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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the size of the national pig breeding herd in (a) 2001, (b) 2000 and (c) 1999. [53700]

Mr. Morley: The June agricultural and horticultural census estimates the size of the pig breeding herd in England was:

(a) 2001489
(b) 2000503
(c) 1999573


1. These data relate to main and minor holdings.

2. The pig breeding herd comprises sows in pig, gilts in pig and suckled or dry sows being kept for further breeding.

Mr. Robert Watson and Hans Blix

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the United Kingdom will support (a) Mr. Robert Watson continuing as Chairman of the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change and (b) Hans Blix continuing in his post as Head of the UN Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission. [52155]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 24 April 2002]: In view of Robert Watson's outstanding track record the UK was in favour of his continuation as chair of IPCC. In the event, the IPCC elected Dr. Rajendra Pachauri to the position of chairman.

The UK supported Hans Blix's appointment as the head of UNMOVIC in 2000. We have every confidence in his continuing chairmanship.


Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent studies on the transmissibility of BSE she has commissioned; and if she will make a statement. [53129]

2 May 2002 : Column 940W

Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Within the past 12 months, DEFRA has commissioned two studies investigating BSE transmission. One is using transgenic mice to assess the relative transmissibility of sheep BSE (and sheep scrapie) and cattle BSE to humans. The second study is following the natural spread of BSE from experimentally infected sheep within a breeding flock to establish whether BSE can transmit to TSE free animals and establish itself within the flock.

In addition to these projects, one study, which is about to begin, will investigate what effect the age at which sheep are experimentally infected with BSE has on the disease. The Department is also funding a study, under way for the past six years, to assess the possibility of maternal transmission of BSE in sheep.

Within the past year, no further studies have been commissioned to investigate BSE transmission in cattle.

Regional Advisory Councils

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the conditions for the setting up of regional advisory councils in connection with the Post 2002 Common Fisheries Policy. [51444]

Mr. Morley: The Commission's proposals for the future of the Common Fisheries Policy are now expected imminently: we may expect them, if the Commission follows through with the ideas it envisaged in its Green Paper last year, to propose the establishment of regional committees which would comprise a range of stakeholder representatives. The idea of involving stakeholders more closely in management decisions relating to the fisheries in which they are interested is broadly welcome to us: the precise details of what may be adopted will need to be the subject of consultation with interested UK bodies and then negotiations in the Council of Ministers.


Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the farm workforce is aged under 35 years in each European Union member nation; and how much financial aid was claimed by each European Union member nation under the EU system of grants and interest rate subsidies to assist young farmers to enter the agriculture industry in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [53202]

Mr. Morley: The table shows the latest available information from Eurostat (the Statistics Office for the European Community) on the proportion of the agricultural work force aged under 35 years in each member state. It was not obligatory for member states to collect information on ages of all workers in 1993 and 1997.

Proportion of workforce aged under 35 years(3)

EU member state1989–90199319951997
United Kingdom2824
Total EU122220
Total EU1521

(3) Excludes non-regular workers (eg seasonal, casual and gang labour)


EC Farm Structure Surveys—Eurostat

2 May 2002 : Column 941W

The EU regulation on rural development, which was implemented in 2000, permits member states to provide funds for the setting-up of young farmers as part of their rural development programmes. Expenditure from the EU budget for these schemes, by member state, is shown in the following table. Prior to 2000 other EU member states may have provided aid to young farmers via structural fund programmes or national schemes. We do not have information on any such schemes or the levels of expenditure.

Rural development programmes EU expenditure on setting up young farmers
euro million

Total EU1553.688.2

Newspaper Advertising

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 829W, on newspaper advertising, how many advertisements have been placed in each of the publications listed since 8 June 2001; and what the (a) purpose and (b) result of each advertisement was. [49927]

Mr. Morley: Our records show that we booked the following number of advertisements since June 2001.

2 May 2002 : Column 942W

Number of advertisements
Regional Papers78
National Press8

The purpose of newspaper advertisements is to inform and increase general awareness of the Department's policies, aims, activities and procedures. The advertisements may be aimed at any or all of the general public, stakeholders, industry and special interest groups as well as being directed at potential employees and can be targeted locally, by region, or nationally. Measurement of results can be either subjective or quantifiable, many of the advertisements aim for respondent involvement, some advertisements generate other media coverage thereby achieving a wider dissemination of the message.

To provide the detail for each advertisement as asked for in the question would incur disproportionate cost.

Staff Pay

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what have been the total salary costs of each of the non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible in each of the last five years. [50304]

Mr. Morley: The information is contained in the annual reports and accounts of the Department's NDPBs, which are laid before Parliament each year. Copies are deposited in the Library of the House.

Rural White Paper

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2002, Official Report, column 355W, on the Rural White Paper, what proportion of announced funds and schemes was spent, broken down by category, during 2001–02. [53780]

Alun Michael: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 6 February 2002, Official Report, column 991W, which set out details of the latest available information on expenditure broken down by category.

Since then I can report the following:

220 application forms have been issued in respect of the £2 million Government fund to support volunteer and community initiatives to maintain or reopen post office facilities in rural areas. 44 applications worth £375,000 have been approved and the actual amount paid out from September 2001, when the scheme came into operation, to 31 March 2002 is £79,000.

From April 2001 up to the end of the third quarter, December 2001 Cornwall, Devon, Durham and Lincolnshire partnerships have reported the creation of 8,588 child care places broken down as follows: Durham—2,187, Devon—2,484, Cornwall—2,310, Lincolnshire—1,607. Figures up to April 2002 are not yet available.

The final figures for expenditure in 2001–02 on Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and Rural Bus Challenge are £41.4 million and £11.2 million respectively, a total of £52.6 million.

2 May 2002 : Column 943W

The total outturn for expenditure on the new countryside agency's Vital Villages Grant schemes until 31 March 2002 is: Community Services Grant—£1.7 million, Parish Plans Fund—£399,000, Parish Transport Fund—£354,000. In addition grants worth £5.9 million have been approved under the Rural Transport Partnership fund.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place the study (a) to identify the key drivers of economic development and social exclusion in rural areas and (b) into rural statistics relating to the Rural White Paper in the Library. [53887]

Alun Michael: Both studies have attracted a wide level of interest. Consultation on the economic study of rural areas report is now expected to be complete by early next month. We plan to publish both reports and to place copies in the Library as soon as possible.

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