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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of food miles on (a) congestion on the roads and (b) the environment, through emissions of greenhouse gases from modes of transport used; and what assessment she has made of the effects on the environment of production local to the place of sale. 
Further to my response of 19 January 2005, Official Report, column 943W, the report commissioned by Defra on the impact of food transportation The Validity of Food Miles as an
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Indicator of Sustainable Development" is now likely to be published early in the summer. I will write to my hon. Friend to inform him when the report is published.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what actions were taken by the UK authorities in regard to the November 2000 foot and mouth disease outbreak in Mpumalanga that were not taken in regard to the September 2000 foot and mouth outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal; 
(3) what actions on the part of the UK authorities were (a) required and (b) recommended by the European Union with specific regard to the September 2000 foot and mouth disease outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal; and when these were implemented. 
Margaret Beckett: If there is an outbreak of disease likely to present a risk to human or animal health, European Community legislation allows us to take appropriate safeguard action, which may include a ban on imports of meat from all, or parts, of that country. At the time of the outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal, we did not judge it necessary to take safeguard action since the South African authorities had prohibited the issue of export certificates for fresh meat from the area in which the outbreak had occurred. This meant that exports from South Africa could not take place.
On 78 November 2000 the European Commission informed the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) (now known as the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health) of the outcome of an inspection carried out in South Africa by Commission inspectors, and indicated that safeguard measures may be necessary because of some difficulties the South African authorities were experiencing in dealing with the outbreak. On 25 November the Commission published legislation prohibiting imports into the Community of fresh meat from 16 districts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The Government were satisfied that the action taken by the Commission and controls in place in South Africa were sufficient to prevent any risk of disease entering the UK.
By 20 December it was clear that the situation in South Africa had deteriorated. The Government reviewed the situation and a decision was taken to take safeguard action. This was delayed due to the Christmas period, and on 5 January the Government issued a Declaration under Regulation 35 of the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996, prohibiting imports into England and Wales of meat from all of South Africa. Similar action was taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The outbreak in Mpumalanga was confirmed on 30 November. The Commission took action in February 2001 to extend EU restrictions on imports of meat in respect of Mpumalanga. By that time, the UK had already banned imports of meat from the whole country, so no further action was necessary.
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Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when her Department was first informed that Northumberland Trading Standards had (a) mounted an investigation into and (b) filed charges against the haulier who delivered unprocessed waste food to Burnside Farm, Heddon on the Wall. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department is unaware of any investigation or prosecution by Northumberland Trading Standards Department of any haulier (other than Robert Waugh) who may have delivered unprocessed waste food to Burnside Farm.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is in respect of the publication (a) on the departmental website and (b) by placing copies in the Library of (i) all or (ii) a selection of the information disclosed in response to Freedom of Information requests since January. 
Alun Michael: Defra plans to publish all such information on its website unless it is considered that the information is unlikely to be of interest to a wider public audience. This is in accordance with the Guidance on Publication Schemes, issued by the Department for Constitutional Affairs in July 2002, recommended that where information is disclosed to an individual in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Departments and NDPBs should consider whether the information disclosed is of general interest and include released information in the Publication Scheme where appropriate.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what applications were made to her Department during January under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; what the (a) total and (b) average cost was of discovery and distribution of the information requested; how many requests were answered within the statutory 20-day period; and what reasons were given to those whose requests were rejected. 
Alun Michael: The number of requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations recorded on our central tracking system during January was 97. This does not include the many routine requests for information to which the Department responds as part of its normal business. During January, 28 of the 97 requests, were answered within the 20 working day deadline. The deadline has not yet been reached in respect of those requests received from mid January onwards.
Two of the 28 answered cases were refused and onepartially refused. The grounds for refusal were section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act and Regulations 12(3) (personal data) and 12(4)(d) (unfinished documents or incomplete data) of the Environmental Information Regulations.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent communications Ministers in her Department have had with counterparts in India on (a) sustainable development and (b) environmental scientific co-operation. 
Mr. Morley: I visited New Delhi from 3 to 6 February to attend the fifth Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, where I chaired and spoke at a ministerial session on 'Global Sustainability: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries'. In my remarks, I noted the increasing interdependence of countries on issues of sustainable development and the need for co-operation and partnership. I focussed on the opportunities afforded by the UK Presidencies of the G8and EU in 2005 to address climate change and development challenges in Africa.
I also met my counterpart, Mr. Raja, the Indian Minister for the Environment and Forests, to discuss India's draft New Environment Policy, co-operation on forests and wildlife protection and progress on the UKIndia High-level Sustainable Development Dialogue.
Defra is funding a collaborative project with the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests on the impacts of climate change. Work started in September 2001 and the final reports will be published during 2005. The research programme included the sharing of knowledge through technology transfer and capacity building, with collaboration between scientist in Indian and UK research institutes. The project outputs were presented to me when I visited India in February 2004 and to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State during her visit in October 2004.
The Department plans to take forward further work in this area as part of the collaboration envisaged under the UK and Indian Prime Ministers' September 2004 joint declaration committing to further co-operation between the two countries.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what ministerial visits are planned for each Minister in her Department in the next six months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what ministerial visits are planned for each Minister in her Department in the next six months; and if she will make a statement. 
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