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22 Apr 2009 : Column 702W—continued

Food: Exports

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications for export refunds have been approved within the last 12 months for (a) pigmeat, (b) milk and milk products, (c) poultry, (d) eggs and (e) beef and veal; and what quantity of each product was subject to refund. [264783]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 23 March 2009]: The number of export refund applications, the amount paid and quantity of export refund for each livestock sector in the UK over the last 12 months can be found in the table:

Sector Refund applications Amount paid (£) Refund quantity













Beef and veal




Milk and milk products




The quantity of export refunds for eggs and poultry is recorded as number of refunds, and the quantity for pigmeat and milk and milk products is recorded in kilograms.

Land Use

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on average how much and what proportion of land in England was designated as farmland in each decade since 1979. [269325]

Jane Kennedy: The following table shows the total area of land on registered agricultural holdings in England in each of the past five years since 1979, along with the proportion of English land covered by these holdings. The agricultural area does not include common grazing land as this is not solely owned by farmers.

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Total agricultural area on holdings (000 ha) % area of England on agricultural holdings






















1. The area of England used throughout is 13.04 million hectares, taken from the 2001 Population Census.
2. The introduction of the single payment scheme in 2005 has lead to an increase in the number of registered holdings and hence, area.
3. The total agricultural area on holdings is taken from the annual June Survey of Agriculture.

Marine Environment: Nature Conservation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what scientific research his Department has evaluated on the percentage of marine habitats that should be protected within a Marine Protected Area network; and if he will make a statement. [269326]

Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA and its conservation agencies have commissioned a total of 21 projects to inform the selection process for Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and the establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). An additional 20 projects have also been commissioned by the Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Executive, and Scottish Natural Heritage. Further work has been commissioned by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to look at issues of representativity and replication, and the usefulness of percentage habitat targets within an MPA network.

A table providing further details on all known research projects relating to MCZ designation has been placed in the Library of the House. This list includes research occurring in Welsh and Scottish territorial waters, as well as collaborative research DEFRA has established with the devolved administrations on areas where there is mutual benefit to do so. In addition to the projects in the table, the JNCC is currently scoping further research.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will include in his Department's Marine Protected Area strategy measures to introduce highly protected marine reserves; and if he will make a statement. [269328]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government published a draft Marine Protected Area Strategy (‘Delivering Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites') for public consultation on 20 April. This makes clear the fact that we fully expect to designate Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) that will have a high level of protection for all, or part of, a designated area. The provisions in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill already allow for this.

Ministers will be able to designate a range of MCZs requiring different levels of protection, determined according to the features we wish to protect and the evidence we have available. Sites requiring a high level of protection could include areas with rare or threatened species or habitats that are susceptible to human activities. In those instances where MCZs are designated with a
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higher level of legal protection, the DEFRA Secretary of State will be required to report to Parliament in 2012, and at least every six years thereafter, on the number of sites designated where licensable and fishing activities are prohibited, or significantly restricted.

Nature Conservation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his Department will bring forward plans to introduce an ecologically coherent network; and if he will make a statement. [269327]

Huw Irranca-Davies: On 20 April DEFRA opened a consultation on a draft strategy document that will set out what we need to do to deliver the Government's commitment to build an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas. This network will consist of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) (to be established under the Marine and Coastal Access Bill) and European marine sites designated under the Birds and Habitats Directives.

Design principles for European sites are established by European law but our aim for ecological coherence will be a national judgment based upon guidance being developed for the network. The draft strategy will be followed by a range of draft guidance (from DEFRA and statutory nature conservation bodies) that will provide the framework for identifying, selecting and designating MCZs.

Pollution: Rivers

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in reducing (a) pollution in and (b) water abstraction from English rivers since 2005. [268736]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The following table indicates the percentage of rivers in England which are of “good or better quality”. Figures for 2008 are due to be published later this year.

2005 2006 2007

Chemical quality




Biological quality








The total amount of water abstracted from all sources in England and Wales in 2005 was 57,757 megalitres (Ml) per day and 59,752 in 2006. Figures for 2007 will be available in July 2009. The Environment Agency manages abstraction within sustainable limits of the catchment.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the incidence of salmonella entering the food chain. [269114]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA continues to work with key industry representatives to implement EC Regulation 2160/2003 on the control of Salmonella in primary
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production. This provides for the establishment of Salmonella National Control Programmes (NCPs) in all sectors of the poultry and pig industry. The overall objective of the NCPs is to protect public health through the detection and control of Salmonella of human health significance at the farm level. Regulation 2160/2003 sets a general framework for the NCPs which integrates:

Three of the NCPs have already been implemented in the UK: the NCP for breeding flocks in 2007 and the NCP for laying flocks in 2008. The NCP for broiler flocks began earlier this year. Similar programmes will be introduced for turkeys next year and then fattening and breeding pigs.

