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Whaling

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has made to the International Whaling Commission on the decision by the Japanese Government to use satellite technology to (a) track, (b) monitor and (c) capture, (i) minke, (ii) sperm and (iii) Bryde's whales. [28086]

Mr. Morley: We are raising this issue directly with the Government of Japan.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what involvement her Department has in (a) public-private partnerships and (b) private finance initiative projects. [27934]

Mr. Morley: The Department is involved in four private finance initiative projects as follows:





As yet the Department is not involved in any public- private partnerships.

Theft and Fraud

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. [27974]

Mr. Morley: The Department has only been in existence since June 2001. Information covering earlier periods is therefore not available, and could be constructed retrospectively only at disproportionate cost.

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Annual reports which the Treasury prepares on fraud, covering returns from both the former MAFF and DETR, are deposited in the House of Commons Library.

Pesticides

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 12 December 2001, Official Report, column 919–20W, on carbofuran chlorfenvinphos, if she will set out the measures she is taking to help the trade and user groups. [27841]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 January 2002]: My noble Friend Lord Whitty met representatives of the National Farmers Union and the brassica industry on 19 December to discuss the problems that would be faced by trade and user groups. My noble Friend accepts that there would be severe consequences for swede and turnip growers putting them at a serious disadvantage with European competitors. While the approval for carbofuran expired as planned on 31 December 2001, he has agreed, exceptionally, to allow the approval for chlorfenvinphos to continue until 25 July 2003, the date the use of the compound will expire throughout Europe. Action has already been taken by the Pesticide Safety Directorate to maintain the chlorfenvinphos approvals. However, industry is being urged, as a matter of urgency, to find alternatives.

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ensure that the ban on the use of chlorfenvinphos and carbofuran, used in the control of cabbage root fly, comes into force at the same time as in the rest of the EU. [27044]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 January 2002]: Pesticide products containing chlorfenvinphos and carbofuran have been reviewed as part of the general review in the UK of all organophosphate pesticides. The review was undertaken because of public concerns about the potential toxicity of this group of chemicals. Only for chlorfenvinphos has there been strong lobbying to retain its use on swedes and turnips. The approval was due to expire on 31 December 2001 but in the light of strong representations from growers at the end of last year my noble Friend Lord Whitty agreed to extend the approval until 25 July 2003, the date when the approval will expire throughout Europe. This should allow industry time to find alternatives. Unlike chlorfenvinphos, no strong representations have been made for the approval of carbofuran to continue. This approval therefore expired as planned on 31 December.

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has sponsored into alternatives to chlorfenvinphos and carbofuran. [27046]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 January 2002]: None. DEFRA funds generic research into alternatives to conventional pesticides, for example, biological controls, but not into specific chemical alternatives which are primarily for industry to fund. I understand that the brassica industry has done some work to find alternative methods to control cabbage root fly and is being urged to continue this work.

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Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on the competitiveness of UK vegetable growers if chlorfenvinphos and carbofuran are banned in the UK before they are banned in the rest of the EU. [27045]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 January 2002]: My noble Friend Lord Whitty met representatives of the National Farmers Union and the brassica industry on 19 December when the industry's assessment of the impact of the loss of these compounds was discussed.

My noble Friend accepts that growers would be seriously disadvantaged by the loss of these compounds. He has therefore agreed, exceptionally, to allow the approval for chlorfenvinphos to continue until 25 July 2003, the date when the approval will expire throughout Europe. This should ensure that UK growers' competitiveness in Europe is maintained. However industry is being urged, as a matter of urgency, to find alternatives.

PIU Energy Review

Mr. Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the PIU report will be published before the end of January. [28980]

Mr. Meacher: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mr. Thomas), on 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 816W.

Fisheries Policy

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the European commission policy on administrative sanctions in enforcing fisheries policy; what assessment she has made of the compatibility of this approach with the European convention on human rights; and if she will make a statement. [28675]

Mr. Morley: Under CFP regulations member states are required to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to deal with fisheries infringements. These may take the form of criminal proceedings or administrative sanctions. The Government would need to be satisfied that any proposals for a system of administrative sanctions were compatible with the European convention on human rights. Moreover, any proposals to introduce administrative sanctions would be subject to full consultation with the fishing industry and other appropriate interests.

Recovered Vegetable Oil

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if the use of recovered vegetable oil for producing animal feed is to be banned in the UK; and if she will make a statement; [28696]

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Mr. Morley [holding answer 18 January 2002]: The proposed EU Animal By-Products Regulation would ban the feeding of catering waste to livestock. This ban was introduced at a late stage in negotiations and, after political agreement to a common position had been reached, the European commission made it clear that it considered that the ban also applied to used cooking oils. The Government consider that used cooking oils can be safely used in livestock feed if they are protected from contamination by the application of HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) principles and appropriate quality control. If suitable alternative outlets are not in place, a ban could lead to environmental problems. The UK is therefore opposing the ban on used cooking oils which are subject to suitable controls and has been lobbying Members of the European Parliament to make suitable changes at Second Reading. The UK has also made it clear that, in the event of the ban not being reversed, an extended transitional period would be needed to allow time for alternative, sustainable outlets to be developed.

Regulatory impact assessments were placed in the Library of the House on 27 November 2000 and 26 February 2001, along with explanatory memoranda on the regulation (reference 12646/00 and 12648/00). However, as the ban on catering waste had not then been proposed, they did not take account of the costs of such a ban. A revised regulatory impact assessment and a further supplementary explanatory memorandum are in preparation. We expect the Animal By-Products Regulation to come into force in member states towards the end of 2002. Relevant industries and other interests will be fully consulted on its implementation.


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