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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Employment Schemes

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department plans to give to the National Care Farming Initiative. [132569]

Barry Gardiner: Natural England, and its predecessor bodies, have provided financial support to the National Care Farming Initiative in the past and further support will continue in terms of information and advice. Future funding will be considered when budgets are clarified in the middle of May.

Agriculture: Subsidies

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in each district authority in Cumbria are eligible for single payment scheme payments; how many received SPS payments in the 2006-07 financial year; and what percentage of farmers this represents in each case. [132101]

Barry Gardiner: Detailed analysis by constituency, area or category of the payments made under the single payment scheme is not available.

As of 18 April 2007, a total of 98,395 of farmers in England have received either a full or partial payment under the 2006 single payment scheme year, and 10,605 farmers, equating to 9.7 per cent. of the estimated total claimant population, have not received any payment. The total cash value of all outstanding payments is £415.16 million. The Rural Payment Agency’s target is to pay 96.14 per cent. of the total value of the fund by 30 June 2007.

There are 30 2005 claims that are outstanding and have not received full payment, totalling £261,054.88.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that single farm payments are made in their entirety and on time. [132276]

Barry Gardiner: The difficulties experienced in completing payments under the 2005 single payment scheme have inevitably impacted on the payment timetable for the 2006 scheme year. The Rural Payments Agency has made it clear that the target of paying 96.14 per cent. of claims by value by 30 June 2007 is challenging.

RPA is developing a comprehensive set of actions to recover from the problems of SPS 2005 and has already
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made several improvements to the way in which it operates. These changes will take into account the recommendations of the EFRA Select Committee, National Audit Office and other inquiries.

As of 18 April 2007, RPA had paid £1.12 billion in full or partial SPS 2006 payments to 98,395 claimants. The Department and RPA continue to work closely to ensure that the remaining claims and top-up payments where a partial payment has been made, are paid as soon as possible.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of farmers in England are awaiting single payment scheme payments from financial year 2006-07; how many farms this represents; what the total cash value is of these outstanding payments; and when these payments are expected to be made. [132278]

Barry Gardiner: As of 18 April 2007, a total of 98,395 of farmers in England have received either a full or partial payment under the 2006 single payment scheme year, and 10,605 farmers, equating to 9.7 per cent. of the estimated total claimant population, have not received any payment. The total cash value of all outstanding payments is £415.16 million. The Rural Payments Agency target is to pay 96.14 per cent. of the total value of the fund by 30 June 2007.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers received Single Farm Payments of more than (a) £40,000 and (b) £50,000 in 2006. [132295]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 April 2007]: 1,429 farmers received single payment scheme payments of more than £40,000 and less than £50,000 in 2006.

2,434 farmers received SPS payments of more than £50,000 in 2006.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms are eligible for single farm payments; how many single farm payments were made in 2006; and what the average value was of those payments. [132296]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 April 2007]: The 119,374 claimants who received entitlements in 2005 are therefore eligible to claim under the single payment scheme (SPS): 116,914 payments were made in 2006 with an average value of £13,165.98.

Air Pollution: Contracts

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which companies providing carbon offsetting arrangements his officials examined in making a choice for his Department's offsetting arrangements. [119406]

Barry Gardiner: DEFRA ran a tendering process for the Government carbon offsetting fund contract and received 16 expressions of interest from:


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EEA Fund Management was selected as the winning bidder after delivering the highest score following all rounds of the evaluation process.

Avian Influenza

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from which (a) UK county and (b) other countries the turkey poults supplied to the Bernard Matthews’ plant at Holton, Suffolk originated; and what the health status of each supplying plant was with regard to the H5N1 virus. [133891]

Mr. Bradshaw: The 159,000 day-old turkey poults came from Bernard Matthews’ own hatchery in Norfolk, between 30 November and 14 December 2006. The eggs had been supplied by Bernard Matthews’ breeding flocks in Norfolk and Suffolk. We have no evidence of H5N1 infection at these sites.

Common Agricultural Policy: Food

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the effect of the Common Agricultural Policy on the amount spent by an average family in the UK on food in one year. [132810]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 20 April 2007]: We can calculate an estimate of the UK consumer cost of the Common Agricultural Policy by comparing the difference between UK and world prices for agricultural products and applying that difference to the volume of UK consumption. On that basis the cost of higher spending on food to a notional family of four in 2004 was approximately £260. Our provisional estimate for 2005 is approximately £220.

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to limit the amount of money spent on alcohol for hospitality purposes by his Department. [132202]

Barry Gardiner: The Department has clear guidance on hospitality in both its finance manual and staff handbook. Both these guides follow the principles laid down in Government accounting and the Treasury handbook on regularity and propriety.


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The two key principles operated by the Department are: that hospitality may be provided only if it is in the public interest and necessary for the conduct of business; and the amount spend shall be appropriate for the occasion and not such to attract adverse comment.

