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Forest Stewardship Council

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has allocated to the Forest Stewardship Council in each year since 1997. [77582]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 October 2002]: We have not allocated any funding to the Forest Stewardship Council.

Electrical Appliances

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research has been conducted by her Department on assessing the role of consumer choice in product purchase and its impact on energy efficiency and total energy demand from domestic electrical appliances. [77594]

Mr. Meacher: The Department's Market Transformation Programme (MTP), working with the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon Trust, manufacturers, retailers and other experts, carries out or acquires market research and analysis to help develop measures for reducing the total energy consumed by domestic appliances and other equipment. MTP currently maintains detailed consultative Policy Briefs accounting

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for around 90 per cent. of domestic energy consumption with baselines and projections to 2010 and beyond. All this information is open to scrutiny and review on the programme web-site (

The role of consumer choice and reliable consumer environmental product information is a central consideration in constructing effective action programmes. The approach is to achieve better choice of efficient products by stimulating innovation and competition (for example, by mandatory EU ''A to G'' energy rating labels); encouraging market take-up of the best available products (for example, by the ''Energy Efficiency Recommended'' endorsement scheme and the Energy Efficiency Commitment); and discouraging the poorest performing equipment, by regulation or by voluntary agreements with industry.

Our analysis shows that this approach has been very successful in increasing consumer choice of efficient products and in raising overall efficiency levels. For example, in 1995 the most efficient fridges and freezers generally available to UK consumers would have been rated ''B'', with nearly half of UK consumers choosing the least efficient categories ''D, E and F''. Today, the range of choice is within a much higher band of energy performance: the most efficient products actually exceeding the ''A'' rating and only a very few available below a ''C'' rating.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the extent of antibiotic use in agriculture, and if she will make a statement. [79699]

Mr. Morley: The Government take the emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria very seriously and is developing policies to minimise unnecessary use of antibiotics in controlling animal diseases.

One of the key planks of the Government's strategy to reduce the amount of antibiotics used on farm is to encourage the prudent use of all medicines. The Government actively supports the activities of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) alliance in helping to promote this message.

Government policy on this issue is informed by the advice of its specialist advisory committees. My Department funds a research programme with a principle aim of reducing the use of antibiotics by developing alternative approaches to animal disease control.

The Government also monitor annually the sale of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK. In February 2002 the Government published the latest of its annual reports for sales of antimicrobial products used as veterinary medicines, growth promoters and coccidiostats. The report showed that 437 tonnes of active ingredient of therapeutic antimicrobials were sold for food producing animals in 2000. This slight increase over the previous period is believed to be due in the main to the EU ban of some antimicrobial growth promoters in June 1999, which resulted in a rise in clinical infections in animals that required treatment. There has also been an increased need to treat secondary infections in pigs suffering from two new diseases in the pig

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industry (Post-weaning Multi-system Wasting Syndrome (PMWS) or Porcine Dermatitis and Nephritis Syndrome (PDNS) that are having a significant impact on our domestic pig herds. Despite the increase, sales for 2000 remain amongst the lowest of the eight years for which sales data are available.

No antibiotic products are used in horticulture in the UK.

The report is available in the House library.

African Exports

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the price was at 1st October of one kilo of (a) unprocessed cocoa Beans, (b) unprocessed coffee beans, (c) unprocessed sugar cane, (d) processed cocoa products containing more than 31 per cent. cocoa solids, (e) roasted ground coffee and (f) refined white sugar from (i) Kenya and (ii) Uganda; and what percentage of this price was an imposed tarif. [79608]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 November 2002]: Overseas Trade Statistics show that, of the commodities listed, only (b) unprocessed coffee beans have recently been imported into the UK from Kenya and Uganda. The price of one kilo of unprocessed coffee beans from Kenya is #1.37 and from Uganda #0.67. These prices are based on the value and volume of imports in August, the latest month for which information is available, and represent the price at the point of entry to the UK. There is no imposed tariff on these imports.

Environment Council

Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what was the outcome of the Environment Council on 17 October; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [76395]

Margaret Beckett: I represented the UK at Environment Council on 17 October, accompanied by Mr. Ross Finnie, the Scottish Executive Minister for Environment and Rural Development. This was the first Environment Council of the Danish Presidency. It was also the first to be held under the Council's new rules of procedure, which provide that final debates and votes on legislative proposals subject to co-decision with the European Parliament are held in public. The Council reached political agreement on 3 proposals and made progress on a range of other important issues.

