Previous Section Index Home Page

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1024W—continued

Fair Trade Products

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is the policy of her Department to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. [142815]

Alun Michael: Yes. As explained by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 9 December 2002, Official Report, column 92W, the Government are committed to supporting ethical trading wherever possible within the boundaries set by Government's value for money policy and the EC procurement rules.

Defra's policy is to work with the department's catering service providers so that fair trade tea and coffee is available to staff as customers and can be served at official meetings and conferences when appropriate.

To date, Defra and its caterers have arranged for fair trade products to be available at nine of its 11 staff restaurants, including Defra's HQ and a number of regional offices in Guildford, York and Crewe. At each of these sites the teas and coffees served as official hospitality are fair trade products. Efforts to identify potential for serving more fair trade food products are continuing.

Farm Animal Welfare

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's plans to regulate farm animal welfare through Codes of Practice that have been recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. [144533]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra takes account of advice from the Farm Animal Welfare Council when formulating and revising Codes of Practice relating to farm animal welfare. We are in the process of revising Codes of Practice for the welfare of red meat and white meat animals at slaughter and killing. They will be published next year. We also hope to publish revised Codes of Recommendations for the welfare of ducks, goats and turkeys by next summer.

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1025W

Farmer Subsidies

Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average subsidy to eligible farmers in (a) England and Wales, (b) Yorkshire and The Humber, (c) the East Riding of Yorkshire and (d) North Lincolnshire is in 2003–04. [142778]

Mr. Bradshaw: The table shows direct payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund 2003 year (16 October 2002 to 15 October 2003). Some farmers may also have received market support payments, though these are available to traders as well. In addition, farmers benefited from the effect of the market regimes and import tariffs, which kept the price of many commodities in the EU higher than elsewhere. Questions regarding payment of direct grants and subsidies in Wales should be directed to the devolved authorities in Wales.

AreaNumber of farmers receiving subsidyTotal subsidy (£)Average subsidy per farmer (£)
(a) England88,9781,539,639,16017,304
(b) Yorkshire and The Humber10,506191,985,66618,274
(c) East Riding of Yorkshire1,65040,551,37324,577
(d) North Lincolnshire51814,482,41427,958


Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who will lead the UK delegation at the December Fisheries Council. [142726]

Mr. Bradshaw: I will lead the UK delegation at the discussions on fisheries at the December Agriculture and Fisheries Council together with Ross Finnie, Minister for Environment and Rural Development in the Scottish Executive and Ian Pearson, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the progress of trials of active acoustic deterrents; when the trials will be completed; and when she expects to make an assessment of their effectiveness; [143540]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra is grant aiding a trial by the Sea Fish Industry Authority to assess the technical viability of using pingers on gill nets to prevent porpoise bycatch. The first phase has just been completed and the next phase with pingers modified to improve performance and to assess longer term durability is likely to start in February 2004. The timescale for this trial has not yet been fixed. The results will be presented in a Seafish Technical Report.

The findings to date of these trials have been reviewed at a meeting of interested parties, including pinger manufacturers, under the auspices of a Biodiversity Action Plan for the protection of small cetaceans. This

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1026W

review has helped to inform the next stage of the trials. The trials will also be useful in determining the next steps of the UK Small Cetacean Bycatch Response Strategy on which I hope to make an announcement early in the New Year, in consultation with the Devolved Administrations.

Flame Retardants

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the review of Deca-BDE; and what advice she has received on potential alternatives. [144388]

Alun Michael: We have concluded the environmental risk assessment of deca-BDE carried out under the Existing Substances Regulation (EC) 793/93 and forwarded it to other Member States. Initial discussion has agreed that for the standard risk assessment, no further information nor risk management measures are needed. However, further data, not mandated by the Regulation, is available and this cannot be ignored. This information is of concern but it is not possible at this stage to conclude that there is a clear and unambiguous risk. It was therefore further agreed that the UK should recommend a monitoring programme, which will provide information as to the changing levels of deca-BDE in the environment. We are expecting levels to go down as industry controls its emissions more effectively. The environmental risk assessment is still being discussed within the European process and the final conclusion will ultimately be for the Community.

The examination of alternatives (looking at both efficacy and cost) is a standard part of the next step of this process when looking to see if any risk reduction measures are appropriate. In the case of deca-BDE, some of this work has already been carried out on a precautionary basis—at present a ready, safer alternative has not been identified.

Game Birds

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether she plans to introduce provisions on the use of bits and specs for game birds in the Animal Welfare Bill; [144529]

Mr. Bradshaw: One of the opportunities provided by the proposed Animal Welfare Bill would be the possibility of introducing codes of practice, including a code on the rearing of gamebirds, which would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The codes would support a statutory duty to promote the welfare of animals kept by man. The code on gamebirds would better regulate the methods, including bits and specs, used in rearing. It is not known how many companies currently use bits and what the costs and benefits of employing specs are.

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1027W

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to address mistreatment of game birds. [144530]

Mr. Bradshaw: Gamebirds are afforded protection under the Game (Scotland) Act 1772, the Game Act 1831, the Protection of Animals Act 1911, Protection of Animals Act (Scotland) 1912 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The proposed Animal Welfare Bill provides an opportunity to modernise the law as far as gamebird rearing in England and Wales is concerned.


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation sponsored by her Department in 2002–03 was introduced to implement EU requirements. [141135]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is as follows:

(a) In 2002–03, 50 per cent. of primary legislation sponsored by the Department was introduced to implement EU requirements.

(b) During the same period, in the case of secondary legislation my Department was responsible for the making of 120 Statutory Instruments, of which, 57 per cent. were introduced to implement EU requirements.

Next Section Index Home Page