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27 Oct 2003 : Column 23Wcontinued
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement about the reasons for the Government's decision to discontinue financial support for Professor Alan Ebringer's research into BSE. 
Margaret Beckett: The proposal submitted by Professor Ebringer for Defra funding was assessed according to procedures that follow both departmental and Office of Science and Technology current recommendations for
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the evaluation and commissioning of research. This assessment, together with opinion from SEAC, advises that the proposed nature and scope of the work are not recommended for funding by Defra. Professor Ebringer has been advised of reviewers comments and has held discussions with Departmental officials.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy not to grant authorisations for exports to the Circo Atlas Circus in Portugal; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Department grants export licences for the movement of wild animals under two entirely separate areas of European legislation, namely the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and legislation relating to animal health and welfare.
Under CITES legislation, export permits are not issued for movements within the EU. Therefore, providing a specimen is legally acquired, is captive bred and has a certificate for commercial display, it can be moved freely within the EU and no paperwork would be required from UK authorities.
From an animal health perspective, animals may only be exported to destinations (including circuses) in EU member states if they meet the requirements of EU legislation relating to animal health and welfare. Where animal health rules are not harmonised under EU legislation, health conditions are agreed between the veterinary authorities of the exporting and importing member states. These health conditions are set out in official documents, known as export health certificates. They are issued by Defra's local Animal Health Divisional Offices and are signed by a veterinarian. Once signed, the document must accompany the animals to their destination. The suitability of a destination within the country of import is entirely a matter for their authorities and is not a matter for Defra.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the grant funding paid to each local authority in each of the last 10 years for coast protection schemes. 
Mr. Morley: Defra provides grant to local authorities for coast protection capital works which satisfy essential criteria. Authorities may claim grant on eligible expenditure during the construction of works. Details are provided in a table, which has been placed in the Library, for the grant paid to each authority for each of the last 10 years.
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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has received in respect of properties lost as a result of coastal erosion in each of the last 10 years, broken down by coastal local authority. 
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where the UK ranks in the Environmental Sustainability Index; and if she will list the rankings of other EU countries. 
Mr. Morley: The UK ranks 91st in the 2002 Environmental Sustainability Index. The full list of rankings is shown in the following table. However, the UK and other countries believe this index is profoundly flawed, and therefore potentially misleading, for the following reasons. It is an aggregated indicator which aims to weight together many components into a single overall measure of 'environmental sustainability', an approach which as yet is not scientifically robust. The choice of components, and the way in which they are weighted together, is largely subjective. A different choice of components or weights would give different results, amply illustrated by the fact that the previous edition of this index, based on a different selection of components, placed the UK 16th. Furthermore, there are still many areas where data are not sufficiently comparable between countries, or are simply not available. The values of many of the variables used to compile this index are imputed. It should also be noted that the variables used in this index tend to measure circumstances at a single point in time rather than trends or changes, therefore to the extent the index measures anything at all, it measures the environmental situation which a country faces rather than its progress or performance in improving environmental sustainability.
|43||Central African Republic||54.1|
|51||Papua New Guinea||51.8|
|57||Bosnia and Herzegovina||51.3|
|121||Trinidad and Tobago||40.1|
|141||United Arab Emirates||25.7|
Source:Global Leaders of Tomorrow Task Force of the World Economic Forum in association with Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia University
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Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 22 September, on the EU chemical policy, what impact the outcome of the e-mail consultation will have on the Government's stance. 
keeping animal testing to the minimum necessary to protect human health and the environment; and
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Following the Commission's consultations in MayJuly this year, the Commission has indicated its intention of making a number of changes to the proposals. The Government welcomes any changes intended to make the proposals more effective and workable, and will consider the revised proposals as soon as they have been adopted by the Commission. The Government will then carry out a separate UK consultation accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment.
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