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Foot and Mouth (Devon)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will grant a licence to Mr. Leslie Barons of Beneknowle Farm, Diptford, South Devon, to bring back 130 in-lamb ewes, 140 couples and 110 ewe-lambs from Home Farm, Churstow, Devon, to Beneknowle Farm. [154435]

Ms Quin [holding answer 19 March 2001]: Mr. Barons did not meet the criteria for the Occupational Movement Scheme and the Local Movement Scheme. The Longer Distance Movement Licence Scheme is now in place and will hopefully meet the needs he has.

Pig Swill

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to control the imports of pig swill from overseas; and if he will make a statement. [154009]

Ms Quin: Imports from third countries of pig swill containing animal products are not allowed into Great Britain. Any such imports would require an import licence and none have been issued.

Timber

Ms Walley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department's annual report on timber procurement to the Committee of Green Ministers will be published. [152112]

Ms Quin: My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment stated on 28 July 2000, Official Report, columns 947-48W, that each central Government Department must in future report annually on its timber purchases. This should explain what steps are being taken to buy timber and timber-related products from sustainable and legal sources; the quantity and types of purchase; and what assurances were received that the source of timber was sustainable and legal.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions will be issuing to Departments, around the end of March 2001, the questionnaire on greening government progress. It will include some basic questions on timber procurement. The report from Green Ministers, due to be published in November, will make specific reference to timber procurement.

Departments will decide for themselves what detailed information they will maintain on timber purchases and whether some or all of that information will be published separately from the Green Ministers' report.

The interdepartmental working group on timber procurement will monitor the whole process and will assist Departments and their agencies in working with

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timber producers and suppliers; give guidance on best purchasing practice; set progressive overall targets for governmental purchases of timber from assured sustainable and legal sources; and agree appropriate targets for individual departments and their agencies.

On behalf of the interdepartmental working group on timber procurement, the DETR is planning to commission work which will identify the quantities and species of timber being sold to Government, the major suppliers and the options for assisting Departments. Promulgation of guidance and advice to buyers would follow, probably before the end of 2001.

Ms Walley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much certified timber has been purchased by his Department over the past six months; and what proportion of total timber purchases this represents. [152115]

Ms Quin: At present, Departments do not yet have systems in place to provide data on the proportion of certified timber purchased over the last six months. The interdepartmental timber working group is working to develop a common reporting template which will form the basis for future reporting on timber procurement. An annual report will be provided in line with the answer given on 28 July 2000, Official Report, columns 947-48W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment.

Hides and Skins (Exports)

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the European Commission concerning the export of hides and skins; and if he will make a statement. [153429]

Ms Quin [holding answer 12 March 2001]: My officials have had discussions with the European Commission and other member states on all aspects of the exports of animal products, in the light of the current UK foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. In respect of hides and skins, a significant amendment to the Commission Decision has been negotiated which allows them to be traded without the need for official certification if they have been tanned.

Meat Imports

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is used for system inspection of meat imported from (a) European Union countries and (b) other countries; and who pays for the inspection. [153678]

Ms Quin: Meat imported from other European Union countries may circulate freely within the single market, but is subject to random checks at the point of destination within the United Kingdom. If that destination is a licensed meat cutting plant or a cold store, inspections are carried out by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), and the costs of inspection are charged to the operator of that premises. If it is a meat products or meat preparations establishment, inspection is carried out either by the MHS, where the establishment is co-located with a slaughterhouse or cutting plant (in which case the costs of inspection are paid by the Food Standards Agency) or by the local authority in other cases (when the costs are met by the local authority). Depending on the perceived health risk, checks at destination may be random or 100 per cent. Following the

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recent identification of specified risk material in imports of meat from Germany and the current foot and mouth disease problems in the UK, the Meat Hygiene Service has been instructed to step up levels of inspection at cutting plants and cold stores to ensure that increased volumes of imports can be checked for the necessary health marks and correct documentation.

All meat imported from third countries into the UK must enter, and is subject to veterinary inspections at, designated UK Border Inspection Posts (BIP). All consignments are subject to documentary and identity checks and at least 20 per cent. of consignments are subject to physical checks in accordance with EU legislation. These checks ensure that conditions of import have been complied with and that the products have remained in a satisfactory condition during transport. The inspection services at the BIP are the responsibility of the local authority. UK and EC legislation requires that costs incurred by the local authority while carrying out checks are recovered from the importer.

Farmers (Private Insurance)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of livestock farmers who have privately insured against foot and mouth disease; [153730]

Ms Quin [holding answer 14 March 2001]: At the outset of last year's outbreak of Classical Swine Fever, my right hon. Friend the Minister established a joint Government/industry working party to consider what measures the livestock industry could take to protect itself in future against the commercial consequences of animal disease outbreaks. Government compensation is the value of animals slaughtered and does not extend to consequential losses caused by movement restrictions. The NFU and others from the livestock industry agreed to join the working party to examine the practicalities and specifics of such measures, including insurance arrangements. The working party report was due to be completed in the spring, although this may now be slightly delayed while attention is concentrated on eradicating the present foot and mouth outbreaks.

As part of this work, consultants were engaged to assess what types of animal disease insurance cover are presently available and the level of uptake. From this it is clear that the number and scope of available insurance products is very limited, that these are not widely purchased by farmers and that they tend to concentrate on a few diseases such as bovine TB and foot and mouth. We have made no formal estimate of the proportion of livestock farmers who have privately insured against foot and mouth disease. However NFU Mutual, the largest provider of agricultural insurance, estimate that around 10 per cent. of farmers have policies covering the disease.

CAP Grants (Shropshire)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list for each

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year since 1979 the total grants paid to farmers in Shropshire under the Common Agricultural Policy; and if he will make a statement. [154467]

Ms Quin: The table sets out total subsidies under the CAP paid to farmers in Shropshire by MAFF in calendar years 1993 to 2001. For 2001, all information received up to and including 15 March is included. Information for years before 1993 could have been obtained only at a disproportionate cost. In some cases, amounts include an element of national as well as EU funding. Farmers also benefit from expenditure on market support measures, even though this is not paid directly to them.

£ million
199319.87
199433.35
199533.70
199652.86
199742.10
199842.45
199938.04
200042.92
2001(40)5.14

(40) To 15 March



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