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30 Oct 2002 : Column 821W—continued

Sheep Quota Purchase Scheme

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the (a) number of applications made, (b) the amount spent

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per application and (c) the number of animals removed through the English Sheep Quota Scheme in 2002. [76674]

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.

Sustainability Summit

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 898–900W, 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. [77387]

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 PorrittChairman, Sustainable Development Commission
Maria AdebowaleDirector, Capacity. SDC member, and member of UK WSSD delegation
Anna BradleyNational Consumer Council
Chris FayChair, Advisory Committee on Business and Environment
Simon MillsCorporation of London, Finance Initiative
lan RussellChief Executive, Scottish Power
Neil KinghanLocal Government Association
Sir Michael LickissChair, South West Development Agency
Neil CleeveleyTrade Union SD Advisory Committee
Robert NapierChief Executive, WWF
Charles SecrettDirector, Friends of the Earth. SDC member
Derek OsbornChair, UNED UK. SDC Member
Andy AtkinsTearfund. 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. [76508]

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Mr. Morley: There is a target of 10 working days for the removal of TB reactor cattle from farms.

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. [76510]

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. [76511]

Mr. Morley: There are no plans to provide financial assistance to farmers to help them to establish new isolation facilities, either in respect of (a) TB or (b) other infectious animal diseases.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to include TB test dates on cattle passports. [76512]

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.

Twenty-day Rule

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of failure to obey the 20 day rule there have been, resulting in (a) fines and (b) warnings. [77303]

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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Water Industry

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; [76936]

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.

Wood for Good Campaign

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the objectives are of the Forestry Commission's support of the Wood for Good campaign. [77579]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 October 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 10 July 2002, Official Report, column 953W.


Agency Nurses (Worcestershire)

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 2002–03 to date of agency nurses; and what the cost was in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02. [77243]

Mr. Lammy: Actual costs to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust of using agency nurses are in the table.

# million
2002–03 (to September 20024.3

Source: Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

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. [75135]

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 other is XCognitive Behavioural Therapy in Chronic Fatigue", at North Bristol NHS Trust, which began in August 2000 and is due to end in late 2004.

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

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