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GM Crops

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of public attitudes towards the commercial growing of genetically modified crops; and if she will make a statement. [54348]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 7 May 2002]: I asked the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) to advise on how best to take forward a public debate on GM issues including GM crops. They provided their advice on 26 April and we are now considering their proposals.

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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many GM crop trials are being carried out in each nation and region of the UK; [58131]

Mr. Meacher: The following tables set out the types of GM crops, and number of field trials currently being carried out, by nation and county. The first table includes the 100 UK sites in the 2001–02 round of the Farm Scale Evaluations (33 maize, 16 beet, 26 spring sown oilseed rape, 25 winter sown oilseed rape). The sites for the final round of winter sown oilseed rape will be announced later this year. The second table shows the small scale field trials carried out by companies developing GM crops.

Farm scale evaluation sites

Nation/county CropNumber of sites
England
CambridgeshireBeet1
CheshireMaize1
Winter oilseed rape1
City of SunderlandSpring oilseed rape1
CumbriaBeet1
DorsetMaize8
Spring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape2
DurhamMaize1
Spring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape3
East Riding of YorkshireMaize1
Spring oilseed rape4
Winter oilseed rape2
EssexMaize2
GloucestershireBeet2
Maize1
Spring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape2
HerefordshireMaize2
Winter oilseed rape1
HertfordshireSpring oilseed rape1
Winter oilseed rape1
KentMaize1
Winter oilseed rape1
LeedsMaize1
LeicestershireSpring oilseed rape1
LincolnshireBeet2
Maize4
Spring oilseed rape3
Winter oilseed rape5
NorfolkBeet6
Maize4
Spring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape3
North YorkshireBeet1
NottinghamshireSpring oilseed rape1
OxfordshireMaize1
Winter oilseed rape1
Telford and WrekinMaize1
Spring oilseed rape1
ShropshireMaize2
Spring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape2
South GloucestershireBeet1
SuffolkBeet1
WarringtonMaize1
WarwickshireSpring oilseed rape1
Winter oilseed rape1
WokinghamMaize1
WorcestershireBeet1
Maize1
Scotland
AberdeenshireSpring oilseed rape2
Winter oilseed rape3
FifeSpring oilseed rape1
Ross-shireWinter oilseed rape1

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Small-scale research field trials

Nation/county CropNumber of sites
England
BerkshireWheat1
CambridgeshireBeet1
Potato1
Winter oilseed rape4
EssexWinter oilseed rape1
GloucestershireWinter oilseed rape1
HertfordshireWheat2
Winter oilseed rape2
LincolnshireWinter oilseed rape1
NorfolkBarley1
Beet1
Winter oilseed rape1
NottinghamshireWinter oilseed rape1
SuffolkBeet2
Winter oilseed rape1
Scotland
AberdeenshireWinter oilseed rape3
DundeePotato1

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent meetings she has had with the Scottish Executive Department of Rural Affairs on the subject of GM crops; and if she will make a statement. [58129]

Mr. Meacher: Neither the Secretary of State nor I have had any recent meetings with the Scottish Executive on this subject. However, our officials meet frequently to discuss these issues.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Scottish Executive regarding plans to change the procedure for approval of GM foods and seeds. [58545]

Mr. Meacher: Neither my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, nor I have had any recent meetings with the Scottish Executive on this subject. However, our officials meet periodically to discuss changes proposed by the European Commission to the legislation governing the approval of GM food and seeds.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if live samples of the foot and mouth virus have been legally imported into the United Kingdom in the last four years. [202]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 25 June 2001]: As the OIE/FAO World Reference Laboratory for foot and mouth disease the Institute for Animal Health at Pirbright receives many imported samples for testing for foot and mouth disease each year, some of which will contain live

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foot and mouth disease virus. Testing is carried out only under licence in strictly controlled conditions in high containment facilities. Pirbright Laboratory is the only laboratory to have imported material containing foot and mouth disease virus in the last four years.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letters sent to her on 12 and 21 March written on behalf of Devon County Council regarding the reinstatement of the Ash Moor mass burial site, the Ascott Farm pyre and holding site and the intended holding site at Westlake Farm. [58326]

Mr. Morley: We have no record of receipt of these letters and have therefore been unable to trace them. If copies of the letters could be sent to the Department, we will of course respond to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 727W, with reference to the note to table iv, from which counties (a) the 100 dangerous contact cases, (b) the 120 contiguous premises cases and (c) the 54 slaughter on suspicion cases originated. [57144]

Margaret Beckett: DEFRA's exercise to cleanse and fully complete the data on the Disease Control System (DCS) database means that the original figures of 100 dangerous contact cases and 120 contiguous premises cases now stand at 158 dangerous contact cases and 115 contiguous premises. The figure of 54 slaughter on suspicion cases returning positive laboratory results and converting to infected premises remains the same. I will place a breakdown, by county, of the figures in the Library of the House.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what quantity of ash resulting from foot and mouth pyres was buried on farms in (a) England, (b) Devon and (c) Cornwall; what quantity has since been dug up; on which farms; and what has happened to this ash. [58066]

Mr. Morley: Figures for the tonnage of ash buried on-farm are not available since in most cases the pyre ash was buried on-site by further excavating the pyre trench and scraping the ash into the hole and no assessment of the tonnage was made. The Environment Agency risk assessments and Groundwater Authorisations issued to DEFRA are based on the number of animals burnt and not the tonnage of ash buried.

