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25 Nov 2002 : Column 51W—continued

National Parks (Housing)

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to amend legislation to enable National Park authorities to restrict entitlement to own domestic dwellings in their area; and if she will make a statement. [82716]

Alun Michael: None.

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Organic Waste

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has collated on which EU member states exclude kitchen waste from the composting of municipal organic waste; and if she will make a statement. [80512]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has no specific information on the practices followed by other member states in relation to the composting of kitchen waste, although visits have been made to look at composting operations in Italy and the Netherlands. However, the new EU Animal By-products Regulation (expected to come into force in 2003) permits the use in composting/biogas operations of catering waste containing meat and low-risk animal by-products. For plants processing only catering waste, the Regulation allows national standards to be set, provided they guarantee an equivalent effect in pathogen reduction to the treatment standard in the Regulation (70°C for one hour in a closed system).

The Department commissioned a risk assessment that looked at the animal and public health risks posed by the composting/biogas treatment of catering waste and spreading it on land. This work concluded that, provided satisfactory controls are in place, composting/biogas treatment can be done safely.

We are therefore developing processes that will allow catering waste to be composted safely, based on the results of the risk assessment (without the risk assessment, we would be obliged to follow the EU standard, which would be more restrictive and, possibly, counter-productive). The aim is to get a draft statutory instrument out for public consultation by the end of November, and to amend the legislation early in the new year. The overall objective is to develop a set of rules that will allow composting of catering waste to take place economically, while fully protecting animal and public health.

Planning Applications

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions this year the Environment Agency has submitted formal objections to planning applications. [81019]

Mr. Meacher: The Agency has submitted 6,002 formal objections to planning applications this year.

Rights of Way

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total amount of financial support allocated to local authorities for rights of way duties, excluding Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000 responsibilities, was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03, broken down by local authority. [82365]

Alun Michael: Funding for rights of way is included in the unhypothecated environmental protective and cultural services block. That is the means by which such support is provided to local authorities and is the procedure favoured by the Local Government Association. This block also includes services such as waste, libraries and museums.

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Rural Payment Schemes

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what delays there have been in paying applicants under the rural payment schemes; and if she will make a statement. [82516]

Alun Michael: The current position with paying applicants under rural payment schemes is as follows:

Arable Area Payments Scheme 2002

The payment window opened on 16 November 2002 and closes on 31 January 2003. Over 40 per cent. of payments for over £700m have already been dispatched to producers, and the expectation is that most producers should receive their payments significantly before the deadline.

Bovine Schemes

Under European Community legislation the Rural Payments Agency is obliged to cross-check all animals claimed under the various bovine subsidy schemes against the British Cattle Movement Service Cattle Tracing System (CTS).

Cross-checks must be carried out to verify that all scheme rules are met and to ensure payments are only made on those animals that are correctly identified in accordance with the council regulations governing cattle identification.

When the cross-check of data was carried out a large number of discrepancies was identified between the information submitted on claim forms and that recorded on the CTS. The sheer scale of these discrepancies and the time taken to resolve them has resulted in around 19 per cent of unpenalised claims being paid after the statutory deadline of 30 June.

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Producers who have experienced delays in receiving their 2001 scheme year bovine balance payments beyond 30 June as a result of a failure by the Agency or the British Cattle Movement Service will be compensated. The Agency is still finalising how the arrangement will be implemented. However, compensation will not be paid in any other circumstances. This would include for example, payment delayed because the Cattle Tracing System database had not been notified of changes prior to cross-checks being undertaken.

The Sheep Annual Premium Scheme

The payment window for the Sheep Annual Premium Scheme opened on 16 October 2002 and closes on 31 March 2003. 97per cent of the premium and national envelope top up payments were issued in the first few days of the opening of the payment window. In addition, 8,044 producers (95per cent. of those qualifying for the less favoured area supplement) have now received the supplementary payment amounting to £13 million.

England Rural Development Programme

The majority of ERDP scheme claims are currently being paid within published targets.

Rural Payments Agency

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding has been allocated by the Rural Payments Agency to Lancashire farmers in each of the last three years. [82204]

Alun Michael: The amount paid to Lancashire farmers in the three years 1999 to 2001 detailed by scheme is as follows:

Scheme1999 (£)2000(£) 2001(£)
Arable area payment scheme(2),(3)5,166,282.081(2),(3)4,219,183.53(2)4,078,743.37
Sheep annual premium scheme(3)6,212,782.54(3)4,572,845.27(3)2,766,345.84
Beef special premium scheme3,783,700.413,356,220.483,294,163.28
Extensification payment schemeScheme commenced 2000(3)1,245,908.10(2),(3)1,142,670.00
Slaughter premium schemeScheme commenced 2000(2)851,843.59(2)1,095,057.88
Suckler cow premium scheme(2),(3)2,046,856.13(2),(3)1,573,154.87(2),(3)1,464,574.29
Hill farming allowanceHFA applications are made in one year and paid in the spring of the following year. Therefore the figure for 2001 is for applications made in 2000 2,495,519
Hill livestock compensatory allowance(3)8,866.86(3)24,581.05

(2) Figures after modulation

(3) Figures include agrimonetary compensation

Sheep Exports

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many live sheep were exported from Dover to continental Europe on 11 November 2002; when and where health certification was carried out in respect of the sheep; how many of the sheep were rejected as unfit for the intended journey (a) during inspection for health certification purposes and (b) at Dover docks, and to where those sheep were taken; and what was the address of the final destination given on the route plan for each of the consignments; [80764]

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Mr. Morley: The information requested is as follows:

Date Total animalsWhere consignments were certifiedAnimals rejected at certificationAnimals rejected at Dover docks Destination
1 November2,291England and Wales290Italy and France
2 November2,129England and Wales340France
5 November2,298Wales320France
6 November2,910England, Scotland and Wales170France
7 November(4)2,531England and Wales352France
7 November(5)867Wales90Germany
10 November2,514England and Wales400France
10 November49England01Belgium
11 November2,279Wales360France

(4)1,834 on the Caroline and 697 on the Omega Express

(5)459 on the Caroline and 408 on the Omega Express

The sheep for the consignments listed above were certified within 48 hours prior to export. These consignments went to approved slaughterhouses apart from the sailing on 6 November which were fattening animals transported to holdings. The animals which were rejected at certification and Dover docks remained in Great Britain.

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