Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her written statement of 15 November 2005, Official Report, column 48WS, on avian influenza (epidemiology report), what species or sub-species the mesias from the quarantine facility in Essex were from; and whether that species or sub-species is indigenous to Taiwan. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the pooling of samples of different species and different origins delayed the determination of the source of the H5N1 avian flu virus detected from samples taken from dead birds in the quarantine facility in Essex. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the reasons for the presence of H5N1 infection in mesia birds from two cages separated by five other cages and for the absence of infection in the birds of other species in the intervening cages. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Surinam caiques were sampled by her Department's staff from the quarantine facility in Essex in which the avian influenza virus H5N1 was isolated. 
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she made of the merits of requiring all sales of birds to be recorded before introducing the ban on sales at bird fairs; 
[holding answer 28 November 2005]: Following a veterinary risk assessment and discussions with stakeholders, a precautionary approach to gatherings which involve the sale of birds was taken as these increase the risk of dissemination of infection and present a high risk. This is because when ownership changes hands, birds will be spread over a wider area in
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comparison to gatherings where birds are merely exhibited and returned to the premises of origin. Therefore sales from exhibitions, shows, fairs or other gatherings are not allowed. Recording sales would not help to prevent the spread of avian influenza in the event of a disease outbreak.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the dates on which inspectors visited the bird quarantine centre in Fambridge, Essex during (a) each of the last three years and (b) the quarantine period of the mesias which died in quarantine. 
(a) The premises were inspected by SVS as part of the annual licensing process in November 2002, December 2003, and on 20 December 2004. In addition the premises would have been visited by an LVI at least three times during all quarantine periods at the premises.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much chlorofluorocarbon has been (a) recovered and (b) released into the environment from (i) refrigerators and (ii) other sources in the UK in each year since 1997; 
It is not possible to calculate how much CFC has been lost in the UK since 1997, or the quality of any CFCs released, as the quantity of CFCs in use in various applications over this period is not known.
The average quantity of controlled substances recovered from the refrigerant and blowing agent that was subsequently destroyed in England and Wales for 2003 was approximately 236g per fridge. It is not possible to state what percentage of potential CFC available for recovery that the destroyed amount represents. One of the reasons for this is CFC loss during a product's service life and further loss that may occur in storage and transit.
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Mr. Bradshaw: A number of facilities hold waste management licences for the treatment of waste refrigerators. Not all licensed facilities will be operational. Typically, there are a dozen specialist facilities recovering CFCs from domestic refrigerators.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many investigations the Environment Agency is carrying out into the (a) mishandling and (b) failure to recover chlorofluorocarbons. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Licensed fridge treatment sites are regularly inspected by the Environment Agency. Operators of licensed facilities that do not comply with their licence conditions face enforcement action in line with the Environment Agency's Enforcement and Prosecution Policy. Over the past two years, the Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted several site operators. One prosecution in July 2004, resulted in a four-month prison sentence, others have resulted in substantial fines. The Environment Agency does not comment on investigations that are currently on-going.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent to date by the Environment Agency on its plans to alter the nature of the Cuckmere Valley; what the budget is for the preparatory stage of this project; and if she will make a statement. 
The preparatory stage should be completed in April 2006 after which the Regional Flood Defence Committee will consider the appropriate way forward for future flood risk management. The agency will then undertake wider consultation on options with the intention of reaching agreement for the future management of the estuary, identifying necessary future works and possible funding routes to implement these.
Existing flood defences are reaching the end of their life and are increasingly ineffective against sea level rise. The Environment Agency spends between £30,000 and £50,000 per annum maintaining the defences in this area and ensuring that the river can adequately discharge into the sea.
I am always keen to see how Government policy and funding can contribute constructively to effective flood risk management in practice. I visited Shrewsbury in 2000 with the Prime
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Minister and on other occasions. I am interested in the flood risk problems there and in finding solutions to them as far as possible.
I understand the Environment Agency recently invested £3.5 million as part of an overall £6 million flood risk management improvement project in Shrewsbury, is considering carefully the case for further investment which is however problematic in some areas, and has explained the position to people affected by flood risk.
The agency has distributed its draft fluvial severn strategy to a broad range of consultees, including Members of Parliament for the affected areas, for comment prior to finalisation in 2006. This considers a number of options for all flood prone areas along the River Severn and, together with the agency's River Severn catchment flood management plan, will provide the agency with a framework for the management of flood risk. Given all avenues either have been or are being explored and the limited scope for further works in the immediate future, I see little point in raising people's hopes by another Ministerial visit at this time.
Mr. Morley: Following completion of the Environment Agency's £3.5 million Frankwell flood alleviation scheme, the scope for further flood risk improvement works in Shrewsbury in the immediate future is limited by benefit cost issues and the relative priority of these works against the need for investment in other locations.
I understand the agency assessed Underdale Road for inclusion in trials of temporary" defences (that is flood defences which would remain permanently at hand, to be raised temporarily during periods of heightened flood risk). However the benefits from such works proved insufficient in relation to justification of costs in the region of £460,000.
The agency's draft fluvial severn strategy considers a number of options for all flood prone areas along the River Severn and, together with the agency's River Severn catchment flood management plan, will provide the agency with a framework for the management of flood risk in the longer term.
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