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30 Oct 2006 : Column 54W—continued


Looking ahead, expenditure on coupled subsidies is largely demand led and, therefore, difficult to estimate. Expenditure on decoupled subsidies will arise largely from the single payment scheme, for which the UK’s financial ceiling for years 2006 onwards is shown in the following table:

Budget for single payment scheme: United Kingdom (£ million)( 1)

2006

2,673

2007

2,684

2008

2,695

2009

2,701

2010+

2,694

(1) Calculated using the euro/ exchange rate which applies in the 2006 scheme year (1€ = 0.67770).

The European Commission has also recently announced that the UK will receive approximately £1.3 billion for expenditure on rural development programmes over the seven-year period 2007-13. These European Funds must be matched, or near-matched, pound for pound with domestic exchequer money.

Animal Welfare

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints regarding the welfare of pigs the State Veterinary Service has investigated in each of the last five years; and in how many cases legal action resulting in a positive outcome has been pursued. [98209]


30 Oct 2006 : Column 55W

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is set out in the following table:

Pig welfare complaint investigations
Complaints Legal action taken Resolved Not yet resolved

2001

69

21

21

0

2002

125

46

46

0

2003

130

54

54

0

2004

140

51

51

0

2005

142

50

49

(1)1

2006 to date

82

34

33

(2)1

(1 )(case is subject to further investigation)
(2 )(prosecution pending)

Legal action can include prosecution, provision of a statement, serving an Enforcement Notice under Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2000 (as amended), issuing a caution or advisory letter and a revisit to monitor compliance.

Battery Cages

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent developments there have been in the EU Agriculture Council on the timetable for the ban on battery cages. [97683]

Mr. Bradshaw: There have been no recent developments on this issue in the European Union Agriculture Council. Under Council Directive 99/74/EC, conventional cages will be banned from 2012.

The European Commission's report on the various rearing systems for laying hens is overdue, but is expected by the end of the year. Further information is available on the DEFRA website at:

Carbon Fund for Africa

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on progress made in developing a carbon fund for Africa. [92476]

Ian Pearson: The second meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Nairobi, this November, presents an ideal opportunity to explore how Africa’s participation in investment in projects through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) can be enhanced. There are several alternative proposals on the table for discussion in Nairobi, and the UK is keen to see a positive outcome.

The CDM market has grown enormously in the last year, with an estimated 1,000 projects, and 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the pipeline to 2012. The UK is the major private sector participant in the CDM market, with UK companies participating in some 25 per cent. of currently registered CDM projects.

Africa does not have a record of attracting significant private investment in the CDM, so the
30 Oct 2006 : Column 56W
Government are arguing for the development of a fund which could assist in building capacity within Africa to develop and identify projects that could attract carbon finance. I am discussing the idea with colleagues from within the EU as well as from Africa. In parallel, I have asked officials to examine how a carbon fund for Africa could be best designed to deliver on this objective.

The challenge is to ensure that any fund is designed to deliver long-term benefits to the countries concerned. As well as pressing the fund we need to look at the full range of measures to support and enhance Africa’s participation in the CDM.

There is already considerable international experience of support for CDM-related investment.

The UK already supports several initiatives that assist African participation in CDM:

There are also several existing multilateral, European and bilateral initiatives on support capacity building and project investment, agreed at a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change level, through the World Banks and bilaterally. This is something we need to learn from and build on.

Cheese Production

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of (a) gross domestic product and (b) total food production can be attributed to cheese production. [96759]

Barry Gardiner: Precise estimates for the gross value added from UK cheese production are not available. However, based on the value of sales, it is estimated that the manufacture of cheese, including grated and processed cheese, represented (a) less than 0.05 per cent. of national gross domestic product, and (b) about 1.5 per cent. of gross value added for food and drink manufacturing, in 2004.

Common Land

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to simplify the legislation to enable commoning of common land to take place more easily; and if he will make a statement. [97399]

Barry Gardiner: Rights of common remain rooted in the common law. The Commons Act 2006 reforms legislation relating to the registration, management and protection of common land, but leaves these common
30 Oct 2006 : Column 57W
law rules largely unchanged. The Act enables the improved agricultural management of common land by statutory commons councils consisting of representatives of commoners and others with interests in the land at a local level.

Dairy Farming

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much milk was imported into the UK from Poland in the last 12 months; and what projections he has made of future levels of imports of milk from Poland. [95651]

Barry Gardiner: The following table shows the imports of liquid milk from Poland over the last 12 months to August 2006 as recorded in the Official Trade Statistics. Imports of liquid milk were recorded for five of these months as shown in the table. There were no recorded imports for the other months in this period.

For the period January to August 2006 the total liquid milk imported from Poland accounts for 0.02 per cent. of total imports of liquid milk into the UK.

2006( 1)
Tonnes £000

January

0.7

0.2

March

2.0

0.1

April

4.3

1.1

May

0.9

0.7

August

0.3

0.1

Grand total

8.2

2.1

(1 )2006 data are subject to amendments
Source:
HM Revenue and Customs

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the age profile is of dairy farmers; and if he will make a statement. [95652]

Barry Gardiner: The information requested is in the table.

Age profile of dairy farmers and all farmers in England in 2005
Holder’s age breakdown Number of holders Percentage of total

Dairy farmers

Less than 35 years

403

3.2

35-44 years

2,123

17.0

45-54 years

3,649

29.3

55-64 years

3,827

30.7

65 years and over

2,449

19.7

All years

12,450

100.0

All farmers

Less than 35 years

4,882

2.6

35-44 years

23,769

12.9

45-54 years

42,897

23.2

55-64 years

54,050

29.2

65 years and over

59,310

32.1

All years

184,909

100.0

Source:
EC Farm Structure Survey 2005. Data prepared by Surveys, Statistics and Food Economics, Defra, York

30 Oct 2006 : Column 58W

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on (a) dairy farmers and (b) all farmers. [95653]

Barry Gardiner: The Farming Regulation and Charging Strategy for England, published in November 2005, details a number of commitments to reduce bureaucracy and make regulatory controls more effective and easier to comply with, including through the Whole Farm Approach. The strategy is available on the DEFRA website at:

DEFRA has made a commitment to reduce the administrative burdens its regulations impose on business by 25 per cent. by 2010. We have recently participated in a cross-Government exercise to measure this burden and are now in the final stages of finalising our Simplification Plan to be published in November 2006. This plan outlines a range of simplification initiatives, including many that impact on farmers, which will reduce the burden on business and reach our 25 per cent. target.

Some of these approaches will offer benefits to dairy farmers. In addition, the Government are continuing to press for the abolition of the milk quotas system, which will help to simplify existing arrangements in this sector.

Databases (Security Breaches)

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by his Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. [92837]

Barry Gardiner: The Department has no records of breaches of databases in any of the last five years.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the budget of (a) the Department and (b) any associated non-departmental public body within his responsibility has been changed in the last six months. [96069]

Barry Gardiner: The Department's budget for 2006-07 has not been changed in the last six months. Budgets have been changed for a number of associated non-departmental public bodies within the last six months.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of spending by his Department against budget in the 2006-07 financial year. [96328]


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