Mr. Woolas: Approximately 35 per cent. of the length of main rivers in Yorkshire have raised flood defences. Flood protection is also provided by natural high ground and by the capacity of the channel.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 19 November 2007]: The table shows the value and volume of foie gras (recorded as preparations of goose or duck liver containing 75 per cent. or more by weight of fatty livers by HMRC) imported into the UK from 2002 to August 2007.
|UK imports of preparations of goose or duck liver containing 75 per cent. or more by weight of fatty livers, 2002 to August 2007
| Note: 2007 data is subject to amendments. Source: H M Revenue and Customs. Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what sanctions apply to people producing foie gras in Great Britain; and how many convictions for this offence have taken place in the last three years. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 19 November 2007]: Foie gras is not produced in the UK and this Government have made its views very clear that the production of foie gras using force feeding gives rise to serious welfare concerns. If any production were to occur, Animal Health would be asked to investigate and advise on any contravention of UK animal welfare laws.
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has no plans to ban the sale of foie gras in the UK. The free movement of goods is a well established principle in Community law and is enshrined in Part III, Title I of the treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). A unilateral ban by the UK on the import or sale of foie gras would contravene the provisions of the TEC and would result in proceedings being brought against us before the European Court of Justice. Ultimately, it is down to consumers to decide if they want to purchase foie gras or not.
Jonathan Shaw: Food miles alone, or the distance food has travelled, is an incomplete way of judging whether the food we eat is sustainable. Research shows that, on its own, distance travelled is not a sufficient indicator of the environmental impact of food transport. I therefore have no plans to press for food miles to be included on food labelling.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the financial impact of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth and bluetongue disease on farmers in the South West. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRAs current best estimate of the economic cost to the UK livestock sector of the movement restrictions and the ban on exports, imposed as a result of the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and bluetongue, is £100 million. Disaggregated estimates of the cost to farmers in the south west of England have not been made as these would be subject to considerable margins of error.
a strategy setting out his policies for ensuring, by means including the taking of measures to ensure the efficient use of energy, that as far as reasonably practicable persons do not live in fuel poverty.
The Act requires this duty to be met by a target date which is not more than 15 years after the date on which the strategy is published. The Government are working towards reducing fuel poverty so far as is reasonably practicable in England and Wales by 2016 and 2018 respectively. The Scottish Fuel Poverty Statement published in 2002 sets out the target that the Scottish Government will ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016.
In Northern Ireland, the Department for Social Development and its partners, subject to the availability of the necessary resources, aim to eliminate fuel poverty in all households by 2016. There is no underpinning legislation.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy to ban the use of metal battery cages used for the rearing of gamebirds for shooting. 
Jonathan Shaw: Gamebirds reared for sporting purposes are covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. DEFRA is proposing to use powers under the Act to produce a Code of Practice for the breeding and rearing of gamebirds, which will provide guidance on both accommodation and management methods. Any code would be subject to pubic consultation and endorsement by Parliament.
DEFRA is aware that there are concerns about the use of cages, or raised laying units as they are known to the industry, for the breeding of gamebirds. Therefore, we have asked the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) to assess this system of management and report back on its findings. It is anticipated that the report will be ready by the summer of 2008 and will inform the Working Group about this type of breeding system, and the extent to which any identified problems can be addressed through a code of practice.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many grants under the Home Energy Efficiency (Warm Front) Scheme have been offered to householders in (a) England, (b) the South West and (c) Torridge and West Devon; and how many of those grants have been taken up by the applicants. 
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Eagas average administration cost was for grants made under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (Warm Front) in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when he expects the first meeting of the Interdepartmental Working Group on British Waterways to take place; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) with reference to the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 724W, which of his ministerial colleagues have responded to his letter on the Interdepartmental Working Group on British Waterways; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what response his Department received from the Department for (a) Culture, Media and Sport, (b) Health, (c) Transport and (d) Communities and Local Government to the letter sent by the Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs on the Interdepartmental Working Group on British Waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: So far I have received positive responses from the Secretaries of State for Transport, Health, Communities and Local Government, and Culture, Media and Sport. The inaugural meeting of the Interdepartmental Working Group is scheduled for 18 December 2007.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any special economic arrangements exist between the UK and New Zealand on the import of New Zealand lamb to the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: A trade agreement for the import of sheepmeat between the European Union and New Zealand does exist and is commonly known as a Voluntary Restraint Agreement. In return for a reduction in import duties, New Zealand restricts the amount they send to the Community to 228,000 tonnes a year.
Under this agreement, the UK can import sheepmeat from New Zealand. In 2006, the UK imported 83,400 tonnes of lamb from New Zealand, taking the largest share of the total EU imports of 190,000 tonnes. Up to the end of August this year, UK imports from New Zealand were 7 per cent. higher than in 2006 (at around 69,000 tonnes).
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of lamb prices on farming incomes between June 2007 and October 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Between June 2007 and October 2007, the sheep Standard Quality Quotation price averaged 223.8 pence per kg deadweight. The same price in the corresponding period in 2006 was 244.9 pence. This represents a year on year decline of around 9 per cent. There has been some year on year increase in carcase weights over the same months which will have partially offset the impact of the price fall. The year on year fall in the value of finished lambs is likely to be around 5 per cent. or £2 to £3 per lamb, at UK level for the marketing year ending in October 2007.
Lamb prices have declined more steeply than usual in the autumn of 2007 compared to previous years. The average deadweight price for lambs fell by 86p between June and October 2007 (a 34 per cent. decrease) compared to 92.3 pence in 2006 (a 27 per cent. decrease).
In January DEFRA will be publishing forecasts of farm incomes in England for the year ending February 2008. This will include separate forecasts for lowland and LFA grazing livestock farms and the income forecasts will include the impact of changes in lamb prices between 2006 and 2007.
|Great Britain Average Monthly Standard Quality Quotation Prices for Lamb for 2007
|Producer Prices ( pence per kg liveweight )
|Deadweight Prices ( pence per kg deadweight )
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the difference between what farmers are paid for lambs and other livestock and what consumers are charged for meat products in supermarkets; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Agriculture in the United Kingdom, published annually by DEFRA, compares the farmgate price with the retail price for lamb and other meats. In 2006, the farmgate price for lamb amounted to 47 per cent. of the retail price.