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Oilseed Rape

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to increase production of oilseed rape; what is the 2001–02 value of oilseed rape production to UK farmers; what percentage of agriculturally productive land is under oilseed rape in the last year for which figures are available; and what discussions she has

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had with (a) the Food Standards Agency and (b) the Department of Health about the promotion of oilseed rape oil as a healthy dietary oil. [54493]

Mr. Morley: The Department's approach to agriculture is set out in our aims and objectives and in the recently published document "Working for the Essentials of Life". This includes increasing agriculture's responsiveness to market demands and working with the Food Standards Agency and Department of Health to encourage healthy eating.

We are currently taking this forward by seeking to reduce production subsidies through CAP reform and by consulting on improving dietary and nutritional advice. Oilseed rape is one of a number of crops that can meet farmers or consumers choices in these circumstances. Available figures indicate that the value of oilseed rape production to UK farmers is around £275 million (including arable area aid payments) and that it accounts for about 2.6 per cent. of all agriculturally productive land or approximately 8.5 per cent. of the area of land on which arable area payments are claimed).

Bovine TB

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much she has spent on bovine TB research and control in each of the past five years; how much compensation has been paid to farmers following enforced slaughtering of cattle due to bovine TB infection in each of the past five years; and if she will make a statement. [53203]

Mr. Morley: The costs of bovine TB research and control over the last five years are set out in the table. The figures for 2001–02 are not yet available. The collation method has changed during the period and the financial year figures for 1997–98 can be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

YearAmount (£)

(5) Financial years

The compensation paid for cattle slaughtered to control bovine TB in each of the last five years is set out in the table. (These figures are collated on a calendar year basis for international returns.) The compensation rate was changed on 26 August 1998 from 75 per cent. of the market value of the animals (up to a ceiling based on average market price) to the full market value of the animals.

YearAmount (£)


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action the

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Government have taken since 1997 to prevent the killing of highly endangered species for bushmeat. [53652]

Mr. Meacher: Most endangered species are protected by national law in all the countries they inhabit; they are also protected internationally under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While this Government cannot intervene directly in the protection of wildlife abroad we can and do make every effort to help other countries develop and implement their own wildlife protection measures and those required under CITES.

For instance, since 1997, concern about the increasingly unsustainable nature of the bushmeat trade and its effects on endangered species led to my Department raising the issue within CITES, which resulted in the establishment of a bushmeat working group to help central and west African range states develop and implement their own solutions. We have contributed £55,000 to the working group to help the range states participate and to support the recruitment of consultants to revise and harmonise their own wildlife policies and legislation. UK work also takes place through the Convention on Biological Diversity, particularly through the forestry work programme recently adopted by parties.

We have also funded research. The results of one project, analysing existing knowledge and expertise on the bushmeat trade, highlighting gaps in data and understanding, and making recommendations on further action, have now been published and we hope that they will be of particular benefit to the CITES bushmeat working group. We have also provided £248,000, through the Darwin Initiative, to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit to provide a model of the bushmeat problem in general and develop an integrated solution to the over-exploitation of wildlife in lowland forest areas in Africa.

Endangered species particularly at risk from the bushmeat trade include gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees), and unsustainable trade in bushmeat will be one of the issues addressed by the United Nations Environment Programme's new Great Ape Survival Programme (GrASP). My Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contributed £175,000 to GrASP, some 10 per cent. of the total amount sought by UNEP. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans to make a further donation and our embassies and high commissions overseas have been providing logistical and political support to GrASP.

The Department for International Development (DfID), while primarily concerned with helping to eradicate world poverty, also recognises the need to address concerns about the pressures on endangered species of the bushmeat trade. DfID's concern about bushmeat is focused on the impact of the hunting, selling and consumption of bushmeat on the food security and livelihoods of poor people. For instance, DfID has supported the implementation of forestry laws in Cameroon giving communities the rights to manage their forest and wildlife resources. DfID feels the best way to encourage a sustainable bushmeat trade in Cameroon is to include it as part of a package of reforms strengthening the governance of natural resource management generally.

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Nitrate Vulnerable Zones Directive

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the results of consultation on the implementation of the nitrate vulnerable zones directive; [46782]

Mr. Meacher: The nitrates directive requires that measures to control nitrate pollution are either applied throughout England or in areas draining into polluted waters and waters at risk of pollution. Details of these options were published on 20 December 2000 in a consultation document "How should England implement the 1991 Nitrates Directive."

We are currently considering the responses to the consultation before deciding whether to implement either option 1 (the whole of England approach) or option 2 (discrete NVZ approach). We will publish an analysis of the consultation responses when we announce our decision on how we intend to implement the directive.

Six other member states have implemented the directive by applying control measures throughout their territory. A seventh, the Republic of Ireland, is also considering this option. A number of other member states are reviewing the extent of the areas that they have designated under the directive, with a view to designating additional areas.

Combined Heat and Power

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government's draft strategy for combined heat and power will be published. [57135]

Margaret Beckett: I am pleased to announce that my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment will be launching the Government's draft "Strategy for Combined Heat and Power to 2010" for public consultation tomorrow, Wednesday 15 May. The consultation document will be available on the DEFRA website at and copies will be made available in the Libraries of the House.

The closing date for comments on the strategy will be Wednesday 7 August 2002.



Jean Corston: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what initial conclusions the Government have reached on the long-term arrangements for offering advice, guidance and support on equality matters. [57084]

Mrs. Roche: I am today formally announcing the start of a project considering the long-term options for the UK's equality machinery. I intend that this project will report its initial findings in the autumn.

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Our first step will be to look at the feasibility of a single equality body.

The project will consider the work of the existing commissions (the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC)), existing discrimination legislation, and put that in the context of new legislation for equal treatment in employment and training on grounds of age, sexual orientation and religion.

We are keen to work closely with the other experts in the equalities filed on this project. The Government want to be sure that the long-term structures for equality in the UK are carefully thought out and designed to meet the needs of all, individuals and businesses alike.

The existing commissions have over different time scales made an admirable and significant contribution to equality in this country. We need to ensure that the expertise and reputation of the commissions are preserved whatever the outcome of the review—and we shall be involving and consulting them at every stage to ensure this happens.

If the outcome of the project and consultation does lead to recommendations for significant change, I would not expect any new structures to be operative in the lifetime of this Parliament.

The terms of reference for the project have been placed in the Library.

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