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Departmental Vehicles

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many road vehicles are operated by the Department and its agencies; how many personal injury accidents involving road vehicles operated by the Department have occurred within each of the last five years; and what the Department's policy is for managing work-related road safety. [185915]

Alun Michael: Details relating to vehicles provided to Ministers by the Government Car Dispatch Agency will be covered by the Minister for the Cabinet Office. A separate response will be provided by Cabinet Office.

Defra and its agencies currently have some 611 road vehicles including cars, 4x4s, vans and lorries.

The number of personal injury accidents, reported officially via accident reporting arrangements, involving road vehicles operated by the department, (including all Agencies) occurring within each of the last five years is as follow:

It should be noted that these figures relate to all road traffic accidents on official business, whether in fleet, hire or private vehicles. Fleet data on its own can only be extracted manually and would thereby incur disproportionate costs.

The core department has a policy to assist with the management of work-related road safety and encouragement of safe driving. The policy is based on risk and consists of a generic risk assessment and guidance documentation. Defra Agencies have equivalent policies in compliance with the Defra Safety Policy.

Ducks (Factory Farming)

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the welfare of factory farmed ducks with reference to (a) access to water other than drinking water and (b) the practice of de-beaking. [186027]

Mr. Bradshaw: In determining the welfare requirements of farmed ducks for water, other than drinking water, a balance needs to be struck between the
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behavioural needs of the birds and the risks to health, hygiene, and food safety if they are given unlimited access to open water.

Defra is shortly to fund a research project which will assess the extent to which different commercial systems currently in use in this country fulfil the welfare needs of farmed ducks. Part of the study aims to quantify a duck's motivation to gain access to water.

Our existing Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Ducks and our consultation document on a new code, propose that the practice of de-beaking or bill trimming should be avoided and only used if veterinary advice is that the procedure is essential to prevent worse welfare problems, such as the birds injuring each other.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government has to improve the welfare standards of factory farmed ducks. [186028]

Mr. Bradshaw: The welfare of ducks is protected by The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress. More detailed standards are laid down in The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 1870). These Regulations include specific requirements on inspections, record keeping, freedom of movement, buildings and equipment and feed and water.

There is also a specific Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Ducks. Flock-keepers are required by law to have access to, and be familiar with this code, which encourages all those who care for ducks to adopt the highest standards of husbandry.

We are currently revising the duck welfare code and a three month public consultation ends on 10 September.

Eaton Farm

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will allow Mr. Andrew Morris of Eatons Farm, Tibberton, to sell calves under 42 days of age from that farm. [180355]

Mr. Bradshaw: When a herd is under movement restrictions, movements of cattle from the premises (except direct to slaughter) will only be licensed where a pre-movement isolation unit has been agreed with the Divisional Veterinary Manager, and all the isolated cattle have tested clear twice at 60-day intervals from the date of isolation. Testing of the isolated calves must take place at the same time as the rest of the herd (that is, although the isolated calves can be treated as a separate epidemiological unit, the whole herd including the adult animals needs to be fully up-to-date with its testing before any movements will be permitted).

Electronic Tagging

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of the trials for the electronic tagging of animals. [185142]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Sheep EID/EDT Pilot Study is examining the practical application of electronic identification (EID) and electronic data transfer (EOT)
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in sheep. Commercial farms are taking part in the trial and we are examining both eartags and boluses and a range of EID equipment. We are also planning to include a small number of selected markets and abattoirs later in the trial.

Study findings will be published on the Defra website An interim report is due in September 2004 and the final report in June 2005.


Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Thurrock sent in May about the UK National Allocation Plan for carbon and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [185687]

Mr. Morley: I responded to my hon. Friend's letter on 22 July 2004.

Energy Efficiency

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money was spent on grants to aid energy efficiency in (a) Merseyside, (b) Crosby and (c) the North West in each of the last three years. [177860]

Mr. Morley: Defra currently provides grant funding for energy efficiency through four main routes. These organisations or programmes undertake work at a national or UK level.

Warm Front

Total costs of measures under the Warm Front scheme are as follows:
(£ million)(48)
Crosby (£000)(48)North West
(£ million)(48)

Community Energy

Community Energy figures as follows:

These spend figures relate to development grant money to fund feasibility studies, business plans and bids for capital grants, and form part of £2 million set aside for developing bids within the £50 million pot. There were no capital grants awarded to schemes in the North West in either 2002–03 or 2003–04 as no bids were submitted of sufficient quality which met the
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programme's criteria. The programme's publicity has very much focused on regions that have had a poor take up of grant.

Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust

The Trusts' programmes have no specific levels of funding attributed to particular regions.

Total Funding

The total funding made available by the Department to support and promote efficiency measures for these programmes (The Carbon Trust, The Energy Saving Trust, Community Energy and Warm Front) in each of the last three years is set out as follows:
£ million

(48) Budget

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