The following is a listing by county of the number of sites from which ash has been removed. The list is by county, since the Department is constrained by the provisions of the Data Protection Act from providing full addresses of all the sites.


To date, approximately 150,000 tonnes of pyre ash and soil have been removed and disposed of in licensed landfill sites in the UK. A further 1,205 tonnes has been removed and re-incinerated.

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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department has received on the desirability of re-incinerating ash from foot and mouth pyres before disposal. [58067]

Mr. Morley: Advice was obtained from the Environment Agency (EA), other Government Departments and a risk assessment was commissioned from DNV Consulting Ltd. Advice was also sought from a specially convened Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) Working Group on 24 May 2001, attended by experts from the Department of Health, Food Standards Agency, Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and MAFF.

The working group recommended that the choice of disposal option should be made on a site-by-site basis. Leaving the ash unburied in-situ was likely to be associated with a higher risk than alternative routes such as incineration, on-site burial or burial in landfill. Disposing of ash from pyres by on-farm burial was regarded as a preferred low risk option. Where on-site burial was not possible, SEAC's preferred disposal option was re-incineration. The working group noted however that landfilling also represented a low-risk option and that the limited availability of high temperature incineration capacity in the UK meant that incineration of pyre ash might not be practical. Given that leaving the material unburied in-situ or in storage prior to incineration was not a risk-free option, the working group's advice indicated that landfill also represented an appropriate risk minimisation option.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much meat and bonemeal was generated as a result of the foot and mouth disposal process; how much of this is stored; and at what (a) locations and (b) cost. [58068]

Mr. Morley: 42,289 tonnes of meat and bonemeal was produced from animals killed and rendered under the FMD and associated Welfare Disposal Scheme culls. This material is currently stored at two sites (one in Lincolnshire the other in Devon) pending incineration capacity becoming available later this year. Storage costs are approximately £17,500 per week (excluding VAT).

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what quantity of animal hides was disposed of as a result of foot and mouth; by what means; and at what cost. [58061]

Mr. Morley: Records indicate that during the recent foot and mouth disease outbreak approximately 430 tonnes of sheepskins and hides were disposed of for disease control purposes. A range of disposal routes were utilised including burning at a mass burn site, rendering, incineration and burial at licensed landfill sites. The total cost of disposal (including VAT and landfill tax where appropriate) is estimated to be £90,000. A number of other hides from animals entering the livestock welfare disposal scheme were recovered for leather production.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total value is of goods and materials recovered by her Department's value recovery team in the wake of foot and mouth; what has happened to these goods and materials; and what the total cost of this operation was. [58064]

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Mr. Morley: Approximately £3,400,000 has been recovered to date by the value recovery team. Contracts have been terminated in the case of hirings and the goods returned to the suppliers. Items have been sold through the Government's Disposal Services Agency, by auction or by locally arranged sale according to Government guidelines. Other goods have been redeployed for official use within the Department.

The total cost of the operation is currently being calculated.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much coal and timber was recovered unused from foot and mouth operations and how much (a) was resold, (b) was landfilled and (c) is still stored. [58065]

Mr. Morley: 11,500 tonnes of coal have been recovered unused from foot and mouth operations by the Government's Disposal Services Agency. This has been resold. Approximately 51,500 railway sleepers and 2,650 tonnes of wood have been resold. 616 tonnes of sleepers and wood have been sent to landfill.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on her Department's interim contingency plan for foot and mouth; and if she will place them in the Library. [57445]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The Interim Contingency Plan has been circulated to other Government Departments and key stakeholders for their comments. Two meetings have been held to provide them stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss their views. The plan has also been publicised by a news release and has been placed on the DEFRA website with a mailbox.

Comments received have centred on issues of communication, allocation of personnel and resources, involvement of local authorities, enforcement, disposal capacity, and accountability and audit trails.

