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Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has received concerning the projected costs of implementing the EU Water Framework Directive in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: A preliminary assessment of the costs and benefits of implementing the directive was set out in the first consultation paper issued jointly by the then Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the National Assembly for Wales. The study estimated total costs for England and Wales in the range of £2 billion to £9.2 billion; benefits in the range of £1.6 billion to £6.2 billion. A copy of the paper is in the House Library.
A number of respondents to the consultation paper indicated that they had concerns about the cost to their industries of implementing the directive. A large majority of those raising concerns were from the farming industry.
A summary report of responses to the first consultation paper will be published as part of a second consultation paper on implementation of the directive later this year. Individual responses will also be available for inspection.
Implementation of the directive in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and with respect to the devolved functions in Wales, are matters for the Scottish Executive, the Northern Ireland Executive and the National Assembly for Wales. The Government and the National Assembly for Wales are working jointly to implement the directive in England and Wales. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, implementation of the directive is being managed wholly by the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the average annual percentage change in the area of land required to spread a one tonne load of manure on farmland designated as being located in a nitrate vulnerable zone in the last five years. 
Since then, there have been no changes in the area of land required to spread manure in a NVZ. The controls require farmers to remain within annual whole-farm limits for applying organic manure, allowing maximum nitrogen loadings of 250 kg/ha of total N on grassland and 210 kg/ha of total N on arable land.
From 19 December 2002 the maximum loading for arable land in existing NVZs (but not in new NVZs) will be reduced from 210 kg/ha to 170 kg/ha. At the maximum spreading rate permitted in a NVZ, any given amount of manure will then match the capacity of 24 per cent. more arable land than at present.
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The N content of livestock manures depends on the number and type of livestock on individual farms. Farmers in existing NVZs make use of "Manure Planning in NVZs", available through DEFRA publications (08459 556000) or the internet (via a web link at http:// www.defra.gov.uk/environment/water/quality/nitrate). This document contains simple calculations to identify the amount of manure delivering a particular nitrogen loading.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to announce her Department's decision on the amount of farmland to be designated as nitrate vulnerable zones; and when she expects to implement the nitrate vulnerable zone directive. 
Mr. Meacher: The responses to the public consultation on options for implementing the nitrates directive are currently being analysed and we expect to publish the results, together with our decisions, by May 2002.
I anticipate that measures to implement the directive in new areas, to comply with a European Court Judgment, will come into force from 19 December 2002. Measures to implement the directive have been in force in existing nitrate vulnerable zones since December 1998.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms have been found to have exceeded acceptable nitrate levels in the United Kingdom for each of the last five years; and where they are. 
Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency's water quality monitoring data, aggregated from the years 19962000 inclusive, indicate that farmers across about 80 per cent. of England contribute to the greatest nitrate pollution problems. There is no information available about nitrate levels on individual farms.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to begin the certification of farmers' markets; if she will make a statement on the links established with regulatory authorities to ensure maintenance of standards; and what powers are vested in the regulatory authorities to restrict unauthorised traders from trading at farmers' markets. 
Mr. Morley: The certification of farmers' markets is a private initiative by the National Association of Farmers' Markets (NAFM). The Department has, however, provided grant under the Agriculture Development Scheme to help fund the development and implementation of the scheme. We understand that the Local Authority Co-ordinating body on food and Trading Standards were involved in the drawing up of the certification handbook produced by NAFM.
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The regulatory authorities have no specific powers to restrict traders from trading at farmers' markets. However, there may be scope for action to be taken under the general provisions of the Trade Description Act and the Food Safety Act.
Mr. Morley: The Government have made a number of recent representations to the European Commission, in particular concerning a relaxation of the dedication requirement of the Date-based Export Scheme so that establishments could be dedicated to export on certain days, rather than full time. A detailed paper was submitted on 5 March and we expect to discuss it with the Commission tomorrow 26 March.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if imports of beef from animals over 30-months-old at the time of slaughter are banned; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 March 2002]: Beef from cattle aged over 30 months at slaughter may be imported from any country, but I understand from the Food Standards Agency that it may only be sold for human consumption if it comes from animals that were born, reared and slaughtered in a prescribed list of countries that have historically supplied the UK and in which there is no history of BSE. The list is kept under review, for example in the light of on-going European Union assessments of geographical risk.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff in her Department are members of the territorial forces; and if she has a strategy to encourage members of staff to become members of the territorial forces. 
The Department actively supports its staff in giving more time to their communities and is keen to raise the profile of volunteering. Staff are allowed varying amounts of paid time off for voluntary public duties and for service in the territorial forces.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if the United Kingdom has met the requirements of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive; and if she will make a statement; 
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Margaret Beckett [holding answer 15 March 2002]: The EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste94/62/ECwas implemented in Great Britain by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended).
In order to comply with the requirements in the directive, recovery and recycling targets for 2001 under the packaging regulations were 56 per cent. for recovery and 18 per cent. for material-specific recycling of packaging waste. Data received to date suggest that, if obligated parties meet their obligations, these targets should be met.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the criteria for local authority bids will be announced with regard to the allocation of the £140 million recycling funds for 200203 and 200304. 
Mr. Meacher: Final decisions on how we will distribute the fund have been made, following the results of the consultation. Officials have been working on the details of putting in place arrangements for distributing the funds.
Results of the consultation, and information on how the fund will be administered, will be published by the end of March. When this information is published, it will also be posted on the DEFRA website.
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