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Sea Fisheries Committees

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) operation and (b) cost of funding of sea fisheries committees; and what proposals she has to alter the source of funding of sea fisheries committees from local authorities to central Government. [29081]

Mr. Morley: Sea Fisheries Committees as managers of inshore fisheries are subject to local government rules and are rightly funded by their constituent local authorities. There are no proposals for this arrangement to change.


Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has received from the Chief Veterinary Officer concerning changes in the threat to livestock from predatory foxes during the ban on fox hunting. [29178]

Mr. Morley: The Chief Veterinary Officer has made no such assessment. Foxes are not regarded as a major national threat to livestock by the Department.

Combined Heat and Power

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the use of combined heat and power systems in the horticultural sector; and what assessment she has made of the obstacles that exist to the use of such systems in the sector. [28897]

Mr. Meacher: There is around 150 megawatts of good quality CHP capacity installed in the horticulture sector. I understand the main obstacles to the use of CHP are the availability of capital, a lack of understanding of the opportunities for CHP and concerns over energy prices. Support and advice, including site specific, will be channelled to the sector via the Carbon Trust under a voluntary energy saving agreement my Department has with the NFU.

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will support the European proposal to maintain a Community register of genetically modified food and feed; and if this will result in a change in the information that is available to the public via the Food Standards Agency and her Department. [29501]

Mr. Meacher: The Government support the establishment of the proposed Community register. However, the proposal implies that the information included on the register will be limited to a summary of applications for authorisation and authorisations granted. The current register maintained by my Department in relation to the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms contains more information, including all details of non-confidential information included in applications for authorisation. The Food Standards Agency operate procedures that give a similar level of information in relation to GM foods. The Government will press in negotiations on the proposal for more information to be placed on the Community register.

Animal Slaughter (Jedburgh)

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 8 January 2002 to the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Ainsworth), Official Report, column 756W, on animal slaughter (Jedburgh), how many premises outwith the 3km zone were slaughtered out; how many sheep were slaughtered at each of these individual farm premises outwith the 3km zone; how many of these premises were tested for evidence of foot and mouth disease; and what was the result of the tests. [29505]

Mr. Morley: In the Scottish Borders local authority area there were 11 premises outwith the 3km area on which animals were slaughtered as part of the foot and mouth disease eradication strategy. Animals on six farms were slaughtered as the disease was suspected but not clinically proven and animals on a further five farms were slaughtered due to their contacts with Longtown market. This involved a total of 11,917 sheep as detailed in the following table.

Name of farmNumber of sheepTested for FMDTest result
Sunnyside Farm, Haddington230YesNegative
West Broomhouse, Dunbar74YesNegative
Broadmeadows, Paxton800YesNegative
Broadlea, Hawick1,200YesNegative
Rawburn, Longformacus3,000YesNegative
Castlwood Farm, Jedburgh43YesNegative
Threepwood Cottage, Blainslie1,155YesNegative
Howford Farm, Ettrickbridge2,115YesNegative
Muirfield, Hawick1,150YesNegative
Foulshiels, Yarrow1,000YesNegative
Hopestead, Coldingham1,150YesNegative

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Suckler Cow Premiums

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when farmers will receive their suckler cow premiums; for what reason farmers have not received payment of the premiums; and if farmers will receive interest on late payments. [29455]

Mr. Morley: Payments for suckler cow premium scheme are made between 16 October 2001 to 30 June annually. Claims are received up to 6 December. Payments are made in two parts, an advance payment to be paid by the 6 March 2002, and a balance payment due by 30 June 2002.

This year, scheme payments have not been made as early in the window as we would have liked because computer systems have had to be upgraded to reflect regulation changes to the bovine schemes. Processing has also been affected by the diversion of staff to FMD and by industrial action. Advance payments started in January and are expected to be completed by 31 March. As the end of the advance payment window has still not been reached, the matter of the payment of interest to farmers does not arise.

IACS Payments

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason farmers did not receive IACS payments due in October 2001 until December 2001. [29464]

Mr. Morley: The payment window for IACS arable area payments scheme (AAPS) 2001 runs from 16 November 2001 until 31 January 2002.

The diversion of staff to FMD and industrial action within the Rural Payments Agency has delayed the processing of AAPS claims and meant that fewer claims than normal were paid during the early part of the payment window. The industrial action was suspended on 11 January and good progress is now being made in dealing with unpaid claims. RPA expects to pay over 90 per cent. of AAPS claims by 31 January and to complete the payment process by around mid-February.

Scrapie Research Project

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of the Scrapie Research Project; and what steps are being taken to speed up the project. [29471]

Mr. Morley: The hon. Member has confirmed that he is specifically interested in the National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain. The plan was launched on 19 July 2001 with the opening of a genotyping scheme for breeding rams in pedigree pure-bred flocks registered with a breed society. From an estimated 15,000 flocks in this sector we have thus far received expressions of interest from over

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one third. Of those expressing an interest over 2,800 have so far joined the plan. On 16 January I announced an extension of the plan to all pure-bred breeding flocks, irrespective of whether they are registered with a breed society. It is estimated that this will open eligibility to an extra 25,000 flocks. Eligibility has also been extended to all scrapie-affected flocks, irrespective of whether such flocks are pure-bred. We will be considering possible future extensions to the plan in consultation with stakeholders. Measures to eradicate scrapie are also included in the Animal Health Bill.

