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15. Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the cost and availability of fodder. [13079]

Mr. Morley: The Arthur Rank Centre, RSPCA, ADAS and industry bodies have been examining the prices and availability of fodder and grazing throughout the country. The foot and mouth disease culls and movement

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restrictions have resulted in some farmers having fodder and bedding in surplus and others having an unexpected need for it. The Department has been discussing the work of charities in brokering fodder supplies between farmers. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Rural Affairs was pleased to announce on 6 November a further £2 million to help address the problems farmers and rural communities are facing as a result of foot and mouth disease restrictions. The money will be largely channelled as matched funding through the Addington Trust Fund and other charities to help them meet these needs.

Energy Efficiency

16. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her policy to promote energy efficiency in UK companies. [13080]

Mr. Meacher: The Government are committed to improving energy efficiency as a highly cost-effective way of achieving our climate change goals. The Energy Efficiency Commitment will, from next April, provide a substantial boost to domestic energy efficiency activity. The Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust receive over £66 million from the Department to promote domestic, business and public sector energy efficiency and the take-up of low carbon technology. The climate change levy, and its associated voluntary agreements, are an important spur to business energy efficiency.

30. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the contribution that more efficient use of energy can make in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. [13094]

Mr. Meacher: Energy efficiency outside the transport sector is expected to contribute more than 50 per cent. of the CO 2 reductions outlined in the Government's climate change programme and about 45 per cent. of the total greenhouse gas reductions. These figures increase to around 75 per cent. and 65 per cent. respectively if more efficient use of energy in transport is included. Assessments made by my Department for the PIU Energy Review covering the period up to 2050 suggest that there is substantial scope for further cost-effective energy efficiency savings across the economy.

Climate Change

17. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of the climate change negotiations at Marrakesh. [13081]

Margaret Beckett: UK Ministers, officials and experts played a leading role in the negotiations in Marrakesh. We believe the agreement reached should now pave the way for ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The UK intends to ratify, along with our EU partners, in time to allow entry into force before the World Summit on Sustainable Development next September.

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Waste Management

18. Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what structures are being put in place to help local authorities achieve their statutory waste targets. [13082]

Mr. Meacher: We are helping councils deliver their Statutory Performance Standards for recycling and composting through major extra funding from the Spending Review 2000. By 2003–04 revenue support will have risen by £1.1 billion over current provision; there is £220 million for PFI waste schemes over the spending review period; and there is a £140 million ring-fenced fund for waste and recycling over the next two years. £50 million of New Opportunities Fund moneys will also be available over the next two years to support community sector work on recycling in the UK.

The Government have also established the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a company with £40 million funding to help to overcome market barriers to recycling. It will operate across all waste streams to foster markets for recycled materials.

We view the statutory targets we have set for local authority recycling and composting of household waste as a major priority. Where authorities fail to deliver those targets the Secretary of State has powers to intervene under Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999.

A protocol has been agreed with the Local Government Association setting out the principles under which these powers will be used. These could range from inviting the authority to submit an action plan setting out how it proposed to meet the statutory recycling targets by a given deadline, to at the other end of the scale, removing the management of the waste function from the authority completely and asking another agent to conduct the waste service on their behalf.

Genetically Modified Organisms

19. Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the new EU directive on deliberate releases of GMOs. [13083]

Mr. Meacher: Consultations with stakeholders on the broad issues raised by the new Directive were completed in England on 26 October. The Department is currently analysing the 43 responses received, and will make this analysis and copies of the responses available to the public and to Parliament (unless specifically asked to treat responses in confidence).

We will consult further on draft implementing regulations early in the new year, with a view to laying them before Parliament by June 2002.

The Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland will make separate implementing regulations on issues for which they have devolved powers.


20. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial and

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technical assistance is offered by her Department to farmers who wish to diversify their operations; and if she will make a statement. [13084]

Alun Michael: The Department provides grants for farmers in England for good diversification projects through the Rural Enterprise Scheme, and skills training to support those projects through the Vocational Training Scheme, both of which are part of the England Rural Development Programme. Funds are also available from the Regional Development Agencies to renovate redundant farm buildings. Technical assistance is provided by the Rural Development Service and through the Farm Business Advice Service.

35. Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial assistance is available to hill farmers to diversify their businesses. [13099]

Alun Michael: The Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES), which is a part of the England Rural Development Programme, provides grants for all types of farmers, including hill farmers, seeking to pursue good diversification projects. The RES has a total budget of £152 million between 2001 and 2006. Financial assistance is also available for planning consultancy advice for viable diversification projects under the RES. Other funding is available from Regional Development Agencies in the form of Redundant Building Grant. Additional measures, such as the Vocational Training Scheme and the Farm Business Advice Service, also offer relevant support.

Flood Prevention

21. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by central Government, local government and agencies on flood defences and flood prevention in (a) 1997–98 and (b) 2000–01; and what the estimated spending is for 2001–02. [13085]

Mr. Morley: Flood defence is provided by the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards. The table shows expenditure by the Environment Agency in England, by English local authorities and estimated expenditure by internal drainage boards.

Environment Agency255.2270.4
Local authorities13.0(12)20.1
Internal Drainage Boards(13)40.0(13)41.0

(12) Provisional

(13) Estimate

It is not possible to provide a fully broken down estimate of expenditure in 2001–02 but DEFRA grant will increase by some £26 million and levies to the Environment Agency increased by some £19 million indicating that overall expenditure could increase by some £45 million on the 2000–01 figure.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to implement the recommendations of the National Audit

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Office to increase levels of investment in capital and maintenance in preparation for floods; and if she will make a statement. [13882]

Mr. Morley: Operational responsibility for flood alleviation measures rests with local operating authorities, namely the Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards. This Department provides funding on capital works and the provision available for flood and coastal defence has already been increased from last year's outturn of £66 million to £114 million in 2003–04. The operating authorities' maintenance and operational programmes are funded largely through local government funding arrangements. Currently some £264 million a year is provided through Standard Spending Assessments which are largely supported by central grant and non-domestic rate income. Further increase in both funding streams will be considered in the Spending Review 2002 process.

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