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Farming

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contribution

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farming made to English GDP in each of the years 1998 to 2001, after the deduction of all (a) subsidies and (b) foot and mouth costs. [26027]

Mr. Morley: The table shows the contribution after removing all subsidies that the agricultural industry made to English GDP in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Statistics on agriculture's contribution in 2001 will not be published until 31 January 2002. The Government are spending an additional £2.7 billion to tackle foot and mouth disease and its implications for the rural economy.

Agriculture's contribution to English GDP after removing subsidies(45)

Contribution (£ billion)Contribution as a percentage
19983.60.56
19993.40.51
20002.90.41

(45) Subsidies paid directly to farmers and the cost to the exchequer of indirect support of market prices.


Bird Populations

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the change in the number and percentage of British birds from 1990 to 2000 was. [26060]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's Quality of Life Counts indicator of wild birds uses an index of bird populations set at 100 for 1970. Actual population numbers are not calculated. The values of the index for 1990 and 2000 are presented in the table for all 105 bird species included. Further information on these statistics is published in the DEFRA News Release No. 303/01.

Bird population index

All birds
1970100
1990102
2000107

Agricultural Bureaucracy

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff of her Department are engaged in the administration of area and headage payments; and how much time she estimates is required of people outside her Department. [26649]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The number of full-time equivalent staff engaged in the administration of area and headage payments is 1,520. The amount of time required of people outside the Department engaged on this work is very limited and relates exclusively to contracted-out work on remote sensing.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff of her Department are engaged in the administration of quotas; and how much time she estimates is required of people outside her Department. [26650]

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Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The number of full-time equivalent staff engaged in the administration of quotas is 100. There are no people engaged in quota work outside of the Department on its behalf.

Agricultural Quotas

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what agricultural products are the subject of quotas; how many holdings are in possession of each quota; and what is the average size of each quota per holding in possession of that quota. [26651]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Milk and sugar from sugar beet are the two agricultural products subject to quotas. At the end of the 2000–01 quota year there were some 33,000 holders of milk quota in the UK, with an average quota holding of about 429,000 litres. The UK has a quota for 1.14 million tonnes of sugar held by British Sugar, who draw up individual supply contracts with growers. In the marketing year 2001–02 around 8,300 sugar beet farmers are contracted to supply British Sugar with sugar beet.

Combined Heat and Power

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many paper mills invested in combined heat and power plants in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2001–02 to date. [26126]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The following number of paper mills invested in new CHP capacity between 1997–98 and 2000–01:

Number
1997–980
1998–991
1999–20003
2000–012

This information is taken from the Digest of UK Energy Statistics. Data for 2001–02 are not currently available.

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions she has calculated will be saved by the United Kingdom paper industry investing in combined heat and power plants, and over what period, under the Government's targets for climate change. [26125]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The latest figures in the DTI published Digest of UK Energy Statistics are for the year 2000 and show the paper industry (including publishing and printing) to be saving approximately 500,000 tonnes of carbon annually through its use of combined heat and power (CHP). In addition, our best estimate of the savings stimulated by the climate change agreements for the paper industry are 140,000 tonnes of carbon annually by 2010 from CHP.

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IACS Payments

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of IACS payments will have been made to farmers by 31 January. [26087]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: At 30 December 20001, 68 per cent. of AAPS applications had been passed for payment.

The performance this year was initially affected by foot and mouth disease and more particularly lately by industrial action. The union suspended its industrial action on 11 January and the Rural Payments Agency, which is responsible for the administration of the scheme, is making every possible effort to ensure that as many payments as possible are made by 31 January.

Livestock Markets

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when livestock markets in England and Wales will reopen. [26725]

Mr. Morley: On 18 December 2001, the Government announced changes to the livestock movement controls which we intend to introduce in February 2002 provided there is continued progress in eradicating foot and mouth disease.

From the start of these arrangements, cattle markets will be allowed to resume, but for sheep and pigs, slaughter markets only will be allowed initially. The question of whether to allow other sheep and pig markets will be kept under review in the light of veterinary and scientific advice.

When markets do reopen, they will be subject to strict construction and operating conditions to ensure that an appropriate level of biosecurity is maintained.

Apples and Pears

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to protect United Kingdom crop fruit growers from the effects of EU proposals to amend the marketing standard for apples and pears. [26776]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 January 2002]: The EU marketing standard for apples and pears is currently under review, proposals having been made to bring variety lists up to date and to separate the standards for apples and pears. Last year the EU Commission also published an informal paper on the possible future amendment of the sizing requirements. Our horticultural marketing inspectorate has consulted widely on this matter with growers' representatives and other interested parties. We will ensure that the views expressed by all stakeholders are taken into consideration in any future discussions.

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Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to answer the question tabled on 27 November 2001 by the right hon. Member for Fylde (ref 17652) on payments to farmers. [26779]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 15 January 2002]: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given to him on 11 January 2002, Official Report, columns 1040–41W.

Flood Prevention

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the impact of water companies ending agency working with local authorities and other external agencies for the purpose of flood prevention. [27006]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 January 2002]: I am aware of no significant impact of any such action. The primary responsibility for flood defence rests with the operating authorities, i.e. the Environment Agency, local authorities and, where they exist, internal drainage boards.

Rural Affairs Forum

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list those organisations that have been asked to participate in the Rural Affairs Forum, and give the names of the nominees. [27657]

Alun Michael: The organisations and names of the nominees asked to participate in the Rural Affairs Forum are as shown in the table.

OrganisationsName of nominees
ChairAlun Michael
Vice-ChairElliot Morley
Rural AdvocateEwen Cameron
Association of National Park AuthoritiesMartin Fitton
Council for the Protection of Rural EnglandGregor Hutcheon
National TrustTony Burton
Ramblers AssociationNick Barrett
Royal Society for the Protection of BirdsPhil Rothwell
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsPeter Davies
Country Land and Business AssociationSir Edward Greenwell
British Horse SocietyKay Driver
British Chambers of CommerceViv Dodd
National Farmers UnionJohn Seymour
Countryside AllianceRichard Burge
Trades Union CongressBarry Leathwood
Co-operative UnionPauline Green
Action with Communities in Rural EnglandSylvia Brown
Churches Together in EnglandCanon Jeremy Martineau
National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsHolly Yates
National Federation of Women's InstitutesJill Cobley
National Youth AgencyDave Phillips
Age Concern EnglandGordon Lishman
East of England Development AgencyMarie Skinner
Local Government AssociationCouncillor Christine Reid
National Association of Local CouncilsCouncillor Brian Kerr
English NatureDavid Arnold-Forster
English Tourism CouncilMary Lynch
Environment AgencyAndrew Dare
Forestry CommissionPaul Hill-Tout
Housing CorporationFiona Cruickshank
Countryside AgencyRichard Cameron

The Secretary to the Forum will be Chris Dunabin.


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A representative of every Regional Forum will attend each meeting of the Rural Affairs Forum for England.

Other Government Departments, agencies and non- departmental public bodies will have an interest in the work of the Forum and will be invited to attend individual meetings as necessary.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish (a) minutes from and (b) reports to the Rural Affairs Forum. [27313]

Alun Michael: We will be publishing the minutes from and reports to the Rural Affairs Forum on the DEFRA website www.defra.gov.uk.

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