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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports she has received on practice in EU member states in applying the EU regulatory framework when drawing up policy on issuing bovine passports following late applications. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra officials wrote to the Agricultural Attaches in 15 member states in September 2004 requesting specific information on their procedures for enforcing the deadline for registering calf births. We have discussed the findings with industry representatives.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tuberculosis outbreaks in cattle were recorded in England and Wales in 2004; and whether a similar number of outbreaks has been recorded in any of the last 30 years. 
In 2001, the TB testing and control programme was largely suspended due to the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. When testing resumed in 2002, resources were concentrated on herds with overdue TB tests which would have had a longer period in which to contract the disease. Also the proportion of high risk herds tested immediately after the FMD outbreak was greater than that prior to the outbreak. As a result, data for 2001 and 2002 is not comparable with other years.
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Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the costs of carrying out a comprehensive culling programme of badgers infected with bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has conducted a preliminary study which integrates scientific models developed at the Central Science Laboratory and Reading University to establish the overall costs and benefits of various badger culling options. Further work is needed on the model before we can draw conclusions on policy options. As scientific information is generated from the RBCT and other studies (e.g. Republic of Ireland Four Area Trial), it will be used to inform the assumptions used in the model and so reduce the uncertainty surrounding the results. The model will help inform policy decisions and areas for future research. It is at present not possible to reliably identify infected badgers except by post-mortem examination and laboratory culture.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess whether there is a link between an increase in human TB and the spread of bovine TB among cattle. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There is no link between increase in human tuberculosis (TB) and the spread of bovine TB among cattle in the United Kingdom (UK). Human TB is most often caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (which is usually acquired from another human) and not by Mycobacterium bovis, the cause of bovine TB, which nowadays is rarely transmitted to man.
Between 20 and 50 (typically 40) people have been diagnosed with bovine TB in the UK annually since 1990, representing 1 per cent. to 1.5 per cent. of culture-confirmed cases of TB in humans. Their geographical distribution does not mirror that of bovine TB in the cattle population. Most cases are attributed to (i)reactivation of old infection contracted prior to widespread pasteurisation of milk, or (ii) infection contracted abroad.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) the National Farmers' Union and (b) other farmers' organisations on the publication under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requirements of records of moneys paid under the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Lord Whitty raised the possibility publicly with farming representatives and others attending the Oxford farming conference on 4 January 2005. He subsequently discussed the issue with the NFU later that month. The Rural Payments Agency wrote to its Industry Forum on 15 February seeking formal views on the publication of information. The Industry Forum includes representatives from the British Meat Producers Association, Country Land and Business Association, Dairy UK, Food and Drink Federation,
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Grain and Feed Trade Association, Livestock Auctioneers Association, National Farmers Union, Tenant Farmers Association, Agricultural Industries Confederation and National Sheep Association.
Officials subsequently met representatives of the National Farmers' Union and the Food and Drink Federation on 8 and 15 March 2005. Several telephone calls between officials and representatives from these and other organisations also took place during February and March.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to her Department was of purchasing land and buildings in the Kirkbride airfield area in Cumbria. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance she intends to issue to local authorities on the prosecution of environment crimes under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill; what assessment she has made of the likely impact on the courts of applications under the reverse burden of proof provisions of the Bill; and what assessment she has made of the likely impact on funding requirements. 
Alun Michael: Defra will produce comprehensive guidance on the powers that will be available to local authorities once the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill comes into effect, including the prosecution of offences for which there is provision for a defence to be shown. We do not expect the impact on the courts to be significant, especially given that the overall effect of the Bill is to simplify the legislation, to extend the options available to enforcement bodies and to introduce a limited number of new offences following extensive consultation.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to respond to farmers who have applied to the Rural Payments Agency for environmental stewardship scheme support, but who have yet to be included on the Rural Land Registry or have maps returned. 
Farmers are obliged to register land they intend to use as part of a claim to the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). Such registrations extend the process established under the Integrated Agricultural Control System, through which more than £1.7 million land parcels were registered. Demand for land registrations is unprecedented, with requests from farmers intending to apply for SPS and those seeking to enter into agreements for the Environmental Stewardship Scheme. In the past six months the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has received nearly 25,000 registrations, when it normally expects to receive
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around 9,000 requests annually. The RPA has increased processing capacity but there is inevitably a current backlog of claims awaiting completion. At the current rate of progress most registrations will be processed by the end of June but some requests, particularly those received close to the 16 May deadline for submitting an SPS application ,might not be processed until August. The RPA is giving priority to those registrations that affect an outstanding scheme payment. Once the current round of applications has been dealt with, it is expected that the situation will stabilise and subsequent applications will be dealt with more quickly.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to public funds was of establishing the National Fallen Stock Company; and what budget has been allocated for maintenance costs. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Just over £1 million has been made available by Defra for setting up the Company and establishing the arrangements for the administration of the Scheme. It is intended that future Company and administration costs will be financed through the moneys raised via the registration fees for farmers subscribing to the National Fallen Stock Scheme. The setting of a budget for maintenance costs is a matter for the Company Board.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the effect of the ban on on-farm burials of fallen stock on carrion-dependent fowl. 
Mr. Bradshaw: No such assessment has been made. However, we understand that the RSPB is content with the existing arrangement of the feeding of Category 2 and 3 material (i.e. butchers' waste) to wild necrophagous birds and that a derogation to permit the use of ruminant fallen stock as feed material is not, therefore, necessary. Accordingly, the UK has exercised the derogation that permits member states to authorise the feeding of animal by-products which do not contain SRM to birds of prey.
Even when burial was permitted carcases were required to be buried in such a way that carnivorous animals (including necrophagous birds) could not gain access to them. Therefore the effect of the ban on burial is minimal as carcases should not have been left uncovered where birds could have gained access to them.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the availability of and (b) response times for services for the collection of fallen stock in England and Wales. 
The Department has not made such an assessment. However, the National Fallen Stock Company has analysed the coverage provided by the National Fallen Stock Scheme and concluded there is a reasonable choice of collection services available to farmers in most areas. The Company has said that under most circumstances it would expect carcases to be collected within 48 hours following notification and
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since the Scheme began the Company has only received just over 200 complaints about delays in collection out of around 60,000 pick ups nationally.
However, within this encouraging assessment, the Company has acknowledged that there are particular problems with service provision in North Wales and some other localised areas including the Isle of Wight where the only Scheme collector has left the Scheme. The Company is taking action to address these difficulties with the co-operation of the fallen stock collection industry and other relevant parties.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to public funds has been of subsidies paid by the National Fallen Stock Company for the collection of fallen stock. 
Defra has committed £5 million in year one, £3 million in year two and £2 million in year three. There is equivalent funding from the Devolved Administrations, which, along with the Defra contribution, will amount to £10 million in the first year for the UK as a whole.
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