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25 July 2006 : Column 1477W—continued

CAP/Agricultural Tariffs

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had on (a) agricultural tariffs and (b) the common agricultural policy with (i) the US Department of Agriculture and (ii) EU Commissioner Boel in relation to the Doha world trade talks. [86768]

Ian Pearson: My DEFRA ministerial colleagues and I continue to meet regularly with Commissioner Fischer Boel and the European Commission’s directorate-general for Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss a range of issues including reform of the common agricultural policy and the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations which include agricultural tariffs.

We also have contact with representatives from the US Administration and other third countries to discuss issues including agricultural policy and the current Doha talks, and will continue to do so in the future. The European Commission has responsibility for trade negotiations, which take place within a mandate set by EU member states, and has regular contact with WTO delegations.

Carbon Emissions

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to ensure that the UK Government will reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. by 2010. [87474]

Ian Pearson: The new UK climate change programme, published in March 2006, details policies and measures to cut UK emissions of carbondioxide and other/greenhouse gases. The UK’s climate change programme 2006 is available on the Defra website at:

On current projections we are expected to achieve a 16.2 per cent. reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, however the climate change programme is not the
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final word and further contributions are likely be made by the Energy Review, the Department for Communities and Local Government Review of buildings and other Government initiatives over the coming years.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total carbon emissions of the UK were in 2005-06; and what assessment he has made of the relative performance of the UK on carbon emissions compared with other major industrial nations. [87572]

Ian Pearson: Estimates of UK greenhouse gas emissions for 2005 are not yet available. Summary statistics for 2005 will be published in January 2007 and a full national inventory report for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) will be published in April 2007.

Provisional data for 2005 suggest that UK emissions of carbon dioxide were some 153 million tonnes of carbon, and that total greenhouse gas emissions were about 178.9 million tonnes of carbon equivalent. These were respectively about 5.3 per cent. and about 14.6 per cent. below the Kyoto protocol base year level. Provisional estimates are uncertain, but mostly within 1 percentage point of the final figure. In 2004, the most recent year which finalised data are available, UK carbon dioxide and total greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to have been 5.6 per cent. and 14.6 per cent. respectively below Kyoto base year levels.

Of the major mature market economies, only Germany, which has undergone significant economic restructuring since reunification, has reduced its emissions by a greater amount than the UK. The US which has ratified the UNFCCC but not the Kyoto protocol, is estimated to have increased its greenhouse emissions by 16 per cent. between 1990 and 2004.

Climate Change

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the implications of climate change for rural areas; and what plans his Department has to help areas to respond to these implications. [88528]

Ian Pearson: DEFRA has recently received the final report of a study commissioned under the Cross-Regional Research Programme on climate change and its impacts on the Countryside and Rural Economy. The project also considered possible adaptation strategies that could be implemented to lessen the effects of unavoidable climate change. The report outlined the factors contributing to the vulnerability of rural areas, identified the key climate impacts likely to occur, and discussed potential adaptation strategies that could be implemented.

Rural areas will face the same challenges as the UK as a whole: higher average temperatures, more frequent and higher extreme temperatures, especially in the South East, together with warmer wetter winters and longer dry summers, and higher risk of extreme storm and drought events. Farmers and other land managers are in the front line of a changing climate and, as
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identified in the Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy Forward Look, tackling climate change and its impacts are a key part of DEFRA policy on agriculture. Research suggests that though climate change impacts do not appear to threaten the viability of the agriculture industry as a whole in the UK, due to the adaptability of UK systems, individual agricultural businesses and land managers will need to be aware of the need to adapt.

In order to help raise awareness of the problems and develop suitable adaptation strategies, the Rural Climate Change Forum has been established to provide a high level forum for dialogue with the Government, and authoritative advice and leadership to rural stakeholders. Last year under the UK presidency of the EU, we hosted the first ever Joint Informal Council on Environment and Agriculture on the topic of agriculture and climate change.

We have recently awarded funding under the Climate Challenge Fund to the National Farmers’ Union and Forum for the Future, to communicate climate change issues to land managers. We will be working with the National Farmers’ Union, the Country Land and Business Association and the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) to host a seminar on adaptation for agricultural support industries in September this year. We are already working with rural stakeholders and UKCIP on identifying and publicising adaptation strategies and encouraging land managers to see dealing with climate change as part of risk management in their business. UKCIP and regional partners have established rural climate change partnerships to identify local action needed.

The Climate Change Programme 2006 and work on the UK Adaptation Policy Framework lay out a clear framework for action, and signalled a step change in the recognition given to land managers in addressing climate change. The Government will continue to fund research to support this work on impacts and adaptation, particularly through the UK Climate Impacts Programme which is conducting ongoing work to provide scenarios to show how our climate might change and co-ordinating research on dealing with our future climate. We are also considering the scope for establishing an innovation centre for climate change and agriculture to lead and foster research partnerships with relevant UK farming and food interests, and in particular drawing on the experience and systems from regions in climate conditions the UK may face in the future.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of (a) the difference between UK and world prices for agricultural food products as a proxy for the cost to the UK consumer of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and (b) the notional UK contribution to CAP expenditure, broken down by (i) commodity and (ii) European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund spending sector. [83335]

Barry Gardiner: We can estimate the UK consumer cost of the CAP by comparing the difference between UK and world prices for agricultural products and
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applying that difference to the volume of UK consumption. Our latest provisional estimate, for 2004, shows a cost of the CAP to UK consumers of around £4 billion.

