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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has implemented to increase biosecurity. [46745]

Mr. Morley: The Department has responsibility for a range of biosecurity issues. Throughout the foot and mouth outbreak, the Department has imposed strict animal health biosecurity measures, based on expert veterinary advice, to contain and eradicate the disease. Improvements in biosecurity within the livestock sector were achieved through the rules on the movement of animals and the arrangements for the cleansing and disinfection of vehicles, premises and equipment. Some of these conditions have been amended as the disease situation has improved. We will be carefully considering how animal disease control precautions should be developed in the future in the light of reports from the independent FMD inquiries.

Our approach to improved animal health biosecurity includes steps to reduce disease risks that might be linked to illegal imports of animal products, and a copy of the Government's action plan has been placed in both Libraries of the House.

We are also developing plans to encourage the wider livestock industry and those involved in rural activities to adopt improved standards of biosecurity to the general benefit of animal health in our national flocks and herds.

Biosecurity measures to protect plants from imported pests and diseases are based on legislation which implements the EC Plant Health Directive. Following risk assessments carried out by DEFRA the Plant Health Directive is currently being amended to increase the range of imported plant produce which is subject to phytosanitary certification from the country of origin. Proposals for further changes to the Directive would permit a more risk-targeted approach that has long been advocated by the UK.

DEFRA's Plant Health and Seeds Inspectors enforce plant health import controls in England and Wales in collaboration with HM Customs. They aim to inspect all commercial imports of plants from non-EC countries and a proportion, according to risk, of imported consignments of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Trials are under way of a computer link with Customs systems to enable more effective control and inspection of relevant consignments. Further information is available on the plant health pages of the Department's website http://defraweb/

Biosecurity issues also include the problems caused by non-native species which may become established in this country. Some non-native species can become invasive and cause serious problems by altering native ecosystems

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and threatening native species, and also by causing considerable economic damage, for example to forestry or agriculture. Invasive non-native species have been identified as one of the main causes of biodiversity loss worldwide. The Government are currently undertaking a fundamental review of policy on invasive non-native species, with industry and conservation bodies, considering the causes of, and problems arising from, the introduction and spread of non-native species.

DEFRA Management Board

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the CVs of the non-executive members of the DEFRA management board. [47388]

Mr. Morley: DEFRA's management board includes three non-executive members, Elizabeth Ransom and Alison Huxtable, both with private sector backgrounds, and Richard Wakeford, Chief Executive of the Countryside Agency. Their biographical details are as follows:

Alison Huxtable was formerly a member of the Amerada Hess senior management team for the UK. She was responsible for developing the people, structure and strategies of six distinct areas of professional service provision. She was also instrumental in the Amerada Hess change management programme. She was called to the Bar in 1983, and is a Justice of the Peace in Devon. She was appointed as a non-executive member of the MAFF management board in September 2000.

Elizabeth Ransom was a consultant with KPMG for 15 years, nine years of which as a partner. She led KPMG's work in central Government, focusing on improving performance in Government Departments and Agencies. The Departments she was involved with include the Ministry of Defence, DfEE, FCO and MAFF. She therefore has wide experience of managing change in public services. She was appointed as a non-executive member of the MAFF management board in September 2000.

Richard Wakeford became Chief Executive of the Countryside Agency at its formation in April 1999 and was previously Chief Executive of the Countryside Commission from 1996. Prior to this he worked in the Cabinet Office, where he dealt with economic and environmental affairs across Government. Before that in the Department of the Environment, he developed a range of land use planning policies and implemented the 'plan-led', system. He edited the land use and transport chapters of the 1994 UK Sustainable Development strategy, building on his earlier work on the team which prepared this country's first environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" in 1990. He was appointed a non-executive member of the management board of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in September 2001 and is a member of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.

Market Towns

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many

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Lancashire market towns have received grants for regeneration under the new deal for market towns, giving the (a) grant amount and (b) reason of the grant; and if she will list the market towns which can not bid for the grant in Lancashire. [47426]

Alun Michael: There are five towns in Lancashire in the market towns initiative—Barnoldswick, Padiham, Clitheroe, Garstang and Carnforth. There is no list of towns which cannot bid provided they meet the population size criteria of between 2,000 and 20,000.

The market town initiative is being taken forward on DEFRA's behalf by the regional development agencies, working with the Countryside Agency and local partners and using the £37 million of Government funding announced in the Rural White Paper. We hope that match funding will raise the resources available to market towns through the initiative to some £100 million. The process at a local level of creating a strong local partnership is important in itself. Most towns are still at the stage of community consultation prior to agreeing action plans, and approval of project grants will come at the next stage.

Agricultural Shows

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance she has issued on a consistent approach by officials across the country to the implementation of the 21-day standstill rule in respect of attendance of animals at agricultural shows in the summer of 2003. [46784]

Mr. Morley: Show animals are exempted from the 20-day standstill rule if they meet certain conditions. The key requirements are that the animals must be individually identified and have been kept in and returned to DEFRA approved isolation facilities on their farm of origin. The Department has issued operational instructions to our veterinary staff regarding these arrangements. The conditions for approving on farm isolation units are available on the DEFRA website at guidance/ei31.pdf.

Fallen Stock

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what analysis she has made of the proportions of fallen stock which are (a) centrally buried, (b) centrally burned, (c) buried on the farm, (d) burned on the farm and (e) otherwise disposed of, in respect of (i) cattle and (ii) sheep on average over the last five years. [46787]

Mr. Morley: The central burial or burning of fallen stock is not permitted except in emergency situations such as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001. We do not collect information on the routine disposal of fallen stock, but the State Veterinary Service carried out small scale surveys in the years 1998–2000. The results (which may not be representative) suggest that the following proportions of fallen cattle and sheep were buried or burned on farm. The remainder were disposed of by alternative routes such as incineration or disposal to a knacker's yard or hunt kennel.

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Cattle buried on farm172221
Cattle burned on farm114
Sheep and goats buried on farm607665
Sheep and goats burned on farm617

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what charges are made to farmers for the disposal of fallen (a) cattle and (b) sheep. [46786]

Mr. Morley: To facilitate the UK's programme of surveillance for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, the Government currently pays the full cost of collecting 6,000 fallen sheep per year and all fallen cattle aged over 24 months. Charges for the disposal of other fallen stock are a matter for negotiation between the farmer and the collector. However, we understand that charges made for the disposal of fallen cattle range from zero to £50, and for fallen sheep from zero to £15.

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