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38. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's estimate of costs to farmers of the proposed nitrate vulnerable zones regulations. 
Option 2 (targeted NVZ approach)£23 million.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies she has undertaken into the proportion of nitrates leached from arable land which derive from atmospheric deposition. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, from the air pollutants nitrogen oxides (mainly from vehicle exhausts and industry) and ammonia (mainly from livestock manure), is measured across the UK by the National Acid Deposition Network.
Most of the nitrogen deposited in arable areas is taken up by crops during the growing season, but in late autumn and winter, a proportion is vulnerable to leaching. Studies at the Institute of Arable Crops Research have shown that atmospheric deposition usually contributes around 20 to 30 per cent. of the nitrate leached from arable land.
Atmospheric deposition is a major cause for concern in upland semi-natural habitats which are naturally adapted to receiving low supplies of nutrient nitrogen. Atmospheric deposition is largest in the uplands, where rainfall is highest. Excessive deposition can lead to adverse changes in plant diversity and, in some cases, to nitrate leaching.
Under the UNECE Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, and the European National Emissions Ceilings Directive, the UK is committed to further significant reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions, and to curbing ammonia emissions, from 2010. Achieving these emission reduction targets will cut the amount of nitrogen deposited onto agricultural and semi-natural land. We will publish a consultation this year seeking views on how to curb ammonia emissions.
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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will (a) determine and (b) regulate closed seasons, under the nitrate directive, on a regional basis. 
The current Action Programme does not include variations on a regional basis in England. We are considering responses received to our recent consultation on completing implementation of the Nitrates Directive which have raised this issue.
The Environment Agency will be responsible for enforcing compliance in the new areas where farmers are required to take action to reduce nitrate pollution, as well as in existing Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. The Agency propose to develop a risk based approach to enforcement, for instance by relating the frequency and nature of inspection to the risk of pollution.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 240W, regarding the estimated cost and value of empty properties, if all surplus empty properties have been sold within the three year guideline set down by HM Treasury. 
Mr. Morley: No. Some surplus properties have been retained for more than three years so that planning issues which significantly enhanced the sale value could be resolved. Disposal of some other properties has been delayed because buyers have not been forthcoming.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1161W, on refurbishment, what her estimate is of the cost of buildings refurbishment carried out by her Department in 200102. 
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Mr. Morley: Refurbishment work carried out in 200102 has an estimated value of £6,198,500 (estimated because final accounts have not yet been agreed on all projects). The largest project undertaken last year was the refurbishment of floors two to six of Ergon House in London (£4,300,000).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1161W, on refurbishment carried out by her Department, what her estimate is of the cost of refurbishment carried out as part of landlord lease obligations in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Morley: The Department does not keep records of work carried out as part of landlords' lease obligations separately from general maintenance work. In many cases the distinction is blurred and it would be difficult to assign the work to one category or the other.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1161W, on refurbishment, for what reason the cost in 200001 increased by £655,000 over the previous year. 
Mr. Morley: Refurbishment programmes vary from year to year depending upon departmental needs and available funding. In 200001 significant projects were undertaken on behalf of the British Cattle Movement Service in Workington and the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency (now part of the Rural Development Service) at Leeds and Wolverhampton.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 240W, how many surplus properties have been sold in each year since 199798; and what is the sum of the proceeds to public funds resulting from the sales. 
|Number of properties sold||Total sales income £ million|
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Wherever possible, volunteers are sought and weekend overtime avoided;
A 'long hours culture' is not encouraged nor are regular calls on particular groups of staff; and
As an alternative to payment, time off in lieu may be taken.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she expects the overall cost of the CAP to consumers and taxpayers in the financial year 200102 to be higher or lower than the level of 88 billion euros per year specified in the 2001 departmental report. 
Mr. Morley: The estimate in the departmental report is drawn from a range of international sources and recent changes in the operation of the CAP have made it difficult to compare current estimates directly. However latest provisional estimates on a consistent basis show the cost of the CAP to consumers and taxpayers in 2000 was euro 85 billion.
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