|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Morley: The research commissioned by this Department focuses on the potential carbon savings from using biodiesel and the impacts on agriculture and the rural economy of growing oilseed rape as a biodiesel feedstock. In 2003, Sheffield Hallam university evaluated the comparative energy, environmental and socio-economic costs and benefits of biodiesel production in the UK. The Central Science Laboratory carried out two studies. The first, in 2002, looked at the prospects and potential impacts of liquid biofuels on UK agriculture, the farmed environment, landscape and rural economy. The second, in 2003, looked at industry support, cost of carbon savings and agricultural implications. Cambridge university is currently carrying out a review of the economics of energy crops, including those used for biofuels. DEFRA also commissions research supporting the sustainable development of arable crops, including oilseed rape.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on Bio-diversity has to look at the role of UK-based companies providing financial support to illegal or ecologically unsustainable timber producers and manufacturers. 
Mr. Morley: The Government are aware of the problems of support to unsustainable timber producers and manufacturers. The Department for International Development commissioned Chatham House, an independent research institute, to investigate the nature of the problem, and to identify possible options for moving forward. Their report was published in June 2005 and is available at www.illegallogging.info/papers/due_diligence_in_forestry_investment.doc. The Government are considering the content of the report.
The Government are also working with the private sector in timber consuming and timber producing counties to develop and promote legally sourced timber products and adopt and implement good business practices and improved market transparency. This is in response to the commitments made by the UK and other G8 countries to tackle illegal logging made at the UK presidency's G8 environment and development ministerial in March 2005.
There are no plans for the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group on Biodiversity to do additional work on this at present but it does discuss overall Government policy as it relates to global forestry.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with interested parties on the proposal for
12 Dec 2005 : Column 1590W
a biomass energy generator at Winkleigh in Devon; and what assistance her Department has given to the project. 
Mr. Morley: Defra officials have had discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Forestry Commission, the Government Office for the South West, Regen SW and Renergy Ltd. Ministers and officials have replied to correspondence from Peninsula Power and Winkleigh residents, giving advice on policy issues relevant to the project. No financial assistance has been given although farmers intending to supply energy crops to the power station will be eligible to apply for available planting grants.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the proposals are for the BCG vaccine in badgers trial planned for Gloucestershire; what the scale of the trial will be; what the timetable is for the trial; and in what area it will take place. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The field study for the badger vaccine will cover an area of approximately 50 km squared near Cirencester, Gloucestershire and up to 500 badgers. Preparatory work is now under way to obtain landowners' permission and plan the initial field work (surveying setts and bait-marking) which will start in early 2006. Trapping and sampling of badgers will commence in June 2006. Vaccination will be carried out in September 2006, and then annually. The study is likely to run for three years.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the incidence of bovine TB caused by cattle-to-cattle transmission was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The evidence in this area is complex. It is difficult to pinpoint sources of infection for individual herd breakdowns, particularly when infection by wildlife is a possibility, and the regional variation in the incidence of the disease complicates the overall picture. It is, therefore, not possible to put a precise figure on the number of cases of bovine TB (bTB) that can be attributed to cattle-to-cattle transmission (or to any other source of infection). It is clear, however, that cattle-to-cattle transmission is of critical importance" (Independent Scientific Group on cattle TB, 3rd report, p41) and in low bTB incidence areas there is evidence that it could be responsible for around 80 per cent. or more of cases.
But the situation is quite different in the high incidence areas of the country where 85 to 90 per cent. of all confirmed breakdowns occur. Some herds in these areas are also infected by purchased cattle, but wildlife is a major source of new herd infection and in some counties it may be a more important source than cattle.
12 Dec 2005 : Column 1591W
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether animals suspected of being infected by bovine tuberculosis after an initial test are permitted further tests at the animal-owner's request; 
Mr. Bradshaw: Approved testing procedures and standards for cattle TB are set out in EC Directive 64/432/EEC, a trade directive covering health requirements for cattle and pigs. These arrangements are incorporated in domestic legislation the Tuberculosis Order, which are under sections 32 and 34 of the Animal Health Act 1981.
TB is confirmed by identification of visible lesions in the slaughterhouse and/or laboratory testing. Animals that react to the TB skin test are valued, removed from the farm and slaughtered. The farmer is compensated for 100 per cent. of the market value of the animal.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in England have had animals slaughtered as part of the measures to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis in each of the last three years. 
|Number of farms affected|
|1 January-30 September 2005||2,854|
Mr. Bradshaw: The domestic legislation which provides for the notification of disease, compulsory testing, slaughter, valuation and compensation, and restriction of the movement of affected herds is set out in the Tuberculosis Orders made under sections 32 and 34 of the Animal Health Act 1981.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether officials investigating cases of bovine tuberculosis have the power to refer farmers to (a) trading standards officers and (b) other authorities. 
Officials from the State Veterinary Service (SVS) will report all breaches, or suspect breaches, of the TB order to local trading standards officials. The officers are also notified of all TB herd movement restrictions that are served as a result of overdue TB tests as well as when the disease is identified.
12 Dec 2005 : Column 1592W
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in England have produced positive skin tests for bovine TB 60 days after the first test in each month since 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The number of farms in England that produced a positive skin test for bovine TB 60-days after the first test in each month since 2001 are given in the following five tables. All animals were subsequently slaughtered.
|Number of farms|
|Number of farms|
|Number of farms|
|Number of farms|
|Number of farms|
|Total January 2001 to September 2005||13,664|
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms have gone out of business (a) three months, (b) six months, (c) 12 months, (d) 24 months and (e) 36 months after being closed by her Department after a suspected case of bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at what meetings the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare discussed bovine tuberculosis in the last 12 months. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|