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Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the extent to which the application procedures for the cattle passport scheme need to be simplified. 
Ms Quin: The operation of the cattle passport scheme is closely monitored and kept under constant review. The BCMS have set up an Industry Forum at which all stakeholders meet to identify how services may be improved. We have responded to the Forum's request to provide for electronic data transfer and from early in the new year it will be possible for farmers to choose to register an animal simply by visiting the BCMS website. They will continue to have the options of completing a paper application form or sending an e-mail, if they prefer.
Ms Quin: The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) has published nine information leaflets offering advice and guidance on the cattle passport scheme. A copy of each of these leaflets has been sent to every cattle keeper in the country. Welsh language versions have also been produced for Welsh speaking farmers.
The BCMS has also produced two explanatory video tapes, which have been circulated to farmer organisations to be shown at any of their regular discussion group meetings. If requested, BCMS can provide speakers for such meetings. BCMS staff also attend the principal agricultural shows throughout the country to meet with farmers directly.
The Cattle Tracing website--part of the MAFF website www.maff.gov.uk--gives detailed information (including a question and answer section) on the scheme. The BCMS telephone helpline also provides help and advice.
Ms Quin: The EU Animal By-products Regulation, as currently drafted, does not propose controls on the composting of kitchen waste, although it would control the composting of animal by-products. The UK will be requesting clarification of the scope of the Regulation during the negotiations.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance he offers regarding the application of the animal by-products regulations to the disposal of kitchen waste, with special reference to meat, in waste dumps. 
Ms Quin: The Animal By-Products Order 1999 does not control the disposal of kitchen waste in landfill sites. However, it does require that ruminants, pigs and poultry are not fed, or allowed access to, unprocessed kitchen waste containing meat, meat products or products of animal origin wherever they are disposed of. Guidance on the disposal of animal by-products and catering waste is to be issued shortly and will reiterate this point.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the procedures are for a resubmission of an application for placement on the National Seed List; and what restriction there is on the time period before that resubmission can be tabled for acceptance. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 12 December 2000]: Under the current regulations for National Seed Listing, the procedures for resubmission of an application for National Listing of a variety are the same as those that apply for any new application for National Listing of a variety. There is no restriction on the time period before an application for National Listing of a variety may be resubmitted.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will commission an inquiry into the role of his Department during the recent application to place Chardon LL on the National Seed List. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 12 December 2000]: No. My Department acted properly in accordance with its knowledge at the time when considering the application to place Chardon LL on the National List of plant varieties.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the evidence that his Department planned to submit to the inquiry regarding the application to place Chardon LL on the National Seed List. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 12 December 2000]: The purpose of the Chardon LL hearing, now adjourned, is to take submissions and oral evidence from persons affected by the proposal to add Chardon LL to the National List of plant varieties. No decision to add Chardon LL to the National List can be taken until the evidence from the hearing and other written representations are considered. There is no provision in the Regulations for my Department to submit evidence to the hearing and there are no plans to do so. Chardon LL will only be added to the UK National List if all the legal requirements have been met in full.
Mr. Morley: The Government's preference is for meat exports. However, the European Court of Justice has made it clear that a ban on the trade in live animals for slaughter is not an option. We will press for improvements in the rules when discussing the Commission's review of the EU legislation on the protection of animals during transport.
Mr. David Heath: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list (a) the number of applications for visits by the Farm Business Advisory Service in Somerset to date, (b) the number of applications received for registration as consultants and (c) the number of consultants appointed. 
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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if an independent expert will be able to analyse the data from medical assessment programme consultations involving Porton Down volunteers to assess whether patterns of ill-health are associated with particular exposures; 
Dr. Moonie: Data about specific individuals referral to the Medical Assessment Programme will be medically confidential. However, it is planned to aggregate and anonymise the data to form a case series for analysis. Such data could, with volunteers' consent, be made available to independent researchers, as has been the case with equivalent data relating to Gulf Veterans.
I announced on 21 November 2000, Official Report, columns 101-02W, a number of measures, including the offer of a thorough medical assessment for Porton Down Volunteers. The announcement was accompanied by a Ministry of Defence Press Release which is available on my Department's website. The announcement generated some interest in the national media. Wiltshire police have kindly sent out on our behalf details of the Medical Assessment Programme with approximately 400 of their letters to volunteers. All letters sent by Porton Down in response to former volunteers' inquiries and by MOD on this subject mention the medical assessment programme where appropriate. Callers to our Helplines will also be made aware of the Medical Assessment Programme. We have also invited the Volunteers' legal representative to publicise details. My Department will set up a website specifically for Porton Down volunteers early in the New Year which will also contain details. We plan to revise and re-issue the MOD leaflet intended for Porton Down Volunteers which was first produced in February 1998. The Porton Down Veterans Support Group also has been sent details, as too has the Royal British Legion. The Department of Health has taken steps to alert the NHS and GPs to the programme.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the contact address and telephone number of the Porton Down Veterans Support Group will be added to the leaflet and website which publicises the Porton Down Volunteers Helpline run by the Defence and Evaluation Research Agency; 
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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Public Record Office a copy of the document "possible long-term sequelae of exposure to nerve agents-a retrospective survey" (CDE Technical Note 1010, August 1989); 
Dr. Moonie: I have today arranged for a copy of the document to which the hon. Member refers to be placed in the Library of the House. Consideration as to whether or not the document should be placed in the Public Records Office will be given under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958 and 1967.
The work which led to CDE Technical Note 1010 was a small scale study initiated by staff at Porton Down. This was intended to identify any long-term health effect of exposure to nerve agents during the volunteer programme. The work did not reveal any increased incidence of ill health among the volunteers.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the number of individuals who have been exposed to nerve agents at the Chemical Defence Establishment, Porton Down. 
Dr. Moonie: My Department estimates that 3,400 volunteers may have taken part in nerve agent studies at Porton Down, although it is probable that not all of these volunteers were exposed to nerve agents as some would have worn protective equipment or been involved as part of control groups. We plan to research the records to establish the definitive numbers, which will be published in due course.
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