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Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many NHS general dental practitioners (a) there were and (b) ceased to provide NHS general dental services in each Northern Ireland health Board area in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Woodward: The information requested is as follows:
(a) A dentist may hold a contract with more than one Health and Social Services Board depending on their geographical area. Information on the number of General Dental Practitioner (GDP) contracts for 2004 and 2005 by Board area is detailed in the following table. This table also details total GDP headcount figures for 2004 and 2005. The equivalent figures for 200103 were not available.
|Board area||October 2004||October 2005|
|Total NI dental contracts||762||807|
(b) In the year October 2004 to October 2005 there were 31 dentists (32 contracts) who left the health service. The contract figures spilt by Board area are detailed in the following table. The figures for previous years 200104 are not available.
|Board area||October 2004 to October 2005|
|Total NI Dental contracts||32|
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many non-departmental public bodies in Northern Ireland have been (a) abolished and (b) established since 1998. 
Angela E. Smith:
The Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office have abolished 41 and created 26 non-departmental public bodies (including Executive, Advisory and Tribunal non-departmental public bodies) from 1 January 1998 to date.
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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the over-30-month scheme. 
Angela E. Smith: It was announced on 15 September that the UK Government have accepted the FSA's advice that the OTM Rule can be replaced by BSE testing for cattle born on or after 1 August 1996. To allow for new legislation to be put in place across all regions of the UK, implementation will be effective from 7 November 2005. Only cattle which test negative for BSE will enter the food chain.
The over thirty month scheme (OTMS) will continue to run until the older cattle disposal scheme (OCDS), for animals born prior to 1 August 1996, is in place. This is likely to be January 2006 but in the interim, producers
1 Nov 2005 : Column 1022W
will have the choice of sending animals born on or after 1 August 1996 either to the OTMS, or for human consumption.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning applications have been referred to a management board in each local government area in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and how many were in favour of the applicant. 
Angela E. Smith: The following table illustrates the number of planning applications that were referred to the planning service's management board for determination by each local council area in each year from 1 January 2000 to 31 September 2005, along with the number that were approved. A total of 905 applications were referred, 198 of which were approved.
|Dungannon and South Tyrone||1||0||4||0||0||0|
|Newry and Mourne||1||0||3||0||9||2|
|Dungannon and South Tyrone||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|Newry and Mourne||21||0||19||6||3||0|
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to encourage the development in Northern Ireland of public transport that is more easily accessible. 
Mr. Woodward: In April this year the Department for Regional Development published its Accessible Transport Strategy for Northern Ireland, the aim of which is to remove barriers to travel experienced by older people and people with disabilities. The associated Action Plan includes a wide range of projects to make public transport more accessible.
Translink has received £48 million capital grant from the Department to buy 292 new fully accessible vehicles to be brought into service this year and next. Translink's 23 new trains comply with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations. DRD is also providing 6m capital grant to enable Translink to improve accessibility at train stations and halts.
DRD is introducing demand responsive bus services to improve accessibility for those who are unable to access the conventional public transport network. These include door-to-door services in 29 urban areas for people with disabilities and two demand responsive transport pilots serving rural areas. The Rural Transport Fund will continue to support accessible services provided by 18 Rural Community Transport Partnerships across Northern Ireland.
DRD is working closely with Translink to ensure that transport information is accessible to all and that disabled people are made aware of the range of new accessible transport opportunities becoming available.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on levels of recycling in the Province. 
Angela E. Smith:
I am encouraged by the increase in recycling levels within Northern Ireland, between 2002 and the last financial year. The municipal waste recycling rate more than doubled, increasing from 8.9 per cent. to a figure of 18.2 per cent. The household recycling rate increased from 10 per cent. to 18.2 per cent. The overall amount of household waste collected for recycling and composting increased by over 90 per cent. All district councils achieved increases in the household recycling rate and two district councils achieved a household recycling rate of almost 40 per cent.
1 Nov 2005 : Column 1024W
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