Departmental Policies

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th April 2005.

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Photo of Mr Brian Sedgemore Mr Brian Sedgemore Labour, Hackney South and Shoreditch

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to South-East Cambridgeshire constituency, the effects on South-East Cambridgeshire of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra publishes a wide range of statistical information relating to its policies and actions and the following web address will take you directly to the service: http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/default. asp. In addition the Office of National Statistics also publishes further information that you can access from its website: http://www.statistics.gov.uk

Since its establishment in 2001 Defra has put in place a comprehensive programme of action on issues including sustainable development, climate change and energy, sustainable consumption and production, natural resource protection, sustainable rural communities, and a sustainable farming and food sector. I am confident that the South East Cambridgeshire constituency will have benefited from these but it is not possible to systematically quantify those benefits to a constituency level. The difficulties of such geographical analyses are set out by the Office of National Statistics at the following address: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/default.asp

The following information may help provide a word picture" of the way Defra's work benefits South East Cambridgeshire. Through our national strategy for waste we are committed to delivering a step change to more sustainable waste management, including tough national targets to recycle or compost 17 per cent. of household waste by 2003–04, and 25 per cent. by 2005–06. The county of Cambridgeshire continues to make a substantial contribution to achieving national recycling targets. The county's recycling performance in 2003–04, the most recent year for which data are available, was 29 per cent., against the national average for that year of 16.9 per cent.

The Government are committed to increasing the amount of electricity supplied by renewable sources in the UK to 10 per cent. by 2010. Between 1990 and 1998, the percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources in Cambridgeshire increased from zero, or very little, to around 0.9 per cent. In the last four years, this figure has increased to around 6 per cent. This dramatic increase is mainly attributable to the opening of a straw burning power station in Sutton near Ely in late 2001.

An area of the East of England, which covers a large part of the South East Cambridgeshire constituency, is one of the eight rural delivery pathfinders announced by the Minister of State, Alun Michael, at Ely on 14 March. The pathfinder initiative is a key part of the Government's Rural Strategy and reflects the Government's commitment to devolve decision-making and resources to the local level. The Fens rural pathfinder will ensure greater co-ordination of rural delivery programmes by testing new and innovative methods to bring about improvements in the delivery of services to rural communities and businesses. Partners in pathfinder areas are currently worked on their detailed proposals of actions they will undertake, but a summary can be obtained via the following web address: www. idea-knowledge, gov.uk/idk/core/page. do?pageld =335795

In terms of specific payments we have been able to isolate expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy and a list of payments by constituency is available in the Library of the House following the answer I gave to Mr. Howarth on 4 April 2005, Hansard, columns 1149–50W. It is noted in these figures that payments to customers are reported on the basis of requested business address which may differ from the location of farming activity.

Common Agricultural Policy

Payments to farm based schemes in the South East Cambridgeshire constituency for the 2004 European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) accounting year which ran from 16 October 2003 to 15 October 2004 amount to £12, 865, 707.74.

The schemes included are the Arable Area Payment, Beef Special Premium, Suckler Cow Premium, Extensification Premium, Slaughter Premium, Sheep Annual Premium, Over Thirty Months Slaughter, England Rural Development Programme and Structural Funds (which are monies made available by EAGGF to contribute to the economic development of disadvantaged regions within Europe).

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