I will place a list of the comments, without attribution, that we have received in the Library of the House.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) number and (b) value of claims for foot and mouth disease compensation are outstanding in respect of animals subject to (i) confirmed infection and (ii) 3 km cull. [57566]

Mr. Morley: As at 21 May there were five claims outstanding in respect of animals subject to confirmed infection. These claims amount to £2,826,177. All claims relating to the 3 km cull have been paid.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 2 May 2002, Official Report, column 938W, on foot and mouth, if she will list the road haulage contractors, apart from Snowie, involved in the foot and mouth contract; by what tendering and procurement means the Snowie contract was awarded; whether she considered (a) the corporate structure, (b) the directors and (c) the shareholding pattern of Snowie before awarding the contract; if her Department is satisfied with Snowie's performance under its contract; how many other contractors bid for the £38 million contracts available to Snowie; and if she will make a statement. [55727]

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Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 May 2002] [pursuant to the answer, 2 May 2002, Official Report, c. 938] the road haulage contractors involved in the foot and mouth contract were Banks; Yuill and Dodds; NDMR; Whitkirks; Beverley Ridley; and Blakeys Haulage. The Snowie contract was awarded through the use of the negotiated procurement procedure without the prior publication of an Official Journal (OJEU) notice and by competitive tendering. The eligibility, economic and financial standing of Snowie were considered before awarding the contract. The Department is satisfied with Snowie's performance under its contract. From information held centrally, over 35 contractors bid for the £38 million of contracts available to Snowie.

Snowie were one of the main contractors used by DEFRA during the FMD outbreak. Their contractual performance was subject to ongoing review and management by quantity surveyors, forensic accountants and other technical specialists retained by DEFRA.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department will make a decision regarding the future use and full restoration of (a) the Ash Moor site, (b) the Arscott Farm pyre and holding site and (c) the intended holding site at Westlake Farm. [58321]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 21 May 2002]: My officials have had a series of meetings with officers of Devon county council to discuss the restoration and future use of the Ash Moor site. A Notice of Proposed Development seeking approval for its restoration will be submitted to the council shortly. The restoration of both South Arscott Farm and Westlake Farm cannot proceed until agreement has been reached with the respective land owners. Proposals have been submitted to them and we await their responses.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if a Minister from her Department will meet Devon county council to discuss the future use and full restoration of (a) the Ash Moor site, (b) the Arscott Farm pyre and holding site and (c) the intended holding site at Westlake farm. [58272]

Mr. Morley: I wrote to Mr. Jackson of Devon county council on 4 April 2002 offering to meet representatives from the council to discuss issues relating to the Ash Moor site and am awaiting his reply.

My officials have had a series of meetings with officers of Devon county council to discuss the restoration and future use of the Ash Moor site. A Notice of Proposed Development seeking approval for its restoration will be submitted to the council shortly. The restoration of both South Arscott Farm and Westlake Farm cannot proceed until agreement has been reached with the respective land owners. Proposals have been submitted to them and we await their responses.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Congleton dated 29 January on behalf of Anthea McIntyre of Shrewsbury, concerning foot and mouth disease. [54983]

Mr. Morley: I am sorry for the delay in replying to the hon. Member's letter. A reply was sent on 2 May.

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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what has been the cost of storing and disposing of meat and bonemeal since the over 30 months scheme began; and when the backlog will be disposed of. [58069]

Mr. Morley: By mid-May some 428,000 tonnes of MBM from the Over Thirty Month Slaughter Scheme (OTMS) had been incinerated at a cost of £41.2 million (£49 million including transport). MBM storage costs since the commencement of the scheme are estimated at £60 million.

RPA achieved its target to have incinerated 60 per cent. of OTMS MBM produced by 31 March 2002. RPA continues to operate a disposal programme which should ensure that stocks are reduced to low levels by 31 March 2004.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to (a) amend and (b) lift the 20 day standstill requirement that was introduced following the foot and mouth disease outbreak. [59280]

Mr. Morley: The 20 day standstill is at the centre of the interim livestock movement restrictions currently in force to guard against a future outbreak. Scientific and veterinary advice is that it aids detection of disease and slows disease spread. A number of exemptions from the standstill have been introduced, on veterinary advice, in order to help livestock farmers without causing an unacceptable increase in disease risk. These interim arrangements are currently under review, but whatever changes may be made to the interim rules this summer the Government intend to take full account of any relevant findings from the FMD inquiries before it reaches a final view on the role that a 20 day standstill might play in the long-term controls over livestock movements.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the total cost of establishing, operating, managing and monitoring the foot and mouth disease burial site at Throckmorton; and if she will make a statement. [59272]

Mr. Morley: Latest cost estimates for the period ending 31 March 2002 indicate that the site has cost £15.3 million to acquire and establish the mass burial facility. Budgeted future costs for leachate removal, site remediation, landscaping and other essential works such as capping and re-profiling are £3.3 million. On-going management and monitoring of the site for a further 10 to 15 years are estimated to be a further £4 million.

Total estimated costs for the site are therefore approximately £22.6 million.

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Croydon, South of 16 August 2001, November 2001 and January 2002 concerning points raised by Mr. G. W. Thynne, a constituent, about inquiries into foot and mouth. [54615]

Mr. Morley: I am sorry for the delay in replying to the hon. Member's letters. A reply was sent on 29 May.

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