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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.
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.
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.
13. David Taylor:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent
discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the provision of cross-sectoral support to reduce waste and carbon dioxide emissions in the economy. 
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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 Commissions recent ruling on Shetland Islands Council and state aid rules. 
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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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