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1 Feb 2007 : Column 441W—continued


Grant commitments made 2006-07
£

Barnsley

1,268.01

Bracknell Forest

758.00

Cornwall

4,712.00

Doncaster

23,557.50

Dorset

159,900.00

Durham

4,604.50

Lancashire

59,880.00

Leicestershire

5,000.00

Norfolk

44,076.33

North Yorkshire

33,221.00

Suffolk

6,000.00

Shropshire

27,415.00

Warwickshire

1,950.00

Total

372,342.34


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what response was made by his Department to the review of the Access Management Grant Scheme submitted to his Department by the Countryside Agency in 2006. [117595]


1 Feb 2007 : Column 442W

Barry Gardiner: The Department’s response congratulated the Countryside Agency on the success of the scheme and acknowledged that the report made a good case for extending the scheme for a further year and for giving it some permanence in the longer term. It explained that future funding for the scheme would need to be provided for from Natural England’s overall budget. As such, it must be for Natural England to consider the priority that should be allocated to this work as part of the corporate planning process.

Beef Market

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the differential in market beef prices in the north of England compared to the south. [111432]

Barry Gardiner: Defra do not monitor market beef prices split by the north and south of England and we have not made any such assessment.

Bio-diversity Action Plans

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to promote bio-diversity action plans; and how he plans to measure the success of their implementation. [117132]

Barry Gardiner: In line with the Labour Party manifesto commitment, DEFRA published revised targets for priority habitats and species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) in November 2006. They are available from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan website. The targets are shared among members of the UK Biodiversity Partnership. In England, we have built the new targets into our refreshed biodiversity strategy: ‘Working with the grain of nature—taking it forward’, also published in November.

Reporting on the UK BAP is on a three year cycle. The results of the most recent reporting round were published in June 2006. Overall, the proportion of species and habitats showing a positive trend is greater than the proportion for which the decline is continuing or accelerating. However, trends for some species and habitats continue to be a cause for concern.

Bullfighting

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much EU financial support was available to farmers breeding bulls for bullfighting in each of the last five years; how much such support is available to farmers in 2007; and if he will make a statement. [111990]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 26 January 2007]: Bulls kept for bullfighting are eligible for common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidy payments under the beef special premium scheme (BSPS).

The 2003 CAP reform agreement required member states to introduce the decoupled single payment scheme between 2005 and 2007. However, the agreement also provided the option to forgo some of
1 Feb 2007 : Column 443W
the single payment scheme funds and use them to retain some of the old coupled premium schemes.

The three countries most likely to make payments to bulls kept for bullfighting (Spain, Portugal and France) did not take up the option to retain the BSPS and it therefore closed in those countries at the end of 2005. Only Denmark, Finland and Sweden have retained the BSPS.

Payments under the BSPS are made to eligible bulls and steers and are subject to regional ceilings in each member state. Payments are worth €210 per eligible bull and €150 per steer (on which two payments can be made). The regional ceilings applied to Spain, France and Portugal for the five years before the scheme’s closure were:

Country
Spain Portugal France

2001

713,999

175,075

1,754,732

2002

643,525

160,720

1,734,779

2003

643,525

160,720

1,734,779

2004

713,999

175,075

1,754,732

2005

713,999

175,075

1,754,732


If claims exceeded these ceilings then payments were scaled back to control expenditure. It is not possible, however, to identify which payments within these totals were made to bulls kept for bullfighting.

There is also an ongoing proposal, raised within discussions of the EU budget, to exclude bulls kept for bullfighting from the BSPS. The UK Government have, and will continue to, support this proposal.

In view of the above there is unlikely to be any direct support for bulls kept for bullfighting in 2007.

Committees: Ministerial Attendance

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what occasions (a) he and (b) departmental Ministers have been requested to appear before committees of (i) devolved institutions and (ii) the European Parliament since 2004; on what topic in each case; how many and what proportion of such requests were accepted; and if he will make a statement. [111537]

Barry Gardiner: Ministers in the Department regularly attend committees of (i) the devolved institutions and (ii) the European Parliament in the course of official business. It is not possible to provide the more detailed information requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on progress with the implementation of CAP reform in member states. [111992]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 26 January 2007]: Member states have now largely completed the implementation of the 2003 and 2004 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms. An overview of the position with respect to direct payments is available on
1 Feb 2007 : Column 444W
the DEFRA website. I shall arrange for copies of it to be placed in the House Libraries.

