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16 Oct 2002 : Column 870Wcontinued
Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what decisions he has reached on appointments to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Browne: The reappointment of sixteen of the existing Commissioners, including the Chief Commissioner, Joan Harbison, and the Deputy Chief Commissioner, Bronagh Hinds took effect on 16 August 2002.
The other Commissioners reappointed are:
The reappointments are for varying terms of up to three years. In addition, the Secretary of State proposes to advertise for new appointments to the Commission in the next few months. In this way we hope to ensure the optimum balance between continuity and fresh thinking on the Commission as it continues its important task of promoting equality of opportunity.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the latest report received from the Oversight Commissioner. 
Jane Kennedy: The Oversight Commissioner's second statutory report for 2002 was published on 10 September and a copy was laid before the House in accordance with section 68(4)(a) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will issue guidance to Government Departments requiring them to keep records of every decision taken using the Royal Prerogative and to place such records in the Library every 12 months. 
Mr. Alexander: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer provided by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on 25 June 2002, Official Report, column 802W.
16 Oct 2002 : Column 871W
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will report on the National Forest Company's progress in creating the National Forest in the East Midlands. 
Margaret Beckett: I have arranged for copies of the National Forest Company's Annual Report and its Accounts for 20012002 to be placed in the House libraries.
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes are planned to improve implementation of EC Directive 92/43/EEC (the Habitats Directive) where European-protected species are found on development sites in England. 
Mr. Morley: The Government has decided it is necessary to make improvements to the arrangements for the implementation of the Habitats Directive in respect of European protected species and the land-use planning regime in England.
We are proposing, with the agreement of my noble Friend, Lord Rooker, Minister for Planning, to improve the protection afforded to these threatened species by integrating the requirements of the Directive within the land-use planning process, ensuring consideration of all the relevant issues within the planning process rather than in two separate regimes. Officials in Defra and the
16 Oct 2002 : Column 872W
ODPM have worked closely together in drawing up the proposals and a public consultation will be published shortly.
The proposals should improve the implementation of the Habitats Directive by ensuring that planning authorities take the Directive's provisions relating to European protected species, such as great crested newts and bats, fully into account in considering development applications. The proposals will also reduce the regulatory burden on business by integrating the two regimes and thereby removing the need for a separate consent to be sought following grant of planning permission. It will therefore be a quicker, more streamlined and effective process.
In the interim period, our Department will continue to operate the licensing system for developments affecting European protected species but with some administrative improvements.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates slaughters have occurred on dangerous contact premises since 30 September 2001; if she will list (a) the number of premises and animals involved on each occasion broken down by type, (b) the numbers tested, with details of the types of test carried out and the results on each occasion, (c) the locations of the disposal sites of carcasses and method of disposal and (d) the number of premises and animals that were additionally slaughtered out on other premises as a result of the identification of infection of premises relating to these activities; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The information requested is set out in the following table.
|Date individual seropositive animal bled||Reason for testing||Initial Result||Rebleed requested||No. of animals at time of sampling||No. of animals slaughtered||Method of disposal||Location of disposal site||Probang sample and Final result|
|01/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||57||57 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|04/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||653||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|09/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||100||95 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|12/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||402||387 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|16/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||176||2 goats||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|20/10/01||Pre-movement||Seropositive||Yes||266||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|24/10/01||Pre-movement||Seropositive||Yes||105||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|26/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||1280||1 sheep||Mass burial||Tow Law||No virus detected by probang|
|30/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||148||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|31/10/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||407||360 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|4/11/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||2067||9 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|05/11/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||129||129 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|05/11/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||2000||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|6/11/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||584||68 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|17/11/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||591||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|04/12/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||1539||1 sheep||Render||Lancaster||No virus detected by probang|
|18/12/01||Serosurveillance||Seropositive||Yes||2067||2067 sheep||Render||Bradford||No virus detected by probang|
|03/01/02||Pre-movement test||Seropositive||Yes||332||2 sheep||Render||Bradford||No virus detected by probang|
|17/01/02||Restocking||Seropositive||Yes||156||1 sheep||Render||Widnes||No virus detected by probang|
|15/02/02||Restocking||Seropositive||Yes||170||1 sheep||Incineration||Stratford-Upon-Avon||No virus detected by probang|
|05/03/02||Restocking||Seropositive||Yes||424||1 sheep||Incineration||Stratford-Upon-Avon||No virus detected by probang|
The tests used was the Competitive ELISA test.
Seropositives had probang tests carried out after slaughter. This was to try and isolate virus rather than just antibody.
All probangs returned negative results.
If a positive result had returned the farm would have been designated an Infected Premises.
No premises were slaughtered out as dangerous contacts as a result of these cases.
16 Oct 2002 : Column 873W
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance she provides on the timber procurement strategy. 
Mr. Meacher: Advice on the timber procurement strategy is currently given in Section 3 of the Green Guide for Buyers. A copy is on the ''Sustainable Development in Government'' web site, which also includes other guidance on the subject. URL:http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sdig/improving/contextf.htm.
My officials have also provided Departments with a model specification clause for inclusion in contracts for timber procurement. Ministers do however recognise that better guidance is required if buyers are to be fully equipped to resolve the complexities involved in procuring timber and timber products from legal and sustainably managed sources. This is one of the issues addressed by consultants in their report on the timber scoping study that was commissioned by Defra in October 2001 and is currently under consideration. A copy of the report is on the Tropical Forest Forum's web site. Look in Forum activities/Trade/Timber Trade at http://www.forestforum.org.uk.
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