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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many regional advisory councils her Department has established; and what financial support her Department provides for them. 
Mr. Bradshaw: So far, the North Sea RAC is the only regional advisory council to be established, out of the seven proposed. Officials have worked closely with the North Sea RAC secretariat in Aberdeenshire council to secure its establishment in November 2004. The North Western Waters RAC and the Pelagic RAC are likely to become established during the UK presidency.
DEFRA and fisheries departments from the Devolved Administrations provide a high level of support for the RACs, through dedicated staff members. They provide logistics support and assist with communication with the commission, other member states and stakeholders when stakeholders are forming proposals to establish the RACs. Since the establishment of the North Sea RAC, DEFRA has provided experts to assist the RAC with advice and help co-ordinate support from other member states.
In addition, DEFRA are allocating £200,000 in 200506 (and more in 200607) to a new science budget to address regionally and locally generated fisheries management issues, particularly those in support of the work of the new regional advisory councils.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the level of compensation for (a) sheep and (b) goats that have been destroyed because of scrapie is; how this compares to their market value; and whether additional payments for pedigree goat herds which are affected are available. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Compensation for a sheep or goat that is destroyed on suspicion of scrapie and found to be positive is £90 or £30 if the animal is at the end of its productive life. If tests are negative, compensation up to a maximum of £400 may be paid.
Once action is taken in a flock or herd under the compulsory scrapie flocks scheme, animals that have to be killed and destroyed are compensated at the rate of £90 for a sheep or goat or £50 for a lamb or kid. (Slightly lower rates apply to ewes and lambs in flocks which have been granted derogations). We believe these rates are broadly in line with current market rates but we are currently undertaking a review.
Under the compulsory scrapie flocks scheme a farmer who considers the compensation for his sheep or goats to be unreasonable can arrange a valuation by a valuer nominated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (or the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland).
Compensation is also paid at market value when a sheep or goat tested at an abattoir under the surveillance programme is found to be positive. In these cases, the entire carcase from the animal is destroyed.
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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evaluation she has made of research by (a) UK organisations, (b) the UK Government and (c) other EU member states into the spread of scrapie in herds of goats; on what scientific evidence the current guidelines for slaughtering an entire herd of goats if only one is diagnosed with scrapie are based; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Research carried out in the UK provides evidence that goats are susceptible to both BSE and scrapie and naturally occurring scrapie has been recorded in goats in Great Britain. As in sheep, the clinical appearance of these two conditions in goats cannot be distinguished. Control measures to protect public health from BSE are therefore directed at the eradication of all Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) diseases from sheep and goats within the EU. Research on sheep in the UK and Europe has shown certain PrP genotypes to be more resistant to TSE infection. This is the basis of the national scrapie plan in which selective breeding is used to establish sheep flocks with more resistant genotypes. Studies on goats have shown considerable variability in PrP genotypes but there is no currently available evidence that resistant genotypes exist which can be promoted through genetic selection. Control of TSE disease, and thus any potential for the presence of BSE, in goat herds is based on the culling of herds in which scrapie is found to exist.
As there are very few cases of goat TSE reported in the UK, it has not been possible to carry out scientific epidemiological studies on the spread of TSEs in goats. Research is being done in European countries with much larger goat populations than the UK, notably in Cyprus where there is an ongoing TSE epidemic. DEFRA is monitoring this work to see if it has any implications for the UK goat population. Following the recently reported case of BSE in a goat in France the EU has announced a research call to investigate the topic of BSE infectivity in milk, milk products and meat derived from goats". DEFRA will also monitor the progress of this proposed research.
The current whole-herd slaughter policy in herds where there is a confirmed case of a TSE in a goat is a requirement of European Community legislation (Regulation 999/2001). When drafting this legislation the commission took into consideration the opinion of their Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) on the safe
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sourcing of small ruminant (sheep and goat) material (45 April 2002). Because genotyping and removal of susceptible animals is not an option in goats, it was felt that the only way to protect consumers from the theoretical risk of BSE in goats was a whole goat herd cull policy. The commission are currently reviewing their TSE eradication policy for small ruminants.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether paragliding will be permitted to continue on land under the new Single Farm Payment scheme without a reduction in the grants received by the land owner; 
(2) what factors underlay the decision to include paragliding and hang-gliding in the 28 category in relation to the Single Payment Scheme; and if she will reclassify these activities as generally permitted activities. 
Jim Knight: The Department's guidance on the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and non-agricultural use of land balances the need for diversification opportunities with the necessity to abide by EU rules on eligibility of land under the scheme. The guidance is built around the degree to which non-agricultural use impedes or is inconsistent with normal farming activities. Having considered representations from interested parties, the guidance will now be updated to move paragliding and hang gliding to the list of generally permitted activities. This means that these activities may take place on an unrestricted number of days on land used in support of claims for payment under the SPS in 2005. We will review the guidance in its entirety for the 2006 scheme based on experience during this first year of the scheme and any further developments in the EU rules.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2005, Official Report, column 1040W, on tree cover, what the figures were for each London borough. 
Jim Knight: The National Inventory of Woodland and Trees and the 1980 Census of Woodland did not record or publish data by London borough. However, the London Biodiversity Partnership's biodiversity audit 2000 included woodland and scrub habitat and this produced the results given in the following table.
|Borough||Native woodland||Non-native||Coniferous||Fen carr||Scrub|
|Barking and Dagenham||5.7||0.9||||0.4||28.0|
|City of London||||||||||0.2|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||1.0||8.0||||||8.5|
|Kensington and Chelsea||3.9||11.1||||||3.3|
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