The Council reached political agreement on a Common Position on the revision of the EC Directive on packaging and packaging waste, which was along the lines of the general approach adopted at June Council. I strongly supported this proposal, which sets targets for recovery and recycling that the UK will find challenging, but achievable. These include a minimum 60 per cent. recovery target and recycling targets between 55–70 per cent., with a 2008 deadline for implementation. The only opposition was from Belgium and the Netherlands, who would have preferred even more demanding targets.

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Political agreement was reached on the ''Seveso II'' Directive, which I also supported. This modifies the existing Directive on the prevention and control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances. It introduces new controls on hazardous sites across the EU. Obligations will be placed on industrial operators to put into effect Safety Management Systems and detailed risk assessments, as well as to provide information to the public.

Political agreement was also reached on a Regulation to complete implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in relation to transboundary movements of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) from the Community. Along with the Commission, I argued that the Regulation should be as closely consistent with the Protocol as possible. After lengthy negotiations we secured significant improvements to the text, namely that the form of identification of GMOs in mixed bulk shipments should be consistent with other EC legislation, including existing legislation on the release of GMOs and the forthcoming proposed Regulation on traceability and labelling. Furthermore, express consent from the importer will be required for the first international transboundary movement of GM material. On the basis of the improved text I was able to support the political agreement.

There was a short discussion on the proposed Regulation on traceability and labelling of GMOs in products. This focussed on links with a proposal to cover GMOs in food and feed, which had been discussed at Agriculture Council earlier in the same week. There is still some way to go before Member States can reach political agreement, and Council requested that the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) continue to work on this dossier.

There was an orientation debate concerning the proposed directive on emissions trading, with a view to being in a position to seek political agreement at the December Council. I strongly supported the scheme but pressed for flexibility during the first period, in order to allow it to interact more easily with national schemes, such as the UK's successful existing regime, and allow inclusion of other sectors and gases.

Council adopted conclusions on the implementation of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. This included follow-up to environment-related commitments from the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. It called for a strengthening of the Cardiff process of integrating environmental considerations into EU business, and adopted a set of environment-related indicators which it recommended for inclusion in the Commission's report to the Spring European Council. The Conclusions include reference to the need, also accepted by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on the 15 October, to take account of EU commitments made at the WTO meeting in Doha and at Johannesburg in considering the future of the Common Agriculture Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.

Council Conclusions on climate change were adopted, without discussion, defining the EU's negotiating position for the 8 Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change in New Delhi. The Conclusions call for all Annex 1 developed

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countries which accepted the comprehensive and balanced Kyoto agreement reached in Bonn and Marrakech last year to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible so as to achieve its entry into force in the near future. Developed countries which do not intend to ratify are urged to meet their responsibilities under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to return their emissions to 1990 levels. The Conclusions also recall the ultimate objective of the Convention—to achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at a safe level and call upon all states to engage in a dialogue with a view to initiating at the 8 Conference of the Parties a process for further action under the Convention and the Protocol.

We were able to support the negotiating mandate for the EC for the 12 Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and were pleased to see it agreed without amendment. There was unanimous support for the UK's proposal to list the Basking Shark in Appendix II, and unanimous agreement to oppose the Japanese proposal to downlist two species of whales (Minke and Bryde's whales), which would effectively reopen trade in the species.

The Council took note of progress on the proposed Environmental Liability Directive. The Presidency indicated that political agreement would not be possible at the December Council, as the European Parliament's first reading is not expected until spring 2003. The Presidency updated Council on the proposed Regulation on the monitoring of forests (Forest Focus) which aims to establish a Community scheme to assess forest ecosystem conditions. The Presidency also updated Council on two inter-related proposals, a Regulation and a Council Decision, to implement the Rotterdam Convention on a Prior Informed Consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade. On the Regulation, a compromise package has been approved in Coreper and has been forwarded to the European Parliament.

Under any other business, the Commission presented a report on mercury from the Chlor-Alkali industry, which followed a request from the Council in June 2001 to clarify the legal situation. The Greek delegation presented the outcome of the Euro-Med conference that took place in Athens on 10 July 2002. The German delegation made a statement on the financing of the European Committee for Standardisation Environmental Helpdesk. The French delegation started an exchange of views on possible European action in the field of flood prevention. In relation to this the Commission informed Council that a Communication on an integrated strategy on prevention, preparation and response to natural and technological risks is under preparation. Austria and Ireland made a joint statement on nuclear power in the context of sustainable development. Finally, the Danish delegation presented the results of a meeting of EU nature and forest Directors, which took place in Vigso, Denmark on 2–4 October 2002.

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