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British Meat

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Ministry of Defence to bring about an increase in the proportion of British meat supplied to the UK armed forces; what role her Department takes in developing the core list of food products available to the armed forces; and if she will make a statement. [16035]

Mr. Morley: My noble Friend Lord Whitty is currently discussing with his ministerial colleagues at the Ministry of Defence their procurement policies for meat. However, the decision as to what food products to buy for the armed forces is for the Ministry of Defence.

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Sheep Annual Premium

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on farm (a) cash flow and (b) livelihoods in the Macclesfield constituency of delays in the despatch of sheep annual premium to farmers who have had a partial contiguous cull of sheep as a result of foot and mouth disease; and if she will make a statement. [15809]

Mr. Morley: The Sheep Annual Premium Scheme is fully funded by the European Community. In administering the scheme member states must ensure that the rules are strictly enforced to avoid disallowance of Community funding. We are conscious of the need to pay claims without undue delay, but this must be balanced with the need to safeguard taxpayers' money.

European Community rules for farmers affected by FMD require claims to be cross-checked against veterinary records to ensure that the animals culled were eligible for premium. The majority of FMD affected claims have been paid their first advance of the premium from late July as usual. There are some cases where we require further information from claimants on the number of eligible sheep retained, including those where only part of the flock has been culled due to FMD. None of these are in the Macclesfield area.

Additionally, claim processing on all schemes has been affected by the diversion of staff to FMD duties and industrial action.

Fair Trade

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is in relation to departmental spending for supplies concerning the purchase of fair trade goods. [15205]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The Department's procurement policy is to achieve value for money. On the matter of fair trade policy I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) on 16 November 2001, Official Report, column 931W.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's negotiating position on a draft Directive to control the use of animals in experiments in the EU. [17756]

Mr. Meacher: I am not aware of any proposals for a Directive to control the use of animals in experiments in the EU. There are, however, proposals for new legislation to improve the control of hazardous chemicals. These proposals, which were described in the answer given to the right hon. Member on 28 November 2001, Official Report, column 1026W, are very welcome except that they have the potential to increase animal testing. We intend to avoid excessive animal testing resulting from this new legislation by pressing for companies to share data arising from animal testing, by prioritising the testing

8 Jan 2002 : Column: 743W

programme to focus on chemicals of greatest concern, and by making decisions, wherever possible, based on information not derived from animal testing.

Classical Swine Fever

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many samples of imported meat have been tested for the classical swine fever virus in each month since testing began. [18413]

Mr. Morley: The tests are only carried out on illegally imported meat. To date four such samples have been tested, one in October 2000, two in November 2000 and one in January 2001. The virus isolation tests for classical swine fever proved negative in all cases.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of classical swine fever there were in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001, broken down by (i) constituency and (ii) local authority. [24901]

Mr. Morley: There were 16 cases of classical swine fever in the UK in 2000, as follows:

UKNumber of cases
County council
Suffolk 7
Norfolk8
Essex1
Total16
District council
Suffolk, Coastal 4
Waveney3
South Norfolk4
Breckland3
Broadland1
Colchester1
Total16
Constituency
Suffolk, Coastal6
Waveney1
South Norfolk4
South-West Norfolk1
Mid-Norfolk3
Colchester1
Total16

There were no cases of classical swine fever in the UK in 2001.

Ministerial Visits (North-East)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times Ministers from her Department have visited (a) the Teesside area and (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet locally based businesses. [19067]

Mr. Morley: Since the creation of the Department there have as yet been no visits by DEFRA Ministers to (a) the Teesside area, or (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet with locally based business.

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Dioxin Inhalation

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what action is being taken by her Department to compensate the workers at Dagenham for damage to their health from the inhalation of dioxins from recycled ash; [20762]

Mr. Meacher: Two independent health risk assessments have so far been carried out, one for the Environment Agency, and the other by consultants for the London borough of Barking and Dagenham. Neither found the ash pile to pose a serious health risk. I understand that no medical evidence has been presented to support allegations of damage to health. Therefore the question of compensation does not arise.

The Department of Health has advised that no health impacts would be expected as a result of non-occupational exposure to the Edmonton ash at Dagenham. This advice takes into account the highest levels of dioxins measured in the ash pile.

Edmonton Incinerator

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency advised Tarmac that it was safe for them to use fly ash from the Edmonton incinerator. [20764]

Mr. Meacher: Neither the Department nor the Environment Agency can find any record of advising Tarmac on the safety of using fly ash from the Edmonton incinerator. I understand from Tarmac that they have no record of such advice.

Contaminated Meat Imports

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much infected meat has been imported into the UK from countries where foot and mouth disease is endemic since 1 February. [20777]

Mr. Morley: None. EU and UK import rules do not permit entry of infected meat into the UK, and controls are in place to ensure that meat presented for checking on import is certified free of disease, including foot and mouth. When illegally imported meat is identified it is destroyed. It is not routinely tested for presence of disease agents. To our knowledge no imported meat infected with foot and mouth has ever been identified in the UK, including from countries where the disease is endemic.

Sheep and Cattle Subsidies

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what grounds she will not provide a breakdown by name or holding of those who are claiming subsidy for sheep or cattle. [20714]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 December 2001]: It is not possible for this level of detailed personal information to be released for reasons of confidentiality and data protection.

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Refrigerator Disposal

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to give financial assistance to retailers to help dispose of old fridges and freezers. [21525]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 10 December 2001]: None. However, the Department has announced a payment of £6 million to local authorities to cover their costs of storing and disposing of fridges and freezers until March 2002.


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