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John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost to his Department is of unauthorised personal calls made by members of staff to (a) domestic numbers and (b) international numbers. 
Charlotte Atkins: Automatic logs are kept of all calls and regular reviews carried out. From those reviews there is little evidence of unauthorised use by members of staff. When any have been identified the cost has been recovered, which has been relatively low (£10 or less) records of which are not kept centrally.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list each proposal in the south west region awaiting a decision for final approval as part of the local transport plan, broken down by local transport authority. 
The only major local transport scheme that was awaiting a decision for full approval in the south west region was Somerset county council's
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North West Taunton Package. The council were informed on 2 December that this approval had been granted.
Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency has been asked to prepare submissions for consideration by the Secretary of State for Transport for possible inclusion in the Targeted Programme of Improvements of the following schemes:
Mr. Bradshaw: The initial stage of the Animal Welfare Bill review involved a public consultation which ran between January and April 2002 to which Defra received some 2,500 replies. A copy of the analysis of the consultation can be found on the Defra website, www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare. Between October 2002 and January 2003 Defra officials organised some 19 stakeholder meetings at which approximately a hundred interest groups were represented.
Since the stakeholder meetings, officials have organised working groups made up of a range of interested parties which have helped to inform our work on proposed secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Bill. The work of these groups on secondary
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legislation will continue should the Bill be enacted and draft secondary legislation will be subject to public consultation in the normal way.
In addition to public consultation carried out by my Department, between July and October 2004 the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee conducted pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill and this included inviting interested parties to provide written and oral evidence on the draft legislation. EFRA hope to publish their report on the draft Bill shortly.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact that termination of the EU Life Nature fund would have on member states with smaller national budgets but high levels of biodiversity. 
Mr. Bradshaw: It is not yet clear to what degree the opportunities provided by the outgoing EU LIFE Nature fund will feature in the EU's 2007/2013 financial perspective. Along with other member states the UK has asked for clarification of the scope of the proposed LIFE+ Regulation and other EU co-funding instruments.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will support continuation of a dedicated EU biodiversity fund for measures ineligible for support under other EU instruments. 
Mr. Bradshaw: At Environment Council on 14 October 2004, the UK recognised the value provided by the outgoing LIFE Nature Regulation for innovation and best practice activities. The Secretary of State called for the new LIFE+ proposals, together with other relevant instruments, to continue to provide similar funding opportunities.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of EU Life Nature funding was received in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each year since 1993. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Since 1993 the UK has been successful in securing €44,553,322 (£31,221,669) match funding under the EU LIFE Nature programme. Of this amount the following sums were allocated as set out in the table to projects wholly or predominantly based in each country.
It has not been possible to confirm precisely the amounts received by the successful projects: (1) because some projects are still ongoing; and (2) minor variations to allocations are sometimes negotiated between the European Commission and the applicant at the end of a project to reflect work actually completed.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Biomass Task Force will report to her Department; and when her Department will report the results of the Biomass Task Force to the House. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Under the terms of reference of the Biomass Task Force the final report to Government are due in October 2005. Copies will be placed at that time in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what prevalence of bovine TB has been detected in culled deer in studies undertaken during the last 20 years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Accurate prevalence data for bovine TB in deer across the UK is not available. Statistics on the culling of wild deer are not collected centrally and farmed and park deer herds are not systematically tested for TB.
An official investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food into the prevalence of "Mycobacterium bovis" infection in wild deer began in the south-west of England in 1984. The value of the information from this investigation is limited because (i) it is unclear how many of the fallow, red and sika deer that were examined during the survey came from truly wild populations as opposed to deer parks and farms, (ii) some infected individuals were not identified by species and (iii) the criteria for examination of material from deer carcasses changed during 1988, so that only material from animals with visible lesions was subsequently submitted for laboratory examination.
For details of the Defra funded research, carried out by the Central Science Laboratory on isolating TB in deer as well as other mammalian wildlife species (excluding badgers) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 15 October 2004, Official Report, column 410W.
