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20 Jan 2005 : Column 1045W—continued

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money (a) was claimed, (b) was awarded and (c) is contingent liability under foot and mouth financial
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support; and how much of each of these sums is (i) UK sourced and (ii) European Communities sourced grant. [207127]

Mr. Bradshaw: Claims to the Department following the 2001 FMD outbreak amounted to £20.84 million, of which £2.23 million was awarded. £226,194 still remains as a potential liability.

This money was entirely UK sourced as claims to the Department were ineligible for EU re-imbursement.

GM Products

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what correspondence she has received from the European Food Safety Authority with regard to the safety of GM products; and if she will publish the correspondence. [208977]

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Mr. Morley: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has not received any correspondence from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concerning the safety of GM products. Defra officials receive regular e-mail updates concerning the status of applications made to EFSA under the provisions of Regulation(EC) 1829/2003 on GM Food and Feed. The content of these updates is publicly available on the EFSA website (

Recently, officials have also received a request from the EFSA GMO panel requesting the provision of national assessment reports produced on applications for the marketing of GMOs under the provisions of Directive 2001/18/EC. These assessment reports have been provided to EFSA. The Competent Authority for Regulation (EC) 1829/2003 in the UK is the Food Standards Agency.

Gully Closures

Mr. Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the most common causes are of failure of attempts under the relevant legislation to close alleys or gullies. [209176]

Alun Michael: Most applicants have been able to provide clear evidence of the need for designation including evidence from the police, the local crime prevention education partnership and local residents, often backed by representations from councillors and MPs. Of 22 applications received, two were withdrawn. The other 20 were approved and then one was revoked at the request of the local authority concerned.

So far the successful councils have made a total of 18 extinguishment orders. 15 have been confirmed, two are awaiting decisions having been referred to the Secretary of State because objections were received and a third is expected shortly following an objection.

Veterinary Medicines

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the consultation by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate on the draft Regulations to consolidate UK legislation on veterinary medicines. [208268]

Mr. Bradshaw: On 4 January 2005 the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) issued a letter to more than 300 organisations and individuals announcing a formal consultation exercise and inviting comments on the draft Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005 and associated guidance notes which set out revised controls on veterinary medicines. The new Regulations are intended to implement amendments to EU legislation, carry forward some recommendations of the recent Marsh and Competition Commission Reports on the supply of veterinary prescription only medicines, and to simplify and consolidate existing UK legislative provisions which are currently contained in the Medicines Act 1968 and some 50 statutory instruments. It is proposed to replace these with a single set of Regulations containing all the provisions, which will come into force at the end of October 2005 to comply with the timetable for implementing the amended EU requirements.
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The formal consultation exercise follows a series of informal consultation meetings held during the summer and autumn of 2004 with a wide range of organisations at which various aspects of the proposals were discussed. The full consultation package, comprising draft Regulations, 18 draft guidance notes and a draft partial Regulatory Impact Assessment is available on the VMD's website ( under "consultations" "current". It is also available from the VMD on CD-ROM or as a paper copy on request. In view of the volume of the package and the wide scope of the Regulations, four months, rather than the standard 12 weeks, is being allowed for comments, which are required by 5 May 2005.

The key changes contained in the proposals include provisions to:


Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of waste mercury were produced in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01, (c) 2001–02 and (d) 2002–03; and how much of this was recycled. [206782]

Mr. Morley: A key source of mercury waste arises from the chlor-alkali industry. Annual figures for the three UK mercury cell chlor-alkali plants for the years in question are set out in table 1. Large amounts of mercury will no longer be required when mercury cell plants are decommissioned, although this mercury is pure enough to be re-used without further treatment. Mercury can be present in waste arising from a range of other industries, including from power generation, and mining activities, although there are no aggregated national figures available for these. Mercury is also present in used dental amalgam, some forms of lighting equipment, certain thermometers, thermostats, manometers, some batteries, switches and relays, although the use in all these applications is declining. Implementation of the WEEE Directive and the hazardous waste regulations should encourage the greater recovery and recycling of mercury from these sources.
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Table 1: Mercury disposal and emissions fromUK chlor-alkali plant(16)

Mercury in safely deposited wastes

(16) This includes all mercury-contaminated materials, such as cell components, process equipment, solid wastes from sumps, pits, demercurisation units and the brine purification process, which have been sent to authorised and properly controlled waste disposal sites.


Butler Review

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office further to the Prime Minister's answer of 14 December 2004, Official Report, column 1005W to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on the Butler Review, whether there is (a) an informal group and (b) a formal ad hoc Cabinet Committee to consider policy towards Iraq. [209937]

The Prime Minister: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 October 2004, Official Report, column 1024W to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle)

Civil Servants

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many senior civil servants left the Government for the private sector and were vetted by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments during 2004; and if he will list their (a) civil service and (b) private sector posts. [208518]

Mr. Miliband: Information about applications considered by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments is published in the Advisory Committee's Annual Reports, copies of which are available in the Library.

Information for the period up to 31 March 2004 is set out in the Committee's sixth report which is available in the Library.

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