It is understood that subsequent reforms of the EU sugar and banana regimes are being implemented across the EU in accordance with the relevant legal requirements.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether funding will be provided to access authorities for ongoing costs in relation to Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 in 2008-09; [117592]

(2) what funding his Department has provided for (a) the implementation and (b) ongoing work in relation to Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to each access authority in each year since 2004. [117596]

Barry Gardiner: National Park authorities are access authorities in National Parks. In relation to any other land, the access authority is the local highway authority in whose area the land is situated.

The Department's funding to National Parks for the preparation and implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 Act (Parts I and V) is as follows:

£
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Broads

25,000

25,000

Dartmoor

100,000

350,000

350,000

Exmoor

100,000

350,000

350,000

Lake District

400,000

450,000

450,000

New Forest

150,000

Northumberland

150,000

350,000

350,000

North York moors

300,000

450,000

450,000

Peak District

500,000

450,000

450,000

Yorkshire Dales

300,000

450,000

450,000

Total

1,850,000

2,875,000

3,025,000


Dairy Farming

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the balance of trade was in the dairy sector in the last four years; what steps he is taking to improve it; and what assessment he has made of (a) the cost of milk production and (b) the producer price paid to farmers. [111435]

Barry Gardiner: Over the period January to November 2006 the value of dairy products imported to the UK was £1.6 million and the value of dairy products exported from the UK was £0.6 million, a balance of -£1.0 million.

The Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food identifies how the Government will work with the whole of the food chain to secure a sustainable future for English farming and food industries, as viable industries contributing to a better environment and healthy and prosperous communities.


1 Feb 2007 : Column 445W

The most recent published assessment of the cost of milk production was the Defra commissioned study into the economics of milk production in England and Wales in 2002-03 (published by the University of Manchester). Data on farm incomes, including dairy farms, are collected in the Farm Business Survey. The most recent data from the survey covers the year ended February 2006. Defra will be publishing incomes at UK level, by farm type, including dairy farms, on 31 January 2007. This will include forecast incomes for the year ending February 2007.

Defra collects and publishes milk producer prices on a monthly basis. Average UK prices for 2003 to November 2006 are shown in table 2.


1 Feb 2007 : Column 446W
Table 1: Value of UK trade in dairy products
£000
2003 2004 2005 January- November 2006

Imports

Butter

281,102

278,869

309,478

298,615

Buttermilk, Whey and Other Dairy Products

69,040

86,398

116,937

126,411

Cheese

743,898

810,598

853,824

801,283

Condensed Milk

17,770

22,913

33,221

37,312

Cream

16,223

19,908

19,422

17,808

Ice Cream

129,736

142,482

127,658

128,302

Whole and Skimmed Milk

13,641

13,886

16,773

23,836

Whole and Skimmed Milk Powder

44,975

52,170

65,629

58,942

Yoghurt

137,888

139,889

126,673

110,486

Total Dairy Imports

1,454,273

1,567,114

1,669,617

1 ,602,995

Exports

Butter

74,952

59,235

73,216

55,828

Buttermilk, Whey and Other Dairy Products

19,777

46,434

34,330

39,888

Cheese

179,415

201,560

219,476

204,570

Condensed Milk

15,046

10,756

6,470

7,530

Cream

119,558

81,797

72,248

72,616

Ice Cream

47,680

50,464

46,765

48,346

Whole and Skimmed Milk

48,130

58,404

100,503

90,575

Whole and Skimmed Milk Powder

212,035

219,429

115,411

97,929

Yoghurt

14,831

21,359

24,456

23,421

Total Dairy Exports

731,424

749,438

692,874

640,702

Balance of trade

Butter

-206,150

-219,634

-236,262

-242,788

Buttermilk, Whey and Other Dairy Products

-49,264

-39,964

-82,608

-86,523

Cheese

-564,483

-609,038

-634,348

-596,713

Condensed Milk

-2,724

-12,158

-26,751

-29,782

Cream

103,335

61 ,889

52,826

54,808

Ice Cream

-82,056

-92,018

-80,894

-79,956

Whole and Skimmed Milk

34,489

44,518

83,729

66,738

Whole and Skimmed Milk Powder

167,060

167,259

49,781

38,987

Yoghurt

-123,057

-118,531

-102,217

-87,065

Total Dairy Balance of Trade

-722,849

-817,676

-976,743

-962,293

Note:
2006 data are subject to amendments
Source:
HM Revenue and Customs
Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA

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