefits to UK consumers, taxpayers and farmers. Next summer we expect the EU Commission to initiate the mid-term review of the CAP following the Agenda 2000 reforms.
The United Kingdom Government have not yet finalised their position on the mid-term review but have signalled their view that the Community should seize the opportunity for a radical reform covering: a switch from market distorting subsidies (pillar 1) to support for rural development and environmental schemes (pillar 2); abolition of milk quotas and compulsory set aside; and decoupling of livestock payments. We believe that these changes are necessary to deliver the type of modern, market-driven, environmentally sensitive agriculture which will benefit society as a whole and is in the long-term best interests of the agricultural industry itself. They will also help achieve the EU's wider objectives as regards the WTO negotiations and enlargement.
The Government are discussing their position on the mid-term review and their objectives for longer-term CAP reform with the devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They will also take account of developments both in the industry and more widely. The United Kingdom's policy on the reform of the CAP has not, however, materially altered since devolution.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's use of the Animal Health Act 1981 to act against the importation of animal diseases. 
Mr. Morley: Imports of live animals and the majority of animal products such as meat, fish, dairy products etc. are subject to EU rules implemented by national regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972. Some live animals and products requiring
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special authorisation before import, for example animal pathogens for research purposes, trade samples, and some live animals and products not subject to EU rules may only be imported in accordance with licences issued under the Animal Health Act 1981. The import conditions in these licences are designed to prevent the hazard of importing and spreading animal diseases.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the Rural White Paper. 
Alun Michael: Since publishing the Rural White Paper on 28 November 2000, we have taken decisive steps in delivering the plans we set out to develop and maintain a living, working, protected and vibrant countryside:
To help local services we have extended mandatory 50 per cent. rate relief to include sole village public houses, petrol stations and village food shops;
We are helping to rejuvenate over 100 market towns by funding projects to stimulate thriving rural economies;
Earlier this month we published plans to improve the quality and effectiveness of town and parish councils as part of our commitment to give rural communities a stronger voice; and
We have just published the first draft maps for the new rights of access for walkers.
an additional £15 million in 200001 and £30 million in 200102 and 200203 to tackle the extra cost of policing in rural areas; also the launch on the on-line Rural Crime Toolkit, drawing on examples of good practice in rural policing;
a new £2 million fund, now open to applications, to support community-driven projects to refurbish and improve rural sub-post officesone part of the Government's commitment to maintain a national post office network;
help to establish 8,728 new child care places in the rural counties of Cornwall, Devon, Durham and Lincolnshire in 200001;
increased investment in wider health and social services which is expected to be of particular benefit to people in rural areasfor example, the programme to establish 100 new primary care one-stop or mobile units, as well as 5,000 intermediate care beds,
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£62 million to improve rural bus services in 200102, with a total of £239 million allocated over the next three years for new and improved rural travel services;
the Housing Corporation exceeded their target of approving 800 affordable homes in rural settlements last year by more than 200 (1,003 approvals), and have increased their target for this year to 1,100 rising to 1,600 by 200304;
new Countryside Agency grant schemes in operation: £15 million Community Service Grants fund to help safeguard or re-establish basic village facilities; £15 million Parish Transport Fund for small-scale, locally generated transport solutions; and £5 million Parish Plans Fund to help around 1,000 communities prepare their own village or town plans;
new legislation, in force from August, extending 50 per cent. mandatory rate relief to village food shops and new small-scale, non-agricultural enterprises on farms. This is additional to extending 50 per cent. relief to sole village pubs and petrol stations in April;
selection of over 100 towns to benefit from a £100 million market towns regeneration programme to which the Government have allocated £37 million. Changes have also been made to planning policy guidance on transport (PPG13) to emphasis the role of market towns as hubs for jobs and services;
changes made to planning policy guidance on the countryside (PPG7) giving stronger support to farm diversification and clarifying guidance on best and most versatile (BMV) land;
publication of a consultation paper on Quality Parish and Town Councils, seeking views on plans to give councils an enhanced role for their communities; and
publication of the Countryside Agency's 'Policy Maker's Checklist' in April, to assist Government and their agencies "rural-proof" policies, now part of the Cabinet Office's rapid policy makers' checklist.
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