Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but my main point was that there had been a reduction of 17 per cent in the number of traffic police between 1997 and 2000, which presumably had resulted in a certain amount of crime going undetected, as the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, mentioned. I am doubtful whether putting in place traffic managers will result in any change in that.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, by way of introduction, I congratulate the Government on attempting to tackle the ever-increasing problem of congestion on our motorways and trunk roads and in our towns and cities. I wholeheartedly welcome the measures to ensure the smooth and safe movement of traffic, and to increase the effectiveness of street works. We have to be careful, however, that the legislative solution...
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, in the event of a second runway at Stansted, will the Government work with BAA to ensure that they will be satisfied with the provisions for generalised blight compensation? Will they ensure that that compensation is adequate?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, was Dr Anderson aware that he was not receiving this information? Is there any other information that he did not receive that he should have received?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, on the four objections in planning, were those objections upheld in favour of the MoD, or were the applications allowed, although the MoD had objected to them?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, does not yesterday's Statement on GM crops effectively stop them being grown? If the Government, the GM industry and the insurance industry do not accept liability for compensation to be paid for any adverse effect on the environment, will there be any farmers brave enough to grow the crops?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, as an arable farmer with my pastures rented, my involvement with foot and mouth disease was limited. I watched the proceedings with a critical eye for indications of how the Government would be likely to deal with any future agricultural emergency. The total direct and indirect costs of FMD to the countryside were between £9 billion and £10 billion—for just one livestock...
Lord Rotherwick: asked Her Majesty's Government: What was the largest amount of illegal meat seized in the United Kingdom at any one time in the year 2003; and what prosecutions followed.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. I am very disappointed to hear about the number of prosecutions pending. Is he aware of the bushmeat conference in December where African Ministers stated that illegal meat is being smuggled into this country partly because people are not frightened of being convicted if caught in the UK? Bearing in mind that the market value of bushmeat is...
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, will the Minister confirm that, since April 2003, there has been a threefold increase in illegal meats? The figure may be somewhere in excess of 7,000 tonnes. Is that correct?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, have there been any seizures of chicken produce from Asia since the ban came into being? If so, have there been any prosecutions of the people who have brought in that produce?
Lord Rotherwick: asked Her Majesty's Government: What action they will take to settle the £100 million in outstanding payments to contractors who worked during the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer. However, is not the fraudulent case rather a red herring as only 1 per cent of the contractors involved in the foot and mouth epidemic are being investigated for fraud? Indeed, earlier this month, one such case was lost in the High Court at a cost of £2.3 million. With some contractors owed payments for more than 700 days and at least one liable...
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, in one case, Cumbria Waste Management Ltd has been chasing its overdue money for more than two years. The company is owned by Cumbria County Council. Is Defra concerned about a serious overcharging in that case?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I am glad to hear what the Minister said about including cartoons for those who have difficulty reading. Is she aware that 10 per cent of the population have dyslexia? Is the Bill written in accordance with the recommendations of the Dyslexia Association whereby the correct fonts, the correct spacing and the correct colour of paper are used? Has she followed those recommendations?
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I declare an interest as an arable farmer who is incensed at Defra's bungling. Bearing in mind that wheat prices went up only £5 per tonne, does the Minister think it justifiable that milling prices are reported to have gone up from £25 to £34 per tonne? Does he think that that is being fairly passed to the consumer by the millers?
Lord Rotherwick: asked Her Majesty's Government: What is their policy towards their legal liability for accidental contamination by genetically modified crops.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I appreciate what the noble Lord says about consideration in the light of the report, but perhaps he might say a little more. I declare an interest as a farmer, although not one who grows GM crops. In the absence of insurance cover, what arrangements would the Government make to protect farmers who grow GM crops from suffering economic loss as a result of breaches of statutory...
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, Bayer pulled out of its GM crop trials because the Government insisted on releasing the six-figure grid reference, thus it was concerned that its trials would be trashed. In retrospect, do the Government think that that was unwise? Will they consider not always insisting that companies give out the six-figure grid reference in future?
Lord Rotherwick: asked Her Majesty's Government: How many seizures of illegal meat imports Customs and Excise has made since the action plan, and how many have resulted in a conviction.