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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the timing of the announcement of the approval for the MOX plant in Sellafield. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 October 2001]: Having considered all relevant information, including the responses to our public consultation which ended on 24 August, the Secretary of State for Health and I decided on 3 October that the manufacture of mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel is justified, and announced it the same day.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to increase payments to contractors operating under the home energy efficiency scheme. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The home energy efficiency scheme is managed by Eastern HEES Ltd. in the East of England, and by the Eaga Partnership in the rest of England. The scheme managers are responsible for appointing contractors to work under the scheme, through open competition in accordance with UK public procurement rules and regulations.
A number of these installer contracts are coming up for re-tender. The prices paid will depend on the results of the competition and it is possible that the contracts awarded will be at a higher price.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the maximum payment is per housing unit available to contractors operating the home energy efficiency scheme in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The home energy efficiency scheme (HEES) offers packages of insulation and heating improvements to those households most vulnerable to cold-related ill health in England. The maximum value of grant-funded work
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carried out on any single home under the scheme is £2,000. This level of grant is provided to those aged 60 years or more and in receipt of an income-related benefit.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many properties have benefited from the home energy efficiency scheme since June 2000; and what is the target number for the current year. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 October 2001]: During the period 1 June 2000 to 30 September 2001, 224,000 householders benefited from HEES in England. We expect 300,000 householders will benefit in the current financial year.
Mr. Meacher: This country has been prominent in taking action on sustainable development since Agenda 21 was agreed at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. We produced our new Sustainable Development Strategy 'A better quality of life' in 1999, and the first annual report on the strategy earlier this year. In 1999 and 2000 we published reports setting out progress on Greening Government. Almost all local authorities prepared Local Agenda 21 strategies by the end of 2000, meeting a target set by the Prime Minister in 1997.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards the use of short rotation coppice/forestry in renewable energy. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 18 October 2001]: Energy crops and forest material have the potential to make a significant contribution to sustainable development and the Government's climate change and renewable energy targets. We support the development of short rotation coppice in England through the Energy Crops Scheme and promote the use of forest material, working closely with developers of renewable energy projects.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will made a statement on her Department's support for the generic campaign to support milk drinking; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of that campaign. 
Mr. Morley: We are pleased that milk producers and processors have co-operated in jointly funding and overseeing 'The White Stuff', a generic promotion of milk. It is for milk producers and processors to assess the effectiveness of 'The White Stuff' campaign and decide how to proceed.
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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The Government currently promote the use of energy efficient condensing boilers in a number of ways. The benefits of condensing boilers are likely to be attractive to energy suppliers in meeting their requirements under the Energy Efficiency Commitment for 200205. Under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (part of our strategy to combat fuel poverty) the new central heating systems provided use condensing boilers wherever possible. The amendments to the energy efficiency aspects of the Building Regulations, due to come into force next year, will require energy efficient boilers to be installed, both in new build and for replacements. The Energy Saving Trust and the "Are you Doing Your Bit?" campaigns also promote the use of energy efficient boilers in the domestic sector.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list by country of origin the meat imports into the United Kingdom over the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the exposure of the animals from which such meat came to foot and mouth disease. 
Community legislation permits the importation of meat from certain countries where foot and mouth disease is present but only where the disease is restricted to specific areas. Imports are only permitted from parts of the country that are free of disease or under strict conditions that ensure the meat does not come from any animal that may have come in contact with foot and mouth disease before, during and after slaughter. These provisions are in line with the guidelines set out in the Office International des Epizooties International Animal Health Code 2001.
All meat imported from third countries must be accompanied by veterinary certification. This must confirm that the meat is derived from animals which have been subjected to an ante-mortem inspection during the 24 hours prior to slaughter at which the animal showed no signs of foot and mouth disease.
If there is an outbreak of disease likely to present a risk to human or animal health such as foot and mouth disease, Community legislation allows us to take appropriate safeguard action, which may include a ban on imports of meat from all, or parts, of that country. Recent examples include Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Swaziland, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, and within the EU, France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
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(25) Cattle, sheep, pigs goats and reindeer. There were no imports of reindeer meat in 200001.
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