|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
12. Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funds her Department has made available to areas most heavily affected by the foot and mouth outbreak. 
discretionary interest-free deferral of income tax, VAT and National Insurance contributions, with over £250 million deferred;
increased central funding for local authorities to provide rate relief for businesses facing hardship (estimated at £22 million), and bringing forward mandatory rate relief for village shops, pubs and garages;
£15 million to match charitable donations towards relief of hardship;
£3.8 million to help local authorities reopen rights of way;
£18 million for tourism promotion;
£0.5 million from the Countryside Access Recovery Fund.
Mr. Meacher: Broad agreement was reached at Bali on a Programme of Action to implement sustainable development. We also had very preliminary discussions on a Political Declaration for Johannesburg. At the EU level, the European Council at Seville has just agreed the EU's final negotiating position for Johannesburg.
27 Jun 2002 : Column 996W
Mr. Meacher: The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive came into force in 1994. It is implemented in the UK through the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 and the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 1998. The End of Life Vehicles Directive was adopted in 2000 and member states are now transposing it. The proposed Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is expected to be adopted by the EC later this year. It may therefore come into effect in the UK in 2004.
18. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the cost to local authorities of implementing the Government's recycling strategy. 
Mr. Meacher: Regulatory impact assessments are developed by the Department to assess the costs and benefits of proposed measures to increase recycling. These RIAs are published in consultation documents and are available on the DEFRA website http://www.defra.gov.uk/.
16. Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made in its attempts to persuade other European Union countries to improve the welfare conditions of animals which are transported on long journeys. 
Mr. Morley: The need for continuing improvements in the welfare of animals during transport is now generally accepted by member states. We will continue to press the European Commission to produce its proposals for changes to the present EU rules on the protection of animals during transport.
Mr. Morley: This Department provides grant (and supplementary credit approvals to local authorities) to the Environment Agency, local authorities and internal drainage boards for flood and coastal defence capital works. The provisional outturn for 200102 is £91 million.
27 Jun 2002 : Column 997W
defence policy and operational issues. Therefore there is an on-going dialogue between the agency and Department, but recent representations have included the agency's response to the consultation on the Flood and Coastal Defence Funding Review.
Alun Michael: We strongly support the work of agricultural shows which are staged at national, regional and local levels by independent show societies. It is a matter for these societies to decide upon the format for their events and how they will be organised, but we support the events by taking space at a number of shows each year and by attendance of Ministers and officials at several, including the Royal Show.
23. Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement regarding the implementation of the proposals in the report published by the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food. 
Mr. Morley: The Government intend to produce a strategy for sustainable food and farming in England in the autumn, following a wide-ranging process of stakeholder engagement. The strategy will incorporate a definitive response to each of the Policy Commission's recommendations.
24. Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on the recycling of fridges and freezers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: We have received five representations on the recycling of fridges and freezers since 14 May 2002. The representations have mostly been from the local authorities regarding funding and from consumers on how to dispose of old fridges.
A leaflet for householders advising on how to dispose of old fridges, originally only on the DEFRA website, has now been published in hard copy as well, and widely distributed. Guidance on the disposal of commercial refrigeration equipment has been placed on the website and recently published in hard copy.
Mr. Meacher: Investors are in the process of providing a network of new recycling facilities in the United Kingdom. Two mobile plant are up and running and three further static plant will be operational by the end of July.
27 Jun 2002 : Column 998W
Mr. Morley: In Lancashire, in common with the rest of the country, the farmgate price of milk has fallen over the last few months. The most recent official figures show that for milk delivered in April the average farmgate price of milk in the UK had fallen to 16.10 pence per litre and it is likely that the average figure for May will be even lower. As a result, some dairy farmers will be receiving less for their milk than it costs to produce it. A situation that is clearly unsustainable. However, these low prices have largely been caused by factors that are temporary in nature, most notably, oversupply of raw milk in the UK and the weakness of EU and world markets for dairy products.
For the longer term, it is likely that the next round of WTO agriculture negotiations will further restrict the use of export subsidies and increase the exposure of EU markets to world markets. In addition, enlargement of the EU is likely to lead to pressure on the Community budget, if the CAP is not reformed.
In order to produce a sustainable dairy industry that can compete successfully on the growing world market for dairy products, the industry must be given the opportunity to trade free of artificial constraints imposed by the WTO, as well as by the EU dairy regime. The EU price support system is focused on butter and skimmed milk powder, both in clear surplus, hampering the development of genuine markets, while milk quotas are bureaucratic, constrain production by the most efficient farmers and represent a significant financial burden to most farmers.
The Government therefore favour the orderly phasing out of milk quotas in combination with a reduction in EU support prices to world prices, and direct but digressive aid to help farmers adjust to the new regime. During the forthcoming review of the milk quota system, due to start in June, the UK will be pressing to achieve confirmation that quotas will not continue after they lapse on 31 March 2008. These changes are intended to provider longer-term direction within the framework of the dairy regime, which farmers need in order to plan their businesses effectively.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|