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7 Nov 2002 : Column 594W—continued

GM Crops

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which of the GM farm scale trials of maize, oil seed rape and beet planted between Autumn 2001 and Spring 2002 (a) ran until harvest and (b) were terminated; and what the reasons for termination were in each case. [79739]

Mr. Meacher: In Autumn 2001 a total of 30 winter oil seed rape crops were sown. One field was subsequently terminated following the advice of the scientific steering committee at their meeting of May 20 2002 (minutes at as a result of the crop failing to establish; apparently due to the weather. The remainder ran until harvest.

In Spring 2002 the following number of FSE crop fields were planted: 25 spring oil seed rape; 16 beet and 33 maize. Two maize fields were terminated prior to harvest following extensive damage by protestors that rendered any further studies on the site impossible. No spring oil seed rape or beet crops were terminated.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will place the tender documents for the biodiversity monitoring on the farm scale evaluations on sugar beet and fodder beet, the contracts for that work and related correspondence in the Library; if she will list the sites in England and Wales where releases of GM oilseed rape were made in 2000 and 2001 under the consent 98/R19/18; and if she will list the genetic transformation events in Aventis' spring oilseed rape released under the consent 00/R33/9 and other experimental release consents granted for this transformation under the GMO Deliberate Regulations. [80214]

Mr. Meacher: I refer my hon. Friend the Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham and Deptford (Joan Ruddock), Official Report, 6 April 2001, column 321W, which announced that a copy of each of the four farm-scale evaluation contracts, which include the invitations to tender, the tenders themselves, the project specification and the covering letter, have been placed in the Library.

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In 2001, there were no releases in England or Wales under consent 98/R19/18. In 2000, there were no releases in Wales under consent 98/R19/18. In England, the locations of releases under this consent are summarised below.

Nearest VillageCounty
Little ShelfordCambridgeshire
St Osyth, SeawickEssex
Chipping CampdenGloucestershire
Itchen AbbasHampshire
Piccots EndHertfordshire
Boothby GraffoeLincolnshire
North KelseyLincolnshire
Meden ValeNottinghamshire
Upper TysoeWarwickshire
Priors HardwickWarwickshire
East NewtonNorth Yorkshire
Hutton MagnaNorth Yorkshire

The transformation events in oilseed rape covered by consent 00/R33/9 are Ms8 and Rf3. Since 2000 releases of oilseed rape containing these events have also been carried out under consents 00/R33/5, 00/R33/6, 00/R33/7, 00/R33/10, 00/R33/11 and 98/R19/18 in England and 00/R33/5S, 00/R33/6S, 00/R33/7S, 00/R33/10S, 00/R33/11S and 98/R19/18 in Scotland.

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Farm Incomes

Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, what the average farm incomes, by sector, were for each year since 1992 for farms within Shrewsbury and Atcham. [80340]

Mr. Morley: It is not possible to provide data relating to the Shrewsbury and Atcham area. This is because the sample size of the Farm Business Survey (the basis of the income data) is too small to enable robust regional analysis to this level of disaggregation. The closest region available is England West.

The table below shows average net farm income by the main types of farm for England West for each year from 1992–3 to 2000–1. The data for each year provide the best estimate of income levels in each year in isolation but they should not be viewed as a time series. Each year is not directly comparable due to changes in the underlying sample that occur each year in the Farm Business Survey (the basis for the income data).

Average net farm income by farm type for the West of England:

Net Farm Income (#/farm)1992–931993–941994–951995–961996–971997–981998–991999–002000–01
LFA Cattle & Sheep8,91910,5017,53313,11311,6465,1932,1012,5723,008
Lowland Cattle & Sheep8,3927,7098,1159,9106,098-1,426527923-3,008
General Cropping22,72623,91851,37748,56124,08316,75240,7265,60610,239
Pigs & Poultry24,92916,71322,44639,00043,31616,4065,97917,81733,930
All Types19,57220,71523,45129,77722,57411,2808,9265,6286,112


Net farm income is defined as the return to the principal farmer and spouse for their labour and on the tenant-type capital of the business.

Agricultural Wages Board

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her Answer of 21st October (75916) what relevant qualifications Professor Ian Smith and Mrs Jacquie Findlay had for nomination as an independent member of the Agricultural Wages Board. [76816]

Alun Michael: Independent members of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales are not required to hold any specific qualifications. However when new members are appointed we do try to ensure that collectively, the independent members have experience of as many areas of expertise relevant to the Board's work as possible. These include EU and UK employment legislation, EU and UK social policy, arbitration and conciliation, human resource management, tribunal work, accountancy and economic issues. Jacquie Findlay has relevant experience in the human resource field and has advised on employment law matters. Ian Smith is a Professor of employment law at Anglia University.

To ensure their impartiality, independent members must have no direct connection with the agricultural industry or any connection with organisations representing employers of agricultural labour or representing the interests of agricultural workers. This excludes from consideration any member of the National Farmers' Union or the Transport and General Workers Union, the organisations that nominate the representative members of the Wages Board.

Plastic Bags

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what consultation she is undertaking on the introduction of a charge for plastic bags given out in shops; and if she will make a statement. [79638]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

Taxes are a matter for the Chancellor.

Earth Summit

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to circulate Local Agenda 21 groups on the Government's evaluation of the Earth Summit held in Johannesburg. [79636]

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Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State has already held initial discussions with local government about the outcomes of WSSD. I will be discussing the way forward with stakeholders.

Aflatoxin Infections

Mr. John Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many incidents there have been of aflatoxin infections in each of the last five years. [75922]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

Data from the national poisons information service reveals that they have received two enquiries over the last five years relating to aflatoxin poisoning. In neither case were there any signs or symptoms observed. Both occurred in 1997.

Capital Grants

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs, what the estimated total cost is of delivering a 10 year 70,000 solar PV roof programme, funded by 50 per cent capital grants; and if she will make a statement. [79662]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

The Government Industry Photovoltaic Group Report of March 2001 recommended ''The most effective means of encouraging the deployment of PV in the UK would be a major Market Stimulation Programme featuring a 50 per cent capital grant for 70,000 domestic roofs and a similar grant scheme for larger non—domestic buildings costing around #150 million over 10 years.'' Taken together this is equivalent to a 100,000 PV roofs programme.

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