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Flood Defences

Mr. Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the tidal surge which hit the Thames Estuary and the North Kent Coast on 29 January, with special reference to the adequacy of the flood defences along the Erith, Crayford and Dartford stretch of the river bank and the risk of the River Thames flooding in this area. [35440]

Mr. Morley: A tidal surge occurred on the morning tide of 29 January 2002, which was below the level where the Thames barrier is activated though some of the other estuary barriers were closed. There was no danger to life or property in this event.

The tidal flood defences between Erith and Dartford, along the north Kent coast are inspected and maintained regularly. These defences form part of the overall flood protection system on the tidal Thames, which, with the barriers closed, are designed to provide a high standard of protection against events with a current annual probability of less then 0.1 per cent. (X1 in 1,000 year").

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason it was necessary for veterinarians to wait in excess of 24 hours before obtaining permission to slaughter animals identified as suffering from foot and mouth disease.[38210]

Mr. Morley: It is not the case that veterinarians had to wait more than 24 hours for permission to slaughter animals infected with foot and mouth disease. The

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National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) was responsible for the confirmation of disease based on telephone reports from field staff. On 21 March, the then Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food agreed that field staff could slaughter animals that they believed were infected with foot and mouth disease, without authority, if they were unable to contact the NDCC within two hours.

In a survey of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors, the British Veterinary Association found that it took TVI's on average, 14.5 minutes to get through to the NDCC and that the longest wait was 2 hours. The average response time by the NDCC was 10 minutes and the longest wait for a response was 4 hours.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the incubation period for the foot and mouth disease is in (a) cattle and (b) sheep. [38523]

Mr. Morley: The incubation period for foot and mouth varies according to the infecting dose, the strain of the virus and the susceptibility of the infected animal. The most likely incubation period for all species is 5 days. The common range of incubation is accepted at between 3 to 8 days, although the maximum range is between 2 and 14 days.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the foot and mouth compensation payments were made by the (a) UK and (b) EU; and if she will make a statement. [39258]

Mr. Morley: All compensation payments related to foot and mouth disease have been made by the UK Government. EU Member States may claim up to 60 per cent of eligible costs incurred during the control of foot and mouth disease from the European Commission. In June 2001, my Department submitted a claim to the Commission based on estimated costs of 1,153 million. An updated claim based on costs of 1,663 million was submitted in October.

In accordance with Commission Decision 2001/654/EC of 16 August 2001, detailed initial information has been submitted to the Commission in support of the UK's claim and we are in regular contact with Commission officials in furtherance of the claim.

Gas Emissions

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total UK (a) carbon dioxide emissions and (b) other greenhouse gas emissions were; and what the percentage change was in each of the last 10 years. [37819]

Mr. Meacher: The table shows the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs and SF6) emitted during the years 1990 to 1999. (Records for 2000 are not yet complete.) The percentage change in emissions for each year compared to the previous year, and for each year compared to 1990 is also shown for each gas.

% (1990)0.64-1.81-4.39-5.04-6.54-3.29-7.43-7.06-9.13
% (1990)-1.36-3.81-7.90-16.35-16.89-18.80-21.25-24.80-28.34
% (1990)-4.55-13.64-18.18-13.64-18.18-13.64-13.64-13.64-36.36
% (1990)5.3410.3819.4249.13101.03154.06215.21276.16182.53
% (1990)-21.75-58.61-65.26-57.70-52.57-60.73-71.30-71.60-70.39
% (1990)6.6716.6723.3346.6756.6776.6776.6780.0083.33

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Precautionary Principle

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's policy regarding the precautionary principle. [38273]

Mr. Morley: The precautionary principle holds that the absence of scientific proof should not delay or prevent proportionate measures to remove or reduce threats of serious harm. Where there is scientific uncertainty DEFRA will adopt a precautionary approach where it is considered appropriate. In doing this, we are mindful of the EU Council resolution on the precautionary principle and of the Government's response to the report of the BSE Inquiry.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1161W, what the cost of refurbishing each Ministerial private office was in each year since May 1997. [37899]

Mr. Morley: MAFF Ministers' private offices moved from Whitehall Place West to Nobel House, Smith Square, in 1997/98. The cost of the move was 38,000. In addition, alterations to prepare the accommodation for Ministers and senior officials cost 240,000 and 54,000 was spent on new furniture. The offices vacated in Whitehall Place West were subsequently occupied by MAFF officials at no additional cost.

No further refurbishment work has been undertaken on Ministers' private offices since 1997–98.

Fisheries (Prosecutions)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many successful prosecutions were brought against fishing vessels during the last five years for (a) catching of undersized fish, (b) landing of undersized fish, (c) using illegal nets and trawls, (d) irregularities in log book, (e) having a catch in excess of quote and (f) other reasons. [37945]

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Mr. Morley: Information on the total number of successful prosecutions involving fishing vessels during the period 1997 to 2001 for the following types of offences is set out in the table below.

Type of offenceNumber of successful prosecutions
Retaining on board or landing undersized fish26
Use/carriage of illegal nets44
Logbook offences77
Retaining on board or landing over quota species57

For the purpose of the table prosecutions involving both the owner and master have been treated as a single case. Some cases may involve more than one offence under one or more of the above headings.

Job No: 713438 Folios: 1128

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) on how many occasions successful prosecutions have been brought against fishing vessels in the past five years for which records are available; and how many were (a) UK-registered, British-crewed vessels, (b) UK-registered flag of convenience vessels and (c ) non-UK registered vessels; [37944]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 February 2002]: The number of successful prosecutions in respect of UK and non UK registered vessels by this Department during the period 1997 to 2001 were:

The totals above include vessels which have been prosecuted on more than one occasion. Our prosecution records do not distinguish whether UK registered vessels were crewed by UK or foreign nationals.

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