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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many suitably engineered commercial licensed landfill sites are capable of processing a consignment of bird carcases; where they are situated; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 17 November 2005]: In consultation with the Environment Agency, officials are currently reviewing the suitability for poultry carcase disposal of all commercial licensed landfills. Once this review is complete a list of potentially suitable sites will be made public.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 17 November 2005]: Defra and the Environment Agency will only consider commercial licensed landfills for carcase disposal that are already in operation. The review of potentially suitable sites will therefore not assess any sites that are under construction.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk of transmission of Avian influenza by birds scavenging infected carcasses buried in suitably engineered commercial licensed landfills. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 17 November 2005]: It is acknowledged that if scavenging birds were to come into direct contact with the carcases of infected birds that had recently died or been killed for disease control purposes, there is a small risk of them becoming infected and transmitting the disease to other birds.
In the event that commercial licensed landfill was used for carcase disposal this risk would be mitigated by ensuring that carcases were immediately covered with other material to a depth of at least 1 m and that at the end of each working day, carcases were covered by at least 2 m of cover material. All sites used for carcase disposal will have Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) conditions in place as well as a bespoke bird deterrent/management plan drawn up and implemented by bird control experts from the Central Science Laboratory.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of whether there is sufficient capacity in suitably engineered commercial licensed landfills to dispose of the projected number of bird carcases infected with Avian influenza in the event of incineration capacity being fully utilised. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 17 November 2005]: Officials are working with the Environment Agency to review the capacity of suitably licensed landfills for the disposal of infected poultry carcases, in the event that there is insufficient capacity at incineration and rendering plants. Based on the capacity as assessed following the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001, officials advise that there would be more than sufficient capacity in commercial licensed landfill to dispose of the projected number of poultry carcases.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on the imposition of a maximum time limit on the transport of live animals. 
Margaret Beckett: Representations have been made by welfare organisations and individuals to limit the length of time animals could be transported to slaughter. However, agreement on journey times could not be reached by a majority of member states in negotiations on new welfare during transport rules last year. We will continue to press for improvements in the review of these rules, which is to take place in 2011.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times she has visited (a) Dacorum and (b) Hertfordshire in her official capacity in the past 12 months; and what the purpose was of each visit. 
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the special advisers in post in her Department, broken down by pay band; and what the total budgeted cost to her Department of special advisers is for 200506. 
Margaret Beckett: Since 2003, the Government has published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Prime Minister on Thursday 21 July 2005, Official Report, columns 158162WS.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of the (a) probabilities and (b) heights of tidal surges affecting the Essex coastline in each of the next five decades; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Defra has policy responsibility for flood risk management in England. The principal authority with operational responsibility is the Environment Agency. The agency has undertaken no work to assign future probabilities to surge height estimates along the Essex coast. However, detailed studies have been completed to determine peak water levels for design and planning purposes along the Thames Estuary. These water levels are projected into the future by applying the Defra precautionary allowances for the effects of sea level rise. The Environment Agency has commissioned research to better understand future probabilities of sea levels in the Southern North Sea.
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on proposals to review the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966; and what the arrangements are for public consultation on such a review. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We issued a consultation document on the modernisation of the Veterinary Surgeons Act on 24 September 2003. The Government remain committed to introducing new proposals concerning the regulation of the veterinary profession. It is important that we reflect the way that veterinary services have changed and the need for regulatory bodies and professions as a whole to be accountable and transparent in their dealings with their customers. There is particular need for change in relation to the procedures that govern the way that complaints about the conduct of veterinary surgeons are handled.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to promote waste minimisation alongside household waste recycling; and what measures are used to gauge progress. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 15 November 2005]: Waste minimisation is at the top of the waste hierarchy set out in the Government's Waste Strategy 2000. That strategy is itself currently under review, but there is no question of our downplaying the role of minimisation in future.
Currently waste minimisation is incentivised by a wide range of policy drivers, including notably the landfill tax escalator, landfill allowance trading scheme (LATS), the waste minimisation work of the Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) and the tonnage recovery and recycling obligations in the packaging Regulations which encourage businesses to reduce the amount of packaging going through their companies.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the availability of the terms of consents for wind farm applications under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 in response to requests for access from local groups. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In addition to a consent under the Electricity Act 1989 (or an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992), the construction of an offshore wind farm also requires a licence under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.
Any such licence and the terms and conditions which it applies, are available to the public by virtue of the Deposits in the Sea (Public registers of Information) Regulations 1996 and may be inspected at the offices of the licensing authority.
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1538W
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether account is taken of science-based evidence provided by local groups within proceedings to consider consents for wind farms under the Food and Environment Act 1985. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The construction of an offshore wind farm requires both a consent under the Electricity Act 1989 (or an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992) and a licence under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.
Proposed marine wind farms are subject to environmental impact assessment by Regulators under the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (or Transport and Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 2000 (England and Wales)); the Environmental Statement being advertised for public inspection.
Comments and representations made in response to this consultation process together with any views expressed by a range of other stakeholders will be taken into account by the consenting and licensing authorities in determining whether to grant approval to the project and, if so, any terms and conditions that will apply.
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