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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the mandate
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of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The mandate of the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment is set out in Commission Decision 97/579EC. The UK is not formally represented on the Committee; members are directly appointed by the Commission, drawn from across the EU, on the basis of their scientific expertise.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the mandate of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and the Environment is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The mandate of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Environment is set out in Commission Decision 98/235/EC. The UK is not formally represented on the Committee; members are directly appointed by the Commission, drawn from across the EU.
The Commission, together with member states, is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to 'simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission'. As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February (Com (2001) 783 Final). As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be available through its website.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) from where the pig suspected of foot and mouth and swine vesicular disease which was slaughtered in Leicestershire on 21 June originated; 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: All farms supplying pigs to the abattoir in question, together with a market and a collecting centre, were traced and inspected by official veterinarians. No disease was found. However, due to deficiencies in the identification of the suspect pig and a number of others in the same batch at the abattoir, inquiries so far have not established which of 17 farms was the farm of origin of the suspect animal. I have met pig industry representatives to discuss the implications of this episode. Investigations continue into what appear to have been serious breaches of identification regulations
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and prosecutions may follow. This could have had major consequences for the livestock industry should this pig had been proved to be carrying a disease.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many invoices remain to be paid to contractors over work carried out on foot and mouth; how many contractors are owed money; how many companies are owed over (a) 10 per cent., (b) 20 per cent., (c) 30 per cent., (d) 40 per cent., (e) 50 per cent., (f) 60 per cent., (g) 70 per cent. and (h) 80 per cent. of invoices submitted to her Department; what the length of period is of unpaid invoices; how much has been paid on account of unpaid invoices; how many contractors have money paid on account; and what the percentage terms are per contractor. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 July 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to Figure 60 in Chapter 4 of the recent NAO report 'The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease' published on 18 June 2002. The report is available on the NAO's website on: http://www.nao.gov.uk/publications/ naoreports/0102/0102939.pdf. Information other than that provided in the NAO report cannot be provided for reasons of legal and commercial confidentiality.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the UK Government have applied for EU compensation under Article 20 of Council Regulation 2759/1975 for farmers who were subjected to movement restrictions during the recent foot and mouth crisis; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Article 20 of Regulation (EEC) No. 2759/75 of the Council of 29 October 1975 on the common organisation of the market in pigmeat provides that exceptional measures may be taken to support any market affected by restrictions on free circulation imposed in consequence of measures to prevent the spread of animal disease.
Introduction of exceptional support measures is dependent on the member state being able to demonstrate that the restrictions due to a disease outbreak have caused severe market distortion. While the impact on those caught up in the control measures was severe, the UK pig market overall did not exhibit clear indications of distortion.
The cull sow market was most severely affected by the export restrictions linked to the foot and mouth outbreak, and officials explored the possibility of a market support based solution with the European Commissioneither exceptional market support under the CAP pigmeat regime and/or a cull sow disposal scheme. The Commission were not encouraging on either; although there are precedents for exceptional market support measures in animal disease situations, these have always been restricted to protection/surveillance zones. A scheme restricted in this way was not seen by the pig industry as being of any help to the cull sow market. A nationally funded cull sow disposal scheme was considered by the Commission to be income support; which is prohibited by state aid rules. Therefore no application for such support was made.
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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2002, Official Report, column 213W, on driving lessons (teenagers), if she will list the 21 schemes by location and the (a) numbers and (b) proportion of teenagers who will benefit. 
Alun Michael: The 21 locations in which Wheels to Work schemes are currently operating are:
Hampshire (New Forest)
Isle of Wight
Kent (Aylesham area)
Devon (West Devon)
Shropshire (Bridgnorth, N. Shropshire)
Telford and Wrekin
South Lancashire (Runshaw College)
Hambleton and Richmondshire
Information on the numbers of teenagers benefiting from the schemes is not held centrally. The good practice guide on Wheels to Work schemes, due to be published later this month, will includes some information on beneficiaries and target groups together with case studies and costings for a number of Wheels to Work schemes.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcomes of meetings of Green Ministers have been in respect of her Department's activities; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: Following the general election in June 2001, the previously informal Green Ministers Committee was upgraded to a Cabinet Sub-Committee of ENV and it is established practice under exemption two of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees.
The terms of reference for the Committee include the commitment to improve the performance of all Departments in contributing to sustainable development. DEFRA has been active in this area, for instance the Department's strategy for sustainable development "Foundations for our Future" was published in June 2002.
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The purpose of this strategy is to initiate change in the way the Department approaches its responsibilities and to ensure better and more sustainable outcomes. The strategy will be supported by a programme of events and activities for all DEFRA's staff over the next few months. These will explore the way in which the Department carries out is business and how each person can contribute to achieving our aim of sustainable development. This will put the spotlight on projects demonstrating best practice.
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