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21 Mar 2005 : Column 538W—continued

Farm Prices

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on farm-gate prices paid to farmers for supply of (a) dairy produce, (b) meat and (c) fruit and vegetables. [221690]

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Alun Michael: The information requested is as follows:

Dairy produce

Nearly all milk produced in the UK leaves the farm as raw milk which is then processed into milk for liquidconsumption or manufactured milk products (cheese, butter etc.). The farm-gate price of milk was provisionally 18.5 pence per litre in 2004 1 , 9 per cent. higher than in 2000 (when farm-gate milk prices were at their lowest in recent years).


In 2004 the average price for clean cattle in the UK was provisionally 101.2 pence per kilogram liveweight 2 , 13 per cent. higher than in 2000. The average price for clean pigs in the UK was provisionally 102.7 pence per kilogram deadweight, 9 per cent. higher than in 2000. The average price for clean sheep in Great Britain was provisionally 263.6 pence per kilogram dressed carcase weight, 34 per cent. higher than in 2000.

2 Meat and Livestock Commission market data.
Fruit and Vegetables—Selected farm-gate prices of fruit and vegetables
£ per tonne(3)

20002004Percentage change
Dessert apples357.8376.45
Culinary apples215.3378.176

(3)Wholesale market prices adjusted to convert to farm-gate prices.

Farm Subsidies

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of how many farmers will (a) gain and (b) lose from the redistribution of the dairy premium to be made under the Single Farm Payment Scheme; and if she will make a statement. [221324]

Alun Michael: A detailed analysis of how English dairy farmers stand to benefit or lose out relative to historic entitlements is provided in the document; CAP Single Payment Scheme, Basis for Allocation of Entitlement, Impact of the Scheme to be Adopted in England, which is available in the Library of the House and on the Defra website at:

By the end of the transitional period some sectors will have gained or lost against historical subsidy receipts. Generally speaking, flat rate payments redistribute subsidy from more intensive to less intensive producers and to land not formerly in receipt of subsidy. On average larger dairy farmers will receive lower payments under this system than under one based on historic receipts whereas smaller farms will on average be better off. We believe that the eight-year transition to the flat rate payment will give all farmers time to adjust.
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All payments to dairy farmers in the UK, as for other recipients of the Single Payment, will be decoupled from production, and therefore are no longer linked to particular farming activity. In a decoupled subsidy environment, farmers should only produce milk if they can do so profitably.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why the (a) dairy payment and (b) additional dairy payment are being redistributed to all farmers entitled to the single farm payment; and whether she plans to reconsider the decision to make such payments. [221948]

Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, announced in a statement to the House on 12 February 2004, Official Report, columns 1585–1602, that all possible CAP direct payments, including the dairy premium and additional payment, would be decoupled in the UK at the earliest possible stage—that is in 2005—and that the flat rate model of the Single Payment would be adopted in England.

Those decisions were taken after very careful consideration of the arguments put forward in response to our consultation exercises on these matters. Those responses revealed a significant body of support for decoupling payments, recognising that the more fully support is decoupled, the greater the degree of freedom farmers will be given in respect of their business decisions.

A wide variety of often conflicting views were offered in respect of the Single Payment model, but our decision was ultimately guided by several key principles, namely:

We recognise the special circumstances the dairy sector is in, but remain of the view that its long-term interests are best served by the decisions I have referred to.


Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total fishing effort in km/hours using gill net and tangle net gear in the English Channel and Celtic Sea, ICES areas VIId, e, f, g, h and j was in (a) the 12 metre and over sector and (b) under 12 metre sector in the last period for which figures are available. [222861]

Mr. Bradshaw: Information on the length of time gill and tangle nets are left at sea for each individual fishing session is not collected. These sessions can often span more than one fishing trip. As such, the information requested is not available.
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Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many UK fishing vessels fish with (a) gill net and (b) tangle net; and what length of each type of net is deployed. [222862]

Mr. Bradshaw: Reliable information on the number of UK vessels fishing with gill nets and tangle nets is only available for those over 10 metres in length. In 2004, 84of these fished with gill nets and 34 with tangle nets. The length of each type of net can typically be between 100 metres and 10,000 metres depending on the species being targeted.

Harmful Cargoes

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2005, Official Report, column 1936W, on harmful cargoes, if she will list the occasions since 1 May 1997 when monitoring of (a) fish stocks and (b) other marine wildlife has been instigated following the loss of a harmful cargo into the sea, giving in each case the nature of the cargo, the period of monitoring and the results of that monitoring. [222427]

Mr. Bradshaw: On 15 February 1996, the Sea Empress" laden with over 72,000 tonnes crude oil ran aground off Milford Haven. Extensive monitoring continued for two years covering the contamination with oil of seawater, sediment, fish, shellfish and edible plants and seaweeds with oil as detailed in the report. The main impacts all occurred at the time of the incident or shortly afterwards and there appeared to have been few major long-term effects. A full assessment was provided in the final report of the Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee, published in 1998. A more detailed summary of the report is available at:

On 31 October 2000, the levoli Sun" was abandoned and later sunk approximately 11 miles North West of Alderney. The vessel carried a mixed cargo of 4,000 tonnes styrene, 1,000 tonnes methyl ethyl ketone and 1,000 tonnes isopropyl alcohol. More than 1,000 tonnes styrene was lost to sea during the incident. Analysis of edible tissues from crabs recovered one week later from pots laid very close to the wreck prior to the incident demonstrated only low-level styrene contamination that posed no risk to humans. The remainder of the styrene and the ship's main bunker fuel were recovered from the wreck on the seabed. Full details are provided in R.J. Law, C. Kelly, P. Matthiessen and J. Aldridge (2003) The loss of the chemical tanker levoli Sun in the English Channel, October 2000. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 46: 254–257.

On 29 June 2003, the Jambo" carrying 3,300 tonnes sphalerite ore ran aground on rocks off the Summer Isles North West of Ullapool. Sphalerite is mainly composed of zinc sulphide and contains traces of other metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. Monitoring included testing water, sediments and shellfish for zinc, toxicity testing and measuring the solubility of metallic elements in the sphalerite ore. It showed that measured levels of zinc in the water were mostly very low. Toxic impacts of zinc to water column animals are therefore considered very unlikely. Measured levels of zinc in sediments are very low except in the immediate vicinity of the wreck (-100 metres) so toxic and smothering impacts to
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benthic (seabed) animals are therefore expected to be similarly localised. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the discharged cargo from the Jambo has resulted in persistent elevated levels of zinc, cadmium or arsenic in scallop or crab tissues. It is concluded that eating shellfish from the area around the Jambo incident does not raise any food safety concerns for consumers. The final report of the Jambo Environment Group to the Secretary of State's Representative was published in July 2004 and can be obtained from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at: An environmental monitoring programme will continue each year until 2007.

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