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10 Dec 2002 : Column 195W—continued

Organic Farming Schemes

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to

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her answer of 20 November 2002, Official Report, column 166W, on organic farming schemes, if she will list the beneficiaries under the Organic Farming Scheme and the Organic Aid Scheme as a proportion of the total number of (a) farms and (b) farmers, broken down by region. [85344]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 3 December 2002]: Information on the Organic Farming Scheme and the Organic Aid Scheme is held by beneficiary. The latest numbers that we have by beneficiary are as at November 2002 and are as follows:

East Midlands178
North East51
North West149
South East285
South West873
West Midlands256
Grand Total2,073

The latest information that we have for the total numbers of (a) holdings and (b) farmers is taken from the June 2001 Agricultural and Horticultural Census. The figures show the total holdings and total full and part-time farmers, partners, directors and spouses if working on the holding.

RegionTotal holdingsTotal
East MidlandsTotal holdings19,095
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses25,433
EasternTotal holdings21,054
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses27,325
LondonTotal holdings434
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses543
North EastTotal holdings6,073
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses8,598
North WestTotal holdings21,048
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses28,682
South EastTotal holdings22,461
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses27,673
South WestTotal holdings44,861
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses57,218
West MidlandsTotal holdings23,247
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses31,076
Yorks/HumbsTotal holdings19,661
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses27,280
Grant TotalTotal holdings177,934
Farmers, partners, directors and spouses233,828


Spouses are included only if working on the holdings

PSA Targets

Mr. David Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out (a) financial resources against PSA targets and (b) staff numbers against PSA targets in her Department. [86274]

Alun Michael: Defra cannot provide information on financial resources and staffing against each its PSA targets and these will include an analysis of the financial resources and staffing required to deliver each target. We expect the Delivery Plans to be ready for implementation by April 2003 following the confirmation of internal budgets for 2003–4.

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Raw Sewage

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason raw sewage was pumped into the River Wylye Special Area of Conservation and SSSI at Hanging Langford near Salisbury on 2 December; who authorised it; if she will set in hand immediate research on the environmental impact; and if she will make a statement. [85496]

Mr. Morley: The emergency discharge of sewage into the river was made to avoid sewer flooding of properties, resulting from inundation of the sewerage system, following exceptionally high levels of rainfall. Such discharges are permitted under the Water Resources Act 1991 and do not require prior authorisation.

The Environment Agency was informed of the discharge by the water company and inspected the site on 2 December. They found that the water company had provided a screen to minimise the aesthetic effects of the discharge, that the discharge was extremely dilute owing to the volume of water in the system and further diluted by high flow in the river. The Agency is satisfied that the discharge caused no significant environmental impact.

Rural Checklist

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish her Rural Checklist for other Government departments; and if she will list those rural officers in other Government departments responsible for Rural Proofing. [86441]

Alun Michael: The Countryside Agency's rural proofing checklist is used across Government for rural proofing and can be viewed on the Agency's website at Hard copies are also available from the Agency's Rural Proofing Studies Unit at Dacre House, Dacre Street, London, SW1H 0DH. This is also the first point of contact for inquiries regarding rural issues. If necessary, inquiries will be referred by the unit to appropriate contacts across Whitehall. A list of names of departmental rural contacts, who meet regularly, is not published as personnel and machinery of Government changes mean that any published list would be out of date fairly quickly.

Rural Transport

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what rural transport projects have been funded by the Countryside Agency in each of the last three years; what the average time was between the submission of funding proposals for such projects and a decision being made; what the average wait has been for allocation of funding for such projects which have been approved; and how many of these projects which have been approved are awaiting the release of funds. [85246]

Alun Michael: The Countryside Agency has funded five transport grant programmes in the past three years on behalf of Defra. The Rural Transport Development Fund merged with the Rural Transport Partnership scheme in March 2001. The Parish Transport Grant has been running since April 2001. These three projects

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solely fund transport projects in rural areas. Two other schemes, the Wider Welcome and Market Towns programme, fund some transport related projects, but in the following table the data are integrated within the Rural Transport Partnership and Parish Transport Grant figures. This is due to the way the data is collected by the Countryside Agency.

SchemePeriodNumber of projects supportedAverage time for decisionNumber of projects awaiting release of funds
Parish Transport Grant2001–024110 days0
(9)2002–037610 days109
Rural Transport Development Fund(8)2000–01111(10)0
Rural Transport Partnership2000–0169(10)0
2001–0227819 days0
(9)2002–0322110 days581

(8) Rural Transport Development Fund was merged with the Rural Transport Partnership in April 2001.

(9) Data from 1 April 2002 to 1 November 2002.

(10) Not available.

The Countryside Agency send out grant award letters immediately upon approval. All the projects currently being delivered are awaiting release of some funds, as no more than 90 per cent. of project funding can be released until the project is complete.

Slurry Contamination

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to her answer of 20 November 2002, Official Report, column 169W, on slurry contamination, how many fines were issued for slurry contamination and what the average fines were, broken down by region, in each of the last 15 years; [85369]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 December 2002]: The table as follows shows the number of water prosecutions involving all types of agricultural pollution (including slurry pollution), by Environment Agency region, for the years 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. It is to not practicable to assemble enforcement data before 1 April 1999, when the Agency's National enforcement Database went live. In my answer of 20 November I explained that from the beginning of 2003 the Agency's database will be able to provide information on specific pollutants such as slurry, but information is not currently held at this level of detail.


RegionNumber of finesAverage fine
Year 1999
Year 2000
Year 2001
Year 2002

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