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Agro-chemical Businesses

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she is making in respect of EU plans to review active ingredients in agro-chemical products; and if she will make a statement on the impact that rapid phasing out active ingredients will have on small UK agro-chemical businesses. [52615]

Mr. Morley: The Department has played an active role in supporting the EU review programme for older pesticides. We believe that it is vital to ensure that all active ingredients used in pesticides meet modern standards of human and environmental safety.

I recognise that a significant number of pesticide products will be withdrawn as a result of the review process and this will have an impact on some small agro-chemical companies. I believe that there will also be new opportunities particularly for companies developing environmentally friendly alternative methods of plant protection including certain microbial products. In developing the EU pesticides regime we will endeavour to ensure that the regulatory requirements for such products are proportionate to the risks they pose.

Common Land

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will respond to the consultation on greater protection and better management of common land in England and Wales. [53022]

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Alun Michael: Due to the number and complexity of the issues raised, progress has been slower than hoped. We expect to announce our proposals for future action and to publish a detailed report on the responses to the consultation paper soon.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in how many cases in England and Wales common land grazing rights have been sold separately from the land they were previously associated with since 1972. [53021]

Alun Michael: There is no requirement in the Commons Registration Act 1965, or other legislation, for the Commons Registration Authorities to be notified when grazing rights are separated from the land with which they were previously associated. Consequently no figures on the number of cases are available.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of the House of Lords ruling in the case Bettison v Langton and others for the future management and protection of common land. [53020]

Alun Michael: The Bettison v Langton judgment made it conclusive in law that rights of common of grazing, registered for a fixed number of animals as required by the Commons Registration Act 1965, could be severed from the common land to which they were originally attached. This judgment could have significant implications for the management of common land.

We have already issued guidance to the Commons Registration Authorities on how to record severance on the register of common land if they are notified it has taken place. In the consultation document "Greater Protection and Better Management of Common Land in England and Wales" we invited views on the idea of preventing severance. We expect to announce our conclusions soon.

Fruit

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ban imports of fruit treated with Carbaryl (Thinsec); and if she will make a statement. [52601]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Department has no plans to ban imports of fruit treated with carbaryl. Carbaryl has been withdrawn from use in the UK because it was not supported by any agrochemical companies, when the relevant approvals were reviewed. However, it remains approved in other countries including some in the EC.

Residues of carbaryl in imported fruit are controlled through the Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Crops, Food and Feeding Stuffs) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 (as amended).

Fruit which complies with the Maximum Residue Levels set in these Regulations may be imported into the UK.

New Forest

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (1) pursuant to her answer of 10 April, Official Report, column 281W, on the

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New Forest, what criteria will inform her decision on whether to call a public inquiry regarding the establishment of a national park in the New Forest; [53253]

Alun Michael: As set out in paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 1 to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, it is a statutory requirement to hold a local inquiry if an objection is duly made by a local authority and not withdrawn, Otherwise, if any representation or objection duly made, for example by a statutory body or a member of the public, is not withdrawn, the Secretary of State has the discretion either to cause a local inquiry to be held or to afford any person who has made a representation or objection the opportunity of being heard by a person appointed for the purpose. As well as whether or not to hold an inquiry, the Secretary of State has some discretion to determine its scope. An announcement will be made soon.

Fishing Industry

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings officials from her Department had with representatives of the Cornish fishing industry in (a) March and (b) April. [53206]

Mr. Morley: The Department provides the Secretariat to the Objective 1 Fisheries Priorities Management Group in Cornwall which includes a wide representation of the Cornish fishing industry. It met on 18 March and on 22 April. Apart from that representatives of their industry, among others, participate from time to time in meetings with officials on various subjects.

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Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the effects multilateral consultation will have on the legislative power of sea fisheries committees; and if she will make a statement; [53208]

Mr. Morley: As I have previously said, the time to take stock of all the aspects of the role and activities of Sea Fisheries Committees will be once we know the outcome of the review of the Common Fisheries Policy. That means when we have not only the overdue proposals on the CFP from the Commission but also a conclusion in the negotiations that will follow in the Council of Ministers. It would be premature to draw any conclusions in relation to Sea Fisheries Committees in advance of that.

Farming Industry

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) bankruptcies and (b) people employed there were in the farming industry in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–2002; and what was the average income in the industry in each of these years. [51293]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 April 2002]: (a) Data on bankruptcies are available for England and Wales combined, and are given in the table.

Number of bankruptcies(3) in the agricultural and horticultural sector: England and Wales 1999–2001

19992000(3)2001
Bankruptcies of self-employed individuals183173136
Company(4) insolvencies756767
Total258240203

(3) First three quarters only

(4) Including partnerships

Source:

Department of Trade and Industry

(b) Data on the labour force in agriculture and average income for England are given in the table.

Total labour force in agriculture and total income from farming per whole-time person equivalent.


1999200020012001
Total labour force397,700373,900(5)368,300(6)387,800
Total income from farming per annual work unit of farmers, partners and those
with an entrepreneurial interest(7) (£)13,2038,1599,059

(5) These results exclude the effect of the register improvement in England and are directly comparable with June 2000.

(6) These results include the effect of the register improvement in England and are not directly comparable with June 2000.

(7) An annual work unit (AWU) represents the equivalent of an average full-time person engaged in agriculture.

Sources:

June Agricultural and Horticultural Census

Agriculture in the United Kingdom



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