Air Pollution

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list by each local authority area in England and Wales the concentration of the pollutants (a) benzene, (b) 1,3 butadiene, (c) carbon monoxide, (d) lead, (e) nitrogen dioxide, (f) particles (PMI), and (g) sulphur dioxide for 1997 to 2001. [29322]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 22 January 2002]: This information is not held centrally. Local authorities are not required to monitor levels of each of these pollutants unless it appears from their modelling results that they are unlikely to achieve the nationally prescribed air quality objectives by the relevant deadlines. Our national monitoring network indicates that between 1997 and 2001 levels of most of these pollutants have fallen across England and Wales, and most local authorities are on course to meet the prescribed objectives for each of the pollutants. However, a number of authorities have identified possible difficulties with the objectives for nitrogen dioxide, particles and, to a lesser extent, sulphur dioxide. The table lists each of the authorities which has to date designated an air quality management area (AQMA), and highlights the pollutants in respect of which the AQMA has been designated.

AuthorityDate of effectPollutant(s)
London local authorities
Barnet(11)18 April 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Brent2 April 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Bexley22 August 2001PM 1 0
Camden30 October 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Corporation of London(11)26 January 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Croydon2 October 2000NO 2
Ealing(11)14 December 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Enfield(11)31 March 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Greenwich1 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Hackney23 March 2001NO 2
Haringey1 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Hammersmith and Fulham(11)3 November 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Hillingdon1 May 2001NO 2
Hounslow15 March 2001NO 2
Islington19 January 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Kensington and Chelsea(11)6 December 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Lambeth1 May 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Lewisham1 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Merton28 March 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Richmond upon Thames(11)31 December 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Southwark1 October 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Sutton29 March 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Tower Hamlets(11)6 December 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Waltham Forest(11)31 October 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Wandsworth(11)1 January 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Westminster(11)9 March 1999NO 2 , PM 1 0
Other English authorities
Babergh District Council28 August 2001NO 2
Barnsley MBC3 October 2001NO 2
Bath and North East Somerset2 February 2002NO 2
Blaby Borough Council19 January 2001NO 2
Bolsover DC1 December 2001NO 2
Boston BC10 September 2001NO 2
Bromsgrove DC26 July 2001NO 2
Broxbourne BC1 November 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Bristol City Council1 May 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Colchester BC1 May 2001NO 2
Charnwood BC20 June 2001NO 2 (3)
Dartford BC1 October 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Derby CC1 August 2001NO 2
Doncaster1 August 2001NO 2 (3)
East Herts6 August 2001PM 1 0
Fenland District Council1 May 2001SO 2 , PM 1 0
Harborough DC18 July 2001NO 2
Herefordshire Council23 November 2001NO 2
Hertsmere BC30 August 2001NO 2
Hinckley and Bosworth BC9 May 2001NO 2
Leeds1 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Leicester City Council29 December 2000NO 2 , PM 1 0
Maidstone BC1 August 2001NO 2
Manchester31 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Melton21 April 2001NO 2
North Warwickshire BC1 March 2001NO 2
North West Leicestershire23 April 2001NO 2 (6)
Oldham1 June 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Oxford CC1 September 2001NO 2
Rotherham MBC1 January 2002NO 2
Runnymede BC4 December 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Rushmoor BC31 October 2000NO 2
Salford1 June 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Salisbury24 July 2001NO 2 (4)
Sheffield CC5 December 2001NO 2
South Gloucestershire1 November 2001NO 2
South Kesteven DC1 August 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
South Lakeland5 May 2001NO 2
Spelthorne1 December 2000NO 2
St. Edmundsbury1 September 2001NO 2
Stoke-on-Trent DC23 November 2001NO 2
Stroud and Tewkesbury (joint AQMA)30 June 2001NO 2
Tameside MBC1 July 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Tewkesbury and Stroud (joint AQMA)30 June 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Three Rivers1 April 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Thurrock1 April 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Tonbridge and Malling1 May 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Trafford MBC29 June 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Warrington BC1 November 2001NO 2
West Wiltshire DC26 November 2001NO 2 , PM 1 0
Wigan Council13 August 2001NO 2
Wokingham DC28 September 2001NO 2
Wycombe DC1 August 2001NO 2
Neath Port Talbot(12)1 July 2000PM 1 0
CardiffNovember 2000NO 2
Swansea31 August 2001NO 2

(11) Indicates designation of whole borough

(12) Where industry is one of the main sources


The figure in brackets in the third column denotes the number of AQMAs declared in those authority areas where more than one has been declared

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Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent investigations have been undertaken by her Department on the impact of air pollution on health. [29320]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Department of Health's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) advises the Government, through the Chief Medical Officer, on the effects of air pollution on health.

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COMEAP publish the statements and reports that they prepare on their website at Recent studies include a "Statement and Report on Long-Term Effects of Particles on Mortality" and "The Health effects of Air Pollution: Advice from COMEAP".

Also published on the website are details of a recent call for research proposals on air pollution and health. This new research is aiming to cover projects to be carried out over a three-year period as well as some smaller projects lasting for about one year.

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she last reviewed the air quality strategy; and what the main findings of the review were. [29319]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was published in January 2000. The strategy is not expected to need a comprehensive review for a few years. Instead, the Government and devolved Administrations have decided to review the strategy on a pollutant by pollutant basis to allow reviews of individual pollutants to be carried out relatively quickly, and to allow the outcomes of these reviews to be published was addenda to the strategy. The first of these reviews as published for consultation on 17 September 2001. It considered the possibility of tightening the existing policy objectives for three pollutants (carbon monoxide, benzene and particles) and of introducing for the first time a policy objective for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A large number of responses to the consultation document were received, and we will take account of these in finalising our proposals.

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