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Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the Environment Agency to publish its pre-feasibility report on the Lower Lee Valley Flooding Strategy. 
Mr. Morley: This Department provides grants for flood and coastal defence capital works, and associated studies, which meet essential technical, economic and environmental criteria and achieve an appropriate priority score. Further to increases in spending plans in the last two spending reviews, additional funding of £51 million over the four years from 200001 was announced in November 2000 following the severe flooding that year. An increased priority was given to urban flooding defences and the grant rates for all river flood defences were increased by 20 per cent.
Operational responsibility for flood management measures rests with the local operating authorities, normally the Environment Agency and local councils, who decide which projects to promote and their timing. I understand that the initial scoping report for the Lower River Lee Flood Defence Strategy is currently being reviewed by the agency and they plan to publish a summary of it in April this year. The purpose of the report is to identify flooding problems and key issues.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies she has made of the way in which other EU states implement directives and regulations affecting farmers and food production; and what assessment she has made of the compliance costs in each country. 
Mr. Morley: The responsibility for monitoring the regulatory situation in member states and for maintaining a level playing field through the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation is a matter for the European Commission. In developing its own regulatory
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reform plan, DEFRA does have regard among other matters, to practice in other member states where appropriate.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will review the impact of the welfare of laying hens directive 1999/74/EC on the British egg industry five years after its implementation. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The directive makes provision for a review in 2005.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she intends to incorporate directive 1999/74/EC (welfare of laying hens) into domestic legislation. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Directive 99/74/EC will be incorporated in England by amending the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000. Separate regulations will be made to implement this directive in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if all the systems detailed in the welfare of laying hens directive 1999/74/EC will be available to UK producers. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Yes: English implementing legislation will include all the systems detailed in the welfare of laying hens directive 99/74/EC. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow suit.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with her counterparts in each EU member state on the welfare of laying hens directive 1999/74/EC; and what her estimate is of the (a) speed and (b) vigour with which the directive will be implemented in other member states. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Member states are responsible for bringing into force the necessary regulations to comply with this directive and for communicating the main provisions of national law into the EU Commission.
The EU Commission is responsible for monitoring enforcement by member states.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the impact on (a) jobs, (b) productivity and (c) profitability of the welfare of laying hens directive 1999/74/EC; 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: A regulatory impact assessment has been produced, following public consultation. It will be published to accompany the statutory instrument to implement the welfare of laying hens directive.
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Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms for appeal will exist against legal enforcement of the welfare of laying hens directive 1999/74/EC. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The regulations implementing the laying hens directive are made under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. A person can be convicted of an offence under this legislation; the appeal mechanism is to a higher court.
The regulations could be challenged in the ECJ as not correctly implementing the directive; through judicial review proceedings; or by a challenge on human rights issues.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement about the rearing of pigs in factory farms. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: There is comprehensive legislation to protect the welfare of pigs on farm. In particular, the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 specify detailed conditions under which pigs must be kept. There is also a code of practice.
Last October the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers adopted a pig welfare directive which will eventually bring conditions in all other member states up to British pig welfare standards.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her plans to implement the recommendations of, "Farming and Food: A Sustainable Future". 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The Commission's report will make a substantial contribution to a new strategy for sustainable food and farming, which we aim to launch in the autumn. We will work with a wide range of stakeholders to determine how best to take forward the Commission's ideas and deliver positive changes on the ground. As responsibility for addressing the Commission's recommendations rests with industry and other organisations as well as Government, we will be looking for their active involvement. Before Easter we will publish a steering document which will inform and guide this and launch the stakeholder engagement process.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the future viability of the UK export market; when she expects actual exports of livestock and animal products to resume; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: It is for industry, rather than the Government, to assess the viability of export markets, although the Government have an important role to play in helping to secure the removal of barriers to exports. Indications from the UK industry are that many traditional
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overseas buyers are keen to resume business, although it will take time to regain and exceed the level of business (£1.37 billion in the livestock and livestock product sector) seen in 2000.
The European Commission has now lifted restrictions on exports of meat, animal products and live animals. Exports to other EU member states can thus resume and have already done so in many cases. Exports to third countries can also recommence as soon as we have received the requested confirmation from the importing countries of their import conditions. We are actively pursuing such confirmation from priority export markets.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to impound olive oil that is suspected of being contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. 
Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.
I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 192W.
On 4 July 2001, the Food Standards Agency was notified of the contamination of Spanish olive-pomace oil with high levels of benzo(a)pyrene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that could cause cancer. To protect consumers, the agency advised retailers to withdraw all Spanish olive-pomace oil from the UK market and recall fat spreads and dressings containing olive-pomace oil as an ingredient. This advice does not apply where it can be shown that the olive-pomace oil or products in which it is used contain acceptably low levels of benzo(a)pyrene.
On 14 August 2001, the agency alerted the public following notification of high levels of benzo(a)pyrene in two batches of olive-pomace oil produced in Greece. The UK distributor withdrew the batches and any remaining in circulation should not be used. The agency is continuing to be notified where high levels of
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benzo(a)pyrene are found in olive-pomace oil produced in the European Union. Where these products are sold in the UK they have been removed from sale.
On 29 November 2001, the agency completed a survey of olive and olive-pomace oils to determine the levels of benzo(a)pyrene in oils sold in the UK from Greece, Italy and Spain. Where elevated levels of benzo(a)pyrene were found during the survey in some samples of olive-pomace oils, action was taken to prevent the sale of the product and the European Commission notified.
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