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Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what legislation is in place to prevent vehicle dealers from trading on public highways. 
Alun Michael: Legislative powers are already available to local authorities to deal with vehicles that have been abandoned on the street. The Government recognises the link between abandoned vehicles and other irresponsible criminal activity and environmental damage as well as inconsiderate vehicle ownership.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill includes a raft of measures that will improve the suite of powers available to local authorities to tackle damage to the local environment. Among other measures, this Bill will make it an offence to repair a vehicle on a road and to expose or advertise for sale vehicles on a road as part of a business
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (1) how many large animal veterinary practices have operated in the UK in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; 
(2) how many large animal veterinary practices have (a) closed and (b) merged in the last 10 years for which figures are available; 
(3) what proportion of newly qualified veterinary surgeons have entered large animal practices in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bradshaw: [holding answer 30 November 2004]: The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is the regulatory body responsible for the veterinary profession and maintain a register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the United Kingdom. There is no requirement for all practices to be notified to the college. Information on the number of veterinary surgeons, and the number of veterinary practices is not held by the Department. However, a wide range of evidence was presented to the EFRA Committee to inform its report on Vets and Veterinary Services (Sixteenth Report of Session 2002/2003).
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the capacity of (a) public and (b) private veterinary services to meet the needs of large and farm animals in the UK. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on Vets and Veterinary Services (sixteenth report of session 2002/2003) considered the provision of farm veterinary services in England and Wales. The Government's response recognised that the veterinary profession is undergoing fundamental changes and the biggest changes are yet to come. There is much that the profession can do to meet these challenges, such as farm health planning and developing new working relationships with customers and other farm service providers
There is no evidence of market failure in the provision of private veterinary services. More veterinarians than ever are being trained and there is clear evidence that they want to be involved in large animal work.
Although no formal assessment has been made of the capacity of public veterinary services, the staffing levels of the state veterinary service remain at an average of 225 full time equivalent veterinary officers. On
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29 November I announced the decision to go ahead with the plan to launch the new agency on 1 April 2005. We are pledged to working with all customers and stakeholders, listening to their concerns and their counsel and taking their views into account as the agency takes shape.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking towards reducing the amount of (a) waste food and (b) fit for purpose food going to landfill; and what assessment she has made of the possible use of fit for purpose waste food to feed vulnerable people in the community. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 7 December 2004]: From 1 January 2006 the Animal By-Products Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 will prohibit the use of landfill for the disposal of former foodstuffs containing material of animal origin which originate in food manufacturing and retail premises. Also, I understand that a number of multiple retailers have voluntary initiatives in place to make use of unsold food products.
The Government supports diverting foodstuffs away from landfill and provides funding for various measures that offer value-for-money in terms of diverting waste from landfill. Government also supports schemes that help the more vulnerable members of society, in a way that is consistent with Local Authorities Homelessness Strategies.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what initiatives she has identified to divert fit for purpose waste food from going to landfill; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 7 December 2004]: The Government are committed to reducing the UK's reliance on landfill, in order to reduce its environmental impact and because landfilling is a missed opportunity to recover value from waste. As a contribution to this objective, the Government supports diverting foodstuffs away from landfill and provides funding for various measures that offer value-for-money in terms of diverting waste from landfill. In addition, I understand that a number of multiple retailers have voluntary schemes in place to make use of unsold food products.
From 1 January 2006 the Animal By-Products Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 will prohibit the use of landfill for the disposal of former foodstuffs containing material of animal origin which originate in food manufacturing and retail premises.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department is taking to increase the reuse of waste wood; 
(2) what guidance her Department gives to local authorities on encouraging recycling of wood; 
(3) what estimate she has made of the amount of waste wood produced by households in the UK in the last year. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 1 December 2004]: Wood may be diverted from landfill in a number of ways such as through re-use or recycling it as a raw material in construction, or for manufacturing wood-based products, or for use as a fuel, rather than being sent to landfill. To encourage this, wood is one of the priority materials under the Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) which was established to create materials for recycled materials. By 2006 WRAP is aiming to deliver an additional 150,000 tonnes recycling capacity for waste wood, with the majority going into added-value end markets.
Defra provides a range of support for local authorities in England to help improve their recycling rates for all types of household waste, including waste wood, such as the Waste Implementation Programme's Local Authority Support programme. Local authorities can also get advice on the separate collection of dry recyclables and organic wastes from WRAP'S ROTATE programme.
My Department does not collect separate data on the amount of waste wood produced by households in the UK. However, Dr. J. Parfitt's Analysis of Household Waste Composition cited in the Strategy Unit's 2002 report, "Waste not, Want not; A strategy for tackling the waste problem in England", indicates that wood made up 5 per cent. of household waste in the UK in 200001.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department in each of the last two years. 
Hilary Benn: I refer to the response given by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office, Douglas Alexander on Thursday 13 November 2003, Official Report, column 39798W. A letter was deposited in the Library in relation to this response which gave the cost of ministerial cars for 200203.
My hon. Friend the Minister of the Cabinet Office (Ruth Kelly) has asked Nick Matheson, Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to write to the hon. Member with details of the cost of ministerial vehicles provided to this Department in 200304.
The costs of taxis provided for DFID, under the central contracts in the UK, for the last two years are as follows:
|Cost of taxis|
Taxi costs incurred by members of staff outside the central contracts are not available centrally and could not be provided without incurring a disproportionate cost.
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