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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what measures her Department has taken to discourage the import of bushmeat into the United Kingdom; and how much has been spent by her Department on those measures in the last 12 months; 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 March 2003]: 2.5 per cent. of seizures of products of animal origin reported to DEFRA. Since March 2002, the Department has put in place measures to tackle the disease risks posed by illegal imports of all types of meat and animal products under the Illegal Imports Action Plan. Just under £3 million has been spent this financial year on that plan. It is not possible to determine how much of this was spent to discourage the import specifically of bushmeat. We have made available a total of £25 million over the next three financial years for measures to tackle all illegal imports of animal and plant products.
In the current financial year, additional measures have been introduced at ports and airports to tackle illegal imports. Temporary agency staff, funded by DEFRA, have been recruited to carry out checks to detect smuggled goodsteams of six are based at our major airports and teams of two at major seaports. We are also paying for additional checks through overtime elsewhere. Further inspection resources have also been provided through the detector dog pilot, and a publicity campaign which has targeted ports, airports and overseas points of departure. We are working with airlines to get our message across through in-flight announcements and videos. We are also advertising on seven million ticket wallets to long-haul destinations.
The CITES Bushmeat Working Group is also making good progress towards developing strategies to overcome the unsustainable trade in bushmeat in central and west Africa within a proper legislative framework. We have recently contributed a further £15,000 to help the group carry forward its work in this area, bringing to £70,000 the amount contributed since the Working Group was first set up in April 2000.
On 25 March, the report on the risk assessment of the import of meat and meat products contaminated with foot and mouth disease virus was-published, along with a draft revised and updated action plan for 200304.
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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of her Department's funding allocation to the Carbon Trust has been spent in each year since the Trust's creation; and what assessment she has made of the impact of that expenditure. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 March 2003]: The Carbon Trust was created in April 2001, taking over management of the non-domestic part of the Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme (EEBPp) in July 2002 (which it re-launched as Action Energy) and administration of the Enhanced Capital Allowances programme in August 2002. In this time the Carbon Trust has also formulated its programmes, market research and proper financial and procurement procedures. In line with their remit the Carbon Trust have constructed and launched new and innovative programmes such as the Foundation Phase of the Low Carbon Innovation Programme (LCIP) in May 2002. The full LCIP programme has been notified to the European Commission for State Aids consideration.
The Carbon Trust was allocated £26.5 million in 200102 by my Department, and a total of £49.6 million for 200203 (including £17.1 million from the EEBPp). Carbon Trust spend for 200102 was £5.5 million (composed of £3.1 million spend and £2.4 million to enhance the EEBPp), accurate spend figures for 200203 are not yet available from the Carbon Trust, however Defra has received and is considering a request for £20 million end year flexibility from the Carbon Trust's 200203 allocation.
The Trust has already done much valuable work in its three main programme areas and is taking a proactive role in the energy efficiency arena in its role as the main source of energy efficiency information and advice for non-domestic sector. The impact of the Carbon Trust will be measured in terms of carbon savings, including savings from their Research and Development and Demonstration work. An initial impact assessment programme for the Trust is being developed and should provide preliminary results over the summer.
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance her Department issues to civil servants on how to deal with claims from organisations that the information they provide to the Department is commercially confidential. 
Alun Michael: It is not standard practice to verify claims of commercial confidentiality on receiving information from organisations, as this issue is normally only relevant if the question arises as to whether or not the information should be disclosed to another party. Access to the environmental information which Defra holds is subject to the Environmental Information Regulations 1992. Detailed guidance on implementing the Regulations, including the exception relating to commercial confidentiality, is publicly available on the Defra website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/pubaccess/index.htm.
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Where information is not subject to the Environmental Information Regulations 1992, the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, and the guidance on the operation of the Code, helps officials determine whether information should be disclosed or withheld in response to an individual request. Exemption 13 under the Code relates to a third party's commercial confidences. In deciding whether or not information should be withheld under this exemption, officials must consider whether "unwarranted disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party". While it is ultimately up to Departments to determine, in accordance with the Code, whether to disclose the information, the third party whose interests may be adversely affected should normally be consulted in order to inform the Department's decision. Even where the exemption prima facie applies, the information in question must still be disclosed if there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. However, under the Code, disclosure of commercially confidential information will usually only be appropriate where the risk to public health, public safety or the environment is substantial and specific. A decision to refuse requested information may be made without consultation with the supplier of information where the case for confidentiality is obvious and overwhelming.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Inland Revenue about the VAT status of conservation boards. 
Alun Michael: Following discussions about the role and contribution of conservation boards my hon. Friend, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has considered the implications and has explained that conservation boards will not meet the criteria set out for bodies to be able to recover VAT payments. We are considering the implications of this and will discuss the options with the Countryside Agency.
Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much compensation was given to farmers for (a) foot and mouth, (b) CJD and (c) animal disposal in each year since 1990 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms. 
Mr. Morley: The following table gives details of the amount of compensation paid to the farmers for foot and mouth, both in cash and in real terms, for foot and mouth and CJD (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)).
|Bovine SpongiformEncephalopathy||Foot and Mouth|
|Cash||Real terms (in 2002 prices)||Cash||Real terms (in 2002 prices)|
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of her Department's spending on support for hill farming, in each year from 199091 in (a) cash and (b) real terms; what value for money is obtained by this spending; what the purpose is of this spending; and if she will make a statement. 
Expenditure in real terms at 2002 prices.
The objectives of HLCA were to help support the continuation of extensive livestock farming in the hills and uplandsthe less favoured areasthereby helping to maintain aviable population and conserve the countryside. HLCA was replaced by HFA and similarschemes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The objectives of HFA are tocontribute to the maintenance of the social fabric in upland communities through support for continued agricultural land use and to help to preserve the farmed upland environment by ensuring that land in these naturally disadvantaged areas is managed in a sustainable way.
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In terms of value for money, support for extensive grazing has played an important role in maintaining our traditional upland landscapes and hill farming communities. We are keen to ensure that support for extensive farming in the LFAs is as effective as possible, and plan shortly to consult publicly on a review of the Hill Farm Allowance to see whether improvements might usefully be made.
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