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EU Management Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the EU Management Committees of the common organisations of agricultural markets for milk and milk products is next due to meet; whether experts nominated by the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members; and if she will make a statement. [63933]

Mr. Morley: The mandate of the Management Committee for Milk and Milk Products is to facilitate the implementation of measures relating to the common organisation of the market for these products.

The committee has met 22 times over the last 12 months. It is due to meet next on Thursday 27 June 2002.

The make up of the UK delegation is dependant on the agenda for each meeting, but would normally be lead by a DEFRA official and would include an official from the Scottish Executive if there was an item of particular interest. However, there have been no occasions in the last 12 months where the Scottish Executive have sought to have an official form part of the delegation.

Royal Prerogative

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions have been made by her Department in the last year under authority from the royal prerogative. [63129]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 June 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I provided on 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 172W.

Sheep National Envelope

Liz Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has reached decisions on implementation of the sheep national envelope in England. [65178]

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Margaret Beckett: Under the revised EU sheepmeat regime national envelopes were introduced to provide member states with an element of flexibility in how they support their sheep sectors; funds under the envelope can be used to provide extra support to producers, improve the marketing and production of sheepmeat and encourage more environmentally friendly farming practices. National envelopes can be implemented on a regional basis; this is being done in the United Kingdom.

In England, the national envelope is worth £5.4 million in 2002. There is also a provision in the revised regime permitting member states, or parts of member states, to increase the size of the national envelope by reducing the basic rate of Sheep Annual Premium by up to one Euro. This could increase the size of the envelope in England by around £5 million.

The Government issued a consultation letter in January seeking views on how the national envelope should be used in England. We have now considered the responses we received, and have reached decisions on the way forward.

The Government intend to make maximum use of the flexibility we negotiated at the Agriculture Council to switch support from subsidies per breeding ewe to support for restructuring and modernising the industry in line with the strategy set out in the Curry Commission Report. This means that, after a transitional year this year, we will by 2003 use the maximum available under the scheme to reduce sheep numbers in historically overgrazed areas by encouraging extensification in the uplands and to improve the quality and marketing of sheep.

For the transitional year of 2002, we intend to introduce a scheme to reduce sheep numbers in areas subject to historic overgrazing. Under the scheme the Government will purchase sheep quota from producers, who in return will be required to undertake to maintain lower stocking levels on the land in question. The scheme will operate by tender; in deciding which offers should be accepted we will take into account both price and other relevant factors such as the extent of historic overgrazing. The scheme will be open for applications in the autumn, and we hope that offers will be dealt with before the close of the next quota-trading period.

£2 million will be allocated to the quota purchase scheme in 2002. The remains of the 2002 national envelope will be paid to producers as a top-up to Sheep Annual Premium payments; this will be worth some 46 pence per eligible animal.

For 2003, and in subsequent years, we intend to make full use of the opportunity in the new regulation to increase the size of the national envelope by reducing the rate of the Sheep Annual Premium. This will enable us to fund a range of schemes from the national envelope.

The quota purchase scheme will be retained in 2003 and beyond; the level of resources allocated to the scheme will be decided in the light of our experience this year, but we expect it to be at least £1 million a year.

We are minded to introduce two further schemes in 2003: an upland Extensification Scheme and an Industry Development Scheme.

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We will be consulting interested parties further on the details of these two schemes. We will also be considering, in the light of further views we receive, whether any further schemes should be introduced in 2003 or thereafter. Schemes will be operated by the RPA.

The Government believe that these schemes will make a major contribution towards addressing the problem of historic overgrazing in the uplands and improving the responsiveness of the sheep industry to the market. We recognise, however, that schemes funded from the national envelope can only form one element of the co-ordinated programme of measures needed to restore habitats damaged by historic overgrazing. We will be looking to English Nature to take appropriate action under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, encouraging producers to make use of agri-environment schemes and considering what steps we can take, including use of the cross compliance rules where appropriate, to reduce stocking pressure on land in unfavourable environmental conditions.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) sailings with livestock and (b) consignments have passed through UK ports in each of the last five years. [61161]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Department does not hold information on the number of sailings with livestock which pass through UK ports.

The information on livestock consignments which pass through UK ports is not available in the form requested. The number of export health certificates for livestock issued in Great Britain (including those for export to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands but not including exports from Northern Ireland) in the last five years was as follows. The computer system from which the following data were obtained does not record whether the consignments were exported through seaports or airports.


These figures may be subject to updating and amendment and may not include some exports which took place during December 2000. This was due to a computer malfunction.

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Millennium Dome

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) on what date he expects the Government to receive their first payment under their profit sharing agreement with Meridian Delta and Anschutz Entertainment; [64576]

Mr. McNulty: As stated previously, the net present value of the agreements signed between English Partnerships and Anschutz Entertainment Group and Meridian Delta Ltd. on 29 May, is around £240 million, or up to £550 million in cash terms, assuming the full scheme is developed.

English Partnerships and the Lottery will receive a fair split of the proceeds from the sale of the dome and land on the Greenwich Peninsula. No decisions have yet been made on the split, including timing.

Under the terms of the deal, Anschutz Entertainment Group and Meridian Delta Ltd. will receive a priority return from the dome redevelopment, to reflect the £200 million investment that will be made in the dome. The details of the priority returns, and of the legal agreements as a whole, are commercially confidential. Release of commercial details could affect on-going discussions with third parties, both before and after planning permission is obtained; and the ability of English Partnerships to secure maximum value for money for the public purse.

On the wider land, English Partnerships will receive payments for development at the point when legal ownership of the site transfers from EP. Ownership will transfer on a plot by plot basis over the lifetime of the joint venture with Meridian Delta Ltd. (MDL) and will occur only after MDL has spent substantial sums on planning, marketing and installation of the infrastructure needed to support the redevelopment of the peninsula. The precise timing of all these payments depends on when planning permission is granted and the precise phasing of development.

The timing of the first payment to English Partnerships under the profit sharing arrangement for the dome depends on how long it takes to obtain planning permission, how long to undertake the development and how long to generate profits.

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Anschutz and Meridian Delta Ltd. are required to maintain the dome until 2018. Should they then decide to remove the dome structure and redevelop the land, English Partnerships will be entitled to a 50 per cent. share of redevelopment proceeds.

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