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CAP Payments (North Yorkshire)

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department expects to contribute to farmers in North Yorkshire this year in CAP payments; and how many farms will receive payments. [34682]

Mr. Morley: The latest available CAP scheme payments made to farmers in North Yorkshire, and the number of farms paid under each scheme are:

CAP scheme and year(25)Amount paid (£)Number of farms paid
Arable Area Payment Scheme (2001)(26)46,821,4952,897
Beef Special Premium Scheme (2001)(27)4,584,6812,791
Veal and Calf Slaughter Premium Scheme (2000)53.253
Slaughter Premium Scheme (2000)2,292,0632,135
Suckler Cow Premium Scheme (2000)4,439,5541,304
Extensification Payment Scheme (2000)3,343,9531,495
Sheep Annual Premium Scheme (2000)12,046,9651,658
Hill Farm Allowance (2001)6,607,8321,894

(25) Figures from latest available scheme year

(26) After modulation

(27) Before modulation

The total number of farms paid cannot be provided as the same farm may be covered by more than one of the CAP schemes.

Regional Food

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 90W, ref. 32897, if she will list the activities being pursued in the eastern region. [36480]

Mr. Morley: We do not hold centrally information on all the regional food chain supply and marketing initiatives carried out by Government and Government funded organisations in the eastern region. However, through 'Food From Britain' and the Countryside Agency, the Government have contributed to the funding of the Regional Food Group, 'Taste of Anglia'. These funds have been used to provide various business support and promotional activities including, "Meet the Buyer" events, the publication of regional food and drink guides, attendance at local, regional and national shows, the holding of workshops and seminars and the promotion of farmers markets.

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A number of projects in the eastern region involving the processing and marketing of food have been awarded grants under the rural enterprise scheme and the processing and marketing grant scheme which form part of the England rural development programme. Producers and processors in the eastern region may also benefit from some of the national projects funded under the agricultural development scheme.

Waste Disposal

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take action to make doorstep recycling available throughout the United Kingdom. [37271]

Mr. Meacher: Recycling is a matter for the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, approximately 43 per cent. of households receive this service and we expect the number to increase greatly. The Government have set statutory performance standards for all local authorities, which will triple the recycling and composting of household waste in the five years to 2005–06. Each authority will decide how best to meet these targets, taking into account local circumstances, but the Government encourage them to introduce or extend kerbside collection of recyclable waste, where this is environmentally and economically the best option.

The Government also found significant new resources for English local authorities in the last spending review, both in the general settlement and a separate fund of £140 million for the waste minimisation and recycling fund. The Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly Government have also found extra resources for recycling.

The New Opportunities Fund has also identified £50 million for the UK to support community sector waste minimisation, re-use and recycling schemes, which may include kerbside schemes.

Industrial Action

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days have been lost owing to industrial action by staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. [36192]

Mr. Morley: During 2001–02, 16,201 days were lost owing to industrial action by PCS staff in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its agencies.

During 1998–99, 1999–2000, and 2000–01, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the agencies which are now part of DEFRA did not lose any days owing to industrial action by staff.

In the time available and given the number of NDPBs for which DEFRA is responsible, it is not possible to confirm the position for all NDPBs at reasonable cost.

Health and Safety (Computers)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees in her Department who regularly use

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computers have taken up the provision of a free eye test; and how this service is advertised to (a) current and (b) new staff. [36699]

Mr. Morley: DEFRA was created in June 2001. Statistics covering staff currently in DEFRA but previously in the DETR or the Home Office are not available prior to that date. Under the current contract arrangements—which have been in place since 1 May 2000—1,399 members of staff to date have taken up the provision of a free eye test.

Full scheme details are accessible via the Department's intranet Health and Safety website. The service is advertised using a variety of office notice systems (electronic and hard-copy), regular reminders on the intranet, and is also detailed in a variety of departmental health and safety booklets which are given to new entrants by personnel and line managers.

Future of Farming and Food

Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what was the cost of printing and publishing the report of the Policy Commission on the future of farming and food; how many copies have been printed; what arrangements have been made for distribution of hard copies of the report to the public; what is the ISBN number of the report; and if she will make a statement. [35291]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 12 February 2002]: I understand that the cost of printing and publishing the report of the independent Policy Commission on the future of farming and food, was £5,650. This was for the initial printing of 2,500 copies. To meet demand, a further 2,000 copies are being printed at a cost of £3,995. The report does not have an ISBN number. Though the Commission's report was to the Government, the Commission sent copies of the report to all those involved in the consultation exercise, and have made it publicly available on their website farming. Copies are available free of charge from my Department.

Copies of the report have also been placed in the House Libraries and the Vote Office.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reasons underlie the differences in the percentage levels of designations to Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in England, Scotland and Wales; for what reason the criteria used for the designation of rivers has changed since 1996; what consultation there was with the agricultural sector on this change; what representations she has received on the financial impact on farmers who are to implement this directive; and if she will give financial assistance to enable them to do so. [34492]

Mr. Meacher: The difference in the scale of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) proposed in England, Scotland and Wales are due mainly to differences in rainfall, the pattern and intensity of agricultural activity, and the nature of the soil and geology.

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Changes have been made to the criteria for identifying nitrate polluted rivers and other waters, so as to protect the water environment and not just drinking water supplies. These changes, and changes to the methodology used to identify areas for designation as NVZs, are based on legal advice about the requirements of the Nitrates Directive following a European Court of Justice decision in December 2000 that the UK had failed to implement the directive properly.

DEFRA is currently consulting on proposals to implement the Nitrates Directive, through the consultation document "How should England implement the 1991 Nitrates Directive" published on 20 December 2001. One of the options is to designate new NVZs, and the new methodology on which this option is based is set out in the consultation document.

Representations about the financial impact on farmers are being received in response to the consultation and are being collated and analysed at the moment. It is intended to extend the farm waste grant scheme to the new areas where farmers will be required to implement measures to tackle nitrate pollution under the directive. This will make financial assistance available to those farmers facing the most significant compliance costs, in particular for the construction of new slurry storage. The grant rate is currently 40 per cent. (the EU State Aid Rules maximum) for construction or upgrade of storage facilities up to an investment ceiling of £85,000. We are currently considering offering 50 per cent. in less favoured areas, as permitted by the EU State Aid Rules. From experience in current NVZs, the average cost of new slurry storage construction to comply with Action Programme measures is between £30,000 and £40,000.

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