DEFRA has been able to report to the EU Commission that the breeding flock sector has met the requirements of the NCP including the reduction target during the first year of implementation. The NCPs for the layer and broiler sectors should also meet their respective targets.

Although DEFRA leads on the NCPs, the advice and agreement of Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials was sought when developing an implementation strategy for the NCPs in primary production with industry representatives. FSA officials will also be closely involved in the implementation of the NCPs for pigs and turkeys. DEFRA has also collaborated with the FSA on the provision of guidance to farmers on hygiene management at farms, measures to prevent infections and biosecurity during the transport of animals.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to his Department has been of management of sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) in (a) the last 10 years and (b) 2009 to date; and what area of land SSSIs covered in each period. [269722]

Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 20 April 2009]: We have funding information for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) covering the last nine financial years (2000-01 to 2008-09 inclusive). This information is routinely collated and confirmed at the end of each financial year. The costs cover the funding of SSSI management by DEFRA, including its resourcing of Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission. The costs also include Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Agri-Environment schemes, but not the EU co-funded element.

From 2000-01 to 2008-09 inclusive, the total cumulative cost of managing SSSIs was £339,895,000. During this period the SSSI area increased from 1,053,796 ha in 2000 to 1,077,086 ha in 2009. The total costs for the 2008-09 year are awaiting confirmation and collation, but we estimate these will be £56,750,000. We do not currently have this aggregated information broken down by quarter to specifically address the January to March 2009 period.

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Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on controlling the grey squirrel population since 2005. [268737]

Huw Irranca-Davies: “Grey Squirrels and England’s Woodlands: Policy and Action” was published in January 2006 and this set out the role of the Forestry Commission and specific actions to be taken. These include researching new methods of control, advice on best practice, grants for woodland owners, supporting partnerships and applying best practice on the public forest estate. Implementation of the actions has resulted, for example, in collaboration on research into the potential use of immuno-contraception as a method for population control of grey squirrels. This is part of a larger DEFRA-led project looking at proving the concept of fertility control methods for a range of species.

Grant schemes administered by the Forestry Commission, specifically for the control of grey squirrels and woodland management activities, in and around the designated red squirrel reserves in north England, totalled £265,384 between 2006-07 and 2008-09. On the public forest estate the Forestry Commission is concentrating its resources on its woodlands within the designated red squirrel reserves and surrounding buffer zones.

Support of partnership and co-operative action has seen support worth £26,000 a year from the Forestry Commission and £15,000 a year from Natural England to the Save our Squirrels project. This is a £1.1 million three year project, started in 2006 to deliver advice to landowners, co-ordinating squirrel control in the red squirrel reserve buffer zones, promote grants, raising public awareness and gaining further funding for squirrel conservation work.

In addition the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership, based in Northumberland was awarded a three year £148,000 grant in June 2006 from the Rural Enterprise Scheme to support the control of grey squirrels in the county to help protect the red squirrel reserves.

Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 February 2009, Official Report, column 2223W, on waste disposal: fees and charges, what guidance (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme has given to waste collection authorities on the issuing or levying of fines on households which put waste out at times other than those specified by the local authority. [270133]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA does not advise authorities on how or when to use specific powers but, in line with good practice, it expects authorities to use all the powers available to them proportionately and sensibly, hand in hand with effective communications and support for residents.

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Cancer: Health Services

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Cancer Reform Strategy in tackling cancer in its first year of operation. [270011]

Ann Keen: The first annual report of the Cancer Reform Strategy (published in 2007), “Cancer Reform Strategy: Maintaining momentum, building for the future—first annual report”, was published on 1 December 2008. The report highlights the considerable progress that has been made on the implementation of the Strategy. A copy of this report has already been placed in the Library.

We will assess the wider impact of the Cancer Reform Strategy by looking at its effect, and that of the NHS Cancer Plan (published in 2000), on mortality rates over an extended period. Mortality rates in people under 75 have fallen by 17 per cent. between 1996 and 2005. This performance means that we are expected to meet our target of a reduction of at least 20 per cent. in cancer death rates in people under 75 by 2010 from the 1995-97 baseline rate.

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