§ Mr. Peter Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what formal procedures are in place for consulting the Scottish Executive's Environment and Rural Affairs Department on matters of agricultural policy. 928W
§ Mr. Morley
DEFRA and SEERAD are mutually committed to work together on the application of agricultural policy within their respective responsibilities. This commitment is given expression in a significant two-way flow of information and related discussions between the Departments, which take place within the framework of the "Memorandum of Understanding and supplementary agreements between the United Kingdom Government, Scottish Ministers and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales" (Cm 4444) and a bilateral concordat. In order to ensure effective co-ordination and help resolution of differences, Agriculture Ministers of the devolved Administrations meet regularly, normally in advance of EU Agriculture Councils, under the chairmanship of the DEFRA Secretary of State. In addition, there are regular (monthly or more frequent) meetings at senior official level on matters relating to agricultural policy.