Previous Section Index Home Page

31 Jan 2008 : Column 552W—continued

Pig Welfare

10. Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to protect the welfare of pigs. [178865]

Jonathan Shaw: The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

More specific requirements for pig welfare are set out in the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007, which focus on the detailed conditions pigs must be kept in.

Grain Farmers

11. Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes have taken place in the average income of grain farmers in each of the last two years. [178866]

Hilary Benn: Figures published this morning show that cereal farms in England saw an increase of 70 per cent. in average farm business income in 2006-07 to £56,100 with a further increase of 45 per cent. in 2007-08 to £81,100.

Whaling

12. Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Japan on whaling in the Southern ocean. [178867]

Jonathan Shaw: On 8 January, I met the deputy ambassador from Japan to express the United Kingdom's outrage and to urge Japan to end its slaughter of whales. On 21 December, the UK, along with 29 other countries, also took part in a démarche calling on the Japanese to cease all their lethal scientific research on whales.

23. Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Japanese Government on whaling. [178879]

Jonathan Shaw: There have been no recent discussions between DEFRA Ministers and Japanese Ministers on this issue. However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written 18 countries encouraging them to join for the International Whaling Commission for the greater protection of whales.

Carbon Emissions

13. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent
31 Jan 2008 : Column 553W
discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the provision of cross-sectoral support to reduce waste and carbon dioxide emissions in the economy. [178868]

Hilary Benn: I regularly discuss these matters with my ministerial colleagues.

Reducing waste in order to help tackle carbon dioxide emissions is a major priority for this Department and we actively engage with all sectors through a range of initiatives, including direct support, incentives and disincentives to encourage them to play their role.

Coastal Access

14. Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Natural England on public access to coastal areas. [178869]

Hilary Benn: We have held regular meetings with Natural England since it submitted its report in February 2007 on ways to improve access to the English coast.

We have announced our intention to introduce new legislation so that the public will have the right to walk around the English coast for the first time. We are seeking an appropriate opportunity to bring this forward.

Food Production: Animal Welfare

15. Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that food sold in England meets domestic standards of animal welfare in its production. [178870]

Jonathan Shaw: Most of the laws on farmed animal welfare are agreed at EU level and reflected in our domestic legislation. Inspections are carried out in this country to ensure compliance by producers. World trade rules prevent us from banning imports on the grounds of third country welfare standards.

Flooding: Emergency Arrangements

16. Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to review the emergency planning arrangements applicable in circumstances of major flooding. [178871]

Hilary Benn: We have accepted all the urgent recommendations from the interim report of the Pitt Review and are working to take these forward as quickly as possible.

The Government Lead Department Plan has been revised. Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, local responders, emergency services and the Environment Agency are required to assess flood risks and draw up plans to meet them. Many have been tested in real events in recent months.


31 Jan 2008 : Column 554W

Nitrate-vulnerable Zones

17. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the likely economic impact on farmers of the introduction of nitrate-vulnerable zones; and if he will make a statement. [178873]

Joan Ruddock: The partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) accompanying the consultation on the implementation of the nitrates directive in England indicates that, if nitrate vulnerable zones are extended to cover 70 per cent. of England, expected costs to industry will be in the region of £53-105 million per annum. There is scope for mitigating some of these costs which may bring the overall cost impact down to £35-81 million per annum.

Food Production

18. Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the recommendations of the environmental impacts of food production and consumption research report by Manchester Business School; and if he will make a statement. [178874]

Joan Ruddock: This is a valuable report which consolidated available evidence on the life cycle impacts of the food products in a typical UK family's shopping trolley. In line with the report's recommendations we are undertaking further research in this area and working to reduce the global impacts of UK food production and consumption, through improving products, supply chains, and influencing consumer behaviour.

Bird Registration

19. Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the costs and benefits of schedule 4 registration of birds under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. [178875]

Joan Ruddock: A partial regulatory impact assessment that included an estimate of costs and benefits was prepared and included in the consultation on proposed changes to the bird registration scheme. This consultation took place between November 2006 and February 2007. My Department will prepare an impact assessment for amendments made to species listed on Schedule 4 and associated regulations under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The cost to DEFRA of administering the current scheme is estimated at £350,000 per year, plus approximately £100,000 in costs in administrative burdens. This does not include any enforcement costs.

Food Pricing

20. Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what consideration he has given to the regulation of farm to retail price spreads, with particular reference to supermarkets; and if he will make a statement. [178876]


31 Jan 2008 : Column 555W

Jonathan Shaw: The Government believe prices are for the market to determine and do not get involved, provided competition rules are respected. As the hon. Member is probably aware the Competition Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into the groceries market as a whole.

Shetland Islands

21. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the implications of the European Commission’s recent ruling on Shetland Islands Council and state aid rules. [178877]

Jonathan Shaw: The European Commission is right to uphold the state aid rules: these are for the benefit of the whole fishing industry. However, this will impact on individual fishermen and I sympathise with the position they are in. Hence, I have offered to give proper assistance to the Shetland Islands Council in progressing its appeal.

Flood Defences: Budget

22. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the flood defence budget for 2008-09. [178878]

Hilary Benn: The funding settlement for 2008-09 to 2010-11 is based on evidence of risk and the pressures which formed part of the comprehensive spending review. It is consistent with the funding increase suggested by the Foresight Future Flooding study.

Animal Welfare: Livestock

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will hold discussions with Compassion in World Farming on the welfare of calves exported to Europe to be reared for veal. [178805]

Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has regular discussions with Compassion In World Farming, as well as other stakeholders, on the live export of calves to Europe.

Animals: Diseases

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what notifiable animal disease outbreaks have occurred in each of the last 10 years; and what the estimated cost to (a) the British farming industry and (b) the public purse was of each. [181754]

Jonathan Shaw: A list of notifiable disease outbreaks for the last 10 years (taken from previous Chief Veterinary Officer annual reports) is set out in the following table.


31 Jan 2008 : Column 556W

31 Jan 2008 : Column 557W
Disease

2007

Avian Influenza (Al)

Bluetongue

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

Contagious Equine Metritis Organism (CEMO)

Bat Rabies (European Bat Lyssavirus Type 2)

Tuberculosis (TB)

2006

Al

Newcastle Disease

Bat Rabies

Anthrax

CEMO

Equine Infectious Anaemia

Scrapie

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

TB

2005

Newcastle Disease

CEMO

Scrapie

BSE

Paramyxovirus (PMV) in Pigeons

TB

2004

Brucellosis

Scrapie

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

Equine Viral Arteritis

TB

2003

Scrapie

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

CEMO

Brucellosis

TB

2002

Scrapie

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

CEMO

Anthrax

TB

2001

Scrapie

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

Foot and Mouth Disease

TB

2000

Scrapie

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

Classical Swine Fever

TB

1999

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

Scrapie

TB

1998

PMV in Pigeons

BSE

Equine Viral Arteritis

Scrapie

TB


Information on the cost of all notifiable disease outbreaks is not available for each of the past 10 years. Available evidence suggests that by far the most costly exotic disease outbreak in this period was FMD in 2001, which was estimated to have cost Government £2.6 billion (in 2001 prices), leaving a further £355 million in uncompensated costs to agricultural producers.

DEFRA's current estimate of the economic cost to the UK livestock sector as a result of the 2007 FMD outbreak is over £100million. The estimated total cost to the Government of the outbreaks in 2007 is £47 million for FMD, £1.7 million on bluetongue and £5 million on Al (two outbreaks). The other values could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the Department.


Next Section Index Home Page