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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the proposed ban on pigswill comes into effect; and how the pigswill will then be disposed of. [156279]

Ms Quin [holding answer 2 April 2001]: The consultation period on the proposed ban on the use of pigswill ends on 10 April. Our intention is for an order to be made as soon as possible thereafter and for the ban to come into force 3 to 4 weeks later. The disposal of the material formerly used to produce pigswill will then be subject to the requirements of the duty of care under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and must be disposed of only by an "authorised person" (eg the operator of a licensed landfill site or an authorised incinerator).

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Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what plans he has to provide financial assistance to the forestry industry to compensate for losses incurred as the result of foot and mouth disease restrictions; and if he will make a statement; [155784]

Mr. Morley: The Forestry Commission is gathering information on the impact on the forestry industry of foot and mouth restrictions. The Commission has had discussions with key sectors of the industry including a meeting, on 23 March, with representatives of England's woodland owners and managers.

Once the Forestry Commission has collected and analysed information regarding the impact of foot and mouth restrictions, we shall assess whether we should provide additional support for the forestry industry. I have discussed the effects of the foot and mouth outbreak with the Forestry Commission on several occasions, and the Rural Task Force, of which I am a member, has also received representations direct from the forestry industry.

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Agricultural Hereditaments

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the rise in the value of agricultural hereditaments since 1980. [147492]

Ms Quin [holding answer 29 January 2001]: This information is not available. Agricultural hereditaments are exempt from rating and consequently they have not been valued. We have attempted to estimate the value of agricultural hereditaments for rating purposes on several previous occasions. However these calculations rely on a number of assumptions and are constrained by the availability of information on the value of agricultural properties at the time the calculation was made. Further, the basis used to calculate business rates has changed since 1980. As a result our previous calculations do not provide a reliable basis for estimating the increase in the notional value of agricultural hereditaments over a period of time.

Slaughter Costs

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent studies his Department has made of the average cost of slaughtering a lamb in an abattoir in each of the EU member states; and if he will make a statement. [153267]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 12 March 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has undertaken no such studies. Slaughter costs reflect a number of factors, including size and efficiency of operations, and are therefore commercial matters.