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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Information is not available in the form requested. There is an administrative target of payments within two months of receipt. As at 31 January, the percentage of claims paid within two months was 79.12 per cent. Because the closing date for receipt of claims was extended from 30 November to 31 December last year, we cannot yet say what proportion of the remaining claims will be paid within the target period. We have experienced some IT difficulties which affected the claims processing capacity but MAFF staff are working to clear the remainder as soon as possible.
Baroness Hayman: We understand that Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden have some form of energy tax. There is special treatment for the use of natural gas but not electricity in the glasshouse sector in the Netherlands; the rate of tax is lower for the horticultural and manufacturing sectors than for domestic and commercial use in Finland; and in Sweden only part of the tax applies to the manufacturing and agriculture industries. Belgium and France plan to introduce an energy tax in 2001.
The majority of European member states have transposed the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. Under the directive, new and substantially changed installations were required to apply for an IPPC permit from 31 October 1999, while existing installations have until 31 October 2007. Member states have varying timetables for introducing existing installations.
European Union information states that Denmark, France and Sweden have a general pesticides tax. Belgium also has a limited pesticides tax applying solely to a small number of pesticides used in the municipal sector. A number of other countries, including the UK, have a levy.
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