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British Beef

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the French ban on British beef. [53033]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 30 April 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made it clear that we expect France to lift its ban as soon as possible. It is for the Commission to take action to enforce EU law and it has asked France for an explanation of its failure to comply with the ruling of the European Court of Justice

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(ECJ). This is the first stage in a process which may lead to a further ECJ case against France and the imposition of penalties for failure to comply with the Court's Judgment in December 2001 that the French ban on imports of UK beef exported under the Date-based Export Scheme is illegal.

Bristol Channel

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to monitor the illegal dumping of waste by shipping in the Bristol channel. [53421]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

Waters around the UK are regularly patrolled by surveillance aircraft equipped to detect pollution. The data held for 2001–02 by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) indicate that more than 150 such flights were made under arrangements put in place by the MCA and that more than 20 per cent. of these flights covered the west or south-west of the UK and would therefore have covered part of the Bristol channel. In addition, civil and military pilots are encouraged to report sightings of pollution. Every incident spotted, or reported, is investigated and, whenever possible, those parties responsible for committing pollution offences are prosecuted.

The UK also has legislation in place to ensure a properly planned system of waste reception facilities in ports, in order to leave no excuse for ships to resort to the unacceptable practice of discharging their waste at sea. The MCA has approved 36 waste management plans for ports or parts of ports around the Bristol channel, an area of coastline stretching from Milford Haven to Newquay. In 2000, the European Community adopted a directive to establish a port waste reception facilities system across the Community; like other member states, the UK is working on the implementation of this directive, which will come into force in December of this year.

Rural Proofing

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for implementing the range of rural proofing measures set out in the Rural White Paper and referred to on page 26 of the Countryside Agency's report, "Rural Proofing in 2001–02". [53312]

Alun Michael: Implementing rural proofing is an on-going process across Government. Individual Departments and the Countryside Agency are working together to develop rural proofing strategies and to rural proof individual policies. DEFRA officials are also involved. As the agency's first annual report recommends, the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Rural Renewal will review progress in the autumn, and take a close and continuing interest in the subject generally. The Countryside Agency will report again next year on progress with rural- proofing, so there is a regular external monitoring and evaluation process.

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Staff Pay

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what have been the total salary costs of each of the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible in each of the last five years. [50295]

Mr. Bradshaw: The salary costs for each of the FCO's NDPBs have been as follows:

The above are the figures presently available. In some cases the 2001–02 figures are not yet available, and in some, earlier figures could not be located in the time available.

Private Simon Jeans

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions in the last three years consular staff in (a) London and (b) Zagreb have offered help to the family of Private Simon Jeans. [51739]

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Mr. Bradshaw: Since the tragic death of Private Simon Jeans, our consular staff in London and Zagreb have offered full consular assistance to his family. It is difficult to be precise on the exact numbers of contacts and representations made with them, but there have been many. We approached the Croatian courts on numerous occasions for information about the case, and attended all court hearings with Private Jeans' family. Our consular division in London last spoke with Simon Jeans' father, Terry, in May 2001, and our pro-consul in Split last met with Mr. Jeans in August 2001, when he visited Croatia.

The hon. Member will be aware that Private Jeans was a serving member of the British Army at the time of his death. As such, the Ministry of Defence was and continue to be the lead Department in this case. Private Jeans' family are aware there is very little our consular staff can do with regards to the case in Croatia, as it is now a legal matter. Under international law we are unable to get involved in the judicial process of other countries. Nevertheless, Mr. Jeans and the MOD have been in regular touch.


Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken since 1 January to assist Catherine Meyer regain custody of her sons through the German courts. [51503]

Mr. Bradshaw: Catherine Meyer is currently pursuing legal proceedings before the German constitutional court to be reunited with her sons. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided consular support and assistance to Catherine Meyer with her case in the past. As with any child abduction case, we continue to provide consular assistance whenever we can.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many net additional staff his Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52435]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recruited the following net additional permanent staff since June 2001.

MonthExecutive officer levelAdministrative level
June 2001-219
July 2001-320
August 2001015
September 2001025
October 20011128
November 2001617
December 2001-4-1
January 2002622
February 2002-121
March 2002522
April 2002123

Diplomatic Service

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of

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(a) the Diplomatic Service and (b) British ambassadors and high commissioners attended (i) Oxford or Cambridge universities and (ii) independent schools. [53234]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 29 April 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollock (Mr. Davidson) on 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 611W and 15 April 2002, Official Report, columns 725–26W.

European Commission (Phase-in Proposals)

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's position is on the European Commission's phase-in proposals for the receipt by newly admitted member states of the European Union of (a) funds due under the Common Agricultural Policy and (b) structural funds. [51623]

Peter Hain: (a) The Government consider that agricultural spending should support restructuring in the candidate countries to modernise their agricultural economies. The Government therefore welcome the emphasis on rural development in the Commission's proposals as this is the most effective way to help new member states restructure agriculture sectors. As regards the proposal to phase in direct payments, the Government note the arguments provided in the Commission's issues paper about the damaging effects of high direct payments in the new member states. The Government consider it important to evaluate fully all relevant aspects, including whether other options may better help restructuring.

(b) The Government welcome the emphasis within the overall financing proposals on Structural and Cohesion Funds, to tackle the new member states' restructuring and developmental needs. The sums provided will need to respect the budget ceilings agreed at Berlin in 1999, as well as the needs and the absorption capacity of the new member states.

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