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Bovine TB

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will to make a further announcement about a vaccine for bovine TB; and if she will make a statement. [53247]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 29 April 2002]: TB in cattle is one of the most difficult animal health problems we face and the increase in its incidence is continuing to give considerable concern. The Government have, with advice from the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG), put in place a wide-ranging research programme to tackle the disease. An important element of the programme is vaccine research on which the Government are spending £1.4 million annually. Although the sequencing of the "M. bovis" genome announced recently is an important step forward, the ISG has cautioned that it is likely to be 10 years or so before a successful vaccine is found.

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms have had animal movement restriction orders placed on them due to bovine TB in each year since 1980. [53760]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 May 2002]: Data on the number of herds under restriction each year is available only from 1996. Data from ealier years could not be collated except at disproportionate cost.

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Number of herds under restriction
19961,603
19971,657
19982,109
19992,400
20002,516
20011,731

Notes:

1. Data from 1996 to 2001 taken from DEFRA website www.defra.gov.uk. Figures from 1999 are provisional.

2. Data for 2001 are not comparable with other years. During the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, TB testing was significantly reduced.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the latest research she has commissioned on the linkage between bovine TB and badgers. [53910]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 May 2002]: The Government have, with advice from the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG), put in place a wide-ranging research programme into bovine TB. The programme is described in the ISG's reports which are available on DEFRA's website at http://defraweb/ animal/tb/.

An important part of the research programme is the badger field trial which recommenced from 1 May 2002. The trial is designed to evaluate, once and for all, the extent to which badgers contribute to cattle TB and the effects of badger culling on the incidence of the disease. It will provide data on the prevalence of TB in badgers and the spatial distribution of infected badgers and social groups, its relationship to population density, social group size and structure, geographical and physical environmental factors and, most importantly, the spatial relationship between TB in cattle and badgers.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average interval was between tests for TB in dairy cattle over the last 12 months; what the longest time recorded was; and what the optimum is. [53909]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 May 2002]: The information requested is not available except at undue cost.

Routine bovine TB test frequencies for cattle herds are set at the parish level. Parishes with historically higher numbers of confirmed incidents of bovine TB are placed on annual or biennial test regimes. Parishes with low or no disclosed incidents of bovine TB have a test frequency set at once every three or four years. Dairy herds in England and Wales retailing raw milk or supplying raw milk for the manufacture of unpasteurised dairy products are subjected to annual TB testing regardless of the default testing interval for the parish in which they are located.

In addition herds disclosed as having incidents of bovine TB undergo more frequent testing to check that infection has been cleared so that movement restrictions can be lifted. Further tests are carried out at 6 and 12 months after the removal of movement restrictions to

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check for recrudescence. If no further TB incidents are reported during this period, the herds return to the default frequency of testing set for the parish.

TB testing was heavily disrupted during the foot and mouth disease outbreak and a significant backlog of overdue tests has built up, equivalent to a quarter of all GB herds. This is being tackled by the state veterinary service.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many herds of cattle were overdue their six or 12-month test for bovine TB in each of the last 12 months; how many herds are overdue their six or 12-month test for bovine TB; when the backlog of bovine TB testing will be cleared; and if she will make a statement. [54492]

Mr. Morley: Raw data on overdue six and twelve month bovine TB tests are only available from December 2001, when testing resumed after the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. The figures for December 2001 to March 2002 are set out as follows:

MonthOverdue 6–12 month bovine TB tests
December 20011,369
January 20021,289
February 20021,261
March 20021,077

We cannot say yet when the backlog of overdue TB tests will be cleared.

Energy Efficiency

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on carbon dioxide emissions of the freeze in the rate of the Climate Change Levy announced in the Budget. [53735]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

The environment impact of the freeze in the rates of the climate change levy is set out in table 7.2 of the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the (a) past and (b) future impact on carbon dioxide emissions of the work of the Carbon Trust, broken down into (i) the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme, (ii) the Environment and Energy Helpline, (iii) Administration of the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme for investments in energy-saving technologies, (iv) the Low Carbon Innovation Programme and (v) other programmes or schemes. [53729]

Mr. Meacher: Previous assessments of the Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme (EEBPp) including the Energy Helpline up to 2000 have indicated that carbon savings of around 4 million tonnes of carbon per year were achieved. Work is currently being carried out to assess the impact of the scheme for the last financial year. Management of EEBPp will be transferred to the Carbon Trust.

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The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme to encourage take up of energy saving technologies was set up in April last year and it is too early to estimate the extent to which business has taken advantage of the scheme. The Carbon Trust will shortly take over the administration and promotion of the scheme and propose to carry out an impact assessment of the first year of its operation.

The Carbon Trust is developing a Low Carbon Innovation Programme (LCIP) that will support the development and commercialisation of new and emerging technologies. The Carbon Trust will put into place impact assessment measures to monitor the impact of LCIP and its other programmes.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department will consult on the treatment of waste oil used as a fuel; and if she will make a statement. [53713]

Mr. Meacher: Her Majesty's Customs and Excise will be consulting shortly on the possible ending of the excise duty exemption for waste oil used as a fuel. My officials are working closely with Customs and Treasury colleagues on this issue.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on carbon dioxide emissions of (a) an exemption from the climate change levy of fuel used in dual-use purposes and (b) extending relief to certain processes which compete with those benefiting from the dual-use or non-fuel use exemptions; and if she will make a statement. [53730]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

The exemption from the climate change levy for fuel used in dual-use purposes has been part of the design of the levy since it was launched in April 2001. Consequently this exemption has been taken into account in all estimates made of carbon savings from the levy.

The proposal to extend relief to certain processes which compete with those benefiting from the dual-use or non-fuel use exemptions is not expected to have a significant effect on carbon savings. Most of the processes eligible for this further relief are covered by a negotiated agreement with DEFRA, under which the operators have agreed to energy efficiency targets. However, the exemption will give a further incentive to recycling processes which are more environmentally friendly than the alternative primary production processes.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on carbon dioxide emissions of the extension of the 5 per cent. rate of VAT to apply to the grant-funded installation of (a) factory-insulated hot water tanks, (b) micro-combined heat and power and (c) renewable energy heating systems in the homes of the less well-off. [53722]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

As set out in table 7.2 of the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report, the reduced rate of VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials is expected to save around 0.1 million tonnes carbon by 2010. The extension of the reduced rate in Budget 2002 will lead to further small savings of carbon. The reduced rate will enable

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further installations of the qualifying measures to be made under grant-funded programmes in homes of the less well-off. By improving energy efficiency, the measures will enable householders to improve comfort levels for the same expenditure on energy as well as to reduce carbon emissions.


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