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Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Milton Keynes, South-West of 21 October and 13 December 2001, pursuant to her oral statement of 18 October 2001, Official Report, column 1288. 
Mr. Morley: A response was sent on 21 January 2002.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many letters were received by each Minister in her Department in each month since June 1997. 
Mr. Morley: DEFRA was created on 8 June 2001.
The number of letters received by each Minister from hon. Members in each month since June 2001 is detailed in the table.
|Month||Margaret Beckett||Michael Meacher||Alun Michael||Elliot Morley||Lord Whitty|
(15) Up to 12 July
In addition, over the same period, the Department received a further 886 letters from other Government Departments that had originally been sent to them for reply rather than DEFRA Ministers.
Information on the number of other letters received by each Minister would be available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will respond to the representations of the hon. Member for Hexham of 2 January on cattle passports. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: We have no record of receiving the hon. Member's letter of 2 January.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to remove the 20-day restriction on the movement of livestock in Cumbria. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 June 2002]: The 20-day standstill rule is backed by firm scientific and veterinary advice. A number of exceptions to the standstill have been permitted, subject to veterinary advice, where other risk mitigation measures can be operated.
18 Jul 2002 : Column 478W
The Government are in dialogue with industry stakeholders about the economic impact of the standstill and to assess whether it should be retained in the short and medium-term. No decisions will be made prior to publication of the FMD inquiry reports.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been carried out by her Department into air pollution within the London underground system and its effects on the health of London Underground staff and passengers; and if she will place a copy of the research in the Library. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) is currently considering the findings of a recent review of the existing evidence on the possible health impacts of exposure to dust within the London underground. The review, "Dust in the London Underground: a review of the health implications of exposure to tunnel dust", which was carried out on behalf of London Underground Ltd. (LUL), considers the extent to which London Underground staff and passengers are exposed to dust, and the possible health impacts. Copies are available from the London Underground website at: http://www.thetube.com/content/ pressreleases/0110/31.asp#dust.
COMEAP are expected to comment on the review shortly, and their comments will be available via their website (www.doh.gov.uk/comeap) in due course.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which pollutants are monitored within the London underground system; and what the recorded levels of each were in the last five years. 
Mr. Meacher: London Underground Ltd. monitors levels of a number of pollutants in the underground system to ensure that the exposure limits prescribed in health and safety legislation are adhered to. The results of this monitoring are not held centrally, but are summarised together with an analysis of the possible health impacts in a recent review carried out on behalf of London Underground Ltd: "Dust in the London Underground: a review of the health implications of exposure to tunnel dust". Copies of this review are available via the London Underground website at: http://www.thetube.com/content/ pressreleases/0110/31.asp#dust'
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who has responsibility for monitoring air quality within the London Underground system; and what controls are in place to ensure air quality in the London Underground system adheres to national standards. 
Mr. Meacher: Air quality in the London Underground system is required to meet occupational exposure limits as required by Health and Safety legislation. Guidance notes, issued under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, prescribe maximum occupational exposure limits for a variety of pollutants, including all of the pollutants covered by the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in January 2000. Details of the limits for each pollutant are available from the Health and Safety Executive. London
18 Jul 2002 : Column 479W
Underground Limited (LUL) are responsible for ensuring that these limits are adhered to. LUL are in the process of developing an air quality monitoring standard, which would set out the monitoring arrangements and requirements in the Underground system. To date, all monitoring carried out during operational hours has indicated that levels of all pollutants are below the prescribed occupational exposure limits.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made towards the goal of halving emissions of pollutants from road traffic from the 1997 levels by 2010. 
Mr. Meacher: Emissions of air pollutants from road transport have fallen significantly since the beginning of the 1990s, despite traffic growth. This is largely the result of the progressively tighter new vehicle and fuel standards introduced over this period by the European Union. Our latest modelled estimates show that by 2001, total national emissions of oxides of nitrogen and particles from road transport (two of the air pollutants of most concern) had dropped to 77 per cent. and 74 per cent. respectively of their 1997 levels. By 2010, they are projected to fall to 41 per cent. and 44 per cent. respectively of their 1997 levels. These further reductions are forecast to come about partly because older, more polluting vehicles will be gradually phased out of the UK fleet, and partly because of the even more stringent EU emissions standards for new vehicles which will apply from 2005.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many buildings her Department has made cheaper to keep warm through the installation of energy efficiency measures since December 1998. 
Mr. Meacher: Since the creation of DEFRA in June 2001, over 280,000 households in England have been assisted through the Government's Warm Front Scheme, which provides a mix of insulation and heating measures to eligible households.
The Department also funds the Energy Saving Trust to encourage the sustainable use of energy in the domestic and small business sectors through advertising programmes, provision of advice and endorsement of energy efficient products. The Energy Efficiency Advice Centres, which are funded by the Trust, report some 345,500 households in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have installed at least one energy efficiency measures as a result of advice from those Centres since June 2001. It should be noted that some of those homes will have been assisted through Warm Front and similar schemes in Northern Ireland and Wales.
The Trust also funded the HECAction scheme to assist local authorities to fulfil their responsibilities under the Home Energy Conservation Act. Under this scheme an estimated 18,500 energy efficiency measures have been installed across England, with some households having received more than one measure.
18 Jul 2002 : Column 480W
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of the break-up of Milk Marque. 
Mr. Morley: There has been no formal assessment; it would be difficult to separate the effects of this action from other influences on the market. However, since Milk Marque decided to break itself up, its successors (Zenith, Axis Milk and Milklink) have proved to be dynamic players in the sector.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement about the sustainability of UK milk production at current price levels. 
Mr. Morley: For many, the current prices being achieved are clearly unsustainable in the longer term. They are back to the levels seen in 2000. The reasons for this appear many and varied but onethe unusually high early season peak of production that put a strain on processing capacityshould now be behind us. The recent strengthening of the euro against sterling should also have a beneficial effect once it has worked through.
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