Previous Section Index Home Page

Bovine TB

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers were waiting for bovine TB tests, broken down by constituency, in each month since January 2001. [53759]

Mr. Morley: The information is not available in the format requested. Raw data show that at the end of March 2002 there were some 2,200 TB tests overdue in the Cornwall Animal Health Office area.

In context, at the end of March 2002 some 10,500 TB tests were overdue in the west animal health region and some 25,000 overdue in GB.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of changes to the geographical incidence of reported cases of bovine TB in herds in the last five years; and what impact this has had on the deployment of her Department's bovine TB testing and control resources. [53205]

Mr. Morley: In the last five years the known higher incidence areas, such as Cornwall, Devon and Gloucestershire in the south and west of England and south and mid-Wales, have seen increases in the number of incidents of bovine TB. In addition to these, new areas of infection have been identified in Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The restart of TB testing after the foot and mouth disease outbreak has disclosed an increase in incidents in the areas with higher incidence of bovine TB. Outside of these areas it is not yet clear whether the scattered incidents come from movement of infected cattle or new foci of disease.

As herds with bovine TB are identified greater veterinary resource is targeted to testing herds in the surrounding area, usually on a parish basis. Currently the greatest deployment of state veterinary resource on bovine TB testing is to be found in the parishes of the south and west of England and the south and west Wales. Most routine TB testing is carried out on behalf of the State Veterinary Service by local veterinary practitioners employed as local veterinary inspectors (LVIs).

2 May 2002 : Column 944W

Common Fisheries Policy

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proposals the Department has made at EU level to reform the common fisheries policy. [51236]

Mr. Morley: The Government set out their views on the future of the common fisheries policy in September 2001, in response to the Commission's Green Paper on the subject.

Our primary aim must be a policy which is both economically and environmentally sustainable and which offers stakeholders greater involvement in management decisions affecting them. Only in that way will the CFP attract support and credibility from fishermen and so ensure responsible stock management and offer the prospect of a viable future. I strongly agree with the Commission's conclusions in their Green Paper on the operation of the CFP that it is not meeting its objectives. The Commission's actual proposals for the future of the CFP, which we need in order that these vital negotiations can start, are now expected imminently.

Press Subscriptions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the magazines and periodicals subscribed to by her Department, stating for each subscription the (a) number of copies taken and (b) annual cost. [52822]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 April 2002]: DEFRA has 1,376 subscriptions which are centrally managed, the annual cost of the centralised subscriptions is £75,816.89.

There may be local magazine and periodical subscription arrangements for agencies and decentralised budget holders.

To list the magazines and periodicals and obtain details of the decentralised expenditure for these subscriptions could only be done at a disproportionate cost.

Incinerators (Animal Disposal)

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the names, locations and percentage out of the total number of those commercial incinerators deemed adequate for the disposal of animals following a future animal disease outbreak. [53798]

Mr. Morley: Six commercial large-animal incinerators in England and Wales have indicated they are willing to dispose of animals culled under foot and mouth disease control measures. Negotiations and contractual arrangements have yet to be finalised and as a result, the names and locations cannot be disclosed. The total weekly disposal capacity of these six sites is approximately 17,000 sheep or 1,900 cattle.

At present, as set out in the Interim Contingency Plan, incineration will be the initial preferred disposal route in a disease outbreak, but in the event of escalation, additional disposal routes, including rendering and licensed commercial landfill, will be employed.

2 May 2002 : Column 945W

Environment Agency

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is the policy of her Department to allow the Environment Agency to (a) reduce the resources devoted to freshwater fisheries and (b) increase expenditure on other aspects of the agency's work; and if she will make a statement. [52482]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 April 2002]: The controls on financial, staffing and related matters are defined in the Environment Agency Financial Memorandum, prepared by DEFRA and the National Assembly for Wales and agreed with the agency. Revenue from rod and net licence duties, together with this Department's fisheries grant-in-aid are used for salmon and freshwater fisheries purposes only, unless otherwise agreed.

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to ensure that the Environment Agency BRITE proposals do not result in a transfer of funding and manpower from freshwater fisheries activities to other areas of the agency's responsibilities; and if she will make a statement. [52483]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 29 April 2002]: I refer my right hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 129W.

Agrimonetary Compensation

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average time that agrimonetary compensation payments were overdue in (a) England, (b) the south-west and (c) Somerset was in 2001–02. [53308]

Mr. Morley: Payments of agrimonetary compensation in England due to be made in the financial year 2001–02 were nearly all made in that period. We have not interrogated the databases necessary to provide details of late payments as this could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Curry Moor, Somerset

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when Curry Moor in Somerset was registered as a reservoir; what consultation, and with whom, there was ahead of the registration; what measures were taken to assess the social and environmental impact of the reservoir on Curry Moor; who has responsibility for the reservoir; and whether the reservoir has its completion certificate. [53309]

Mr. Meacher: I understand that the Curry Moor embankment was built in the 12th century for flood protection. The Environment Agency was granted planning permission in July 1999 to carry out strengthening works to ensure its continuing safety as one of the agency's flood prevention works. These works started in May 2001 and have not yet been completed so no final certificate has been issued by the construction engineer. In recognition of its potential to retain a significant volume of water artificially, Somerset county council, as the enforcement authority for the purposes of the Reservoirs Act 1975, registered the embankment as

2 May 2002 : Column 946W

forming part of a large raised reservoir in March 2002. Registration under the 1975 Act is necessary for all reservoirs which are designed to hold, or are capable of holding, more than 25,000 cubic metres of water above natural ground level. No consultation is required for registration purposes.

Organic Waste

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent steps have been taken to encourage composting of organic (a) kitchen and (b) garden waste from (i) domestic and (ii) commercial properties by local authorities; [52382]

Mr. Meacher: The Government strongly supports composting as a way of disposing of biodegradable waste, improving soil quality and replacing non-renewable products such as peat. Although the land spreading of composted kitchen/catering waste is currently prohibited under animal health legislation, we are actively encouraging the composting of green waste—at home, at municipal civic amenity sites and when separately collected by local authorities.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) are currently working with the Composting Association to develop the existing industry standard for compost, to achieve British Standards Institute (BSI) accreditation. The delivery of these industry standards for compost will help to create markets for organic waste derived products.

Targets have been set for England and Wales to recycle or compost at least 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005. This national target is backed up by statutory targets for each local authority in England for 2003–04 and 2005–06.

The 2000 spending review allocated £220 million private finance initiative funding for waste management that can be used to deliver increased recycling/composting rates. It also established a new £140 million household waste and recycling fund to help local authorities meet their statutory performance standards for recycling and composting.

The principal funding for local authority waste management functions, including composting, is the Environmental Protection and Cultural Services (EPCS) standard spending assessment. The spending review 2000 set the Government's support for local authorities for the three years up to 2003–04. This included an annual increase in the revenue support to local authorities for environmental protection and cultural services (EPCS). By 2003–04 this support will have risen by £1.1 billion over the 2000–01 provision. Consistent with the general local authority financial framework, it is for individual local authorities to decide the proportion of their budget that should be directed to waste management work.

The average annual increase in the EPCS standard spending assessment block since 1997–98 has been 3.3 per cent.

2 May 2002 : Column 947W

Future funding for local authority waste management will be determined in the 2002 spending review.

Next Section Index Home Page