§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the percentage of respondents to the recent consultation on nitrate vulnerable zones preferred the option of designating 100 per cent. of England as a nitrate vulnerable zone; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 10 July 2002]: Overall 56 per cent. of respondents to the recent consultation "How should England implement the 1991 Nitrates Directive?" preferred application of Action Programme measures to the whole of England. Thirty six per cent. preferred the alternative designation of discrete areas as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. The remainder failed to state a preference. We published an independent analysis of all the responses on 27 June 2002, which is available on the DEFRA web site at "www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ water/quality/nitrate".
However, these responses were on the basis that 80 per cent. England would be designated under the discrete area option. Subsequent refinement of the mapping work has established that only 55 per cent. of England has to be designated. We took this into account in deciding how to proceed in the light of consultation.