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Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the negotiating position of the UK delegation to the December EC Fisheries Council will be determined. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 December 2001]: The position of the UK delegation to the December Fisheries Council is determined by taking account of the scientific advice from ICES and in consultation with the industry as well as my ministerial colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the relative importance of the fishing industry to (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK. 
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Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter of 18 July from the hon. Member for West Derbyshire concerning dormant quarries in the Peak District National Park. 
Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she will reply to the letter of 8 October from the hon. Member for West Derbyshire on the export of sheep and sheep meat to continental Europe; 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ensure that outstanding correspondence with her Department will receive a reply by 19 December. 
Mr. Morley: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to all Members of Parliament on 14 November explaining the scale of the current problems faced by the Correspondence Section and setting out the mechanisms put in place to overcome these problems. However we shall certainly endeavour to respond to all the hon. Member's current outstanding correspondence by 19 December.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost is of each research project to determine measures for the headline indicators as set out in the Rural White Paper is. 
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White Paper. A consolidated list is being developed and will be placed in the Library. I will write to the hon. Member when it is available.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has commissioned concerning (a) the Rural White Paper indicator measures and (b) other indicator measures for her Department; and when this research will be made available. 
Alun Michael [holding answer 30 November 2001]: A number of research projects have been commissioned on indicator measures following publication of "A Better Quality of Life: A Strategy for Sustainable Development in the United Kingdom", "Towards Sustainable AgricultureA Pilot Set of Indicators" and the Rural White Paper. A consolidated list is being developed and will be placed in the Library. I will write to the hon. Member when it is available.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what imports of Argentinean meat have entered the UK food chain in the last 12 months; if the meat is from vaccinated sources; and if it is organically produced. 
Mr. Morley: The table at Annexe A shows the amount of meat of foot and mouth disease susceptible species imported into the UK during the last 12 months for which statistics are available. There is no guarantee that all this meat entered the UK food chain as some meat may be re-exported.
The importation into the UK of fresh meat derived from foot and mouth disease susceptible animals originating in Argentina is currently prohibited. Prior to the prohibition, meat from vaccinated animals could be imported from Argentina, but had to be deboned and fully matured so as to remove any risk of the live foot and mouth disease virus being present.
According to an estimate in the Soil Association Organic Food and Farming report 2001 some 45 per cent. of organic meat sold in the UK is imported. It is therefore possible that some meat from organic production has been imported from Argentina. Customs import figures are not available for organic meat from Argentina because organic products are not distinguishable from conventional products in the data collected by Customs.
|Type/product||October to December 2000||January to September 2001||October 2000 to September 2001 (total)|
|Bovine carcase meat||287||1,022||1,308|
|Bovine meat and offal preparations||1,609||3,392||5,001|
|Beef/beef product total||2,053||4,568||6,620|
|Sheep and Goat edible offal, frozen||||34||34|
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 December 2001]: Some livestock markets have re-opened in Scotland reflecting the lower number of FMD cases there. A decision to re-open livestock markets in England and Wales will be made in the light of scientific and veterinary advice on progress with the eradication of foot and mouth disease. It is not possible to give a precise date but it is expected to be in the early part of 2002, provided there are no further outbreaks.
The Department has held a number of meetings with representatives of the Livestock Auctioneers Association to discuss the conditions required for the re-opening of markets, particularly as regards biodiversity. A number of ideas were discussed and these are now being reviewed by my Department. We will continue to consult fully with the LAA on this very important matter and hope to announce the outcome before Christmas.
Mr. Morley: Support for the sugar beet industry is regulated under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A revised Sugar Regime under the CAP was agreed at the May 2001 Agriculture Council and runs for five years until 1 July 2006, with a review in the early part of 2003. We continue to believe that further substantive reform is needed to take account of trade liberalisation resulting from the "Everything But Arms" agreement and to put the industry on a more sustainable basis for the future.
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency will be developing a strategy for the fluvial Trent over the next 18 months. I understand that the agency are already in discussions with consultants about preparing the strategy and plan to confirm their appointment later this month. The completed strategy will inform the agency's plans for flood management between Stoke-on-Trent and Newark.
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