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6 Jan 2004 : Column 254W—continued


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter to her dated 10 November from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. Darren Pennington. [144640]

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Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State replied to my right hon. Friend's letter on 23 December 2003.

Crop Areas

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will establish an independent inquiry into errors made by the Department in respect of the wheat area for this year's harvest. [143592]

Mr. Bradshaw: The cause of the error in the estimation of this year's crop areas has already been identified. In using the IACS data to augment the census basis, the mistake was made of mixing up holdings and businesses. It was a simple mistake. A modification has been made to the computer program to ensure that it is not repeated in the future. The department will be working with its independent statistical advisors to improve the system and processes. In the circumstances there is no need to conduct a separate independent inquiry.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will impose penalties on her Department's staff responsible for supplying incorrect details of the wheat area for this year's harvest. [144404]

Mr. Bradshaw: A genuine error was made which was quickly corrected when spotted. The imposition of penalties is not appropriate in these circumstances. Defra operates a formal appraisal system for its staff which involves all aspects of their performance.

Dee Cockle Regulation Order

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the Dee Cockle Regulation Order to be implemented. [144780]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government will act jointly to make a single Regulating Order under the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 once the prospective grantee, the Environment Agency Wales, is in a position to submit a formal application for the order. The agency is in the process of obtaining written consents from landowners and it will forward an application when these are received.

We will ensure that the application is processed as quickly as possible under the terms of the 1967 Act but the process can take up to two years.

Environmental Taxation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of GDP is raised in (a) the UK and (b) each other country belonging to the OECD as environmental taxation, (i) including and (ii) excluding taxation of energy. [143289]

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Mr. Morley: The OECD's latest published figures for environmental taxation as a percentage of GDP are given in the following table. The environmental tax estimates include energy taxes but these are not published separately.

Member countryEnvironmental taxation as a percentage of GDP in 2001 for each OECD member country
Czech Republic2.93
ItalyNot available
New Zealand1.57
Slovak Republic2.06
United Kingdom2.85
United States0.96


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list services offered by Envirowise that are not available from the private sector; what steps she has taken to invite the private sector to undertake services offered by Envirowise; and when they were taken. [144577]

Mr. Morley: Envirowise provides a range of services to business to promote best practice in preventing and minimising waste in all its forms, reducing pollution and making the most effective use of resources. The programme provides the Environment and Energy Helpline; a dedicated website; best practice publications; and on-site visits. All of these services are provided free of charge to UK businesses.

The programme helps companies to recognise the need to improve their efficiency, and gives them sufficient information to start taking action. Companies may then either build on this activity themselves, or engage private sector service providers.

Envirowise services are delivered jointly by two private sector companies through a contract won in open tender, following an invitation to tender published in the Official Journal in August 1999. The contract requires more than 50 per cent. of the Programme to be sub-contracted, and the managing contractors use over

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200 other contractors each year. This includes over 80 specialist consultants on its Helpline panel, who are appointed through open tender every two years.

Flood Protection

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 9 December, Official Report, column 378W, on flood protection, what the relationship of flood defence committees to internal drainage boards is. [145038]

Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal flood defence operating authority in England and Wales. Generally speaking, the EA is empowered under the Water Resources Act 1991 for managing flood risk arising from designated "main" rivers and the sea. The EA is also responsible for flood forecasting and flood warning dissemination, and for exercising a general supervision over matters relating to flood defence.

Regional Flood Defence Committees in England and Wales are made up of Defra, EA and Local Authority appointed members, and they are responsible for undertaking flood defence activities on behalf of the Environment Agency.

Internal drainage boards (IDBs) are statutory bodies, empowered under the Land Drainage Act 1991 to undertake flood defence works for watercourses which have not been designated as "main", in specified districts with special drainage needs.

Although there are no formal relationships or guidance for membership between the RFDCs and IDBs, there is nothing to stop an individual member occupying a position on the committee of both an RFDC and an IDB in their area, and in some instances this is the case.

Food Miles

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies

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her Department has funded since 1997 into food miles; and what the conclusions and recommendations were. [144558]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has commissioned a group of researchers, led by AEA Technology, to examine the validity of food miles as a quantitative measure of progress in the sustainable development of the farming and food industries. This research is expected to be completed in spring 2004.

