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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to help farmers to develop a better relationship with supermarkets. [67575]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 July 2002]: The majority of farmers do not deal directly with supermarkets. However, those that do may benefit from the supermarkets Code of Practice which the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 18 December 2001. Although the Code is currently binding only on the four largest supermarkets, we have been encouraging smaller supermarkets and larger processors to sign up to its principles and practices.

The Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food stressed the potential of collaborative ventures for all farmers, large and small, and pointed out that collaboration can put farmers in a better negotiating position when dealing with large customers. We support this view and are looking at ways in which we might encourage greater collaboration between producers. We have already proposed that one of the priorities of the new Agricultural Development Scheme will be projects promoting co-operation and collaboration benefiting primary producers. We have also been considering with others the Policy Commission's Recommendation for the establishment of an English Collaborative Board that would encourage and support collaboration and co-operation among farmers.

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Public Service Agreements

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of the public service agreements of her Department set out in the document Public Services for the Future 1998 have been met; and if she will make a statement. [68713]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 July 2002]: Information relating to DEFRA's Public Service Agreement targets can be found in the DEFRA's departmental report 2002.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to encourage recycling of (a) paper, (b) glass, (c) aluminium and (d) inkjet cartridges. [67804]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 10 July 2002]: This Government are committed to increasing reuse and recycling of all materials. Waste Strategy 2000 set a national target of recycling or composting at least 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005, 30 per cent. by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. To underpin these targets, last year we set statutory performance standards for recycling for all local authorities in England. Authorities are required, on average, to double recycling by 2003–04 and triple it by 2005–06.

These recycling standards are not material specific. It is up to the individual authority to decide which materials to collect for recycling, depending on local circumstances. Many authorities have introduced kerbside collection of recyclables and these often include paper, glass and aluminium.

We are taking various steps to help local authorities increase recycling. For example, the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Programme provides £140 million for local authority activities, and grants for the first year of funding have just been allocated. Around 58 of the schemes to be funded this year involve kerbside collection and a great number of these target the paper, glass and aluminium waste streams. In addition, schemes to increase bring site recycling and schemes that should raise awareness and consequently recycling rates, have also been approved.

We have also set up the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to tackle the market barriers to recycling. WRAP have made good progress so far, and have awarded a grant which will result in additional paper reprocessing capacity for 320,000 tonnes of waste paper per year.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which the Government support, makes producers of electrical and electronic goods responsible for their recovery, treatment and environmentally sound disposal and covers inkjet cartridges if they are discarded with the printer.

Two of the amendments to the Directive proposed by the European Parliament are relevant to inkjet cartridges—amendment 7, which would give re-use of WEEE, its components, sub-assemblies and consumables priority over recycling, and amendment 22, which would prevent the production of equipment which has been manufactured in such a way as to prevent reuse. The

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Government fully support amendment 7 and support amendment 22 in principle. A final text is expected to be adopted by the end of this year.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the percentage of respondents to the recent consultation on nitrate vulnerable zones preferred the option of designating 100 per cent. of England as a nitrate vulnerable zone; and if she will make a statement. [68100]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 10 July 2002]: Overall 56 per cent. of respondents to the recent consultation "How should England implement the 1991 Nitrates Directive?" preferred application of Action Programme measures to the whole of England. Thirty six per cent. preferred the alternative designation of discrete areas as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. The remainder failed to state a preference. We published an independent analysis of all the responses on 27 June 2002, which is available on the DEFRA web site at " water/quality/nitrate".

However, these responses were on the basis that 80 per cent. England would be designated under the discrete area option. Subsequent refinement of the mapping work has established that only 55 per cent. of England has to be designated. We took this into account in deciding how to proceed in the light of consultation.

Widdrington Carcase Disposal Site

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the figure of £165,000 compensation paid to UK Coal in respect of the Widdrington carcases disposal site was arrived at. [66888]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 July 2002]: MAFF/DEFRA negotiated a six year lease for the Widdrington mass burial site, commencing 31 March 2001. In addition to a basic rent for the occupation of the site, since the area is zoned for future coal extraction, a further premium of £300,000 was paid for sterilised coal deposits.

This sum was determined by the local Mineral Valuer of the Valuation Office Agency in negotiation with UK Coal and was based on the area of land-take used exclusively by MAFF/DEFRA for carcase disposal and a calculation of the likely tonnage of coal that could have expected to be mined from the area.

The £165,000 referred to in the NAO Report relates to the purchase of Tow Law mass burial site. When MAFF/DEFRA acquired the site, it paid the negotiated purchase price. However, there was in the deeds a restrictive covenant which limited use of the site to open cast mining or agriculture. If any other use was made of the land, the former owners, in this case the Coal Authority, would have to be paid a clawback of 50 per cent. of the increase in the value of the site. The increase was calculated by taking the difference between the indexed sale price achieved by the Authority and deducting this from the price paid by DEFRA, and dividing the result by 2, giving £165k.

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Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many businesses in the Widdrington area of Northumberland have received compensation or disturbance payments in respect of the carcase burial site there. [66889]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 July 2002]: No compensation or disturbance payments have been made to businesses in the Widdrington area of Northumberland in respect of the carcase burial site there.

Frozen Chicken Imports

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment of the risk to animal health has been made by her Department with regard to bovine DNA contained in imported frozen chicken breasts; [68842]

Mr. Morley: Since 1 August 2001, it has been illegal to feed any processed animal proteins—including avian proteins—to animals which are kept, fattened or bred for the production of food. These legislative requirements, designed to avoid any possibility of the BSE agent getting into feedingstuffs for farmed livestock, are backed up by robust surveillance arrangements to monitor compliance. The specially developed tests which are used to help enforce the feed controls include one specifically aimed at detection of avian proteins. Given the robust controls in place, no added value would be achieved from a separate risk assessment on the animal health implications of bovine DNA contained in imported frozen chicken breasts. Consequently, no risk assessment has been produced or sent to either the inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the foot and mouth disease outbreak of 2001, or the National Audit Office Value for Money Examination into the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease, or the Royal Society Study into Infectious Diseases in Livestock.

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