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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the certificates showing that the timber used in the refurbishment of 22 Whitehall came from certified sustainably-managed sources. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, on 19 April 2002, Official Report, column 1251W.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what commitments the Government have made on spot checks for the adventitious presence of GM varieties in seed imports; and if these commitments have been fulfilled. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 June 2001]: In May 2000, the Government announced a package of measures relating to seed purity. One of these measures was the checking of seed imports. Between that date and 31 March 2001, the Central Science Laboratory carried out 38 audits
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of seed companies. From 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 it carried out 45 such audits. These audits have monitored the precautions that seed companies have taken as regards the adventitious presence of GM events in seeds.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason she has not answered the Question from the hon. Member for Buckingham tabled on 8 November 2001 regarding the cost to the public purse arising from the name change of her Department (ref. 14449). 
Mr. Morley: The delay in responding to the PQ is regretted. It was the consequence of a very heavy workload and limited staff resources at that time in the particular DEFRA unit responsible for providing answers to questions in this area of activity.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures her Department and its predecessor have introduced to (a) prohibit overbreeding and (b) improve the welfare of moorland ponies. 
Mr. Morley: The State Veterinary Service has worked with and advised the various local regulatory authorities which are responsible. The Authorities are mainly commoners' associations, acting under local powers. The current review of the law on common land could have implications in relation to the control and care of moorland ponies.
Mr. Morley: The Government have welcomed the publication of the energy review by the performance and innovation unit, which draws attention to the key role of renewable energy sources, including energy crops, in moving to a low carbon economy. The Government plan a public consultation on the key recommendations of the report leading to a White Paper in the autumn. This Department has allocated support of £29 million to solid biomass crops through the energy crops scheme, part of the England Rural Development Programme. The Renewables Obligation permits the co-firing of energy crops with fossil fuels. Working with other Departments we are putting in place further schemes with funding of £70 million which will develop markets for biomass, including purpose grown energy crops and material from forests, in heat, combined heat and power and electricity generation. We are also working closely with the Countryside Agency which has launched the Community Renewables Initiative to help local communities develop renewable energy projects. In the Budget my right hon. Friend the Chancellor confirmed the new duty rate for biodiesel set at 20p per litre below the rate for ultra low sulphur diesel. The Government are considering carefully the recommendation of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food that duty on biofuels should be reduced to the rates applied to other clean fuels.
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Mr. Morley: The Government have been at the forefront in working with the European Commission and the other member states, as well as Norway, to develop stock recovery plans for the North sea, west of Scotland and Irish sea cod and for northern hake. And we have consistently argued, in EU and international negotiations on fisheries management, for outcomes which respect scientific advice, follow the precautionary principle and aim to ensure a sustainable future for the fishing industry.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the use of forests as sink holes for carbon dioxide; and what measures have been taken since 1997 to increase the size of forests. 
Mr. Morley: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 275W. The measures I outlined in that answer have resulted in over 70,000 hectares of new woodland being planted in the UK in the four years to March 2001.
Mr. Morley: Resources are currently being targeted at the backlog of tuberculosis tests in cattle, following suspension of routine testing during the foot and mouth outbreak. Those herds which have been identified as posing the greatest risk are being prioritised on the basis of a veterinary risk assessment.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has made to HM Treasury in support of the abolition of stamp duty on land acquisitions. 
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with HM Treasury about allowing farmers to benefit from (a) 100 per cent. capital allowances for plant and machinery and (b) 25 per cent. allowance for buildings. 
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Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the matters relating to (a) agriculture, (b) fisheries and (c) other subjects that are to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Agriculture Council on 22 April. 
European Union Veterinary Fund
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the animal-health requirements applicable to non-commercial movement of pet animals
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on additives for use in animal nutrition
Young farmers: issues and prospects (AOB item requested by the Italian delegation)
Argentina: Trade measures against Greek canned peaches (AOB item requested by the Greek delegation)
List of "A" items
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the UK delegation to the forthcoming Agriculture European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 26 April; and what information is being provided by her Department to enable effective pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 April 2002]: The Scottish Executive Minister for Environment and Rural Development attended the EU Agriculture Council meeting on 22 April. There is no meeting of the Council planned for 26 April. It is the responsibility of the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise the Scottish Executive's involvement in preparations for EU Council meetings. These arrangements are a matter for the Committee and the Scottish Executive. The Department provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.
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