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25 Nov 2002 : Column 48Wcontinued
Andrew George : To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many funding schemes are available through her Department for farmers who wish to adopt environmentally friendly farming practices; and how much is available per scheme. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 20 November 2002]: The three main agri-environment schemes run by this Department are the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme, the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and the Organic Farming Scheme. Their budgets in the current financial year are £48 million, £66 million and £20 million respectively. In addition, organisations such as English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the National Park Authorities which receive funding from this Department also operate some schemes.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is in respect of the trade in elephant products where these can be authenticated as having come from properly managed stock. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 November 2002]: Where there are clear safeguards, the Government would in principle support a limited trade in ivory that is authenticated as being derived from a properly managed source, i.e. where the elephants are managed in a sustainable manner that is not detrimental to the conservation of the species. However, we could only agree to such trade if we were satisfied that the intended market for this ivory was itself properly managed in accordance with the principles set out under the appropriate CITES Conference Resolution, and would
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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the budget is of the Environment Agency for 200203 for cars and car travel by hon. Members and staff of the agency. 
|Agency's budget||£ million|
|Lease car costs||12.9|
|Less employees contribution||2.9|
|Lease car mileage costs||2.5|
|Casual and essential mileage costs||4.2|
|Members mileage costs||0.2|
Margaret Beckett: Since April 2002, officials have been holding discussions with livestock and disposal industry stakeholders with the aim of developing a national fallen stock disposal scheme. However, it is for the industries concerned to work out how best to deal with their waste problems and to publish details of their proposal.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what restrictions are placed on the use of home-made fertilisers by individuals in their own gardens; and if she will make a statement. 
The Animal By-Products Order 1999 (as amended) prevents the use on land of catering waste which may contain meat. This effectively bans the use of catering waste in commercial composting enterprises. The aim was to prevent livestock and poultry from having access to material which might introduce or spread animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease. It was not intended to prevent householders composting kitchen scraps for their own gardens. A proposed amendment to the Order to permit the composting of catering waste in
25 Nov 2002 : Column 50W
approved premises will exempt domestic householders provided that they do not keep pigs or ruminants on the premises.
Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act requires a person who deposits, recovers or disposes of waste (including compost) to obtain a waste management licence or to register an exemption from licensing. Current general guidance is that composting facilities should be at least 250 metres from residential areas. However householders who compost their own garden waste are not required to have a licence or a permit under waste management or pollution control legislation.
Andrew George : To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the foot and mouth contingency planning exercises in (a) Preston, (b) Carlisle, (c) Taunton and (d) Leeds in November. 
Mr. Morley: These exercises are a part of the ongoing process of maintaining the readiness of the Department to deal with an outbreak of disease. Feedback from exercises and from investigations of suspected cases of disease is used to inform the further development of instructions and contingency plans. The lessons learned will be used as a foundation for future exercises.
Margaret Beckett: The Department's facility for the electronic submission of claims under the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) is managed by the Rural Payments Agency, and is a legacy system taken on by the Agency. This system requires an internet-enabled PC, and works with a range of internet browser options, but the choice of internet service provider used is for claimants to decide.
RPA has a major IT Change Programme, which is planned to come on stream in 2004. This programme will include electronic submission of a wide range of scheme claim forms, and integration with the RPA back-office processing systems.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many spot checks have been carried out on illegal meat imports at each designated port of entry into the United Kingdom since 31 March. 
Margaret Beckett: Details of spot checks carried out for illegal meat imports are not collected centrally. It should be noted that during the course of checks for other illegal products (such as drugs), illegal meat imports may also be found and reported.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the adequacy of warning signs against meat imports at each designated port of entry into the United Kingdom. 
Margaret Beckett: We continue to learn lessons about how to improve the impact of our message at ports and airports where there is strong competition for the attention of travellers. Defra is promoting a joint initiative with other Government Departments to review how the impact of the Government's message can be improved at ports and airports.
The information displayed at ports of entry into the United Kingdom varies depending on whether trade and passengers come from within the European Union or from third countries. The Department has concentrated its efforts on increasing awareness of the rules for meat imports at ports of entry for passengers from outside the European Union.
Penalty posters and information leaflets are currently being redesigned to reflect the new EU rules on personal imports of meat and dairy products from outside the EU that will come into effect in January 2003.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions for the illegal import of (i) meat and (ii) meat products have been initiated since 31 March. 
Margaret Beckett: Responsibility for prosecutions under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) Regulations lies with local authorities, and under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, with HM Customs.
We are aware of one successful prosecution brought by Crawley Borough Council in July, and six cautions issued by the London Port Health Authority in October. All were brought under the Products of Animal Origin regulations.
Defra is working with local authorities and with the Magistrates Association to raise awareness of the wider consequences of this offence and to encourage more prosecutions and the imposition of higher penalties.
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