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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 18 April 2002, Official Report, column 1071, on the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, on what basis decisions are made to visit farms after the first year of the scheme; and what monitoring systems are in place to check whether a visit in the second year is necessary. 
Mr. Morley: The compliance monitoring inspections of Countryside Stewardship Scheme agreements carried out by the Rural Payments Agency are selected using risk based criteria and are not specifically related to the year of the agreement. Inspections may therefore take place in any of the ten years of an agreement: the need for any follow-up inspections will be assessed in the light of the initial inspection.
Under the risk based strategy for selecting care and maintenance visits, technical staff from DEFRA's Rural Development Service aim to visit all agreements in their first year. Visits in subsequent years may additionally be carried out following a compliance monitoring inspection, a request for a major amendment to an agreement or at the request of an agreement holder.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in the United Kingdom have participated in the Countryside Stewardship scheme in each year since it started. 
|Number of new agreements|
|Total number of agreements(15)||14,347|
(13) Annual figures for the period 199195, when the scheme was operated by the Countryside Commission are not available.
(15) Farmers may hold more than one agreement.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date her Department was first informed of an (a) potential and (b) actual problem with Wastepack meeting its obligations for 2001 under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) announced on 15 April 2002 that, having completed its compliance assessment, it concluded that Wastepack compliance scheme had failed to take
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reasonable steps to carry out its recovery and recycling obligations under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended). During my Department's review of progress on recovery and recycling in 2001 it sought confirmation from the major compliance schemes in November 2001 that they were on course to meet their obligations under the Regulations.. We first became aware of a problem when the third quarter returns from accredited reprocessors suggested that there remained a significant amount of recovery to be achieved by the scheme in the final quarter.
Mr. Meacher: The Government intend to explore with other member states the possibility of listing big leaf mahogany on Annex B of Council Regulation 33897. Such a listing would require member states to be satisfied that the trade would not be detrimental to the conservation of the species before the timber could be imported into the EU.
Mr. Meacher: All proposals for discussion at the Conference of Parties have to be with the CITES Secretariat by 6 June. A proposal to list the basking shark on Appendix II has been prepared and will be submitted shortly. Officials have also contributed to the preparation of a draft resolution on trade in biological samples. These and proposals by other EU member states will be discussed at a meeting on 16 May. A further meeting to agree a common position on all CITES proposals will be held at the end of July. Views on these proposals will be sought from NGOs and other interested parties in the run up to this later meeting.
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 24 April 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State discussed ratification of the Kyoto protocol with several US officials during a visit to the US on 1012 April. She updated them on the progress made by the UK and our EU partners on ratification of the protocol. The UK continues to urge the US to participate fully in international action to tackle climate change on the grounds that this is necessary to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the cost for developed countries of implementing the Kyoto protocol will only be between 0.1 per cent. and 1.1 per cent. of GDP in 2010.
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membership of the Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues between 1995 and 2001; and if she will give their dates of membership and the register of their interests. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 May 2002]: The membership of the Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues (AGVR) is listed in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD) six annual reports on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues for 19952001. Only non-civil service members of the committee would have given declarations of interest. There was no expectation at the time that their declarations of interest would be made public. Under Part II, Paragraph 14 a) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, it is necessary to contact the ex-members to seek permission for the declarations to be disclosed. The VMD will write to the ex-members and disclose the declarations of those who consent.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the guidelines relating to the establishment of the Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues in 1995 and the Veterinary Residues Committee in 2001. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 14 May 2002]: The Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues (AGVR) was set up in 1995 to ensure that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's residues surveillance programmes were subject to independent scrutiny and advice. The AGVR's terms of reference are given in the VMD's annual reports on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues. Interested organisations, including consumer groups, were asked for nominations to serve on the AGVR. Account was taken of the advice given in the 'Guide to Public Appointments' that pertained at that time.
The Veterinary Residues Committee was set up in 2001 to interpret and advise on the incidence and concentrations of residues of veterinary medicines in samples collected under the VMD's and FSA's surveillance programmes.
Appointments to the VRC were made in accordance with Nolan principles. Information on the appointments process and terms of reference for the VRC is given on their website: vet-residues-committee.gov.uk.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she (a) has made and (b) plans to make of the role and impact of the sustainability fund in England; how this fund will operate; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government have consulted widely on the role and impact of the sustainability fund. In August 2000 we consulted on the objectives of the fund and, in broad terms, the best use of resources. A second consultation paper, in October 2001, invited comments on proposals for the operation and distribution of the fund in England. A summary of responses is on my Department's website.
I announced final decisions on the distribution of the fund on 10 April. It will be distributed through the Countryside Agency, English Heritage, English Nature, WRAP, DTI's Construction Innovation and Research Management Programme, DTLR's Planning Research
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programme, Clean Up programme and Freight Facilities Grant. It will run for two years initially, with £29.3 million available each year.
Monitoring and review arrangements will be put in place to assess the impact of the fund and help inform future decisions on how the fund works. The fund aims to reduce damage to the environment from extracting aggregates by reducing the demand for primary aggregates, promoting more environmentally friendly extraction and transport and reducing the effect of local aggregate extraction.
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