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The National Scrapie Plan continues to make good progress. The voluntary Ram Genotyping Scheme is continuing to recruit new members and there has been encouraging progress in improving genotype profiles in participating flocks. We are working to implement the Compulsory Ram Genotyping Scheme during 2006, taking into account the results of a strategic review last year. Targeted action in scrapie affected flocks is continuing in line with t he EU rules
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and we are taking the opportunity of discussions in Brussels of the Commission's TSE Roadmap to press for changes to the scheme.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much sewage was disposed in the Channel in each of the last five years; and what plans she has to develop sewage treatment facilities in East Sussex. 
Mr. Morley: Information on the yearly volume of sewage disposed of in the English Channel (East Kent (Dover) to Cornwall) is not held centrally and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.
Southern Water Services Limited, which provides sewerage services for East and West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, estimates that 28.3 million m 3 of preliminary treated effluent is discharged from Brighton per year. Preliminary treatment means that the sewage passes through screens before discharge to the sea.
Southern Water have applied for planning permission and discharge consents to upgrade the sewage treatment facilities serving Brighton to at least secondary treatment. When these are received we expect Southern Water to complete the approved sewage treatment scheme as soon as practicable.
The estimated total volume of secondary treated effluent discharged directly to the English Channel and the Solent by Southern Water is 140.2 million m 3 per year. Secondary treatment is the normal standard of treatment that sewage receives before discharge.
Mark Williams: 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 alternatives to using cypermethrin in sheep dip. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are aware of reports from the Environment Agency of environmental pollution incidents caused by the use of cypermethrin sheep dips. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Environment Agency are jointly working towards developing a pollution reduction plan. As part of this plan they recently held a meeting of various interested groups from farming organisations, environmental non-government organisations with interests in fishing and wildlife, sheep dip manufacturers, the wool scouring industry and NAWAD.
The main alternatives to the use of cypermethrin sheep dips in the UK contain the active substance diazinon which is an organophosphate. These products have a record of known efficacy over many years. However, users must respect the recommended precautions to ensure their safe use.
DEFRA has funded four research and development projects on the development of non-chemical alternatives for the control of sheep scab. All four of these projects have been completed and three continuation projects are currently being funded to develop further the
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advances made on immunological (vaccine) and biological (entomopathogenic fungi) control methods. These are complex long-term projects and if they do lead to the development of viable alternative products it is unlikely that such products will be available for at least five and probably 10 years. Details of this research can be found on the DEFRA (www.defra.gov.uk) and VMD (www.vmd.gov.uk) websites.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for an alternatives to organophosphates for sheep dips; and what research the Department has funded on this. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has funded four Research and Development projects on the development of non-chemical alternatives for the control of sheep scab. All four of these projects have been completed and three continuation projects are currently being funded to develop further the advances made on immunological (vaccine) and biological (entomopathogenic fungi) control methods. These are complex long term projects and if they do lead to the development of viable alternative products it is unlikely that such products will be available for at least five and probably 10 years.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to introduce the recommendations in the Competition Commission's report on prescription-only veterinary medicines. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government carefully considered the recommendations made by the Competition Commission in their report on the supply of prescription-only medicines in the UK. Defra's formal response to these recommendations was issued on 9 July 2003 and is available on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD) website (www.vmd.gov.uk) under Publications, General", 9 July 2003, Official Report, column 53WS.
Those recommendations which were accepted by the Government have been carried forward within the recent comprehensive revision of the UK veterinary medicines legislation and the recommendations requiring changes to legislation on veterinary medicines are included in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005 (SI 2745) that are due to come into force on 30 October 2005.
The recommendation that a review of distribution classifications of marketing authorisations has been addressed by a three month public consultation from 27 July 2005 requesting interested parties to submit cases for the review of the classification of individual products or product groups. The consultation closes on 19 October and all interested parties will be consulted
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again on proposals to change any product's distribution category. Details of the consultation are available on the VMD website under Consultations, Current".
Jim Knight: DEFRA currently offers all staff one day's paid special leave each year for volunteering. However, central records are not kept of staff who apply for special leave for this purpose. Consequently, to provide the information requested would incur disproportionate cost.
DEFRA encourages its staff to volunteer in their own time, either with charities or with voluntary community organisations in their own area as this helps to support the Departments main aim: Sustainable Development.
DEFRA's internal website includes links to a number of organisations with which the Department has had contact or with which staff are currently already volunteering. The list of organisations will be added to in the future.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she is taking to (a) reduce water abstraction and (b) increase river flows during the summer months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. The principal mechanism for achieving sustainable management and development of water resources is through the Agency's system of abstraction licensing.
Many abstraction licences will have a condition thatmeans abstraction must cease if the river flow or depth falls below a specified value. In addition the Environment Agency can place a ban on abstractions by spray irrigators, if this becomes necessary.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, can make a drought order, on application by the Environment Agency or a water undertaker, which contains powers to reduce abstractions by third parties to ensure that supplies can be maintained.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to build new reservoirs in the (a) East and (b) South East of England; and if she will make a statement. 
In fulfilment of their duties to maintain adequate supplies of water, several water companies in southern England propose to enlarge existing reservoirs or construct new ones. These proposals were set out in the 25 year water resources plans they prepared in 2004. The Environment Agency has advised Ministers about the appropriateness of these proposals and other measures to ensure security of supply, in its report
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Maintaining water supply", which was published in July 2004. The Department has no plans to build reservoirs.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to ensure the water needs of the (a) East and (b) South East of England are met; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. As part of the Agency's management role it has national and regional water resource strategies which set out the pressures over the next 25 years.
Water companies have duties to maintain adequate supplies of water. They have 25 year water resource plans which complement the Agency strategies and seek to reconcile supply with anticipated demand. These water resource plans are produced voluntarily, every five years, at present but will become a statutory requirement under the provisions of the Water Act 2003.
Mr. Morley: Water companies are responsible for protecting the public water supply. Their installations and facilities have security precautions in place to protect the treated water supply from tampering and these are continually reviewed by the companies. They also have plans to cater for all types of emergency situations including contamination of supply. It is not the policy of the Department to disclose details of these arrangements or any procedures relating to national security.
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