Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for licensing avian quarantine centres in the UK; how long such a licence is valid; and how many have been issued for (a) new and (b) existing centres in each year since 2000. 
Further to my answer given to the hon. Member on 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 6W, current records show that there are 52 bird quarantine facilities and centres in the UK that currently hold licences.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many avian quarantine centres have closed down because their licences were withdrawn in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Commission Decision 2000/666 requires quarantine facilities or centres to be approved by the competent authority of each member state. In England approval is carried out by the State Veterinary Service (SVS). The SVS has only ever withdrawn the approval for one avian quarantine facility or centre.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans are in place to inform hon. Members of an outbreak of H5N1 within their constituencies; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department will inform hon. Members of an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian influenza in their constituencies immediately a case is confirmed. This was the practice during the foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2001.
Defra monitors the global situation closely and undertakes a qualitative risk analysis when new disease incident in an EU member state, a country on the border of the EU or one of the UK's third country trading partners has been notified. These risk assessments are published on the Department's website: http://defraweb/animalh/diseases/monitoring/riskassess.htm.
Information on the incidence of human influenza internationally is collated and distributed through a number of systems, including the World Health Organisation Influenza Surveillance Programme and the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme. The UK contributes to and receives data from both of these systems.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's recent preparations for a possible outbreak of Avian influenza in the UK. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government already have in place an Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan, which includes a section dealing specifically with an outbreak of Avian influenza. This would be invoked immediately if the need arose.
When DEFRA is officially notified of a new disease incident in an EU member state, a country on the border of the EU or one of the UK's third country trading partners, we carry out a qualitative risk analysis. These are published on our website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/monitoring/riskassess.htm
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether (a) broiler birds are allowed to go to slaughter and (b) replacement chicks are allowed to enter the farm if a flock is in a movement restriction zone; 
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(2) whether eggs will be able to go to the usual market each day if a layer unit is placed in a movement restriction zone; 
Mr. Bradshaw: Current legislation bans movements of poultry and hatching eggs within the infected area around an outbreak. However, in certain circumstances, movements will be permitted under license and subject to biosecurity controls. These include:
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) advice her Department has given to and (b) discussions her Department has had with poultry handlers to alert them to the possible dangers of an avian influenza outbreak. 
We have distributed this guidance material to our partners in the industry who are helping to distribute to their members, who cover the great majority of bird keepers. In addition, the material has been mailed to 3,800 vet practices in Great Britain in order to reach the hobby keeper. We have also placed adverts in trade and specialist press to get biosecurity and surveillance messages across to this same group.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to put the supply of medicines for bees under the control of veterinary surgeons and licensed pharmacists. 
All authorised bee medicines in the UK are available as general sale products. There are no plans to put the supply of medicines for bees under the control of veterinary surgeons and licensed pharmacists. Changes in European legislation, implemented by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005, require medicines for food producing animals to be POM. This change will take effect on 1 January 2007 before which the Commission are due to produce a list of exemption criteria for the POM requirement. The UK has proposed to the Commission that bee medicines should be in the exempt list.
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Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Veterinary Medicines Directorate is taking to ensure that beekeepers can become qualified in the supply of products for the control of varroa mites. 
However, on 1 January 2007 the provision in the Council Directive 2001/82/EC, as amended, which requires all medicines used in the treatment of food-producing animals to be prescription only medicines will come into force. The UK has asked for bee medicines to be exempted from the POM requirement. If this is not agreed, a beekeeper will have to be registered as a suitably qualified person (SQP) if they wish to supply these products. My officials have discussed the SQP requirements with the British Beekeepers Association and are aware of their wish to progress the provision of training for beekeepers as SQPs who are able to prescribe and supply products to treat diseases in bees. The British Beekeepers Association will be meeting the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority early in 2006 to discuss this. If the exemption is agreed, the current sales arrangements for bee medicines will continue.
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