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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total sums of public money, unavailable to urban areas, were paid in each of the past four years to rural areas in all forms of subsidies, compensations, concessions and reduced charges. 
Alun Michael: It is difficult to draw an absolute line between urban and rural areas. Support for farmers will be available to farmers within a mainly urban area, for instance. It must also be remembered that these figures represent targeted funds. Other finances are targeted at purposes relating mainly or wholly to urban needs.
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|UK Public expenditure under CAP & on national grants and subsidies||3,482||3,161||3,014||3,227|
|(b) Foot and Mouth disease costs [of direct benefit to the agriculture sector]||||||29||2,028|
In addition UK agriculture benefits from red diesel and other concessions. These are broadly estimated to be worth £300m per year.
Beyond agriculture there are other forms of support for rural areas unavailable to urban areas. The following table provides details of public expenditure for relevant programmes for rural areas in England (as defined by the Countryside Agency definition).
|Programme £ million||199899||199900||200001||200102|
|Community Services Grant(2)||||||||1.7|
(1) This includes the Rural Transport Partnership and Rural Transport Development Fund, which include funds for linking rural and urban areas. In 1999 the Countryside Agency took over the role of the Rural Development Commission, which administered these funds.
(2) Part of the Countryside Agency Vital Villages programme, which first reported in 200102.
In addition there is rate relief for a number of rural businesses, including village shops, post offices, public houses and garages in rural communities of less than 3,000 inhabitants.
There are a number of other programmes that have specific rural targets but are also open to urban areas. These include Parish Plans, funded by the Countryside Agency, and programmes of the Regional Development Agency and Housing Corporation.
Mr. Morley: There has been a review of animal welfare legislation relating to farmed, captive and domestic animals, including the regulation of companion animal sales. A public consultation exercise ran from 2 January to 30 April. We will now evaluate the 2,400 responses we received and then decide on what changes need to be made.
Mr. Morley: The Government's policy on whaling remains unchanged. We are opposed to all forms of whaling other than some limited subsistence whaling; and we strongly support the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on commercial whaling.
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the natural reproduction rate is of (a) Minke whales and (b) Sperm whales; and what her Department's estimate is of the rate of change in their global populations if these whales continue to be hunted at current levels. 
Mr. Morley: Minke whales can normally reproduce every 12 years and Sperm whales every 45 years. It is not possible to estimate the effects of current whaling activities in terms of the rate of change in global populations.
Mr. Morley: There is considerable scientific uncertainty over the numbers of whales of different species and in different geographical stocks. The International Whaling Commission (IWC), which is the primary international body responsible for the management and conservation of whales, estimated that (a) in 1995 there were approximately 149,000 Minke whales in the North Atlantic (excluding Canadian East Coast) and (b) in 1990, approximately 25,000 Minke whales in the North West Pacific and Okhotsk Sea. The IWC Scientific Committee is currently carrying out a major review of Minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere as no reliable estimate is available.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 May 2002]: The Interim Animal Movements Regime introduced in February 2002 makes provision for the identification and tracing of sheep and goats. We will be reviewing experience with these interim controls in the next couple of months with a view to making any necessary changes in late summer. Later in the year we will also need to consider any recommendations on identification and traceability that emerge from the independent inquiries into the foot and mouth outbreak, and possible proposals from the European Commission on identification of sheep.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to provide financial support for research into electronic means of identification of sheep. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 May 2002]: There are no current plans to commission research into electronic means of identifying sheep (EID) in England. However, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has recently completed a major four-year programme of practical trials of EID in cattle, sheep and goats to test
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feasibility, including practicality and animal welfare. The UK government is working closely with the EC-Joint Research Centre to learn from this experience.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been paid to farmers in compensation for slaughtered livestock arising from the recent foot and mouth epidemic to date; what is (a) the average amount paid to each farmer and (b) the largest payment to a single farmer; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: £1,050m has been paid to farmers in compensation for slaughtered livestock arising from the recent foot and mouth epidemic to date, and the average amount paid to each farmer was £124,755. The largest payment to a single farmer was £4,238,800.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the results of her Department's surveys on board UK pair trawlers to establish how many dolphins were killed per 100 net hauls; and if she will make a statement. 
|Target species||No. of dolphins||No. of hauls||No. of days at sea|
These figures indicate a significant problem in the bass fishery off south west England but not in other fisheries sampled. Those pair trawling teams monitored in the bass fishery caught dolphins at a rate a little in excess of one every two hauls. This is a cause for serious concern, and we have drawn the attention of the EU Commissioner and the French Fisheries Minister to it.
SMRU have also completed an initial trial in the bass fishery of special gear designed to allow dolphins to escape. Information on this will be published as soon as it is available.
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