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Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Donoughue: The Countryside Stewardship Scheme is oversubscribed. Just over 50 per cent. of applications were approved in 1998. Some of the applications were ineligible and a proportion would not have been of high enough environmental value to approve.

Agreements were approved in 1998 with a first year cost of £7 million. In 1999 we plan to approve agreements with a first year cost of £8.5 million.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sums have already been granted in each year since the start of the Countryside Stewardship scheme.[HL2730]

Lord Donoughue: Payments made to agreement holders in each year under Countryside Stewardship are as follows:

Year£ million
1991-92*0.16
1992-93*3.82
1993-94*8.30
1994-95*10.80
1995-96*11.26
1996-9710.93
1997-9815.08
1998-9919.90

* Countryside Commission data.


Russia: Food Aid Programme

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Lord Carter on 19 May (H.L. Deb., col. 298), how many of the 300 people involved in the programme on the European Union side work in Russia supervising the distribution of food aid there.[HL2745]

Lord Donoughue: According to information supplied by the European Commission, staff currently working in Russia involved in the food aid programme comprise 10 employees of the Commission itself and a further 370 agency staff, of whom 300 are engaged as local inspectors.

Actellic D and Actellic Dust

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list all the active and inert ingredients in the pesticides Actellic D and Actellic Dust.[HL2706]

Lord Donoughue: The active ingredient in both Actellic D and Actellic Dust is pirimiphos-methyl. Actellic D is an emulsifiable concentrate containing 250 grams per litre pirimiphos-methyl, and Actellic Dust (now Actellic 2% Dust) is a dustable powder containing 2 per cent. weight by weight

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pirimiphos-methyl. I regret that, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, it is not possible to disclose details of the formulation specification and composition of individual pesticide products.

Meat Hygiene Inspection Costs and Charges

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the total (a) salary costs, (b) social security costs and (c) administrative costs, including in-service training of inspectors, specifically incurred in the last financial year by the Meat Hygiene Service in carrying out controls and inspections required by European Union Directives.[HL2707]

Lord Donoughue: The total costs specifically incurred by Meat Hygiene Inspectors of the Meat Hygiene Service during 1998-99 in carrying out the particular controls and inspections relating to this grade as required by European Union Directives are as follows:

£000
Salary costs17,126
Employers' national insurance costs1,199
Administrative costs4,800

These figures should be regarded as estimates as the MHS Accounts for 1998-99 are still subject to audit by the National Audit Office.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total income derived from charges to abattoirs and meat cutting plants by the Meat Hygiene Service during the last financial year.[HL2708]

Lord Donoughue: The total income incurred from slaughterhouses and cutting plants for the inspection service provided by the Meat Hygiene Service during 1998-99 is estimated at £34 million.

This figure is still regarded as an estimate as the MHS Accounts for 1998-99 are still subject to audit by the National Audit Office.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many hours were worked in total in the last financial year by directly employed Official Veterinary Surgeons in abattoirs and meat cutting plants, as required by European Union Directive 91/497; what were the total salaries including bonuses

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    and social security costs attributable to their inspection duties; and what were the charges levied in respect of those inspections on the abattoirs and meat cutting plants in which these Official Veterinary Surgeons were employed.[HL2709]

Lord Donoughue: European Directive 91/497/EEC amended and updated Directive 64/433/EEC on health conditions for the production and marketing of fresh red meat. The total number of hours, as required by the aforementioned Directive, worked by Official Veterinary Surgeons (OVSs) directly employed by the Meat Hygiene Service in licensed slaughterhouses and cutting plants during 1998-99 was 13,110.

The total salary costs attributable to such inspection duties by directly employed OVSs in these premises were £340,000.

The charges levied on slaughterhouses and cutting plants in respect of these inspection duties by directly employed OVSs were £406,000.

These figures should be regarded as estimates as the MHS Accounts for 1998-99 are still subject to audit by the National Audit Office.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of the individuals and organisations who were sent the consultation document dated 7 May, on charging for Meat Hygiene Service inspections, returned their comments by noon on 17 May.[HL2587]

Lord Donoughue: Of the 75 individuals and organisations in Great Britain who were sent the document, 20 returned their comments by noon on 17 May. This represents 27 per cent. of those consulted and 49 per cent. of those who have replied as at 26 May.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the British Veterinary Association and the Meat Hygiene Service officials' organisation have been asked for their response to the questions on the Meat Hygiene Service consultation document of 7 May; and, if so, whether their responses will be made available on the same basis as those of the other individuals and organisations consulted.[HL2588]

Lord Donoughue: Yes.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the list of individuals and organisations consulted by the Meat Hygiene Service on the document of 7 May was not the same as that sent out at the time of the original consultation; and whether provision will be made for those who have not been consulted, and who wish to contribute, to do so.[HL2589]

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Lord Donoughue: The initial list of consultees comprised the members of the MHS Industry Forum and others with the most obvious direct interest in the document. A subsequent list comprised all those others who had responded to the earlier formal consultation on charges for enforcement of controls on specified risk material. In addition, the consultation was announced by press release and the document placed on the MAFF internet site with responses invited from any other interested bodies or individuals who wished to contribute. We will endeavour to take account of all responses received after the due date.

Mercenary Activity

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, if they "unequivocally condemn the recruitment use and financing of mercenaries" (HC Deb., WA 62)--(a) the FCO discussed the events in Sierra Leone with Messrs. Sandline; and (b) they concurred with the training of Bosniac forces in Bosnia by an American mercenary firm; and whether they will now take steps to prevent the spread of mercenary activity.[HL2646]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Sandline/Sierra Leone issue has been addressed by the Legg investigation and the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Government have responded in full. The Foreign and Commonwealth office and the Ministry of Defence have introduced new guidelines on officials' contacts with private military companies.

We know of no training of Bosniac forces in Bosnia by mercenaries, US or otherwise.

We have undertaken to publish a Green Paper on mercenary activity by October 2000.

NATO: Out of Area Military Activity

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their interpretation of the new NATO Strategic Concept coincides with that of the United States administration or that of the French Government on the question whether NATO may lawfully engage in out of area military activity, other than in strict accordance with the United Nations Charter and without United Nations Security Council authority.[HL2710]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: NATO Allies adopted their new Strategic Concept by consensus at the NATO Washington Summit on 23-25 April 1999.

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