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3 Apr 2003 : Column 795W—continued

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the expected saving to public funds from the private finance initiative schemes due to become operational in 2003. [105717]

Ms Hewitt: There are no PFI schemes due to become operational in 2003 within the Department.

Solar Energy

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will make a decision on funding for phase 2 of the Solar PV Major Demonstration Programme in 2003–04; and if she will make a statement. [106201]

Mr. Wilson: The success of the £20 million first phase of the Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Programme will be reviewed against its objectives in the first half of 2004, and a decision on funding for any subsequent phase will be made thereafter.

Temporary Workers Directive

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had on the appropriateness of Article 137 of the Nice Treaty as a legal base for the proposed EU Directive on Temporary Workers; and if she will make a statement. [105849]

Alan Johnson: The UK has raised the question of whether a directive with a treaty base of Article 137(6) can cover pay. The European Commission and several other member states are of the view that it can because it only addresses pay in terms of non-discrimination and does not set absolute pay levels. The Government have continued to reserve their position on the inclusion of pay under Article 137 pending further clarification of the definition of pay.

Travel Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost was of travel by train by staff in her Department in 2002. [106334]

Ms Hewitt: Information in respect of the year 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In 1997–98 sampling carried out in preparing the Department's Green Transport Plan indicated that about 90 per cent. of travel by staff for official business was by public transport, mostly by train. It is estimated that the cost of this rail travel was about £1.3 million.

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

Food Imports

15. Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much

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(a) beef, (b) lamb, (c) port and (d) chicken was imported into the United Kingdom during the last 12 months; and from which countries these imports are allowed. [106696]

Mr. Morley: During the last 12 months the United Kingdom has imported, 224,000 tonnes of beef, 102,000 tonnes of lamb, 291,000 tonnes of pork and 305,000 tonnes of poultry meat.

Meat imports are permitted provided that the exporting country is approved to export to the EU; the meat is accompanied by appropriate animal and public health certification and that the meat originates from EU approved establishments.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps she has taken to strengthen the system of checks on food imports. [104909]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 25 March 2003]: The EU operates a system of strict controls on imports of animal products. All products of animal origin must be checked on entry into the UK at a border inspection post (BIP). Following the outbreak of FMD, the State Veterinary Service have introduced an audit programme for BIPs to ensure consistent application of these import checks. During the visits officers provide advice to BIPs and monitor progress to correct any deficiencies found.

Additional measures have been introduced at ports and airports to tackle illegal imports. Temporary agency staff attached to the local and port health authorities and funded by Defra, have been recruited to carry out checks to detect smuggled goods—teams of six are based at our major airports and teams of two at major seaports. We are also paying for additional checks through overtime elsewhere. Further inspection resources have also been provided through the detector dog pilot, and a publicity campaign which has targeted ports, airports and points of departure. We have announced that with effect from 11April, HM Customs and Excise will be taking over responsibility for anti-smuggling activity since they have the infrastructure, intelligence and experience to target more effectively.

The Food Standards Agency has responsibility for public health checks on all other imported foods. Following a Cabinet Office review of checks on imports the Food Standards Agency are leading a step change project to deliver improved co-ordination of all imported food controls by local authorities and port health authorities at seaports, airports and inland.

Waste Incinerators

19. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many waste incinerators have been (a) approved and (b) built since May 1997. [106702]

Mr. Meacher: I understand that since 1997 19 municipal incinerators have been approved for operation or a change in operation by the Environment Agency under relevant pollution control legislation. Of these eight have been built or substantially modified, and have commenced or re-commenced operation.

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Farmers' Markets

20. Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further support she intends to give to farmers' markets. [106703]

Alun Michael: We welcome the development of farmers' markets and the benefits they can bring consumers and farmers alike. Farmers' markets continue to be eligible for support under the Rural Enterprise Scheme and the Agriculture Development Scheme, provided that the projects for which funding is sought meet the required eligibility criteria. A number of projects relating to farmers' markets have received funding under these schemes. In addition, the National Association of Farmers' Markets continues to receive financial support from the Countryside Agency, which we grant-aid.

Climate Change

21. Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on the impact on climate change of aviation. [106704]

Mr. Meacher: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that forcing of the climate due to aviation was responsible for 3.5 per cent. of man-made forcing of the climate in 1992. Forcing due to aviation is projected to grow by between 2.6 and 11 times by 2050. This is projected to be equivalent to 3 per cent. to 15 per cent. of total man-made forcing of the climate in 2050. The aviation industry, like other industries, needs to pay for the environmental damage that it causes, and the Government will shortly be holding discussions with stakeholders on the appropriate use of economic instruments to achieve this.

Electronic Collars for Animals

22. Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on her policy on electric shock collars for animals. [106705]

Mr. Morley: I have just completed a consultation exercise on animal welfare law. I would not wish to make any announcement concerning official views on electronic collars for animals in advance of any announcement of the measures that may be introduced as part of the Animal Welfare Bill.

Flood Protection (Rural Areas)

23. Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on the public money made available to fund flood protection in rural areas. [106706]

Mr. Morley: Defra provides grant aid on capital flood and coastal defence projects that meet specified criteria and an appropriate priority score but decisions regarding which projects to promote and their timing rest with operating authorities. The Government's

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provision overall is set to rise to £564 million in 2005–06 but provision is not made within this specifically for rural areas.

Agri-environment Schemes

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on her Department's agri-environment schemes. [106698]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has received 150 external responses to the consultation on a draft framework for future agri-environment schemes in England that closed at the end of February 2003. These responses are currently being analysed and we will publish the results once this exercise is complete.

Defra also continues to receive a small number of individual representations on this subject.

Agri-monetary Compensation (Buckinghamshire)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been paid in agri-monetary compensation in the county of Buckinghamshire since 9 January 2002. [106375]

Alun Michael: The RPA has paid £222,358.12 in agri-monetary compensation in the county of Buckinghamshire between 9 January 2002 and the end of March 2003.


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