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17 Nov 2005 : Column 1379W—continued

Farmland Birds

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of farmland bird species which are (a) in decline and (b) recovering in England and Wales. [28155]

Jim Knight: Assessments of farmland bird populations in England have been made annually between 1970 and 2003 by the British Trust for Ornithology, using data from the Common Bird Census and Breeding Birds Survey. Data for England and Wales have not been analysed. The assessments show that of 19 farmland bird species:

The populations of the remaining three species (Jackdaw, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon) have increased since 1970.
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Fruit Growing

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the fruit-growing industry in (a) England and (b) Lancashire. [24953]

Jim Knight: The fruit-growing industry is worth over £300 million at the farm gate and supports substantial downstream activity, including packhouses and processing. The sector benefits from Defra's substantial research and development programme and growers are eligible for assistance under the England Rural Development Programme. The Government does not make special provision for the fruit-growing industry on a regional basis.

Horse Passports

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to ensure horse owners are aware of the requirement for horse passports; and what estimate she has made of the number of horses in England and Wales without a horse passport. [28799]

Jim Knight [holding answer 15 November 2005]: We have taken extensive steps to publicise the requirements for horse passports. We have done this by mailings of publicity leaflets to equine organisations, including those with whom horse owners are likely to have regular contact. We have also advertised the requirement in equine publications and urged equine organisations to help publicise the measure to their members. Officials have attended various equine shows and events and comprehensive information has been placed on the Defra website. The requirement has also been well covered in magazines devoted to horse and countryside interests.

The take up of horse passports—at over 661,000 passports—is already higher than many people forecast. It is difficult to estimate the total number of horses without passports given that there is no definitive figure on the total number of horses in this country.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to promote EU legislation to prohibit (a) the promotion of canned hunting trips and (b) the importation of dead animals as trophies; and if she will make a statement. [26135]

Jim Knight: I do not consider that new EU legislation to prohibit the promotion of particular types of hunting trips would be enforceable, while powers are already available to regulate the import, holding and sale of hunting trophies of endangered species.

We are currently considering responses to a recent public consultation on whether we should use existing powers to prohibit the holding of certain animal specimens, including parts or derivatives of tigers, bears, Tibetan antelopes and rhinos (apart from worked antique specimens or licensed hunting trophies), and some respondents have asked that this be extended to cover all hunting trophies.
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We will of course need to take all views into account before coming to a final decision on this matter but I can assure that I will not hesitate to take appropriate action where there is evidence of unsustainable hunting of CITES species.

IT Projects

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many IT projects have been developed for her Department since 2001; and whether she has agreed to make public Gateway Reviews for these projects (a) in full and (b) in part. [23491]

Jim Knight: Since the beginning of the financial year 2001–02, there have been 673 IT projects developed for the Department using the central IT function. Projects not commissioned through the central IT function are excluded as to gather such information would incur a disproportionate cost.

Gateway reviews are conducted on a confidential basis for the business owners of projects and are not published as a matter of course. However, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 each request for the release of information in a Gateway Review is considered on a case-by-case basis. No such requests have been received during this period.

Live Animal Imports

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of live animals imported for slaughter in the last year for which figures are available. [28105]

Jim Knight [holding answer 14 November 2005]: Trade statistics as gathered by HM Revenue and Customs are classified such that it is not always clear whether imported live animals are destined for slaughter or for the breeding herd/flock. Removing the cases where the animal is obviously intended for further breeding our best estimates for 2004 are as follows:
£000Tonnes£000 head

HM Revenue and Customs
Data prepared by Trade statistics, Food Chain Analysis 3, Defra


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate how many orchards there are in England; and how many have preservation orders applied to them. [25007]

Jim Knight: Data from the June 2004 agricultural census indicate that in England there are 2,520 holdings of commercial orchards, covering an area of 19,239 hectares; and 3,739 holdings with non-commercial orchards, covering an area of 3,030 hectares.
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The Department does not hold data on local authority preservation orders. However, under stewardship agreements, about two-thirds of the area of traditional orchards benefit from Defra funding for conservation and maintenance.

Pet Travel Scheme

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the effectiveness of the Pet Travel Scheme. [29247]

Mr. Bradshaw: We believe the Pet Travel Scheme has worked well in facilitating the entry of properly protected pets into the UK from qualifying countries without the need for quarantine since its inception five years ago. Today we are announcing a review to see whether there are elements of the scheme that might be improved.

Poultry Industry

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people are employed in the poultry industry; what the economic value of the poultry industry was in 2004–05; and if she will make a statement. [24942]

Jim Knight: The information is as follows:

1. Number employed on farm

Numbers of people employed on farm is only available from DEFRA for England (broiler production in England accounts for 73 per cent. of the UK total).

The analysis is presented in two ways:

In the first situation much of the labour will be employed on other farm work so therefore numbers employed will be overestimated and in the second case mixed farms which have poultry but are not classified as specialist poultry will be excluded thus numbers employed will be underestimated.
June 2004 Agricultural Census—England all holdings

Labour on holdings with poultry
Full-time holders on holdings with poultry17,778
Part-time holders on holdings with poultry33,520
Full-time employees on holdings with poultry8,986
Part-time employees on holdings with poultry7,243
Total labour force on holdings with poultry inc. casuals73,455
Labour on holdings with a main farm type specialist poultry
Full-time holders2,042
Part-time holders5,750
Full-time employees3,536
Part-time employees1,923
Total labour force inc. casuals14,306

2. Number employed in the poultry processing sector

According to figures collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from their Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) the number of people employed in licensed GB poultry slaughter houses in 2003 was just over 40,000.
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3. Value of poultry production

The value of poultry production in the UK in 2003 was £1.2 billion 1

4. Value of poultry processing

Based on estimates supplied by the ONS from their Annual Business Inquiry, the turnover of companies engaged in the slaughter of poultry in 2003 was £2.4 billion 2 . The ONS figures may underestimate the number of companies which process poultry meat.


1 Agriculture in the UK 2004

2 ONS Annual Business Inquiry 2003.

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