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30 Oct 2002 : Column 821Wcontinued
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per application and (c) the number of animals removed through the English Sheep Quota Scheme in 2002. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The Sheep Quota Purchase Scheme (SQPS) opened on the 23 August and the tender does not close until 31 October, therefore the information requested is not yet available. To date 62 applications have been received, offering a total of 12,593 quota units.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) of 17 October 2002, Official Report, columns 898900W, if she will list the stakeholders whom she met to discuss follow-up action to the Sustainability Summit in Johannesburg; and if she will place in the Library the papers produced for the meeting. 
Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State and I met the following stakeholders, along with representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Development, HM Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales:
|Jonathon Porritt||Chairman, Sustainable Development Commission|
|Maria Adebowale||Director, Capacity. SDC member, and member of UK WSSD delegation|
|Anna Bradley||National Consumer Council|
|Chris Fay||Chair, Advisory Committee on Business and Environment|
|Simon Mills||Corporation of London, Finance Initiative|
|lan Russell||Chief Executive, Scottish Power|
|Neil Kinghan||Local Government Association|
|Sir Michael Lickiss||Chair, South West Development Agency|
|Neil Cleeveley||Trade Union SD Advisory Committee|
|Robert Napier||Chief Executive, WWF|
|Charles Secrett||Director, Friends of the Earth. SDC member|
|Derek Osborn||Chair, UNED UK. SDC Member|
|Andy Atkins||Tearfund. Co-chair, Development and Environment Group, British Overseas NGOs for Development|
The purpose of the meeting was to hear the views of leading individuals on future priorities and actions at UK level, in the light of the conclusions of the summit. The meeting focused on three issues that emerged clearly from the summit as priorities for action at national level in the developed world: the role of business in delivering sustainable development; energy and, in particular, renewable energy; and sustainable production and consumption. No paper was produced for this meeting.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets her Department has set for the time it should take to remove from farms, cattle that react positively to the TB skin test. 
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of farmers suffering TB outbreaks in their herds have adequate isolation facilities in which to house infected cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Information on stock isolation facilities is not routinely gathered by Defra. When TB reactors or animals that react inconclusively to the TB test are disclosed, farmers receive verbal guidance on isolating those animals from the rest of the herd while awaiting slaughter or re-test. In addition, Defra has provided farmers with free guidance on reducing the risk of TB in their herds either by means of cattle to cattle spread, or from a wildlife reservoir.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to provide financial assistance to farmers who need to improve biosecurity through new isolation facilities to cope with possible outbreaks of (a) TB and (b) other infectious animal diseases. 
Mr. Morley: As a biosecurity measure Defra has advised farmers purchasing cattle to ascertain when the animals being bought in were last tested for TB. There are no plans to include TB test dates on cattle passports.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 October 2002]: Between 11 February 2002 and 23 October 2002 the Animal Movement Licensing System identified 7,616 apparent infringements of the 20 day standstill, which were subject to investigation by the appropriate local authority. This compares with approximately 650,000 recorded movements over that period. Most of the apparent infringements are likely to have been minor, such as an incorrect address entered into the movement report. Where however, an apparent infringement is found to be a breach of the movement legislation in force, this is dealt with, in most cases, by means short of prosecution. This can include verbal or written warnings or requiring a farmer to obtain an Individual Movement Licence before moving livestock.
The information sought is not available in the form requested. In 2001 44 prosecutions were brought for offences under the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983 as amended. Provisional figures for the current year to end September indicate that 23 prosecutions have been taken.
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Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the estimated output is of the smallest non-domestic water supply source which would produce a financially viable return; 
Mr. Morley: The Government published a consultation paper, on July 31; "Extending Opportunities for Competition in the Water Industry in England and Wales". This proposed competition only in the non-household sector, with an eligibility threshold of a minimum of 50 Megalitres (Ml) a year. The consultation period closed on 1 October and we are now considering responses.
In preparing the proposals, assessment was made of the broad cost breakdown between the main elements of the supply chain, the likely scope for making savings on these, and the ranges of charges paid by users. Experience shows that the market will determine financial viability in a competitive environment.
These issues will be taken into consideration as we balance the need to create opportunities for competition whilst continuing to secure the Government's wider objectives for the water industry, which include protecting public health, the environment, social and economic goals, and safeguarding services for household customers.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cost to the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 200203 to date of agency nurses; and what the cost was in (a) 200001 and (b) 200102. 
|200203 (to September 2002||4.3|
Source: Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is being undertaken relating to the physical causes and treatment of CFS/myalgic encephalomyelitis; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department has two research projects in progress on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). One is XChronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME: Systematic Review", at the University of York, which started on 5 January 2000 and is on-going. Information from this has informed the Chief Medical Officer's (CMO) task force on CFS/ME on evidence-based guidance.
The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its funding via the Department of Trade and Industry. Following the publication of the CMO's working group report on CFS/ME, the MRC was asked to develop a broad strategy for advancing biomedical and health services research on CFS/ME. The MRC has appointed an independent scientific advisory group which includes scientists with expertise in such areas as epidemiology, physiology, immunology, infections, clinical trials, paediatric neurology and psychological medicine. The advisory group will draw on the working party report and recent expert views of the field. It will also take into account the concerns of patients and carers and the interests of consumers generally. Details of the advisory group and a note of the first meeting are now available on the MRC website, at www.mrc.ac.uk.
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