HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 cc287-8W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reasons underlay the delay in responding to the letter received by the Department on 16 December 2002 from Mr. Ian Marsden and P. Westby of Accrington regarding biodiesel. [127101]

Alun Michael

I have looked at the way in which the case was dealt with and it appears that this was an unusual case in which the details of a draft response were considered by officials and Ministers on a number of occasions before a reply was sent to the hon. Gentleman on 27 June. The delay is unacceptable and falls far short of the standards now achieved within Defra. Having massively improved the turnaround of replies to MPs we are now trying to eradicate occasional lapses of this sort which are unacceptable.

Mr. Kaufman

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the letter from her Department dated 18 June to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms M. Bromley, if she will require the Food Standards Agency to send the promised reply to the right hon. Member without delay. [127747]

compensation; what amount was taken up by government; and what proportion of the value of lost stock this equated to. [128263]

Mr. Bradshaw

Since May 1997 there have been two outbreaks of contagious notifiable disease which have occurred in the UK—classical swine fever in 2000 and foot and mouth disease in 2001. Control of these was governed by both domestic and EU legislation. On both occasions the European Commission also issued Decisions.

A proportion of the costs of eradicating these diseases can be reimbursed by the European Commission to the member state, and the UK Government have submitted official applications for such reimbursement. Relevant details are as follows:

Alun Michael

I regret that my right hon. Friend's letter was not shown to me before it was transferred to the Food Standards Agency. However that transfer was correct as the Food Standard Agency is responsible for the Food Supplements Directive. I cannot speak for other Departments and my right hon. Friend may therefore wish to direct his inquiries to colleagues in the Department of Health.