6 July 2006 : Column 1288W—continued

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the liquid whole milk equivalent volume of (a) imports and (b) exports of milk-based products in each of the last three years. [82489]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 4 July 2006]: It is not possible to provide overseas trade estimates for the different milk products in liquid milk equivalent. It is a complex calculation which can lead to double counting as different components of liquid milk can be used to manufacture different products. The following table shows the UK trade in milk products in tonnage and value for 2003 to 2005.

 2003 2004 2005 Trade Description Tonnes £000 Tonnes £000 Tonnes £000 Imports Cheese 315,622 743,898 334,654 810,598 352,411 850,668 Yoghurt 193,255 137,888 181,110 139,889 154,200 126,651 Butter 118,387 281,102 113,694 278,869 128,620 309,407 Buttermilk 56,602 48,609 87,409 68,181 111,127 96,253 Ice cream 76,779 129,736 89,304 142,482 82,317 127,658 Condensed milk 19,628 17,770 25,134 22,913 32,911 33,221 Whey 26,827 18,715 25,029 16,071 22,303 17,293 Other 1,334 1,716 1,707 2,146 2,079 3,391 Imports total 808,435 1,379,434 858,043 1,481,149 885,968 1,564,543 Exports Cheese 89,795 179,415 93,286 201,560 96,073 219,079 Whey 42,647 12,140 56,167 16,812 75,416 27,287 Ice cream 40,847 47,680 53,219 50,464 50,515 46,763 Butter 44,366 74,952 34,793 59,235 45,147 73,216 Yoghurt 9,755 14,831 12,033 21,359 22,317 24,457 Buttermilk 11,659 6,719 13,056 5,166 20,456 6,328 Condensed milk 20,471 15,046 17,767 10,756 3,726 6,470 Other 834 918 11,221 24,456 162 689 Exports total 260,374 351,701 291,542 389,807 313,813 404,289 Source: H M Revenue and Customs Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA 2005 data is subject to amendments

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the sustainability for dairy farmers of the price paid to them for milk. [78386]

Barry Gardiner: Price negotiations between producers and processors, are a private commercial matter in which Government cannot get involved provided competition rules are respected.

Dairy farmers are currently facing a number of challenges, including farmgate prices. In line with the ‘Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food’, the Government are working alongside the industry to facilitate and support its future development. For
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example, the Dairy Supply Chain Forum is providing information to help the dairy industry make informed decisions about its future in a world with much freer trade and lower prices

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average price per litre paid to (a) farmers, (b) purchasers and (c) supermarkets for milk was in each month in each year since 1997. [82451]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 4 July 2006]: The information requested is as follows.

(a) The table shows monthly weighted average farm gate milk prices in pence per litre for the United Kingdom.

The average prices are calculated from monthly surveys of milk purchasers conducted in England and Wales by Defra, in Scotland by SEERAD and in Northern Ireland by DARD.

The farm gate price is the average price received by producers, net of delivery charges. No deduction has been made for superlevy.

(b) Prices paid by retailers to milk purchases are not available.

(c) Prices are derived from the Expenditure and Food Survey and are for the top five shops (in terms of value of food and drink purchased) as identified in this survey. Prior to 2001-02 this information was collected as part of the National Food Survey and cannot be broken down by retail outlet in this way.

 Supermarket price (liquid wholemilk) Farmgate price (including bonus payments) 2001-02 43.79 19.31 2002-03 44.98 16.86 2003-04 47.37 18.27 2004-05(1) 48.00 18.39 (1) Pence per litre.

### National Water Grid

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the water industry regarding proposals for a national water grid; and if he will make a statement; [82576]

(2) what plans he has to develop a national water grid; and if he will make a statement. [82852]

Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1448W.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to consult the water industry on national water plans. [82853]

Ian Pearson: A meeting with representatives from across the water industry was held on 1 June, to discuss the provision of water resources over the short, medium and long term.

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All water companies have water resources plans, which reconcile supply and anticipated demand over a 25-year horizon, in their own areas of supply.

The production and maintenance of water resources management plans will become a statutory requirement under the Water Act 2003. A consultation on the proposed water resources management plans regulations was held between 31 January 2006 and 25 April 2006. The consultees included water companies. The new regime will commence in April 2007.

### Palm Oil (Malaysia)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the environmental impact of palm oil production in Malaysia. [82873]

Ian Pearson: Palm oil is used in many processed foods as well as cosmetics and detergents. It can also be used to produce biodiesel transport fuel. For this reason, demand is high and may be contributing to the destruction of virgin forest in Malaysia and Indonesia. Environmental groups have highlighted in particular the impact this may be having on Orang-utan populations.

The Government are very conscious that increasing consumption of goods and services in the UK can have environmental and social consequences overseas. It is for this reason that DEFRA is commissioning research work on the environmental impacts of internationally sourced commodity production in general.

Specifically, the Government are also encouraging industry to sign up to the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which is developing a globally acceptable definition of sustainable palm oil production.

### Private Members' Bills

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Private Members’ Bills were drafted by his Department in each Session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. [78836]

Barry Gardiner: Members will consider a range of possible subjects before introducing their Private Members’ Bills. Government draftsmen do draft some Bills in advance which are available as one of the options for Members to consider before they make their selection. However, Members may make subsequent amendments or revisions to a Government drafted Bill, or use it as the basis for a Private Members’ Bill in the future.

The information requested is therefore not collected.

### Rural Payments Agency

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of whether there was any element of
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maladministration on the part of the Rural Payments Agency in its failure to pay the bulk of the 2005 single farm payments by the end of March 2006. [73217]

Barry Gardiner: The assessment my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett) made on learning that the bulk of payments would not be made by the end of March was that there was an urgent need to strengthen the leadership of the Rural Payments Agency. The subsequent appointment of Mark Addison and then Tony Cooper as interim chief executive has lead to the position reported by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 22 June 2006, Official Report, column 1478, that, as of 20 June, some £1.38 billion, representing more than 90 per cent. of the total fund, has now been paid to more than 100,000 applicants.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the performance of employees of the Rural Payments Agency; and if he will make a statement. [79484]

Barry Gardiner: Most representations have been along the lines of those made by Peter Kendall, President of the National Union of Farmers who, after visiting a Rural Payments Agency office in April, stated that