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24 Feb 2004 : Column 345W—continued

Cataract Operations (Kent)

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cataract operations will be carried out in Kent in financial year 2003–04. [155729]

Dr. John Reid: The Kent and Medway Strategic Health Authority plan to provide a total of 11,084 cataract operations this year in Kent. As a result, the

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maximum waiting time for cataract operations in Kent will be down to six months by 31 March 2004—a year-and-a-half ahead of the NHS Plan target.

Child Social Work Team (Gatwick Airport)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the progress of proposals to fund a joint unit at Gatwick Airport between immigration officials and members of West Sussex Social Services Child Protection Division. [144997]

Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

We have not as yet received formal proposals from the local authority on the structure and function of a Children Social Work team at Gatwick. The amendment to section 110 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 allows us to provide funding for special projects of this nature, and we will give full and careful consideration to any proposals from West Sussex once we receive them.


Electoral Pilots

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what the cost of the Electoral Commission report on Electoral Pilots at the June 2004 elections was. [155119]

Mr. Viggers: I am advised by the Chairman of the Commission that the total cost to it of reporting on the most suitable European Parliamentary regions for electoral pilots at the June 2004 combined European Parliamentary and local elections, as directed by the Government under section 6(2) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, is estimated to have been approximately £32,000.


Animal By-Products Regulations

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place the Department's guidelines on the implementation of the EU Directive on Animal By-Products in the Library. [153469]

Mr. Bradshaw: Guidance is available on the Defra website at hhtp://defraweb/animalh/by-prods/default.htm.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the proposed new EU regulation on animal transport. [155663]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are seeking measures that result in improved conditions and better enforcement throughout the EU.

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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether there is a central register of those convicted of cruelty to animals in the United Kingdom; [155570]

Mr. Bradshaw: There is no central register of people convicted of cruelty or who have been disqualified from keeping animals. However, the Department is considering, as part of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill, the introduction of an Animal Welfare Enforcement Database, which would assist in the enforcement of animal welfare legislation in England and Wales. It is proposed that the database would include details of those people who have been convicted and disqualified from keeping animals.

Bovine TB

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the natural predators of the badger are, other than man; and what effect they exert on the United Kingdom badger population. [153961]

Mr. Bradshaw: Adult badgers have no natural predators, other than man in Britain. It is not unusual, however, for badger cubs to be killed by dogs, foxes and sometimes by adult badgers 1 .

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The impact of non-human induced mortality on the national badger population has not been quantified.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many badgers have been culled in each of the (a) proactive and (b) inactive cull areas in each of the selected trial zones in each year since the trials commenced. [155081]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Randomised Badger Culling Trial compares 30 areas of 100 km 2 , grouped into 10 triplets. One of the following three "treatments" is allocated to each trial area:

Culling in the reactive areas of the trial has been suspended.

Details of the badgers culled in the proactive and reactive treatment areas are given in the following table:

Table summary of badgers taken during trial operations to 12 January 2004

Triplet Proactive (P)May 1998 toJanuary 1999May 1999 toJanuary 2000May 2000 toJanuary 2001May 2002 toJanuary 2003May 2003 toJanuary 2004Total
Sub total238386731,9702462,0576411,6621,1066,3132,066
Total (P and R)2384592,2162,6982,7688,379

(1) Combined total for initial and follow-up cull completed in the same culling year


No data for May 2001-January 2002 when trial suspended due to FMD

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets have been set for the bovine TB testing of herds in the last five years for which figures are available; how many have been completed; and how long it will take to clear the backlog of required tests. [155082]

Mr. Bradshaw: The State Veterinary Service has two targets relating to TB testing of cattle herds:

(a) 95 per cent. of herds to be tested within one month of the due date, and

(b) 100 per cent. of herds to be tested within three months of the due date.

The following table details the performance figures for the years where figures are available.

Number of herds due to be tested12,20719,87715,524
Completed tests within one month of the due date (percentage)14.547.478.7
Completed tests within three months of the due date (percentage)22.765.092.7

(2) to end September

The number of tests overdue at the end of December 2003 was 3,623 of which only 163 were more than 12 months overdue (provisional data). This is similar to the number of overdue TB tests recorded before the FMD epidemic.

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The number of overdue TB tests has remained more or less stable since April 2003, with no significant trend up or down. It is therefore considered that the clearance of the backlog of TB tests, which accumulated during the FMD epidemic, has been completed.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what budget was set by her Department for each year for all aspects of bovine TB research, testing, culling, compensation,

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fieldwork and other costs for the last five years for which figures are available; and what the actual spending was in each year. [155083]

Mr. Bradshaw: Historical information on the budgets originally set for various elements of the bovine TB programme is not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, a breakdown of the actual spend for the last five financial years is shown in the following table:

Expenditure on bovine TB in Great Britain: 1998–99 to 2002–03
Expenditure in £000

TB testing7,2478,3298,6753,57112,398
Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) and associated research2,9884,3926,6306,0016,479
Other research (not including RBCT)2,5414,1145,2666,1126,824
Other costs(4)8,6179,0028,9965,55717,055
Total (rounded figures)24,88331,14136,19930,48573,902

(3) Includes compensation paid for cattle and deer slaughtered as a result of TB control measures.

(4) Includes State Veterinary Service staff costs and diagnosis carried out by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Fieldwork costs are included in the expenditure shown for the RBCT and associated research.

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