HL Deb 29 October 1999 vol 606 cc55-6WA
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they have made in preparing the Rural Development Regulation Plans, in particular whether they will be drawn up at a national or regional level; and [HL4236]

What percentage of the respondents to their consultation on Rural Development Regulation Plans preferred (a) Option 1 for a national plan, (b) Option 2 for regional plans, or (c) Option 3 for a hybrid plan drawn up at both levels; and [HL4237]

What is the European Commission's deadline for the submission of the Rural Development Regulation Plans; and [HL4238]

Whether the time-scale for drawing up the Rural Development Regulation Plans in line with the European Commission deadline will be met; and [HL4239]

Whether they have decided who will implement the Rural Development Regulation measures, in particular those covered by Article 33. [HL4240]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman)

My right honourable friend the Minister announced on 26 August (MAFF News Release 292/99) that a single Rural Development Plan for England would be prepared comprising a national framework with regional chapters covering each Government Office region. The regional chapters, drawn up with regional partners, will describe how the policies adopted will be implemented in each region. This arrangement reflects the responses to the consultation in which 60 per cent favoured Option 3 (hybrid), 37 per cent Option 2 (regional) and 3 per cent Option 1 (national). Copies of the responses are available for inspection in the Library of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Rural Development Plans must be submitted to the European Commission by 3 January 2000. We are making steady progress in preparing the England Rural Development Plan which will, among other things, describe proposals for implementing the measures. Final decisions on implementation have not yet been made.