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Mr. Morley: Growers and packers of horticultural crops have access to labour within the domestic and EU labour markets. In addition growers and on farm packers have access to labour through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) which is operated by the Home Office. Under SAWS students from outside the EU are allowed to come to the UK to undertake seasonal agricultural work between March and November.
The number of students allowed to enter the UK is governed by a work card quota. The quota for 2001 was 15,200 work cards. However on 29 January my right hon. Friend Lord Rooker announced that the quota would increase to 18,700 in 2002 and to 20,200 in 2003.
In addition the Government's nationality, asylum and immigration White Paper Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain, published on 7 February, acknowledges that there is a need for short term labour in the UK and in respect to agriculture and horticulture it makes a commitment to review the operation of SAWS to see how the scheme might better meet the needs of those sectors. This review is being taken forward by officials at the Home Office and it will involve consultation with the principal stakeholders in the agricultural and horticultural industries.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: I am very mindful of the effects that delays in IACS payments have on the farming community and can assure you that RPA is doing all that it reasonably can to make payments as quickly as possible.
Agri-environment and livestock payments have also been affected but, although RPA has had to upgrade computer software to reflect regulatory changes on the bovine schemes and to carry out cross-checks on claims
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where holdings were affected by FMD, we expect to make all the payments within the regulatory timescales. Some advance payments have however been made rather slower than normal.
Looking ahead the Rural Payments Agency is in the process of modernising the way in which CAP schemes are administered by taking full advantage of more modern information systems and the benefits of electronic service delivery.
Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the number of trading standards officers for monitoring the washing of lorries used for the transport of farm animals. 
Mr. Morley: The Department has not made any such assessment of the numbers of local authority inspectors. The level of resourcing to meet Local Authorities' duty in enforcing animal health legislation is a matter for the individual authorities.
Nevertheless, my department has in place procedures for the monitoring of cleansing and disinfection of vehicles at markets and slaughterhouses using the services of the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Meat Hygiene Service who will inform local authorities of any breaches of vehicle biosecurity discovered.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department will make at the Convention on Biodiversity in the Hague on 7 to 19 April about trade in bushmeat. 
Mr. Meacher: At the previous Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biodiversity in May 2000, the United Kingdom secured agreement for the inclusion of bushmeat in a COP Decision on forest biological diversity (Decision V/4). This requested a subsidiary body of the Convention to consider the impact of, and propose sustainable practices for, the harvesting of non-timber forest resources, including bushmeat.
The forthcoming COP in The Hague will consider the adoption of the forest biological diversity work programme. This takes forward the issue of bushmeat under the objective of "Preventing losses caused by unsustainable harvesting of timber and non-timber forest products." The United Kingdom will be pressing for action on this objective and for continuing collaboration on the issue between the Biodiversity Convention, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and other relevant members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
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Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of trials to establish the links between badgers and bovine tuberculosis in (a) Worcestershire, (b) Herefordshire, (c) Gloucestershire and (d) Shropshire. 
Mr. Morley: Three "triplets", namely A, D and I, of the badger field trial are located in parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Trial operations which included surveying for badger activity and, in some trial areas, badger culling were suspended during the foot and mouth disease emergency. Surveying for badger activity recommenced in January this year. Further details of progress in all "triplets" are available on DEFRA's website on http://defraweb/animalh/tb/. No badger field trial operations are being undertaken in Shropshire.
Mr. Morley: All badger culling which once formed part of the strategy for controlling TB in cattle has been suspended. The only culling presently undertaken is that conducted in connection with the "Krebs" field trial.
TB in cattle is one of the most difficult animal health problems that we face and the Government is determined to look at the full range of factors, including the role of badgers, that might be involved. The Government has put in place a wide-ranging research programme of which the field trial is part. It is designed to determine once and for all the role of badgers in cattle TB and whether culling them is an effective way of reducing the disease. The trial will provide much other data including the spatial relationship between TB in cattle and badgers.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the members of the UK's delegation to the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Hague on 7 April and indicate who will be leading the delegation. 
Mr. Meacher: The United Kingdom delegation to the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on 719 April at The Hague will be led by myself. Officials from my Department will stand in to lead the delegation when I am absent from the meeting. The United Kingdom delegation is also comprised of officials and advisers from a wide range of government departments and biodiversity organisations, reflecting both our commitment to the Convention and the breadth of issues covered by the Convention and the agenda to this meeting.
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Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to relocate executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies under the remit of her Department to Scotland. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will seek a meeting with officials of the European Commission to discuss the future of the Scottish aquaculture industry and measures which the EC might take to promote the sustainable development of the industry. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The future of the Scottish aquaculture industry is principally a matter for the Scottish Executive. The Executive has not asked Officials from This Department to arrange discussions with officials from the European Commission on Scottish aquaculture, and no such discussions are in prospect.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investment her Department has made in fish farming in (a) 19992000, (b) 200001 and (c) 200102, broken down into expenditure headings. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: In March 2000 the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food hosted a seminar entitled "Future Strategies for the Farmed Trout Industry" involving all sectors of the industry in England. That seminar and a subsequent study considered ideas for improving competitiveness including generic promotion. In the light of this, the industry is considering its strategy for future development and we expect to be involved in discussions on this and on how this Department might help the industry to achieve its developmental goals.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with other European countries which operate national compensation schemes for losses
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incurred by fish farmers as a result of the compulsory slaughter of farmed fish; and what information she collates about such schemes. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: To date this Department has had no such discussions; no information has been collated about the operation of national compensation schemes by other European countries.
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