Directors General are responsible for monitoring expenditure on hospitality and are required to ensure that any such expenditure meets the above principles

Departments: Paper

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms are in place to ensure his Department's economical use of paper. [128008]

Barry Gardiner: From information held centrally, the amount of printing paper purchased between April 2005 and March 2006 was 829 tonnes, and for copier paper 235.8 tonnes. The Department is taking the following steps to ensure its use of paper is economical:

All Departments are required to meet cross-Government sustainable operations targets, launched last year. The targets for reducing their waste arisings are 5 per cent. and 25 per cent. by 2010 and 2020 respectively, relative to 2004-05 levels; and for increasing their recycling figures to 40 per cent. and 75 per cent. of their waste arisings by 2010 and 2020, respectively.

Departments: Surveys

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department undertakes employee exit surveys. [130581]

Barry Gardiner: DEFRA sends out an exit questionnaire to each employee leaving the Department and also offers exit interviews to staff.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what reduction in UK carbon emissions is predicted to result from (a) phase 1 and (b) phase 2 of the EU emissions trading scheme, expressed (i) in tonnes and (ii) as a percentage of the total at the start of the scheme; [131411]


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(2) what percentage reduction in UK carbon emissions has resulted to date from participation in the EU emissions trading scheme; [131412]

(3) whether UK carbon emission reductions resulting from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme are being independently reviewed and audited; [131413]

(4) what reduction in UK carbon emissions was projected to result from phase One of the EU emissions trading scheme at its outset; and what reductions have been quantified to date. [131414]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 16 April 2007]: The approved UK national allocation plan (NAP) for phase I (2005-07) of the EU emissions trading scheme is set to deliver carbon dioxide emissions savings of around 65 million tonnes (roughly 8 per cent.) below the projected business as usual emissions of the installations covered by the scheme during phase I. The rationale behind emission trading is to ensure that the emission reductions take place where the cost of the reduction is lowest thus lowering the overall costs of tackling climate change. The emissions reductions referred to above may not therefore all take place in the UK.

Comparing 2003 and 2005 emissions in the UK from installations in the EU ETS shows a reduction of around 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) which equates to 4 per cent. However, a number of new installations commenced operation and entered the scheme in 2004 and 2005, emitting a total of around five MtCO2 in 2005. Therefore, the net total reduction in emissions from UK installations (incumbent and new) in the EU ETS was approximately five MtCO2 between 2003 and 2005.

The UK NAP for phase II (2008-12) is set to deliver an annual reduction of 29.3 million tonnes of CO2 against projected business as usual emissions for 2010. The allocation level has been set at 13 per cent. below emissions from these installations in 2005.

Farmers: Manpower

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers there are in (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales. [132159]

Barry Gardiner: The number of registered holdings in England at June 2006 was 200,381. Figures for the other UK countries fall under the jurisdiction of the devolved authorities.

Inland Waterways: Rochdale

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2007, Official Report, column 763W, on inland waterways: repairs and maintenance, how much the Trub Farm, Rochdale canal, received in alternative money; and what the source of funding was. [133306]

Barry Gardiner: Works to install a bridge and associated road at Trub Farm on the Rochdale Canal were carried out as part of British Waterways’ 2006-07 works programme
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at a cost of £586,000. The alternative source of funding related to British Waterways made provision for the cost of the work in its 2005-06 accounts as it was contractually committed to this work. The project was therefore removed from its 2006-07 cost schedule and was unaffected by the 2006-07 cuts.

Milk: Prices

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Competition Commission on the share of the retail price of milk that is passed on to farmers by supermarkets. [131978]

Barry Gardiner: The Competition Commission announced in January that it intended to look further at the impact of supermarket buyer power on dairy farmers during the next stage of its inquiry into the groceries market. DEFRA has had no recent discussions with the CC on this matter. We have, however, provided it with information on the dairy sector and have made clear our willingness to meet, should they wish to do so.

Peat Bogs

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies his Department has undertaken into the degrading of peat bogs by the releasing of carbon in the form of dissolved organic carbon. [132318]

Barry Gardiner: The degradation of peat bogs can lead to a loss of soil carbon in various forms, including as dissolved organic carbon. Research into peat bog degradation and restoration in the UK has been, and is currently being, funded by a range of organisations such as water companies, conservation groups and the Government. DEFRA has recently undertaken reviews of the available literature on both the degradation of organic soils (including peat bogs) and management options for restoring degraded bogs.

We are now developing a programme of research on soil carbon to improve our understanding of the main mechanisms by which carbon is lost, the impacts of land use and land management, and practical methods for mitigating losses. This will form part of the forthcoming soil strategy for England.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken (a) to preserve and (b) to reactivate drained peat bog land as carbon sinks; what his policy is on the long-term role of peat bogs as carbon sinks in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [132319]

Barry Gardiner: The need to preserve peat bogs for their biodiversity value, and as stores of carbon, is being addressed on a range of fronts.


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