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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much UK produced beef has been exported by (a) weight and (b) value in the last five years for which figures are available; and how much of these exports comprised (i) beef of UK origin and (ii) beef of foreign origin. 
HM Customs and Excise.
Data prepared by Statistics (Commodities and Food) Accounts and Trade, ESD, DEFRA.
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Mr. Morley: As indicated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in the House on 21 November 2002, there are a number of concerns on how in practice amnesty bins for illegal meat would operate. These issues continue to be examined. Decisions which will also take account of the planned transfer of the responsibility for anti-smuggling checks to HM Customs and Excise, will be made as soon as possible.
Mr. Morley: An inter-departmental 'borders' group exists to look at amendments to the immigration card. Defra asked them to consider amendments to the card to include provisions about meat imports, either in a way that would be covered by a signed declaration, or a prominent Warning Note.
The group has also identified a number of other issues which might need to be covered in a revised version of the landing card, including other prohibitions and restrictions. No firm conclusions have yet been reached on the best way forward.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has carried out concerning whether the Yersinia organism can affect the blood test for Brucellosis in cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
DEFRA is currently funding a brucellosis research programme which is being carried out by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) at Weybridge. This research includes a project to differentiate between serological cross reactions and other reactors identified in the surveillance of brucellosis in cattle.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of Brucellosis were recorded in cattle in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2002]: Great Britain is officially brucellosis free. An ongoing national brucellosis screening programme has identified a number of serological reactors over the years but Brucella abortus has not been isolated in any of those animals since October 1993. The numbers of serological reactors and suspect contact animals identified in each year since 1997 are as follows.
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|2002 (to date)||18|
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of how much combined heat and power plant has been (a) withdrawn and (b) created in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Morley: A separate assessment of CHP plant withdrawn and created is not available. The net increase in Good Quality CHP electrical capacity in each of the last five years is taken from the most recent Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES, 2002):
|Increase in MWe|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library a list of those assets identified by the National Asset Register, Cm 5221, as belonging to (a) the former Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions and (b) the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and their respective agencies, non-departmental bodies and public corporations, which now belong to her Department, together with the current value of each such asset. 
Defra has a Departmental Asset Register (DAR) which lists all assets held currently for its core activities with current values. This does not include details of assets held by its agencies and NDPBs. It does include assets transferred from the former Department of Environment, Transport and Regions (DETR) to Defra in June 2001.
With the changes to the machinery of government, to provide the information requested considerable work would have to be done on the DAR to reflect and reconcile with what was listed in the NAR Cm 5221. We would also have to request detailed lists from all of our agencies, NDPBs and public corporations of assets included in the NAR with current values.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many locations there are where (a) acid and (b) other discharges from (i) mine, (ii) landfill sites, (iii) radioactive waste storage sites and (iv) animal burial mounds workings have been identified as (A) exceeding permitted levels and (B) resulting in poor river quality in nearby river courses broken down by individual sites, in each year since 1997; what action has been taken or is planned as a result; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency is currently updating its information on mine waters, landfills and burial grounds. The agency should be able to provide a comprehensive answer by the new year, and I will write when it is available.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research has been (a) conducted for her Department and (b) assessed by her Department on a potential link between drinking water and blue baby syndrome; what representations have been received; what discussions have taken place; and if she will place copies of the research in the Library. 
Mr. Morley: The term Xblue baby syndrome" is sometimes used to refer to infantile methaemoglobinaemia. This is a condition in which the pigment in the blood is altered and its ability to carry oxygen is impaired. Nitrate, nitrite and bacterial contamination of water supplies are among the potential causes. The condition is very rarethere have been no confirmed cases of methaemoglobinaemia in the UK since 1972. I am not aware of any recent reports that this condition is attributable directly to public water supplies within the United Kingdom.
The Department is aware of the studies that have established a relationship between methaemoglobin levels and nitrate levels, but has not conducted, commissioned or assessed any recent research on the link. Discussions and review of current scientific research take place within expert groups of the World
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Health Organisation, who expect to finalise the third edition of its XGuidelines for Drinking Water" in February 2003. Any changes in the guidelines will be considered by the European Commission and my Department.
The Department has received regular correspondence about the Nitrates Directive and also meets stakeholder groups. Officials have also replied to letters from or on behalf of farmers, for example from Farmers for Action, about the nitrate standard and health, including blue baby syndrome.
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