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research her Department has commissioned into the effectiveness of the examination of deer at abattoirs in identifying cases of bovine TB infection in venison intended for human consumption; 
Mr. Bradshaw: Carcases of farmed deer slaughtered for venison production are subject to full red meat inspection procedures by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), under the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended). In addition, the Wild Game Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995, require that wild and park deer destined for export to other European Union member states for human consumption must undergo post-mortem inspection by the MHS.
Procedures for the post-mortem examination of deer, and the requirement to notify the State Veterinary Service of carcases suspected of being affected by TB, are set out in the MHS Operations Manual. Compliance with the requirements specified in the MHS Operations Manual is subject to annual audit. No research has been commissioned by Defra to look more closely at the effectiveness of post-mortem procedures in identifying TB in deer destined for human consumption.
Most cases of TB in park deer are notified by hunters and gamekeepers, whereas most cases of TB in farmed deer are identified following notification by the MHS. Specific data is not available for the number of notifications of suspect TB cases made at abattoirs. However, the number of park and farmed deer herds in which bovine TB was detected by post-mortem examination and confirmed by culture since 1999 is given in the following table:
|Farmed deer herds||0||1||0||1||1||0|
|Park deer herds||1||1||0||2||0||2|
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) farmed and (b) park deer herds have tested positive for bovine TB in each of the last five years; and how many of those were confirmed by culture or post mortem examination. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There is no statutory routine testing programme for bovine TB in farmed or park deer. The numbers of farmed deer tested ante-mortem are insignificant. Surveillance of TB in deer is based largely on detection of visible TB lesions at post-mortem inspection. To confirm a report of bovine TB in a deer herd a positive laboratory culture is required in addition to visible lesions.
|Farmed deer herds||Park deer herds||Total|
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what studies her Department has commissioned into the effectiveness of the examination of deer by (a) stalkers and (b) butchers in identifying cases of bovine TB in culled deer intended for human consumption. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Carcases of farmed deer slaughtered for venison production are subject to full red meat inspection procedures by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), under the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended).
Under the Wild Game Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995, wild and park deer meat intended for export to other EU Member States must also undergo post mortem inspection by the MHS. However, if destined for the UK domestic market and third countries, venison from wild or park deer falls under the umbrella of the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995. These provide for overall supervision of wild game meat production by the Environmental Health Department of the relevant Local (Food) Authority, but require no official meat inspection at all. Some plant operators producing for third country export, or the domestic market, choose to be licensed under the more demanding Wild Game Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995.
The present arrangements put the onus on the person carrying out the evisceration to detect and report any signs of TB. No studies have been commissioned into the effectiveness of these procedures in identifying cases of bovine TB. The risk of humans contracting bovine TB from meat is considered to be very low.
A new EC Regulation coming into force on 1 January 2006 will require persons who hunt wild game with a view to placing it on the market for human consumption to have sufficient knowledge of the pathology of wild game and on the production and handling of wild game and wild game meat after hunting. Training will have to be provided to the satisfaction of the Competent Authority (Food Standards Agency).
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the proportion of bovine TB infection in (a) farmed, (b) park and (c) wild deer entering the human food chain that remains undetected by statutory reporting procedures. 
Present arrangements require that suspect tuberculosis lesions in deer carcases be notified to the Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM) of the State Veterinary Service. The Meat Hygiene Service is responsible for reporting suspect lesions in farmed deer, and wild and park deer destined for export to other EU member states. For wild and park deer destined for the
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domestic market or Third Countries, responsibility for notifying the DVM rests with the person carrying out the gralloch. No assessment has been made of the proportion of bovine TB infection remaining undetected by the current statutory reporting procedures.
The risk of humans contracting bovine TB from meat is considered to be very low. Within abattoirs the affected areas of carcases are removed as a public health protection measure. Any remaining "Mycobacterium bovis" (the causative organism of bovine TB) can be de-activated by thorough cooking.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had regarding bovine TB infection in deer with her counterparts in the devolved administrations. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There have been occasional meetings involving officials from Defra, the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department, the Welsh Assembly Government Agriculture and Rural Affairs Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland, at which matters associated with TB in deer have been discussed.
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