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24 Feb 2004 : Column 350W—continued

Beef Imports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much beef was not allowed into the country on health grounds in the last year for which figures are available. [155349]

Mr. Bradshaw: Centrally kept statistics do not provide information to answer the question in the form asked. I can say that in the year 2003, out of 15,294 consignments of imported meat and meat products, derived from cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses presented for veterinary checks at Border Inspection Posts in the UK, 215 were rejected for various reasons. It is not possible to say how many were rejected on health grounds as consignments rejected for other reasons—for example, because of incorrect certification or because they did not tally with the accompanying documentation, would not be further checked to see if there were also health problems.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the (a) operational and (b) safety impact of including steaming time in the days at sea allowance. [150324]

Mr. Bradshaw: For vessels using demersal trawls of over 100 mm mesh, the total allocation of days per month is 15, the same as last year, though the total last year included a separately identified element for steaming days. There need, therefore, be no differential impact this year. We do not, however, propose to require vessels to include time lost in life-threatening circumstances at sea (such as going to the aid of another vessel in distress) as part of their allocation.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the economic impact on the UK retail market of the UK fishing fleet producing a surplus of haddock in the absence of adequate cod supplies. [152368]

Mr. Bradshaw: Because of the global nature of the markets for the main whitefish species, the impact of such changes is difficult to quantify, since there is no simple relationship between local catch levels and market prices.

Flood Alleviation (Somerset)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ensure that the plans by South Somerset District Council for a Merriott flood alleviation scheme (phase 2) receive early approval from (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency to enable it to qualify for funding available before 31 March; and if she will make a statement. [155107]

Mr. Morley: Following the significant flooding in autumn 2000, the Department agreed to consider special cases supported by the Environment Agency (EA) HQ for particularly deserving river defence schemes that did not achieve the priority score threshold for Defra funding. Such schemes still had to meet the other basic criteria for funding. For special case consideration, EA HQ identified criteria that were then not reflected fully in the priority scoring system. On that basis, they supported a number of special cases that the Department accepted in July 2001. Much of the special case criteria was incorporated into the revised priority scoring system that came into effect in April 2003. When notifying details of 2003–04 allocations to flood defence operating authorities in February 2003, officials indicated that, given special cases were identified as urgent following the autumn 2000 floods, the Department would not expect to extend special treatment beyond 2003–04.

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I understand that the South Somerset District Council is urgently seeking the necessary consents from the Environment Agency and English Nature and will then submit an application. The Department will consider the application as swiftly as possible.

Game Licences

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the impact of game licences on (a) the sport of shooting, (b) the quarry species and (c) the environment; and if she will make a statement. [155180]

Mr. Bradshaw: No assessment has been made of the impact of game licences on the sport of shooting game, the quarry species covered by these licences or the environment more generally.

Poultry Imports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 February 2004, Official Report, column 1301W, which EU countries ban the import of chickens infected with salmonella; and for what reasons the United Kingdom does not ban salmonella infected chickens. [155184]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 23 February 2004]: There are no bans as such on imports into EU countries of live chickens or chicken meat because of salmonella. However, European Community legislation stipulates that live chickens intended for breeding or production imported from third countries have to be accompanied by certification confirming that they are from flocks which have been submitted to a disease surveillance programme for salmonella pullorum and salmonella gallinarum.

Live chickens traded between member states must come from flocks that are routinely monitored for salmonella pullorum and salmonella gallinarum. In addition, the chickens must be monitored for salmonella while the birds are in quarantine. Those birds intended for slaughter and destined for Finland or Sweden, must be subject to a microbiological test by sampling in the establishment of origin.

Chicken meat imported from third countries and destined for Finland and Sweden must be subject to a microbiological test by sampling in the establishment of origin.

The UK complies fully with European Community rules as outlined above.

Water Supplies

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will list the water supply and urban and rural drainage bodies in England which are companies where a holding company or majority of shareholdings are not of the

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United Kingdom, stating in each case the country and name of the ultimate owner, together with date of acquisition. [145468]

Mr. Morley [pursuant to his reply, 14 January 2004, Official Report, c. 742W]: In my answer I referred to information on Cambridge Water and Folkestone and Dover. This was incorrect.

The correct information for Cambridge Water and Folkestone and Dover is as follows:

Water only undertakersUltimate holding companyand where headquarters isbasedDate of acquisition
Cambridge Water plcUnion Electricia Fenosa SA (Spain)January 2000
Folkestone and Dover Water Services Ltd.Veolia Environnement (France)Owned since before 1989

The rest of the answer remains correct.



Mr. Allen: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will ensure that amendments to Bills which appear on the Order Paper are available at the same time on the parliamentary website. [154571]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The timetable for electronic publication of House of Commons documents is based on the recommendation of the Information Committee: that they should be made available as soon as practicable after release to Members. However, it also takes into account the potential cost to the House of moving to earlier publication. Although times of publication have been advanced in instances where this can be achieved at little cost, simultaneous publication is not practicable.

At the moment marshalled lists of amendments are made available electronically by 12 noon on the day of publication in printed form. Discussions with the House's contractor indicate that this time could be brought forward to 9.30 am without giving rise to substantial additional costs; and this option will be pursued


Recruitment Advertising

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's expenditure on recruitment advertising was in each of the last three years, broken down by publication; and what proportion of such expenditure was (a) to advertise vacant posts and (b) in the form of other general recruitment advertising. [155520]

Hilary Benn: The proportion of our overall advertising expenditure spent to (a) advertise vacant posts and (b) in the form of other recruitment advertising, is shown in the following table.

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Total advertising expenditure (£)1,208,190.72914,571.19849,196.36
Total spent on advertising vacant posts (£)836,848.13702,098.15746,712.70
Percentage spent on advertising vacant posts697788
Total spent on other recruitment advertising (£)371,342.59212,473.04102,483.66
Percentage spent on other recruitment advertising312312

It would involve disproportionate cost for DFID to break down our recruitment advertising expenditure by publication.

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