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Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent assessment he has made of the effect of abattoir closures upon the (a) length and (b) time of journeys for animals consigned for slaughter. 
Mr. Morley: We have no plans for such an assessment. The Welfare of Animal (Transport) Order 1997 sets rules, including journey time limits, for farm livestock in transit, including on journeys to slaughter.
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Advisory Committee in each year since its inception and (b) the highest remuneration of any one member in these years. 
Ms Quin: This information is available only at disproportionate cost. However, from April 2000, the maximum daily allowances for attending SEAC meetings, including preparatory time, were £259.00 and £219.00 for the Chairman and the members respectively.
Mr. Morley: None. Grant aid from this Department for new and improved capital schemes is directed to the flood and coastal defence operating authorities--the Environment Agency, Local Authorities and Internal Drainage Boards.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what effect the installation of new flood defences at Pateley Bridge has had on water levels in the River Nidd at Knaresborough during the early November floods; 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency's staff in the north-east are still fully committed to dealing with the impact of the floods in that region, and it would be inappropriate to divert them at this point of time. I have asked the Agency once the immediate work is completed, in conjunction with their partners, to produce a full report on the flooding, its effects, how the flood warning and emergency response worked and what lessons we can learn; this report should be available by Easter. In terms of the specific questions I will write to the hon. Member as soon as the information can be obtained.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence concerning the deployment of troops to assist in areas of West Sussex disrupted by recent flooding; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: There are standing arrangements in cases of serious flooding for the Environment Agency to request for military assistance from the Ministry of Defence. In the case of West Sussex, the military has been used in the Chichester area for sandbagging duties and is on standby for bridging work around the City. It has not yet been deemed necessary to call upon the services of the military elsewhere in West Sussex.
Mr. Morley: MAFF has set in place a series of high level targets one of which is for the Environment Agency to ensure that inspections of flood defences, main rivers and critical ordinary watercourses are undertaken and, as
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a result of these inspections, to report to the Ministry on its assessment of flood risk. These reports are due to be provided by April 2001.
To this end the Environment Agency is undertaking surveys of all defences and structures on main rivers within Buckinghamshire. Local authorities and internal drainage boards are in the process of identifying critical ordinary watercourses, and inspecting flood defences upon these, assisted by the agency teams.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (a) Finnish, (b) Spanish and (c) Portuguese vessels he estimates will fish North Sea stocks after 31 December 2002; how many vessels (i) from the UK and (ii) in total fish these stocks at present; and if he will commission a study on the effect of such fishing on stocks. 
Mr. Morley: As things currently stand, from 1 January 2003, vessels from Finland, Spain and Portugal will only be entitled to fish for non-quota stocks in the North Sea. The number of vessels from Finland, Spain and Portugal that fish in the North Sea after 31 December 2002 will depend on commercial decisions taken by the fishermen in these countries. It is not possible to estimate accurately how many vessels will chose to fish in the North Sea. The number is likely to be extremely low. In any case they will have no access to any stock covered by quota arrangements as all main commercial stocks are in this category.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will assess the report of the Irish Government into the Sea Horse-Exodus incident; and if he will make a statement on its impact on his policy towards UK-flagged foreign fishing vessels. 
Mr. Morley: The report of the Irish Government into the collision between the Sea Horse and the Exodus in March 1997 has not yet been published. It is therefore too early to say what impact it may have on policy towards UK flagged foreign owned fishing vessels.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his position towards common EU monitoring procedures for the Common Fisheries Policy, indicating the proposals which are under discussion. 
Mr. Morley: I am aware that the Commission is looking at the division of monitoring and control work between national authorities and the Community. It has not issued any proposals and there have been no formal discussions with member states. We shall, of course, give careful consideration to any proposals that may emerge.
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address the issue of cetacean bycatch in United Kingdom waters; if he will raise cetacean bycatch in the Council of Ministers; if he will raise the issue of protection of cetaceans in the 2002 review of the Common Fisheries Policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 November 2000]: The Sea Mammal Research Unit is currently undertaking a three-year research project funded by my Department which will monitor bycatch in a number of fisheries not previously assessed. It will also attempt to establish definitively why harbour porpoises become entangled in gill nets, with a view to developing suitable mitigation measures.
The Commission and other member states are already well aware of UK concerns on this issue. The Commission have made clear that addressing the problem of cetacean bycatch is one of the issues for coverage in the 2002 Review. I have already raised this issue in the Fisheries Council.
Ms Quin: The purpose of the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) is to administer a system of intellectual property rights for plant varieties valid throughout the European Community and to evaluate and decide upon applications for community plant variety rights. The CPVO is self-financing and recovers its costs through fees charged to plant breeders. The CPVO sets a budget each year, which includes estimates of all the office's anticipated revenue and expenditure. The budget is subject to approval by the CPVO Administrative Council, which comprises representatives of all member states and the Commission.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 November 2000]: This requirement is part of Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 (as amended). Its intention is to ensure that there is a balance within organic farming between livestock production and land available for the disposal of manure. We shall be assessing the impact of this requirement as part of a review of the effects of the implementation of the Regulations.
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 November 2000]: The use of synthetic amino acids is prohibited by Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 (as amended), but we have received a number of industry representations saying that they are important in commercial poultry production. We shall be assessing the need as part of a review of the effects of the implementation of the Regulations.
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