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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken by her Department to measure the number of agricultural employees per hectare on (a) organic farms and (b) non-organic farms within the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Meacher: Information is not currently available to enable such a comparison to be made. But additional information to be collected when the EC Farm Structure Survey is next run, in 2003, is expected to provide a basis for doing so.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her Answer of 19 November 2002, Official Report, column 40W, on animal diseases (EU Finances), what estimate she has made of the sums of money that would have been received in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England, had the application been lodged in time. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 November 2002]: Applications totalled some £5.5 million and covered UK TSE surveillance and Northern Ireland TB and Brucella, although not all of this would have been approved. No money would have been received in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland because receipts are held centrally. The Commission have now confirmed that it is not legally possible for payments to be made.
Mr. Meacher: Information is not collected on the value of arable crops grown specifically for the production of energy. Figures are available which give an indication of the cultivated area of such crops. Oilseed rape, which can be used to produce biodiesel, is the only arable crop commonly grown for the production of energy. Most of the rape destined for biodiesel is grown on set-aside land and in 2001; there were approximately 38,000 hectares grown on set-aside. However, not all of this rape will have been used for biodiesel.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with BABFO, the trade association for the liquid biofuels industry, on what research and development work is required to drive this new industry forward. 
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taken into account when research and development is commissioned and will be particularly helpful when the Department considers future research needs as part of the planned review of the bio-energy programme in early 2003.
Mr. Morley: For the last 15 years Defra has undertaken a survey for the rabies virus in bats found dead or ill. About 200 bats a year have been examined and the rabies related virus, European Bat Lyssavirus, has been found in only two Daubenton's bats.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if regional funds have been made available in Yorkshire following the insolvency of the ARBRE biomass power station. 
Mr. Meacher: I understand that Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for Yorkshire and Humber, has been actively considering the future of the ARBRE biomass power station with the Renewable Energy Development and Deployment Team at the Department of Trade and Industry and the Energy and Transport Directorate of the European Commission. Yorkshire Forward is examining potential and appropriate funding opportunities while discussions with possible future operators continue.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations her Department has received concerning research into biomass; and what assessment she has made of the value for money of the research funded to date. 
Mr. Meacher: The Department receives regular representations on research through meetings, correspondence and applications from industry for LINK research funding. All the Department's agricultural research programmes are subject to formal evaluation on a four-year cycle. The bio-energy programme was last reviewed in 1999, and will be reviewed again in early 2003. At the 1999 review, the value for money of the five programme areas was assessed by external assessors. One programme area was assessed as excellent value for money, three were assessed as good, and one could not be assessed because of the early stage of work at the time. The programme is also subject to on-going evaluation by all Government funders under the Interdepartmental Group on Energy Crop Research, which is chaired by this Department.
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Mr. Meacher: The purpose of the Department's biomass research and development programme is to provide industry with the basic knowledge to achieve an increase in crop yields, with these higher yielding crops ideally being protected using host resistance and biological techniques rather than conventional pesticides. Research has established that miscanthus is the highest yielding biomass crop in the UK. An industry-supported commercial breeding programme has been set up for short rotation coppice willow. This includes the use of varieties to control fungal diseases and pests. Studies have identified and quantified the environmental impact of bio-energy cropping, including the potential for soil carbon sequestration and the effect on water resources.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the welfare of those sheep inoculated intracerebrally with cattle BSE brain homogenate; and what measures are in place to ensure minimal suffering by those animals. 
Mr. Morley: The use of animals in scientific procedures is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which is widely viewed as the most rigorous piece of legislation of its type in the world. It puts into effect, and in some ways exceeds, European Union Directive 86/609/EEC (regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes) and offers a high level of protection to animals while recognising the need to use animals in medical research, the development of new medicines and scientific testing.
Under the 1986 Act, both personal and project licences are required. These ensure that those doing the work are qualified and suitable; that alternatives to animals are used wherever possible; that the number of animals used is minimised; and that suffering or other harmful effects experienced by the animals have been weighed against the potential benefits (to humans or animals). In addition work can only be carried out at designated establishments which meet high standards and which have suitable veterinary and animal welfare personnel.
The sheep inoculated intracerebrally with cattle BSE brain homogenate at the Institute for Animal Health were no exception to the above legislation. All animals were sedated during intracerebral injection of cattle brain material. Inoculated animals were maintained under exceptionally high standards of animal husbandry practice and their health and welfare conditions continually monitored by the highly trained staff at the Institute for Animal Health. Any animal showing definite signs of clinical disease was euthanased immediately, in order to minimise any suffering.
Mr. Sanders : To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent scientific advice on cetacean bycatch she has received; and if she will raise this advice at the forthcoming Council of Fisheries Ministers. 
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Mr. Morley: The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) is continuing to advise this Department on the levels of cetacean bycatch in the fisheries on which it observes, and on mitigation measures. SMRU will shortly be restarting trials in the south west bass fishery to establish whether suitably modified separator trawls can reduce the bycatch of small cetaceans. I have already drawn this work to the attention of Commissioner Fischler and the French Government. I will share the full results with them and other EU Ministers when the results are available.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department and its predecessors have spent on research into the possible use of cloned animals in agriculture. 
Mr. Morley: Research to the value of £2.22 million was funded by the Department at Roslin Institute between 1990 and 1999 to understand the causes of Large Offspring Syndrome, a welfare problem in cattle and sheep bred using in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer. The technology that led to cloning by nuclear transfer resulted from these studies. Research aimed at improving the efficiency of livestock cloning has not been supported by the Department since 1999, although the studies on Large Offspring Syndrome have continued and have identified ways by which the problem can be avoided.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with whom she has had discussions, and from whom she has received representations, in respect of the possible use of cloned animals in agriculture. 
Mr. Morley: While there have been no formal discussions and no direct representations received on the use of cloned livestock, the Government have sought advice on the welfare implications of cloning farm animals from the independent Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC). FAWC's 1998 report made a number of recommendations, and the Government's response to it can be found on Defra's website (http//defraweb/animalh/welfare/farmed/cloning-resp.htm). In addition, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) published a report in September this year on how well current and likely future questions about animals and biotechnology, including cloning, could be answered by the current regulatory and advisory machinery. The Government are currently considering the recommendations in the AEBC report and will respond shortly.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to prevent the use in the UK of cloned animals for agricultural purposes; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: There is legislation in place to protect farm livestock from any welfare concerns arising from both natural and artificial breeding procedures. Consideration is also being given to whether the misuse of biotechnology in animal breeding should be included in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill.
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