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Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his estimate is of the percentage of farmers in England who are part time and have incomes from other occupations. [146751]

Ms Quin: 51 per cent. of farmers, partners, directors and their spouses in England recorded themselves in the June 2000 agricultural census as part time. There is no information available on what percentage of these have income from other occupations.

For individuals whose main or secondary source of self-employment income comes from agriculture or horticulture, 5 per cent. have other self-employment income and 24 per cent. have other earned incomes. The proportion that have both is not readily available.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what directions overriding a note of dissent by an accounting officer have been given by the boards of non-departmental public bodies within his Department since May 1997. [147061]

Ms Quin: There have been no such directions.

Sugar Regime

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on reform of the sugar regime. [147184]

Ms Quin [holding answer 25 January 2001]: I refer the right hon. Lady to the oral answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Dr. Jones) on 21 December 2000, Official Report, columns 549-51.


Mrs. Fiona Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on how the assistance allocated to areas affected by flooding will be distributed. [147448]

Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards have submitted bids for funds to accelerate river flood defences over the next three years, as part of the package of an additional £51 million announced following the flooding. The bids are being considered and decisions on allocations will be announced shortly.

Agricultural Support

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many recipients of agricultural support received in the most recent financial year for which figures are available (a) less than £5,000, (b) £5,001 to £10,000, (c) £10,001 to £50,000, (d) £50,001 to £500,000, (e) £500,001 to £2 million and (f) more than £2 million [147542]

Ms Quin [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The information requested is set out in the table and relates to expenditure on claims for support under the Common

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Agricultural Policy (CAP) funded from the European Agricultural Guarantee and Guidance Fund (EAGGF) in the Financial Year ended 31 March 2000.

AmountNumber of payments(11)
Less than £5,000381,011
£500,001-£2 million13
More than £2 million0

(11) Many of the recipients will have received payments under more than one CAP support scheme. Information on the total amount of support received by individual recipients is not available.

Fallen Stock

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on the financing of the disposal of fallen stock. [147480]

Ms Quin [holding answer 26 January 2001]: My right hon. Friend and I have had no such discussions with EU counterparts. However, in negotiations on the draft EU animal by-products regulations, the European Commission has undertaken to produce a report on how member states finance the disposal of animal by-products, including fallen stock.

Farm Waste Plastic

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his policy is regarding the disposal of farm waste plastic; and if he will make a statement. [147279]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Government acknowledge the difficulties farmers can face in disposing of waste plastics. This issue will be addressed in a consultation paper on the extension of waste management controls to agricultural waste which is expected to be published soon by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). The consultation paper will take into account issues raised in a meeting held at DETR on 3 November 2000, attended by officials from my Department, the National Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association and a wide range of organisations representing the plastics industry and agricultural suppliers.

A voluntary national waste collection scheme, the Farm Film Producers Group, was set up in 1994 and ran until 1997; however, some suppliers were unwilling to pay a levy which undermined its operation. One of the aims of the dialogue with industry is to develop proposals for tackling the issue and to ensure that any future provision is not affected by similar problems.

Start Bay, Slapton

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what provision he intends to make for the erecting of flood defences at Start Bay, Slapton following the recent storm damage. [147288]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 January 2001]: I understand that emergency works have been undertaken by Devon county council, acting as Highway Authority, and Ministry funding is therefore not an issue. If the

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 55W

relevant coast protection authority, South Hams district council, makes any applications for MAFF funding for studies or works, they will be considered against our normal criteria.

Avon Heath Country Park

Mr. Chope: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action is being taken by the Forestry Commission to ensure that trees felled at Avon Heath Country Park in breach of a felling licence are replanted. [147824]

Mr. Morley: The Forestry Commission could have used its statutory powers to impose a restocking notice, but decided that this would not be in the public interest as the area is part of a heathland restoration project. Avon Heath Country Park is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, and this heathland restoration work is an important part of the Government's Biodiversity Action Plan. Nevertheless, I understand that RSPB has decided, after consultation with local people, to plant some replacement trees in other parts of the park.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the prosecution by the Forestry Commission of those responsible for breaches of felling licences at Avon Forest Country Park, and the implications of the case for policy on the protection of trees for amenity reasons. [147823]

Mr. Morley: On 16 November 2000 in Poole magistrates court, an RSPB employee pleaded guilty to felling growing trees on land at Avon Heath Country Park between 1 July 1999 and 31 January 2000 without the authority of a felling licence. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs.

The case has no implications for our policy on controlling the felling of trees. The Forestry Commission will continue to investigate all suspected breaches of the tree felling regulations and will prosecute when it is clear that an offence has been committed.


New Deal

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people (a) entered and (b) completed the New Deal scheme in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999 and (iv) 2000. [145655]

Ms Jowell: I have been asked to reply.

Latest figures from the start of New Deal for Young People in 1998 to the end of October 2000 are summarised in the following table:

Number of young people starting New DealNumber of young people who left New Deal

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Brenda Searle

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further discussions he has had with the British Ambassador to Mexico with regard to the disappearance of Miss Brenda Searle. [147085]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 25 January 2001]: Our Embassy in Mexico City has liaised with the Dutch Embassy to co-ordinate UK/Dutch efforts in this case.

Our Embassy has held meetings with the Mexican police and local authorities. Ms Searle's parents were included in these meetings during their visit to Mexico in autumn last year. During his visit to Mexico in November 2000, Lord Levy raised Ms Searle's case with the then Mexican President Zedillo, who promised to ensure that everything possible would be done to help.

We have maintained regular contact with Mr. and Mrs. Searle. Officials are arranging a further meeting with them in February.

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