The UK contributes to the total EU budget and not to its individual components; however, we can calculate a notional UK contribution to the CAP. We estimate that, in 2004, this notional cost to UK taxpayers of expenditure through the CAP budget was around £3.7 billion (after a notional “agricultural” abatement).

We do not have estimates of the notional UK contribution to spending on individual agricultural commodity sectors. However, the following table provides a breakdown of CAP the level and share of expenditure by commodity and CAP Pillar.

CAP expenditure by commodity and pillar, 2004
€ million Share (Percentage)

Arable crops

17,297

39

Sugar

1,284

3

Olive oil

2,372

5

Fruits and vegetables

1,573

4

Wine

1,092

2

Tobacco

929

2

Other vegetable products

1,534

3

Milk

1,993

4

Beef

7,776

17

Sheep and goats

1,470

3

Pigmeat, eggs and poultry meat

173

0

Other animal products

24

0

Other

782

2

Rural development

6,462

14

Total

44,761

100

Source: European Commission, (2005) 34th Financial Report on The Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.

Dairy Co-operatives

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what publicly-funded incentives exist for dairy farmers to set-up supplier co-operatives. [87167]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 24 July 2006]: A number of dairy co-operatives already exist in Great Britain. The three largest supply around 40 per cent. of raw milk in the UK, process approximately 25 per cent. of the GB milk supply, and between them have over 8,000 farmer members.

Advice and practical assistance to farmers who wish to establish co-operatives or other forms of collaborative enterprises is available from English Farming and Food Partnerships (EFFP). EFFP was set up in line with a recommendation by the Policy Commission for the establishment of a body responsible for encouraging and supporting collaborative activity in England. Its activities are part funded by Government.

Co-operation and collaboration benefiting primary producers is one of the Government’s stated priorities for the award of grants under the Agricultural Development Scheme.

In the consultation on the priorities for the next Rural Development Programme for England (2007-13)
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we proposed that support for the promotion and encouragement of greater collaboration and co-operation between producers should be an activity that the next Programme should support. We are currently considering how to reflect the responses to the consultation in the development of the Programme.

Development (South-East)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research (a) has been completed and (b) is planned into the effect on the environment of (i) existing, (ii) extended and (iii) new developments for London and the South East in the period 2020 to 2050, with particular reference to (A) transport, (B) land use and (C) biodiversity; and if he will make a statement. [83763]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has not carried out any research in to the environmental impacts of development in London and the South East for the period 2020 to 2050, and none is currently planned.

Defra and DCLG commissioned the consultants Entec to model the environmental impacts of the original levels of increased housing supply proposed in Kate Barker’s review of housing supply. The report, entitled: “A sustainability impact study of additional housing scenarios in England” was published in December 2005- and was used to inform the comprehensive package of environmental measures that was announced as part of the Government’s response to the Barker review. However, the period for this study was from 2006-31, and the findings were not location specific. This study investigated a wide range of environmental impacts including land take, but did not consider transport or biodiversity impacts. The report can be found on the DCLG website.

Domestically Produced Food

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of food consumed in the UK was produced in the UK in each year since 1997. [88526]

Ian Pearson: The following table shows UK self sufficiency in food as a percentage of all food and indigenous food.

Self-sufficiency is calculated as the value of production of raw food divided by the value of raw food for human consumption.

UK self sufficiency in food as a percentage of:
all food indigenous type food

1997

68.2

81.6

1998

67.4

81.8

1999

67.5

81.5

2000

66.6

80.1

2001

62.7

75.1

2002

62.4

75.5

2003

63.5

76.7

2004

61.9

74.6

2005

60.0

73.3


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Electric Shock Collars

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will carry out an investigation into the use of electric shock collars as a training aid for dogs; and if he will use such research to assess the merits of banning their use. [87113]

Mr. Bradshaw: We recognise that future research into electric shock collars is a priority. The Department has recently circulated a new call for research, in the form of a Limited Tender Call, with the aim of taking forward any research on or after April 2007. The aim is to obtain independent scientific evidence so that a decision can be taken as to whether or not there is a need for regulation in this area.

We have also asked the Companion Animal Welfare Council, in its role as advisory body to the Government on companion animal welfare matters, to undertake an independent study of available evidence on the use of electronic training devices. The outcome of this study will help inform Defra policy and will complement any separate research that Defra commissions into these devices.

If regulation were considered necessary there would be a full public consultation before any regulations were drafted and put to Parliament. All research into these areas commissioned by the Government will be put in the public domain.


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