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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 12 October 2005


European Contractors

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list contractors based in other EU member states that are providing services to her Department. [15450]

Jim Knight: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Department would need to divert significant resources from day to day operational matters to compare the invoice and billing addresses on its financial systems of those companies with whom it trades, with the registered trading addresses of those companies held at Companies House and then, determine whether any contractors had their primary headquarters based in other EU states.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage contribution farming made to the English gross domestic product (a) before and (b) after deduction for subsidies in each of the last three years. [16485]

Jim Knight: Farming's contribution to the economy is measured by its contribution to Gross Value Added (GVA).

The following table shows the percentage proportion that agriculture made to GVA for England for the years 2001 to 2003, which are the latest available.

GVA for England including production linked subsidiesGVA for England
at market prices
(excluding subsidies)

The subsidies included (and excluded) here are those that were linked to production, such as the Arable Area Payment Scheme and Sheep Annual Premium Scheme. Payments made to farmers through, for example, agri-environment schemes, which are not linked to production, do not contribute to GVA and are not included in these figures.

The increase in the percentage proportion from 2001 will in part reflect a recovery from the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list state aid for national fishing fleets of each EU member state since 1997. [16846]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not hold information on state aids provided by each EU member state to its fishing fleets. We understand that the EU Commission may hold such information.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many vessels from countries which joined the EU in 2004 fished within the UK's 200 mile/median line limit in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [16847]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information as requested is not readily available, and as such what information is available is given as follows.

On joining the EU, the new member states only received very limited allocations of quotas related to any fish stocks involving the waters within British fishery limits. Based on the information reported by these new and the existing member states on the activity by the new member states vessels in 2004, no reported catches of quota stocks involving the areas covered by British fishery limits took place. UK fisheries Departments have details related to activity by such vessels when it results in landings of fish at a UK port. For 2004, these show that while there were landings by some Polish vessels into the UK, they did not involve any activity within British fishery limits.

Information is available from the UK fishing vessel monitoring system, which records observations of UK and fishing vessels registered in other countries while present within British fishery limits. These observations are based on satellite monitoring information for larger vessels and also aerial and naval sightings of vessels. The satellite reporting system does not cover the full fleets of the member states in question, but does cover the larger vessels that are more likely to make the journeys required to fish in UK waters. Similarly the system records the location of vessels but not if they were actually fishing at the time of the report. Based on the overall vessel monitoring reports available, since the accession of the new member states on 1 May 2004, there have been only three vessels from the new member states observed as present within British fishery limits—one each from Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.

Hazardous Waste Regulations

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the effects of the hazardous waste regulations on the construction industry; [14999]

(2) what the definition of occupy is for the purposes of the hazardous waste regulations, with regard to the mobile services tenure restriction for exemption from notification to the Environment Agency; [15000]

(3) whether construction contractors are considered for the purposes of the hazardous waste regulations to occupy the premises on which they work; [15001]
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(4) whether the number of registrations anticipated by the Environment Agency as a result of the hazardous waste regulations includes construction sites. [15002]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency are responsible for enforcing the new regulations and it has confirmed that, in some circumstances, it will consider sub-contractors working at construction sites to be mobile service operators. The agency would normally expect a construction company producing hazardous waste at a construction site to notify those premises. However, where a producer is genuinely carrying out a mobile service at a site, such as a painter and decorator, the mobile service provisions would apply as long as that person produces less than 200kg at those premises in any period of 12 months.

As far as the tenure restriction (i.e. that the operator of the mobile service neither owns nor occupies those related premises) is concerned, the interpretation of the regulations is ultimately a matter for the courts. The term "occupies" is not defined in the regulations and it will therefore carry its ordinary meaning. In the Government's view, it would normally refer to the person in occupation and in many cases that will be the tenant or licensee of the premises. The effect would be that any contractor who is a tenant or a licensee would not satisfy the mobile service tenure restriction and would need to notify the premises. However, a sub-contractor attending a site to carry out a specific task (without occupying the site) would be able to operate under the mobile service provisions as long as they produced less than 200kg of hazardous waste at that site in any period of twelve months.

The final regulatory impact assessment which assessed the impact of the regulations on a range of businesses and industry notes that the Environment Agency estimated that there would be 110,000 notified sites in year one. This estimate is based in part on the number of sites producing and consigning special waste under the previous regime. In so far as construction sites consigned special waste under the special waste regime, they will be included in the estimate of notifications under the hazardous waste regulations.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to improve public access to rivers in England; and if she will make a statement. [17458]

Jim Knight: Defra has put in place a number of measures to increase opportunities for water-based recreation. These include:

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All of this work has been underpinned by extensive discussions with the Countryside Agency, Environment Agency, Sport England, and the British Canoe Union.

Responsibility for promoting recreation in Wales, including access to rivers, lies with the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government rather than with Defra.

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