Defra has also contributed a small amount of funding, along with other stakeholders, to a Transport 2000 study to model various transport distribution scenarios for a 'basket' of three food products. The study examined whether a shift to sourcing these products more locally would lead to greater or fewer CO 2 emissions in the supply chain overall. Transport 2000 has recently published the results of this work in "Wise Moves—exploring the relationship between food, transport and CO2".

Food Prices

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average (a) farmgate and (b) retail price was of (i) one kilogram of (A) beef, (B) lamb, (C) pork, (D) chicken, (E) turkey, (F) bacon, (G) dessert apples, (H) potatoes, (I) carrots, (J) cauliflower, (K) peas, (L) runner beans, (ii) one pint of (x) milk, (y) cream and (z) yoghurt, (iii) one dozen eggs and (iv) one litre of (X) English wine and (Y) brandy in each year since 2000 for which figures are available, broken down by (1) organic and (2) conventionally produced foodstuffs. [144206]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 15 December 2003]: The farm gate and retail prices of conventionally grown foodstuffs for 2000 to 2002, where available, are shown in the table. Prices are not collected for English wine or brandy. Small quantities of cream and yoghurt are sold to the consumer at retail prices. The amount of processing taking place between farm gate and retail varies from commodity to commodity; an indication is given in the table. Farm gate prices include produce destined for highly processed food, which is normally lower quality and sells at a lower price.

No further information is available for prices of organically produced food.

Conventionally grown produce

2000 (£)2001(£)2002 (£)Indication of further processing
BeefFarmgate value (a)£/kg1.691.641.70
Retail value (b)£/kg3.803.773.84slaughtered, trimmed and cut
LambFarmgate value (a)£/kg1.901.972.36
Retail value (b)£/kg4.524.784.84slaughtered trimmed and cut
PorkFarmgate value (a)£/kg0.950.970.94
Retail value (b)£/kg2.002.212.26slaughtered, trimmed and cut
ChickenFarmgate value (c)£/kg0.710.700.69
Retail value (d)£/kg2.232.272.24slaughtered
TurkeyFarmgate value (c)£/kg1.301.241.13
Retail value£/kgn/an/an/aslaughtered
BaconFarmgate value (a)£/kg0.950.990.96
Retail value (b)£/kg3.103.553.54slaughtered, trimmed and cut
Apples, dessertFarmgate value (e)£/kg0.350.360.45
Retail value (g)£kg1.081.171.21packing and grading where off farm
PotatoesFarmgate value (f)£/kg0.080.110.08
Retail value (h)£/kg0.670.410.39packing and grading where off farm
CarrotsFarmgate value (f)£/kg0.280.260.18
Retail value (h)£/kgn/a0.620.55packing and grading where off farm
CauliflowerFarmgate value (e)£/kg0.270.280.34
Retail value (g)£/kg0.570.690.68packing and grading where off farm
Peas for processingFarmgate value (e)£/kg0.190.200.29
Retail value (i)£/kgn/a1.171.12packing and grading where off farm
Runner beansFarmgate value (e)£/kg0.880.790.77
Retail value£/kgn/an/an/apacking and grading where off farm
MilkFarmgate value (j)£/pint0.100.110.10
Retail value (g)£/pint0.190.200.23pasteurised, bottled and transport; shop and delivered
EggsFarmgate value (g)£ dozen0.530.550.56
Retail value (g)£ dozen1.601.531.52packing and grading where off farm


(a) MLC, Defra

(b) MLC for 2000, other years derived by applying RPI for the item to 2000 value

(c) Average producer price (p/kg carcase weight). Source: Agriculture in the United Kingdom, Defra

(d) Chicken, roasting, fresh. Source: ONS

(e) Average farmgate prices for crop years. Source: Basic Horticultural Statistics, Defra

(f) Agriculture in the United Kingdom, Defra

(g) ONS

(h) Old white loose potatoes, not including pre-packed. Source: ONS

(i) Frozen garden peas, price per 900–910g bag grossed up to £:kg. Source: ONS

(j) MMBs, Defra

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