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Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the farming community about the proposed ear tagging schemes for sheep. 
Mr. Morley: My officials have had initial discussions with English and Welsh industry representatives about the future identification requirements for sheep and goats. We are now considering the views expressed by industry before a final decision is taken.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make additional financial assistance available to UK sheep farmers. 
Mr. Morley: Community Regulations provide for direct support to sheep farmers through the sheep annual premium. Rates of premium are determined each year by
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the European Commission and are based on the difference between the EU basic price for sheepmeat and the annual average price for sheepmeat on the EU market. There is no provision in the EU sheepmeat regime for additional financial assistance to be made by member states.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to promote a national recycling strategy, with particular reference to the targets set for recycling within councils' waste (a) collection and (b) disposal policies. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government set out their strategy for delivering sustainable waste management in 'Waste Strategy 2000', published in May last year. Minimising waste production and maximising the re-use and recycling of waste is at the heart of this strategy and we have set statutory targets under Best Value for local authorities to double the amount of household waste recycled by 200304 and treble it by 200506. Targets have been set for each collection and disposal authority in England.
We have recently published a consultation paper on the operation and distribution of a new waste minimisation and recycling fund in England. The fund was agreed in Spending Review 2000 and provides £140 million over the next two years. The fund is designed to support better waste management practices including waste minimisation, re-use and recycling.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will achieve the packaging waste recovery and recycling targets for 2001. 
Mr. Meacher: It is too early to say. Reprocessing of packaging waste reported by accredited reprocessors for the first three quarters of 2001 is over three million tonnes, but we do not expect to have figures for the whole of 2001 until early next year.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the current review of the levels of HEES grants, with particular regard to (a) the scope of the review, (b) the timetable and (c) which organisations will be consulted; and if she will abolish the grant maximum levels and set an average grant level instead. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 November 2001]: The companies that manage the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme provide regular advice to my Department on the average cost of work under the scheme. This advice, together with information on work which costs more than the current grant limits is used to review the grant maxima. I plan to consider whether any changes to the maximum grant levels are required early next year.
We have no plans to set an average grant, rather than the maximum grant approach used at present.
The present approach encourages scheme managers to reach those vulnerable householders in most need. These householders are likely to live in homes requiring the complete package of measures available under the scheme.
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Under an average grant system, the scheme managers would be contractually bound to improve a set number of properties using the available moneys. This would create an incentive for them to target householders in less need, who require fewer improvements to their homes, simply to ensure that the average was not exceeded.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the efficiency and promptness of the tasks carried out by the Rural Payments Agency; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Following the launch of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) as an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 October 2001, the House was informed of the Agency's Performance Targets on 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1247W. These cover a range of targets that reflect the efficiency and promptness of tasks undertaken by RPA. Copies of its Framework Document, Corporate Plan and Business Plan were placed in the Library of the House on 15 November 2001.
An ownership board was appointed, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Department. Other members include three independents and representatives of the devolved Administrations.
Within the objective of providing strategic direction and oversight to RPA, one of the four primary roles of the ownership board is to monitor regularly on behalf of the Secretary of State, the devolved Administrations and Competent Authority the performance of RPA against its targets.
Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of waste derived fuels constitute total kiln fuels consumed by Portland cement manufacturers in (a) the UK and (b) the rest of the EU. 
Mr. Meacher: The latest available estimated figures show that: (a) in 1999 the UK consumption of waste derived fuel was about 6 per cent. of total fuel consumption by Portland cement manufacturers; (b) in 1998 the EU consumption of waste fuel was about 12 per cent. of total fuel consumption by Portland cement manufacturers.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees of livestock markets have been made redundant since their closure under foot and mouth regulations. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 December 2001]: The Department does not have any information on the number of employees made redundant from livestock markets since their closure due to foot and mouth restrictions.
The Employment Service has been collecting statistics of the number of claims made in Great Britain by those who either lost their job or were temporarily laid off as a
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result of the foot and mouth disease. These are general figures and are not limited to those who worked in markets.
The Employment Service estimates that approximately 6,600 people have submitted claims as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. However, this figure includes those whose employment has been temporarily stopped (people still under contract to their employer but whose employment is temporarily unavailable, or whose working hours are reduced due to the crisis).
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the economic impact on brassica growers of the revocation of licences to use (a) carbofuran and (b) chlorfenvinphos. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 4 December 2001]: Pesticide products containing carbofuran and chlorfenvinphos have been reviewed as part of the general review in the UK of all organophosphate pesticides. The review was undertaken because of public concerns about the potential toxicity of these chemicals and in the absence of any supporting safety data from the approval holder, products containing carbofuran and chlorfenvinphos will not be available to users from the end of 2001. The economic impact on a particular sector of the industry would not form part of an assessment where the overriding priority is to protect those who work in the industry and consumers of the treated crop. However, my officials are aware of the difficulties the withdrawal of these products from the market may cause and will of course give any assistance they can to exploring other sources of control.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the scientific basis is for the ban on the use of chlorfenvinphos and carbofuran in pesticides; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Pesticide products containing carbofuran and chlorfenvinphos have been reviewed as part of the general review in the UK of all organophosphate pesticides. The review was undertaken because of public concerns about the potential toxicity of these chemicals.
Organophosphate pesticides are mainly older compounds and the review will establish whether there is sufficient safety data available to satisfy modern standards. Companies are therefore required to submit data they hold on human health and environmental effects to support the continued safe use of the products containing these compounds. If data are not submitted then the approval for these products are revoked.
The approval holders for carbofuran and chlorfenvinphos did not submit supporting data for their products under the UK review and therefore these products will not be available in the UK after 31 December 2001.
The impact of the loss of these pesticides is not underestimated and officials will continue to do everything possible to help the trade and user groups. However the safety of users, consumers and the environment is the key issue that needs to be considered.
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