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26 Nov 2002 : Column 241Wcontinued
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make it her policy to allow second-hand machinery to be bought with processing and marketing grants; 
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from the Scottish Executive during her review of slaughter premium and compensation. 
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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from British companies seeking to assist South East Asia countries export farm produce to the UK. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 November 2002]: None. The Government are keen to promote exports of agriculture and food products from the United Kingdom. Promotion of exports to the United Kingdom is a matter for the authorities of the country or countries concerned.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Sustainable Farming and Food Group last met; and if she will lay a copy of the minutes of that meeting in the Library. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 November 2002]: The Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, Chaired by Sir Donald Curry, published its report XFarming and Fooda sustainable future" on 29 January. The Commission last met on 22 January, when it agreed the final text of its report and details of its publication launch.
The formation of an Implementation Group, chaired by Sir Donald Curry, was announced on 25 October. The group will oversee the delivery of the Governments' Strategy on Farming and Food. The Implementation Group will work with the farming and food industries and Government to drive forward those changes.
The group had its first meeting on 28 October at which it discussed a draft of the Governments' forthcoming Farming and Food Strategy, and agreed timings of future meetings and work plans. The group also agreed to establish a website. Summaries of the outcome of meetings will be posted on this once it is established.
Any abattoir licensed under the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended) to slaughter bovine animals may slaughter water buffalo, provided it has the capability to handle these animals.
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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations and discussions she has had regarding the protection of wild mammals in urban areas. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 November 2002]: The Department has not received representations about the general protection of wild urban animals, including urban species, which occur in urban areas on a regular basis. However, we have recently received a number of representations about a licence granted under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 for the purpose of preventing damage to property in East Sussex.
Species are protected by a number of pieces of legislation. The Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 protects all mammals from indiscriminate methods of killing or taking. In addition certain species, including all birds, are protected from intentional killing by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Badgers, which can occur in urban and suburban areas, are protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 November 2002]: At present there is no comprehensive, standardised national monitoring of British mammals that embraces the full range of important species. However, this is being addressed by a GB-wide research contract, XDesign and pilot a multi-species terrestrial mammal monitoring project". The overall aim will be to design and pilot, using a volunteer network, a winter monitoring project involving both visual recording of mammals and recording their signs. It is intended to form a building block for an integrated mammal-monitoring system.
In addition Defra has sponsored research into fox populations (report issued in 1997), which estimated the UK urban fox population at 33,000 and an assessment of the level of mice and rats in domestic properties. The results from the last survey, undertaken in 1996, showed that 1.8 per cent. of properties had house mice; 1.7 per cent. of properties had rats outside; 0.4 per cent. of properties had rats inside.
In addition to research carried out by Government, the Mammal Society also runs national surveys looking at the population and distribution of mammal species through the UK and is currently running a XMammals in Your Garden?" Survey. This survey is looking at the number and variety of mammals seen in gardens. This survey will be annual and will give information about urban mammal populations; the results from the first year should be available early next year.
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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers purportedly from Afghanistan and granted permanent settlement in the last 12 months have subsequently been found to have originated in Pakistan; and if he will make a statement] 
Beverley Hughes : I regret that information is not available on the number of asylum applicants claiming to be from Afghanistan who have been granted asylum (and therefore settlement), and are subsequently found to have originated from Pakistan. The information could only be obtained by examination of individual case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.
Where a person has obtained leave to enter by deception, they are an illegal entrant and liable to removal under the powers contained in the 1971 Immigration Act. Where someone has obtained leave to remain by deception, they are liable to removal under section 10 (1) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
Beverley Hughes: Under the Tripartite Agreement on voluntary return to Afghanistan signed by the Government, the Transitional State of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on 12 October 2002, it was agreed that those found not to be in need of international protection, following proper consideration of their asylum claim would be offered a two month window to choose voluntarily to return to Afghanistan.If they choose not to return voluntarily they will be subject to removal to Afghanistan at a later date.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications are awaiting an initial decision after more than (a) six and (b) 12 months at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Beverley Hughes: As at the end of June 2002 the number of asylum applications awaiting an initial decision for more than six months is estimated to be 19,600, of which 15,800 cases were outstanding after more than 12 months. This includes cases that are currently under consideration and compares with 34,000 and 20,400 such applications as at the end of June 2001.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose cases are outstanding or whose appeals have failed, and who are in detention or prison, are pregnant women. 
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Beverley Hughes: Pregnant women are not normally detained under the Immigration Acts unless there is a clear prospect of early removal from the United Kingdom and medical advice suggests no question of confinement prior to this. In addition, women in the early stages of pregnancy may be detained briefly at Oakington Reception Centre as part of the fast-track asylum process.
The latest available information on persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers relates to 29 June 2002. As at that date, there were less than five women in detention who were known to be pregnant, all of whom were asylum seekers at Oakington Reception Centre.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose cases are outstanding are (a) detained and (b) detained in prison; and what proportion of each category has been charged with or convicted of a crime. 
|Number as at 29 June 2002(20)|
|Asylum seekers(21) detained||1,440|
|Of whom, detained in prison establishments||105|
(20) Figures are rounded to nearest 5.
(21) Persons recorded as having sought asylum at some stage.
I regret that information on those detained under Immigration Act powers that have been charged with or convicted of a crime is not available. Information on whether a case is outstanding would be available only by examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost.
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