|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
18 Mar 2003 : Column 645Wcontinued
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fishing vessels in each EU country have been deemed by the European Commission to be economically viable; and what assessment has been made of the costs of paying off vessels and crews from these countries. 
Mr. Morley: The Commission has made no authoritative estimates in these areas. Indicative figures provided by the Commission last May, of the scale of decommissioning implied by their proposals for recovery plans, have been challenged by a number of member states.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has appraised the testing methodology obliged in the Processed Animal Protein (England) Regulations 2001 against the currently best available methodologies for the same tasks. 
18 Mar 2003 : Column 646W
Mr. Morley: The Processed Animal Protein (England) Regulations 2001, all except the international trade provisions of that legislation, were replaced by and incorporated into the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 on 19 April 2002.
The development of effective detection methods to distinguish the species content of meal intended for feed is a priority for Defra. The Commission has indicated that they are prepared to re-consider the current ban on fishmeal in ruminant feed once such a test has been validated. Full validation of a new test technique, however, is likely to take some time to achieve. In addition to the on-going development work, there are assessments being made both in the European context and in the UK to examine the currently available technology. A paper summarising the current position was prepared by Defra for a recent meeting of the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs, and can be found at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/acaf0237.pdf
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has appraised the testing methodology obliged in the Animal By-Products Order 1999 against the currently best available methodologies for the same tasks. 
Mr. Morley: Testing under the Animal By-Products Order 1999 may be carried out under the methodology set out in the Order, or by a method which conforms with the relevant British or International Standards.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of the first annual report under the operating agreement signed by Ofwat, the Environment Agency, English Nature and Wessex Water on restoring sustainable flows to the Hampshire Avon Catchment. 
Mr. Morley: I am pleased to inform the hon. Member that the 'First Annual Report to the Minister on Progress in Restoring Flows in the Malmesbury Avon, River Wyle and River Piddle' was placed in the House Library at the end of February.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many nitrate vulnerable zones have been designated; and what percentage of the land area of England and Wales is designated as nitrate vulnerable zones. 
In October 2002, the Government designated NVZs covering an additional 47 per cent. of England's land area. This brings total coverage of England to around 55 per cent. The Government have not made an assessment of the total number of discrete NVZs in England.
18 Mar 2003 : Column 647W
The Government have published a Regulatory Impact Assessment paper which sets out the costs to the agricultural industry of complying with the Action Programme measures in England. This publication is available in the Defra Library and via the Defra NVZ web pages (www.defra.gov.uk/environment/water/quality/nitrate/library.htm).
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been commissioned from consultants to assess the (a) need for and (b) prospective benefits of industry profiles for radioactively contaminated land. 
Mr. Meacher: Consultants are currently carrying out work to assess the need for and benefits of industry profiles for radioactively contaminated land. They are to report in early April. If the results of this are positive, industry profile(s) for operations using radioactive material outside nuclear sites will be produced. They will provide information on the processes, materials and wastes associated with individual industries and advise on how best to identify, assess and tackle the problems of land contamination. This will provide useful supporting guidance for the introduction of a regime to deal with radioactively contaminated land (excluding that on nuclear licensed sites).
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on the rural proofing of housing policy of the withdrawal of local authority social housing grant. 
Margaret Beckett: The decision to abolish local authority social housing grant was taken in light of the increased provision for investment in existing and new affordable housing announced in "Sustainable Communities: building for the future". LASHG was a funding mechanism used by many rural authorities, among others, but they should not lose out under the new arrangements. By 2006, the money available for housing will be nearly 50 per cent. higher than this year. The new regional housing boards will recommend how these resources should be spent and will be required to ensure that their regional housing strategies are rural proofed.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent (a) representations she has received and (b) discussions she has had regarding the sale of Safeways; and if she will make a statement. 
18 Mar 2003 : Column 648W
Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 March 2003]: Ministers and officials in Defra have been sent information or views on the sale of Safeway by some of the companies who have expressed an interest in bidding and by the National Consumer Council.
Officials have met separately with ASDA, Morrison, Safeway, Sainsbury and Tesco, at the companies' request, to listen to points that they wished to make about the sale of Safeway. Ministers have not been involved in these discussions.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many litres of soft drinks were, on average, consumed by each British consumer in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Morley: It is estimated that 75 litres of soft drinks were consumed per person in the UK in the 12 month period starting in April 2001. Soft drinks are defined to exclude mineral water and fruit juices. The equivalent consumption of mineral water was 13 litres and of fruit juices was 18 litres. These estimates are based upon records of consumer purchases from the Expenditure and Food Survey.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many veterinary surgeons were employed by the State Veterinary Service on (a) 20 February 2001, (b) 20 February 2002 and (c) 20 February 2003. 
As at 20 February 2002299
As at February 2003335
Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to use the Sustainability Fund to compensate operators for revoking the most damaging old mineral permissions in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. 
Mr. Meacher: Following two full consultation exercises, the core objectives of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) were set to support work in three main categories: minimising demand for primary aggregates; promoting environmentally friendly aggregates extraction and transportation; and reducing the local effects of aggregates extraction. Using the fund as a mechanism for compensating operators for revoking permissions was not raised in either consultation and does not, therefore, feature in the scheme.
18 Mar 2003 : Column 649W
English Nature has been designated as the distributing body for projects aimed at addressing the effects of old mineral planning permissions, increasing biodiversity and conserving geological features and the Countryside Agency distributes funds for projects that conserve and enhance the countryside. For both cases, the ALSF operates as a project based scheme and does not provide a mechanism for compensating operators for revoked permissions.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|