Previous Section Index Home Page

12 Jun 2003 : Column 1008W—continued

Rural Transport Partnership

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the transport schemes funded since the initiation of the Rural Transport Partnership scheme; and how much funding each scheme received. [117527]

Alun Michael: A total of 85 Rural Transport Partnerships have been funded since the launch of the scheme in 2001. Defra has provided nearly £5 million of funding for these schemes through the Countryside

12 Jun 2003 : Column 1009W

Agency. A complete list of the Rural Transport Partnerships and the level of funding for each scheme has been placed in the Library of the House. Further details of these schemes can be found at


Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many working abattoirs there were in (a) 1980, (b) 1985, (c) 1990, (d) 1995 and (e) 2000; how many there are now; and if she will make a statement. [117743]

Mr. Morley: The numbers of red meat abattoirs in Great Britain for the five-year intervals from 1980 until 2000 were as follows:

Red meat abbatoirs


The Meat and Livestock Commission.

In 2002–03 there were 320 red meat abattoirs in Great Britain.

Animal Sanctuaries

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support her Department has given to animal sanctuaries in the United Kingdom since 1997. [117865]

Mr. Morley: The department does not provide financial support to animal sanctuaries. However, a considerable number of animal sanctuaries are registered charities. The Government have policies in place to increase the value of these charitable gifts by generous tax concessions, thereby supporting the work of all charities without compromising their independence.

As part of the Government's policy to encourage more people to give to charity, the tax incentives for charitable giving were improved in Budget 2000, and further built upon in Budget 2002. There are now no limits on the amounts that individuals can give through the Gift Aid and Payroll Giving Schemes. In addition, tax relief is available on gifts to charity of listed shares and securities, land and buildings. Businesses can also get tax relief when they donate money, stock or equipment to charities in general.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for promoting alternative methods of testing other than using animals. [115584]

Mr. Morley: Responsibility for policy on the use of animals in scientific procedures rests with the Home Office.

12 Jun 2003 : Column 1010W

Defra is playing a full part in collective efforts led by the Home Office to promote the fullest application of the 3Rs—the replacement of procedures with others which do not use animals, the reduction of the number of animals used and the refinement of procedures to minimise pain and suffering—including the inter-Departmental Concordat on Data Sharing and other measures. Among other things, signatories to the concordat aim to minimise data requirements for animal tests as far as possible; encourage data sharing between clients, wherever appropriate, and to identify and overcome any procedural and legal barriers to data sharing.

Departmental Report

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of publishing her Department's annual report for each of the past five years; and if she will provide a breakdown of the costs incurred. [118722]

Alun Michael: The Defra annual report for 2002 was produced with the assistance of the Central Office of Information at a cost of £17,887, exclusive of VAT. These costs were in relation to proof-reading, design, layout and artwork and production of the web version of the report.

The printing of the document was handled by The Stationary Office Ltd. They bore the full cost of printing and publishing.

The costs for the 2003 Departmental Report have not yet been finalised. The production costs and any print costs for the previous three Annual Departmental Reports for MAFF could be supplied only at a disproportionate cost.

Beef Exports

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 409W, ref. 116584, how much beef was exported over the last three years; and what plans she has to increase this. [118581]

Mr. Morley: The following table shows UK exports of beef of both UK and non-UK origin for the last three years. It is not possible to distinguish between exports of beef of UK origin and beef of non-UK origin which has been imported into the UK and subsequently exported.

Exports of beef and veal from United Kingdom 2000–02

Unit: Thousand tonnes, carcase weight equivalent

(2) Provisional data


Figures include an estimate for unrecorded trade.


HM Custom and Excise OTS

DARD, Northern Ireland

One of the commercial difficulties for beef exporters has been the constrictive nature of the conditions of the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) which still prohibits

12 Jun 2003 : Column 1011W

the export of bone-in beef more than nine months old and has very stringent cattle eligibility criteria. Another problem has been the strength of sterling against the euro. However the possibility that the DBES can be modified or dismantled altogether is becoming a very real prospect as the number of BSE cases continues to decline and this, combined with a strengthening of the euro is likely to improve prospects for exports of British origin beef towards the end of next year.

Business Allowances

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what value of allowances has been made available to businesses since the introduction of the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme; and what the take up has been. [113454]

Mr. Morley: At the time of its introduction, it was estimated that the scheme would be worth £200 million in its first two years (2001–02 and 2002–03), depending on take-up. I regret that information on actual take-up is not yet available.

Avian Influenza

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations her Department has received about chicken influenza in Germany and Holland and importing poultry from these countries; and if she will make a statement. [117139]

Mr. Morley: Aside from three written Parliamentary Questions and three letters from MPs, Defra has received letters from the National Farmers Union and the British Egg Industry Council concerning the outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI) in the Netherlands and the affected part of Germany.

European Community law (Council Directive 92/40/EEC) lays down procedures for controlling AI outbreaks in EU member states. The measures taken by the Dutch and German authorities and endorsed by the European Commission follow the rules laid down in this Directive.

In line with Community Law, in March 2003 Defra issued a Declaration under Regulation 27 of the Animals and Animal (Import and Export) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 introducing a ban on the import of live poultry, hatching eggs and racing/show pigeons from the Netherlands. Further Declarations have been issued prohibiting the import of poultry and hatching eggs from the affected part of Germany. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland introduced similar measures.

The European Commission is keeping all member states informed of the AI situation in the Netherlands and in the affected part of Germany. The Government are satisfied that the German and Dutch Authorities are doing all that is needed to control the disease.

Defra will continue to monitor the situation in both Germany and the Netherlands. Officials have reviewed and updated the AI contingency arrangements and the Department is in close touch with the UK poultry industry about measures we would take should AI appear here.

12 Jun 2003 : Column 1012W

Defra has kept the industry informed and up to date information on the AI situation may be obtained from the Defra website.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of an overspend in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 mapping exercise on other Countryside Agency programmes. [118197]

Alun Michael: The Countryside Agency has reviewed its budget for 2003–04 across all its programmes in the light of current commitments and priorities, including mapping open country under the CRoW Act 2000, high demand for some of its programmes, and to make some efficiency savings shared across its programmes. The Agency is working with the Department and partners to ensure that planned outcomes for its key programmes are delivered and that best use is made of its budget of £98 million in 2003–04 compared with £92 million in 2002–03.

Next Section Index Home Page