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Alun Michael: On those navigations managed by the Agency, it has taken measures to improve facilities for canoeists. Canoe portage facilities have been installed on the rivers Great Ouse, Nene, and Stour with similar works planned for other rivers including the Thames. On rivers where there is no right of navigation, the Agency has sought to improve access for canoeists nationally through the Angling and Canoe Liaison Group which it hosts, chairs, and provides secretarial support for. With support from this Group, the Agency has funded the production of a booklet, "Agreeing Access to Water for Canoeing".
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which members of the Environment Agency Board have had interests in (a) angling and (b) boating/canoeing. 
Board Members are drawn from, but do not represent, a wide range of relevant interests. They are selected on the basis that their stature, background and breadth of experience will enable them to make wide-ranging, direct and relevant contributions to the management of the Agency.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports (a) she and (b) Parliament receive from the (i) Ports Authority, (ii) HM Customs and Excise and (iii) Foods Standards Agency regarding the importing of illegal meat. 
Mr. Morley: [holding answer 5 March 2002]: We receive information on seizures of illegally imported animal products from all the enforcement agencies involved. This information is shared among enforcement authorities and kept on a DEFRA database. Reports are made to Parliament in response to Parliamentary Questions.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the interaction of the Ports Authority, HM Customs and Excise and the Foods Standards Agency in tackling illegal imports of meat. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: Since April last year initiatives on illegal imports have been co-ordinated by officials in DEFRA, working closely with other departments such as HM Customs and Excise and the Food Standards Agency, as well as the local authorities and port health authorities who are responsible for controls at ports and airports.
DEFRA is also holding a high level forum next month involving enforcement agencies, port and airport authorities airlines and other stakeholders, to consider the next steps for intensifying our efforts and to agree further priorities and action.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 February 2002]: All consignments of meat legally imported from third countries into the UK are subjected to a documentary check on the veterinary certification and an identity check to match the goods to certification. At least 50 per cent. of poultry and game meat and 20 per cent. of other meat imports are also given a physical check, which may include organoleptic checks, temperature checks and laboratory tests for pathogens or contaminants. Meat imported from other member states is not checked at the frontier but may be subjected to random checks at the point of destination.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 1 March 2002]: HM Customs and Excise have prosecuted three people for offences under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) involving illegal meat imports. Two of these were convicted as a CITES offence and one was acquitted but convicted under a separate Animal Health charge.
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 1 March 2002]: As part of a programme of action on illegal imports we are reviewing the appropriate level of inspection. However, currently responsibility for checks on illegal meat imports are the responsibility of the local or port health authority and it is for the appropriate local authority to deploy staff accordingly depending on the volume and nature of the products imported.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) beef and (b)lamb is produced annually in the UK; what the annual consumption of these products in the UK is; how much of these products was imported in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
|Home fed production||Imported||Consumption(10)|
|Mutton and Lamb|
(10) Dressed carcase weight
Total domestic use; home fed production plus imports less exports net of stock.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 February 2002]: EC regulations do not provide for the payment of interest. The extent to which claimants might be entitled to compensation for delays in their payments will be considered in the light of the merits of any representation made.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of IACS payments due were made before 31 January 2002 (a) in Gloucestershire and (b) in England. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will investigate the time taken for payment of IACS in Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 February 2002]: Claims throughout the country were delayed as a result of the diversion of staff to foot and mouth disease duties and, more significantly, by industrial action by staff in the RPA. Until the industrial action was suspended on 11 January it was not possible to take action to relieve sites which were under the greatest pressure. Gloucester claims are processed at Exeter and, following the suspension, extra teams were drafted in from other RPA sites across the country and significant amounts of overtime were worked. As a result of this recovery action most of the Gloucestershire claims which are able to be paid will have been cleared by the end of February.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average time taken is for making IACS payments to farmers (a) in the UK and (b) in other EU countries; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The information requested is not collected. However, payments were delayed due to industrial action together with the knock-on effect of staff deployed on foot and mouth disease duties. The Rural Payments Agency as part of their change process are seeking to ensure payments are made as early as possible in the payment window.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average price of wheat has been in the UK in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what the (a) world and (b) EU prices were; and if she will make a statement. 
|World price(11) $/t||EU price(12) euro/t||UK price(13) £/t|
(11) US Soft Red Winter No. 2 fob US Gulf.
(12) EEC Standard wheat France Rouen.
(13) Production-weighted average of milling and feed wheat ex-farm prices.
1. HGCA (Home Grown Cereals Authority)
2. IGC (International Grains Council)
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|World price £/t||EU price £/t||UK price £/t||£/$ exchange rate||£/euro exchange rate|
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