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Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent air and land assessments have been made at United Mines in Cornwall to ascertain levels of arsenic. [96732]

Alun Michael: As part of the current licence conditions Cornwall Environmental Services monitor quantitative dust levels (PM10 ) emitting from the United Mines site. This information is audited by the Environment Agency and confirmed through weekly site visits to ensure compliance and placed on the Public Register. In response to concerns from local residents, a limited number of samples were taken by the Environment Agency from stockpiles of naturally occurring subsoil at the landfill and from dried mud deposits along the highway adjacent to the site. Results of analysis of the samples showed arsenic in the 200 to 400 milligrams per kilogram range, which is comparable with levels to be found in mineworking areas.

This information and results of samples from adjacent sites is available on the Public Register (please contact Bodmin Area Customer Services on 01208 78301).

In addition, Carrick District Council commissioned short-term ambient air monitoring at a site close to United Mines in May and June 2001. Particulate matter (PM10 ) was sampled over a number of days. Concentrations of PM10 at the monitoring site were influenced by the operations at the United Mines site but did not exceed Air Quality Strategy objective limits during the time of sampling. Arsenic was not analysed in the sampled particulate matter. Copies of the monitoring report are available from Carrick District Council.

Brazilian Meat Exports

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the quality of Brazilian (a) pigmeat and (b) poultry meat exported to the United Kingdom. [95055]

Margaret Beckett: Imports into the United Kingdom of animal products are governed by European Community legislation, which contains provisions to protect both animal and public health. Under these rules only third countries approved by the Commission on the advice of the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health may export into the Community, and only from establishments which meet Community hygiene standards. The lists of countries and establishments allowed to export particular products into the Community which includes Brazil is available on the Commission's website at the following address:

EU Community rules do not currently permit the import of pigmeat from Brazil.

Imports of poultry meat from third countries must have been produced to the standards at least equivalent to those laid down in Community legislation. In addition, all consignments of fresh poultry meat imported from third countries are subject to veterinary

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inspection on entering the EU to ensure that conditions of import have been complied with and to ensure that they have remained in a satisfactory condition during transport.

Responsibility for ensuring that third countries meet these requirements lies with the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission. FVO reports are published on their website at: en.html.

Recently, unauthorised veterinary medicines namely nitrofurans were found in poultry meat from Brazil. Nitrofurans are not permitted in the EU for use in food producing animals, due to public health concerns. Therefore their residues should not be present in food.

Community rules have been put in place that require all consignments of all poultry meat from Brazil to be tested for the presence of nitrofurans and their metabolites. The consignments must remain at Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) while testing takes place and are only allowed entry into the Community following favourable test results. If nitrofuran residues are detected, the consignment is destroyed.

Environmental Grants

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on (a) the take-up of environmental grants under the modulation arrangements and (b) the financial arrangements for retaining the amounts available but unclaimed. [95517]

Mr. Meacher: (a) I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State on 13 January 2003, Official Report, column 76W.

(b) The modulated amounts are retained by the Rural Payments Agency, and held within their account with Paymaster. Accounts held with Paymaster are not subject to interest. Modulated funds have to be spent within three years of the end of the year in which they are raised.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the administrative procedures required to claim environmental grants under the modulation arrangements; and if she will make a statement. [95518]

Mr. Meacher: In England, modulation receipts are used to fund payments to farmers under agri-environment schemes. The administrative costs of the schemes are not paid for by modulation. This Department is currently reviewing the schemes and part of the review will be looking to simplify the administrative procedures and develop a new "entry-level" tier which has much lower overhead costs.

EU Minimum Air Quality Legislation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the legislation from the EU on Minimum Air Quality is expected to take effect; and how DEFRA is preparing for this. [97035]

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Alun Michael: The EU Air Quality Framework Directive (1996/62/EC) and subsequent daughter directives set limit values for various atmospheric pollutants in ambient air. The First (1999/30/EC) and Second Daughter Directives (2000/69/EC) are transposed into UK law. Limit values for sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, lead and carbon monoxide must be met by 1 January 2005. Limit values for benzene, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen must be met by 1 January 2010. The Third Daughter Directive (2002/3/EC), which sets target values for ozone, will be transposed later this year.

We expect the limit values to be met in a majority of locations within the allotted time scale through existing national measures already in place or planned to come into effect. Where further measures are required, these will be taken forward in partnership with local authorities and other relevant organisations through the National Air Quality Strategy.

Farm Incinerators

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on applications for on-farm incinerators to dispose of specified risk material. [95607]

Margaret Beckett: Defra only approves applications for incinerators which fully comply with the legislation. However, the UK is currently awaiting clarification from the European Commission on whether the legislation after 1 May 2003 will permit the incineration of specified risk material in incinerators operating at less than 50kg/hour.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications her Department received in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 to operate incinerators to dispose of specified risk material; how many applications in each year (i) were accepted, (ii) were refused and (iii) await determination; and if she will make a statement. [95611]

Margaret Beckett: Applications to operate incinerators to dispose of specified risk material are made at local level. The details requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, a central register of operators currently approved to operate specified risk material incinerators indicates that as at 31 January 2003 there were 306 approved incinerators in Great Britain.

Flood Insurance

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from the insurance industry during the last six months about the flood defence and flood management policy. [89627]

Margaret Beckett: The Association of British Insurers met Ministers in September 2002 to discuss their concerns. Following that meeting the ABI

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announced a Statement of Principles which sought Government commitment to action in seven areas:

The Government said they are happy to work with the ABI towards meeting these principles; we are in regular contact with them and will review progress regularly.

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