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3 Apr 2003 : Column 798W—continued


Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to promote research and development in aquaculture. [106808]

Mr. Morley: The LINK Aquaculture programme, launched in 1996 and sponsored by Defra, SEERAD and the National Environment Research Council contributed approximately £5.3 million to thirty-seven R and D projects, which, together with industry match funding, created an R and D programme valued at approximately £10 million. The Defra contribution to this was £2.2 million. This highly successful programme which comes to an end this year has been subject to comprehensive independent review, see the Defra website (–Aqua.PDF).

Defra's average current annual spend on research into sustainable aquaculture and fish/shellfish health issues is £1.75 million. In 2002 Defra provisionally set aside £1 million for funding finfish and shellfish aquaculture research jointly with industry and with other sponsors over the next five years. My officials are giving careful consideration to the priority research areas which the various sectors of the industry identified and discussed with sponsors at a recent meeting of the UK-wide Committee for Aquaculture Research and Development.

Bovine TB

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment

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she has made of the reasons for TB infections in cattle; and what estimate she has made of the percentage of cases that involve cattle-to-cattle transmission. [106662]

Mr. Morley: The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) attaches a high priority to the relative importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission, but it is not possible to put a percentage figure on it at present. Current research will help fill the gaps. While the badger culling trial is looking at the part badgers might play in the transmission of cattle TB, other research, such as the TB99 epidemiological questionnaire and cattle pathogenesis studies, should provide data about cattle-to-cattle transmission. A research project looking at TB in herds restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak should also provide valuable data. A preliminary analysis of the risk factors associated with cattle TB is set out in the ISG's Third Report, which is available online at:

CAP Review

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she will next meet EU partners to discuss the Mid-Term CAP Review. [106700]

Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, will next meet EU partners to discuss reform of the CAP at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 8 April.

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Departmental Creche Facilities

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what creche facilities are provided by her Department; and at what cost. [104289]

Alun Michael: Defra provide 149 full-time subsidised nursery places for Departmental and Agency staff at six sites. The actual number of children using the nurseries is higher than this figure due to many of the places being allocated on a part-time basis. The cost of nursery places and the amount of subsidy varies for each location.

School holiday playscheme places are also available to Departmental and Agency staff working at eight sites. The number of users varies at each site and for each school holiday period.

The overall cost of this provision for the HQ offices (York and London) during the 2002–2003 financial year is estimated to be £88,500. Childcare facilities at other sites are funded from local budgets. Defra keeps its childcare provision arrangements under regular review.

English Rural Development Programme

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 502W, on the English Rural Development Programme, how much of each of the amounts shown is accounted for by expenditure already agreed to; and how much is available to new applicants, broken down by scheme in each case. [106227]

Alun Michael: The planned expenditure on schemes under the England Rural Development Programme is broken down as follows:

£ million

Expenditure on existing agreementsFunds availablefor new applicationsExpenditure on existing agreementsFunds availablefor new applicationsExpenditure on existing agreementsFunds availablefor new applications
Countryside Stewardship Scheme(1)72.58.565.630.455.755.3
Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme45.22.845.22.845.22.8
Organic Farming Scheme6.515.52.420.61.521.5
Farm Woodland Premium Scheme10.70.310.41.610.42.6
Woodland Grant Scheme7.413.65.416.64.117.9
Hill Farm Allowance(2)
Rural Enterprise Scheme10.213.82.333.70.735.3
Processing and Marketing Grant6.
Vocational Training Scheme1.
Energy Crops Scheme0.

(1) The rising profile of available funds for new applications will be reduced each year by the expenditure on applications approved in the preceding year(s).

(2) Expenditure on the Hill Farm Allowance is determined by claims from farmers in the Less Favoured Areas who in any one year have an eligible forage area and keep sheep and/or breeding cattle. Payment rates are set according to demand and the available funds. The budget is planned to be spent in full each year.

The budget for each of the schemes is kept under review, and some limited re-balancing of the available funds may be necessary, with European Commission approval as required, to meet the changing priorities of the Programme.

Landfill Tax Credit Scheme

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the statement made by the hon. Member for Wentworth on 3 February, Official Report, column 5WS, on the landfill tax credit scheme, (1) how much her Department is paying ENTRUST to administer the transitional funding application process in England; and whether this activity of ENTRUST for the public sector is being subsidised by private sector payments to ENTRUST; [103504]

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Mr. Meacher: To administer the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) Sustainable Waste Management Legacy Fund, ENTRUST will receive a fee of 2 per cent. of the total amount distributed (i.e. if the Fund distributes £20 million to eligible applicants, the administration fee received will be £400,000). The precise figure will not be known until all applications have been processed. The closing date for applications is 31 March. This fee is in line with the separate payment ENTRUST receives to regulate the LTCS and represents good value for money. The cost of administering the Legacy Fund is not being subsidised by payments from tax credits to regulate the LTCS.

The rules of engagement between Defra and ENTRUST regarding the administration of the Fund are set out in a memorandum of understanding between the two parties. A copy of this memorandum will be posted on the ENTRUST website.

Live Animal Transportation

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has collated about the European Commission's policy on the future of live animal transportation. [107268]

Mr. Morley: The European Commission has stated that it intends to present a proposal to replace the existing EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport and that this proposal will aim at:

This statement and additional information following public consultation by the Commission on this topic at the end of 2002 is set out on the European Commission's website under the work of the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General.

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