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12 Jan 2009 : Column 204W—continued


The majority of persons who come under the notification requirements are subject to a notification period of five years or more and the annual increase largely reflects the number of new convictions.

A breakdown of figures for sex offenders subject to the notification requirements was not recorded on an annual basis until 2005. I am not, therefore, able to provide the information requested for 2004.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

African Horse Sickness

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department provides compensation to owners of horses infected with African horse sickness which are destroyed by his Department’s veterinary surgeons to prevent further infection. [244536]

Jane Kennedy: In the event of an outbreak of African horse sickness, the Animal Health Act 1981 provides for compensation to be paid for equines slaughtered under the Act where they are infected or suspected of being infected with the disease. DEFRA is committed to discussing with the equine industry the issue of compensation, including the appropriate level.

Where the affected equine has been imported and slaughtered under the Animals and Animals Products (Import and Export) (England) Regulations 2006, there is no duty under the regulations to pay compensation.

Agriculture: Animal Welfare

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has allocated to support sustainable livestock production in 2008-09. [244681]

Jane Kennedy: Support aimed at improving the competitiveness of the livestock industry is available under Axis 1 of Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). Some £249 million will be spent in total on Axis 1 over the period 2007-13, and a minimum of £107 million out of that total will be specifically devoted to the sustainable livestock industry. In 2008-09 the minimum allocated to the livestock sector is £23 million.

Livestock producers also will benefit from both a proportion of the £1.5 billion that is paid annually to English farmers under the Single Payment Scheme and the £3.2 billion that has been allocated for agri-environmental schemes which operate under Axis 2 of the RDPE over the period 2007-13.


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Agriculture: Subsidies

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate his Department has made of unspent funds under the single payment scheme; and what plans he has to allocate this funding for Article 68 measures; [243176]

(2) what plans his Department has to allocate funding under Article 68 measures under the Common Agricultural Policy. [243177]

Jane Kennedy: The difference between payments to date under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme and the theoretical maximum is in the region of £50 million, largely as a result of farmers not claiming against all of their entitlements. No decisions have been made to date on the use of ‘Article 68’ measures.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the EU Common Agricultural Policy Health Check; and when he expects full decoupling to be achieved. [243461]

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 12 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1222-6W, on the Common Agricultural Policy, what recent assessment he has made of progress on decoupling as a result of the decisions made in the CAP Health Check. [243525]

Jane Kennedy: I refer to the written statement made to Parliament on 25 November by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) about the outcome of the CAP health check negotiations. We believe that the health check will take the level of decoupled farm payments from 89 per cent. to 96 per cent. by 2013, although we estimate that the use of “national envelopes” could reduce that amount by up to 2.7 per cent., depending on how member states choose to implement them. The Government will continue to press in the EU for full decoupling of all farm payments.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of progress towards meeting the Rural Payments Agency's target of administering 75 per cent. of single farm payments to farmers in England by the end of January; [244179]

(2) what percentage of farmers in England have received their single farm payments for 2008. [244180]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 16 December 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement that I made on 17 December 2008, Official Report, column 120WS.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the 2007-08 budget for the Common Agricultural Policy was allocated to the 10 recipients who received the most in payments under the policy. [244231]


12 Jan 2009 : Column 206W

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 16 December 2008]: The percentage of the 2007-08 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget allocated to the 10 recipients in England who received the most in payments under the policy was 1.1 per cent.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many demands to repay overpayments have been made against single farm payment scheme claimants in each of the last three years; and how many repayments have been made. [244977]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 December 2008]: Of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims examined by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to date 6,557 overpayments invoices have been issued against SPS claimants broken down as follows for each of the last three years.

