§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions in each of the last five years hill livestock compensatory allowances have been refused to farmers in the less favoured areas on the grounds that the ewe density on the farms concerned exceeded the European Community stocking limits.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
The EC structures regulation (79785), which provides the basic framework for paying HLCAs, does not currently impose European Community stocking limits as such, although allowances may not exceed 101 ECUs per livestock unit and per hectare. Because the rates set in the United Kingdom have been below the 101 ECUs limit, it has not in itself affected ewe stocking densities.
However, under national legislation, limits are imposed on the number of ewes per hectare on which HLCAs are paid (six in the severely disadvantaged areas and nine in the disadvantaged areas).