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Meat may only come from countries regarded as having adequate veterinary services, a good history of disease control and a programme in place to monitor the presence of residues of veterinary medicines in animal products.
Furthermore, meat may only be imported from EU approved establishments and must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate. All meat imported into the EU must be taken directly to a border inspection post where it is checked by official veterinarians.
Mr. Bradshaw: In general, countries that are permitted to export to the EU must not have had any outbreak of foot and mouth disease. However, some countries are regionalised to allow imports from areas of the country which are not affected by the disease.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many air miles were accrued through ministerial travel in her Department in 200405, broken down by Minister; how many were (a) foregone and (b) donated to charity, broken down by charity; and whether air miles accrued by officials were required to be (i) foregone and (ii) given to charity. 
Margaret Beckett: Ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. Guidance for Ministers on the use of air miles is set out in the Ministerial Code. The guidance makes clear that air miles should be used only for official purposes or else foregone. However, if it is impracticable to use the benefits for Government travel, there is no objection to Ministers donating them to charity where this is permissible under the terms of the airline's scheme and the charity is one chosen by the airline.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government recognize the benefits of reducing the number of plastic bags used, but does not consider that the case for a tax on plastic bags has been demonstrated conclusively. A recent Extended Impact Assessment carried out by the Scottish Executive on a proposal to introduce a levy on plastic carrier bags in Scotland concluded that there would be a broad environmental disbenefit if a levy was introduced on the lines proposed. We are continuing to keep developments in Scotland and Ireland under review.
The number of single-use plastic bags in circulation could be significantly reduced through reuse and recycling, so we have asked the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to investigate the feasibility of a national Bag for Life scheme. This would encourage consumers to use strong, re-usable plastic bags in place of single-use bags. Life cycle analysis surveys suggest that re-using such bags between four and seven times would have significant environmental benefits when compared to alternatives such as plastic carrier bags, paper bags and biodegradable bags.
WRAP are currently trialling a national Bag for Life scheme in Bristol and Edinburgh, in association with supermarket retailers, the Scottish Executive, the British Retail Consortium and Scottish Waste Awareness. Approximately 35 to 40 supermarket outlets in each town will take part in these trials.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much Government funding has been allocated to (a) local authorities and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme for assisting small and medium enterprises to increase recycling; 
Mr. Bradshaw: On (a) there is no specific Defra funding programme enabling local authorities to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase recycling. However, local authorities are free to use un-ringfenced funding provided under the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services block of revenue support grant, or the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant for these purposes.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to assist small and medium-sized enterprises to identify appropriate recycling services. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra is funding the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to conduct a pilot project to assess the feasibility of greater recyclate collection services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This feasibility study will deliver a series of trials of collecting materials for recycling from SMEs in order to evaluate a range of factors including geographical location, collection and communication techniques and financial models. Several business sectors are to be targeted through the trials including offices, retail and wholesale, pubs, hotels and restaurants, glaziers and window replacement companies. The trials will seek to provide an appropriate recycling service for SMEs including provision of collection infrastructure and communication resources.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will seek an amendment to the Waste Incineration Directive to allow rendered animal tallow to continue to be used as a fuel in slaughterhouses and rendering plants. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 26 October 2005]: The Waste Incineration Directive does not preclude the use of waste tallow as fuel in slaughterhouses or rendering plants. The aim of the Directive is to prevent or to limit as far as practicable negative effects on the environment from the incineration and co-incineration of waste. I have written twice to the European Commission, asking for an amendment to the Waste Incineration Directive to exclude from its scope plants which only burn waste tallow. Although I have not yet received a substantive reply from DG Environment, I understand that they intend to commission a study of the issue.
The Chief Veterinary Officer's annual report, available on the Defra website, provides a summary of TB cases reported in animals other than cattle and badgers. A copy of the annual report is available in the House Library.
The Central Science Laboratory (CSL) has recently published a report entitled 'The risk to cattle from wildlife species other than badgers in areas of high herd breakdown risk'. This shows that M bovis has been isolated from a number of British wildlife species; notably foxes, stoats, polecats, common shrews, yellow-necked mice, wood mice, field voles, grey squirrels and deer. This document is available on the Defra website at: http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/project_data/More. asp?l=SE3010&M=KWS&V=se3010&SCOPE=0
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Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of badger setts in which tuberculosis is present; and what steps she is taking to test all badger setts for evidence of tuberculosis. 
The use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing on environmental samples for Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is being assessed by the Veterinary Laboratory Agency and Imperial College. There are concerns that the current PCR tests are low in sensitivity, may not be detecting viable organisms and not be specific for M. bovis. This can lead to false positive results when other mycobacteria are present.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the known wildlife reservoirs of bovine TB; and which are the subject of Government-commissioned research into the causes and transmission of bovine TB. 
Mr. Bradshaw: It is well known that Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is endemic in the badger population and this has been the subject of many detailed studies. M. bovis has also been isolated from a number of mammalian species including red deer, sika deer, roe deer, fallow deer, fox, mink, brown rat, and mole.
More recently, a study conducted by Oxford University (SE3009) carried out a systematic survey of over four thousand small mammals and found M. bovis in a single bank vole and three badgers. Another survey conducted by Central Science Laboratory (SE3010) found M. bovis in fox, stoat, common shrew, yellow necked mouse, wood mouse, field vole, grey squirrel, roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, and muntjac deer. Many of these had been shown in the past to harbour M. bovis occasionally, but this project has been the first to show M. bovis in muntjac deer. The prevalence in most of these species was very low and ecological factors suggested that they posed little risk. However, the findings highlighted red and fallow deer as being of potential risk to cattle. Therefore, Defra has commissioned two quantitative risk assessment studies to try to quantify the risk wild deer may pose in spreading TB to cattle.
The results of DEFRA-funded research 'Cattle Movements and Bovine Tuberculosis in GB' were published in Nature on 26 May 2005. The research demonstrated that the movement of cattle is a
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critical risk-factor for the disease. This supports the case for pre-movement testing, which we aim to introduce in England as quickly as possible.
A number of measures have been introduced aimed at tightening surveillance and reducing the risk of TB spreading to new areas. The recalculation of routine testing intervals will ensure TB testing complies with Commission legislation while offering robust protection. Livestock movement restrictions are now imposed immediately a herd's routine test becomes overdue and a more rigorous and systematic approach to identifying and dealing with potential new TB hotspots is in place. In addition to this, rigorous testing schedules for new and reformed herds have been introduced.
Mr. Bradshaw: We are currently working on modelling and cost-benefit analysis of badger culling options using existing and emerging data. The Government is prepared to cull badgers if the available evidence shows that it is cost-effective, practicable, sustainable and humane. Our policy must be part of a balanced approach to reducing TB in cattle. I plan to make an announcement on more detailed plans for dealing with bovine TB later this autumn.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent evidence she has evaluated on the incidence of bovine tuberculosis amongst the badger population of the UK. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what further action she plans to take to counter the spread of tuberculosis in cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
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