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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps have been taken to encourage UK food producers to apply for the European Union's (a) Traditional Speciality Guaranteed designation and (b) Protected Designation of Origin status. 
Barry Gardiner: For a number of years now we have been actively seeking to raise awareness about the European Union's Protected Food Name Scheme and encourage more UK applications. The scheme provides a means for farmers to add value to their produce and market it in a more imaginative way, particularly given consumers' growing interest in food with a clear regional provenance. Promotion of the scheme forms part of our wider strategy of support for the quality regional food sector.
DEFRA has written to a large number of trade associations and producers to remind them of the economic benefits to producers of achieving protected name status. We have also written to a large number of trade associations and producers to remind them of the economic benefits to producers of achieving protected name status.
In addition, the Department has held positive meetings with a number of key organisations including the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association, the Meat and Livestock Commission, the British Pig Association and the Milk Development Council to discuss possible applications.
We have also commissioned research to determine the awareness, perception, and attitudes towards, the EU protected food name schemes among UK retailers available on the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodname/reglocal/adasresearchpdo.pdf and contributed to press articles promoting the scheme.
I am pleased to say that all this effort is bearing fruit. There are currently 36 UK products registered including Stilton Cheese (PDO), Scotch Beef (PGI), Welsh Lamb (PGI), Cornish Clotted Cream (PDO) and Arbroath Smokies (PGI). A further 24 applications are currently being considered.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff in his Department are employed on implementing and administering EU directives, regulations and policies. 
Barry Gardiner: The number of full-time equivalent staff employed on implementing and administering EU directives, regulations and policies is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance the Health and Safety Executive has issued on the acceptable minimum and maximum temperatures for the rearing and transportation of farm livestock. 
DEFRAs welfare codes for the main farmed livestock, include advice on maintaining temperatures within limits which are not harmful to farm animals. These are available on the DEFRA website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/on-farm.htm#welfarecodes Similarly, DEFRA has issued guidance on the welfare of animals in hot weather. This guidance is available on the DEFRA website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/heat/index.htm
There is an obligation on those looking after animals to avoid causing them unnecessary suffering. It is an offence if the welfare of an animal is compromised as a result of a failure to take appropriate action in response to extremes of temperature.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the change in the condition of flood and coastal defences based on (a) the interim results of the updating of the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database and (b) the most recent previous estimate of the defences. 
Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England, from both rivers (those designated as main) and the sea, and has assumed responsibility for some 1,800 additional watercourse lengths transferred from other operating authorities over the last three years. The Agency uses the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database (NFCDD) to monitor the condition of its assets, with a review of progress held on a quarterly basis. The frequency of individual asset inspection depends on the level of flood risk involved. A comparison of quarterly figures is as follows:
|Asset conditioncomparison of quarterly figures from NFCDD 2005-06|
1 = Very good, fully serviceable (no remedial work required).
2 = Good, minor defects (minor routine maintenance work required).
3 = Fair, some cause for concern, requires monitoring (significant maintenance work required).
4 = Poor, structurally unsound now or in near future (major remedial works required).
5 = Very poor, completely failed or derelict (requires complete reconstruction).
3(rd) party maintained assets are those on main rivers or the sea which are maintained by parties other than the Environment Agency such as other operating authorities, riparian owners etcetera.
Under DEFRAs High Level Target 2, the other operating authorities are responsible for ensuring that inspections of their assets are carried out and the results recorded on the NFCDD. Defra has not carried out any assessment of the results of these inspections.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the BBC's development of Free Sat on affordable television reception in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department has made no such assessment. The proposed BBC Free Sat is a very helpful development. It will give greater choice to
consumers, both before and after digital switchover. It is particularly attractive to homes not currently served by digital terrestrial television in rural areas who have limited choice.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what criteria will be used to assess whether appropriate scientific data is available in relation to the field testing of products incorporating Genetic Use Restriction Technologies; and who will be responsible for making the assessment; 
(2) what criteria will be used to assess whether appropriate scientific assessment of the ecological and socio-economic impacts of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies has been carried out; and who will make that decision; 
(1) appropriate scientific data is available in relation to the field testing of products incorporating Genetic Use Restriction Technologies.
(2) appropriate scientific assessment of the ecological and socio-economic impacts of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies have been carried out.
(3) the conditions for the safe and beneficial use of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies have been validated.
Decisions in the European Union on applications to approve genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are made on a case-by-case basis taking full account of a scientific assessment of the particular GMO and the risks associated with its use against the criteria in the EU legislation. An application for a GMO incorporating Genetic Use Restriction Technologies would be dealt with in the same way as any other GMO. Approval would only be granted if the evidence showed that a deliberate release of the GMO would not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.
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