SPS scheme year Invoices issued

2005

3,893

2006

2,248

2007

416


RPA has received repayments from 1,610 customers either in full, as part of a repayment agreement or as a partial interception of a claim.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) mean, (b) median , (c) highest and (d) lowest demand has been to repay overpayments made against single farm payment claimants in each of the last three years. [244978]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 December 2008]: Of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims examined to date the average, median, highest and lowest demand to repay overpayments made against SPS claimants in each of the last three scheme years are:

Scheme year

2005 2006 2007

Average

4,292.46

4,339.64

2,804.88

Median

802.74

1,040.43

922.21

Highest

738,198.25

649,138.33

117,493.20

Lowest

68.21

67.95

252.29


Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total amount received is as a result of overpayment claims for the single payment scheme in each of the last three years. [244979]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 December 2008]: To date we have received the following amounts as a result of overpayment claims, for each of the last three years:

SPS scheme year Value (£)

2005

9,372,627.72

2006

4,046,321.80

2007

158,718.75

Total

13,577,668.27


12 Jan 2009 : Column 207W

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons reclaims of single farm payment overpayments were made in the latest period for which figures are available. [244980]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 December 2008]: The Rural Payments Agency is obliged to recover overpayments. The reasons for these Single Payment Scheme (SPS) overpayments include entitlement correction work—some of which claimants asked us to carry out, partial payments—which were made in the 2005 and 2006 SPS scheme years and where the final claim value once validation is completed is now less than the amount paid and penalties.

Penalties can be applied to SPS applications for several reasons; submission of an application after the deadline, inaccuracies in an application, if a farmer does not meet cross compliance standards, or if they apply, set aside management rules. The size of the penalty will depend on the problem found. For example the size of a land penalty will depend on the amount of invalid land claimed. The size of a late submission penalty will depend on the number of days after the deadline on which an application was received.

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Single Payment Scheme payments for 2008 have been made to people in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency; and what percentage of farmers in that constituency have received payment. [246102]

Jane Kennedy: Detailed analysis of Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments by constituency is not available.

From April 2009, in accordance with EC Commission Regulation 259/2008, SPS payment details will be available on the UK CAP payments website for payments made between 16 October 2007 and 15 October 2008, which is the EU financial year. Subsequent scheme payments will be published on this website each April, together with all other common agricultural policy payments made.

Animal Welfare: Codes of Practice

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which codes of conduct to be issued under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the Government is currently working on; and which bodies have been appointed to advise on each code. [243291] [Official Report, 9 February 2009, Vol. 487, c. 9MC.]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA is currently consulting on three draft codes of practice to be made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006—cats, dogs and equines. We are also proposing to draft codes on the private keeping of primates and on the rearing of gamebirds for sporting purposes.

DEFRA has had the assistance and co-operation of the following stakeholders in the preparation of these codes:


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Bluetongue Disease

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has evaluated on the transmission of bluetongue disease during animal transit; and what measures he has put in place to inhibit the transmission of the disease. [242908]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has funded research on bluetongue which includes:

This research was used to define vector-free periods, and to provide advice about the conditions of movement licences regarding timing of movements and vector control.

This work was also used to contribute to the development of a model of bluetongue disease spread within and between farms. Collaborative work between the Meteorological Office and the Institute for Animal Health has resulted in tools to predict vector-borne disease incursions into the UK. This is currently being developed further.

The default control measures set out in legislation to combat bluetongue are aimed at preventing disease spread (through for example restriction of animal movement and through vector mitigation measures). Broadly, the controls can be summarised as follows:


12 Jan 2009 : Column 209W

We have an agreed policy for controlling incursions of any new serotypes under the existing UK Bluetongue Control Strategy. This strategy was reviewed recently in light of this year’s experience and to address risk from other serotypes, and was published on the DEFRA website on 1 December.

Details of the Control Strategy are currently available on the DEFRA website. Copies will also be placed in the House Library.

DEFRA continues to urge industry to consider the risks and check the health and vaccination status of animals when sourcing any animals, from within the UK or abroad.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department provides compensation to farmers whose cattle have been destroyed by his Department’s veterinary surgeons following the discovery of bluetongue. [244535]

Jane Kennedy: Compensation is payable for all animals which are compulsorily slaughtered for the purposes of disease control under the powers provided for in the Animal Health Act 1981 and the Bluetongue Regulations 2008. Compensation is paid under the Bluetongue (Compensation) Order 2007, at the market value of animals immediately before they are slaughtered.

However, compensation is not payable when imported animals are slaughtered under the powers provided for in the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (England) Regulations 2006.

Imported animals have been culled under these powers on a number of occasions where the veterinary risk assessment warranted this, most recently with BTV1 infected animals in Lancashire. Compensation is not payable under these circumstances.


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