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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's strategy is for encouraging farmers to make their farms more environmentally friendly. 
Alun Michael: The Government are acutely aware of the link between agriculture and the environment and agreed the role of farmers as custodians of the countryside to be basic. The strategy for sustainable farming and food was launched in England in 2002 and sets out the basis for a new relationship between Government and the farming industry in England. At its heart is a drive to enable farmers to focus on their market, rather than on subsidies, while managing their businesses in more environmentally and socially responsible ways.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform deal of 2003 is central to the strategy. Farmers are now encouraged to meet the demands of the market, and there is no incentive to over-produce, because the link between subsidies and production has been broken. This will benefit society as a whole by reducing the negative environmental and animal welfare impacts of intensive farming.
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The cross compliance element of the CAP single payment scheme provides a new basis for agricultural subsidies, by linking them to delivery of important environmental and animal health and welfare standards. This will contribute to a number of strategy objectives by protecting soils, wildlife habitats and the landscape.
Further to this is the launch of environmental stewardship this spring which builds on cross compliance and replaces existing agri-environment schemes (environmentally sensitive areas, countryside stewardship and organic farming schemes). The aim of environmental stewardship will be to tackle countrywide environmental problems such as diffuse pollution, loss of biodiversity and landscape character, and damage to the historic environment. For the first time every farmer in England will be eligible to earn payments for undertaking environmental management on the land.
A whole farm scheme open to all farmers and land managers who agree to carry out basic environmental management. Farmers will be able to earn up to 30 per hectare annually for delivering straightforward, yet effective, work.
A similar whole farm scheme, which offers organic management options to farmers with land registered as fully organic or in conversion to organic farming, with an organic inspection body approved by Defra. It provides payments of up to 60 per hectare annually for land entered into the scheme.
Together with the new CAP single payment scheme and cross-compliance, the new scheme will mark a watershed in the way England is farmed, and will continue to improve and build on the successes achieved through almost two decades of experience with the countryside stewardship, environmentally sensitive areas and organic farming schemes. There are a number of wide-ranging objectives, which go beyond those of the earlier schemes and include the protection of water and soil and flood management.
The Department is also committed to encouraging greater production of organic food, and has set out its strategy for achieving this in the action plan to develop organic food and farming in England, published in July 2002, and the Two Years On report, published in August last year.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to public funds of subsidising the collection of one (a) beef carcass, (b) sheep carcass and (c) horse carcass in each county of England in the 200405 financial year. 
[holding answer 24 March 2005]: The information is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the latest total figures for the Government contribution to collection costs under the National Fallen Stock Scheme for the UK as a whole from 22 November 2004 to date is as follows: (a) bovine
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carcases £162,094; (b) sheep carcases £198,929; (c) horse carcases £0 ( horses are not eligible for support under the scheme).
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the lowest charge quoted to the National Fallen Stock Company is for the collection of a (a) beef, (b) sheep and (c) horse carcase in each county of England. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 24 March 2005]: The information is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Information on prices charged by fallen stock collectors in particular areas are provided on an individual postcode basis to farmers and horse owners who join the National Fallen Stock Scheme. This is not only on the basis of the species but different categories within species (e.g. bovines 612 months, 1224 months etc.).
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence she has collated of the pollution of (a) watercourses and (b) groundwater by on-farm burials of fallen stock in each year since 1999. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 24 March 2005]: None. However, the Environment Agency is often involved with carcases found in or near to watercourses and it has no direct evidence to show that on-farm burial in the past has caused reportable pollution problems.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what records she has kept of trends in the costs of (a) incineration and (b) rendering of fallen stock in each year since 1999; and if she will make a statement on the cost of disposal of (i)beef, (ii) sheep and (iii) horse carcasses. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 24 March 2005]: The Department does not keep records of trends in costs of incineration and rendering of fallen stock. This is a commercial matter for the fallen stock disposal industry. The Government contribution to the National Fallen Stock Scheme has assisted farmers, but not horse owners, who have joined the Scheme with the costs of collection and disposal of fallen stock since November 2004.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of changes in the over-30-month scheme on (a) demand for incineration capacity between March 2005 and March 2007 and (b) the cost of incineration of (i) beef, (ii) sheep and (iii) horse carcases. 
[holding answer 24 March 2005]: My officials met with representatives of the disposal industry in January 2005 to discuss the likely effects of the forthcoming OTM rule change. Views on the impact of the rule change on all sectors are also being sought as part of the process of the respective Defra and FSA consultations on changes to the domestic TSE Regulations.
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Alun Michael: While we recognise the problems that low farm gate prices have caused, the prices at which farmers sell their produce is a commercial matter in which the Government should not get involved. However, Ministers frequently meet representatives from all parts of the supply chain and are aware of the issues.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average compensation payments paid in each region of England and Wales were in each month from February to October 2001 for (a) sheep and (b) cattle. 
I have placed in the Library a table that shows the average amount of compensation for both sheep and cattle for each region within both England and Wales. The table only includes those months where compensation was paid, and the amounts shown are rounded to the nearest pound.
I am providing the information on a county basis since that is how figures have been recorded and it would be difficult to produce regional averages without considerable work to aggregate the base information.
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