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Flood Warning Notices

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many flood warning notices were sent by the Environment Agency by (a) county and (b) constituency in England and Wales in 2001. [25002]

Mr. Morley: Flood defence is a fully devolved function and DEFRA has policy responsibility only for England. Figures are not available at county and constituency level. The table therefore shows total flood warnings issued by Environment Agency in 2001 in England by region:

Number
North East61
North West127
Midlands363
South West520
Thames815
Southern774
Anglian684
Total3,344

Biofuels

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if it is her policy to encourage the growing of crops for biofuels; and if she will make a statement. [26445]

Mr. Morley: This Department allocated support of £29 million to solid biomass crops through the Energy Crops Scheme, part of the England Rural Development Programme. We are also working with other Departments to put in place schemes with funding of £70 million which will develop markets for biomass in heat, combined heat and power and electricity generation. Following the Green Fuel Challenge my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a new duty rate for biodiesel, set at 20p per litre below the rate for Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel, is to be introduced in Budget 2002. Any additional measures to develop biofuels from crops must be based on sound evidence and this Department has recently commissioned a six-month study, on behalf of the Government-Industry Forum on non-food uses of crops, to provide an independent, comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the comparative energy, environmental and socio-economic costs and benefits of biodiesel production in the UK. The study will compare results with those for other relevant green fuels and relevant energy saving measures.

Farm Incomes

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what were the (a) gross and (b) net farm incomes for each of the past four years for (i) the highest earning decile and (ii) the lowest earning decile. [26028]

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Mr. Morley: Income data are available only for farms with an economic size of at least eight European Size Units (ESUs), the minimum considered necessary to occupy a full time farmer. Although nearly half the farms in England fall below this 'full-time' size threshold, they account for only 2 per cent. of agricultural output.

The information for farms above this threshold is given in the table. Data for the year 2000–01 will be available on 31 January 2002. The income measure "Cash Income" has been used for gross income.

Ranges of farm incomes for full-time farms in England
£ per farm

Cash income Net farm income
First decile (10th percentile)Ninth decile (90th percentile) First decile (10th percentile)Ninth decile (90th percentile)
1996–975,900110,400-3,30068,700
1997–98-10085,700-10,80040,200
1998–99-70078,300-13,70035,600
1999–2000069,400-13,90032,600

Source:

Farm Business Survey


Remuneration

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the number of individuals in her (a) Department, (b) related agencies and (c) related non-departmental public bodies whose annual remuneration including benefits in kind exceeded (i) £100,000 and (ii) £200,000 in each of the last four years. [26326]

Mr. Morley: As DEFRA was created on 8 June 2001, the historical information requested is not available. However, the numbers for the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) are as follows:














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Arable Area Payments

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers, by region, have arable area payment claims outstanding. [26606]

Mr. Morley: The regulatory deadline for payment of main scheme claims under the 2001 Arable Area Payments Scheme is 31 January 2002. As at 13 January 2002, 33,830 claims (79.15 per cent.) had been passed for payment. Payments of claims is no longer organised on a regional basis, as in previous years. The number of claims unpaid by processing centre is, however, as follows:

RPA processing siteUnpaid claims
Cambridge987
Carlisle688
Crewe335
Exeter3,469
Newcastle221
Northallerton1,895
Nottingham1,098
Reading219
Total8,912

Agricultural Bureaucracy

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many transactions by correspondence, telephone or e-mail take place on average each year between her Department and farmers subject to each (a) quota, (b) headage payment and (c) area payment. [26693]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The information is not available and records held by the Department are not sufficiently detailed to enable it to be extracted. The total number of letters received by the Department from farmers in the categories mentioned in the financial years 1999–2000 and 2000–01 were 32,812 and 34,051 respectively. This excludes claim forms and any covering communications which did not call for a response.

The numbers of claims, payments and quota registrations for the two years were:

1999–2000 2000–01
ClaimsPaymentsClaimsPayments
Headage based schemes181,285545,336320,271794,527
Area based schemes73,447(38)119,15972,700(39)91,155
Quota transactions 18,900 18,920

(38) For 1999–2000 this includes advance payments for oilseeds and separate payments for non food set-aside.

(39) For 2000–01 this includes separate payments for non food set- aside.


Agricultural Subsidies

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what area payments are available to producers of (a) maize, (b) wheat,

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(c) barley, (d) oats, (e) sugar beet and (f) other crops; what is the value of each payment (i) in aggregate and (ii) by volume or area; and what are the conditions upon which payments depend. [26001]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Payments are available to producers under the Arable Area Payments Scheme for crops of Cereals (which include barley, oats and maize), Proteins, Linseed, Rapeseed, Flax, Hemp and Set-aside. Sugar Beet can only be claimed under this scheme for non-food use. It does not attract a payment but may be counted towards a producer's set-aside requirement.

The payment rates for crops claimed in England in 2001 per hectare are £225.6466 for Cereals and set-aside, £264.3094 for Oilseeds, £259.6757 for Proteins and £270.8829 for Linseed, Fibre Flax and Hemp. There is a further supplement to the basic rate available for Durum Wheat of £84.4647.

In 2000, the total value of payments made with respect to English applications was as follows:

£

Basic paymentAgri-monetary compensation
Maize4,340,419145,988
Cereals (excluding maize)583,020,47019,757,296
Oilseeds88,204,6262,984,108
Proteins53,881,5641,824,176
Linseed22,363,270782,726
Durum Wheat Supplement1,240,69912,450
Set-aside100,965,4583,456,446
Total854,016,50628,963,190

The Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS) offers payments per hectare to growers of the crops already mentioned. There are a number of conditions that land and crops being claimed must meet, the main ones being as follows. Eligibility of land for AAPS is as a general rule effectively restricted to land that was in arable rotation on 31 December 1991. In order to qualify for full payment, all producers claiming more than 15.62 ha must set-aside a certain percentage of their claimed eligible land. All crops claimed under this scheme must be shown and maintained in line with local standards and must be maintained until specified dates. Details of the scheme requirements are published annually in literature available to claimants.


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