10 Jan 2006 : Column 441W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 10 January 2006


Animal Welfare Bill

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate the Government have made of the cost to local authorities of implementing the Animal Welfare Bill; and how this will be funded. [39494]

Mr. Bradshaw: Our estimate of the costs to local authorities of implementing our proposals under the Animal Welfare Bill is detailed in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), which was published alongside the Bill. We estimate that the Bill will not impose any significant additional costs on local authorities.

Avian Influenza

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice and information is being issued to keepers of (a) captive bred and (b) wild disabled birds registered with her Department on (i) avian influenza and (ii) obtaining seasonal influenza injections. [38436]

Mr. Bradshaw: Guidance on biosecurity and on keeping birds separate from wild birds has been issued very widely to those who keep birds commercially, to veterinary practices and to many others including wildfowl trusts, the RSPCA and the Pet Care Trust. Further guidance on local risk assessments and contingency planning is on the DEFRA website. Advertisements have been placed in a variety of journals to bring the biosecurity guidance and the ban on shows, fairs and sales to the attention of keepers of backyard flocks and captive birds respectively.

DEFRA is guided by the Department of Health in relation to advice on seasonal influenza vaccination. The current position is that routine vaccination of poultry workers, veterinarians or those dealing with wild birds with seasonal human flu vaccine is not recommended, but should be used in a confirmed outbreak of avian flu as a protection against the possibility of re-assortment with human flu virus for those people who might be exposed to the virus during disease control activities.

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will compensate those whose livelihoods have been affected by the ban on bird shows; and if she will make a statement. [38874]

Mr. Bradshaw: I announced on 20 December 2005 that all bird shows are now allowed to go ahead under a general licence; details are available on the DEFRA website at:
10 Jan 2006 : Column 442W

There are no plans to offer compensation to those who have been affected by this ban.

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) why her Department has not banned live importation of birdsfrom poultry shows in other European Union countries; [38170]

(2) whether live birds may be imported from poultry shows in European Union countries; and what risk assessment she has undertaken of the potential importation of Avian influenza from these sources. [38171]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 20 December 2005]: Live birds may be brought into the United Kingdom from poultry shows within the EU as long as the correct import procedures are followed. Rules on importing poultry are available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/int-trde/animl-im/animl-im.htm

The movement of birds within the EU is controlled by Community rules, which do not require birds to be quarantined. However, the UK's Salmonella controls require all fowl species (for example chicken, ducks and turkeys) arriving in the UK from other member states to be isolated for at least 112 days after arrival.

Defra carries out qualitative veterinary risk assessments when officially notified of a disease outbreak in an EU-member state, a country on the border of the EU or one of the UK's trading partners worldwide. There are currently no cases of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza in EU member states. Based on veterinary risk assessments, we consider that the risk to birds in the UK is currently low.

If an EU member state experiences an outbreak of serious disease such as Avian influenza, existing EU trade rules set out the measures that must be adopted by that member state to prevent the spread of the disease. If the situation demands it, the European Commission will propose additional safeguard measures. It is not open to other member states to take unilateral action which goes beyond Community trade rules.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the United Kingdom's poultry imports came from China in 2004–05. [39238]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 20 December 2005]: Imports of poultry products from China into the UK for the period 2004 to September 2005 are as shown. The final row in the table shows that these represented 0.1 per cent. (by value) of total poultry imports into the UK for the period January to September 2005.

The figures in the table below reflect imports of processed bird feathers, which have undergone treatment to ensure no pathogens are transmitted and are permitted for import from China. Imports of any other poultry products from China are not permitted.
10 Jan 2006 : Column 443W

January to September 2005
Thousand tonnes£ millionThousand tonnes£ million
Imports from China2111
Total imports6221,153495854
Proportion of imports from China (percentage)

2005 data is subject to amendments.
H M Revenue and Customs
Data prepared by Trade statistics, Food Chain Analysis 3, DEFRA

Aviation Emissions

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures to reduce aviation emissions the Government are considering. [39727]

Mr. Morley: The Government believe the best way for aviation to contribute to the long-term goal of climate stabilisation is through a well-designed emissions trading scheme. This work programme was a priority for the UK Presidency of the EU and under our Presidency, the European Council endorsed the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS. The European Commission aims to bring forward a legislative proposal by the end of 2006 and we are pressing for inclusion from 2008 or as soon as possible thereafter.

We are also encouraging industry to improve their operational practices; invest in research and development programmes; and to take voluntary action to control their greenhouse gas emissions. We have committed to offset carbon dioxide emissions from official air travel in central Government starting from April 2006 and continue to explore the use of other economic instruments, such as taxes and charges.

On local air quality, local authorities have a statutory duty to review and assess the local air quality in their area for the purpose of local air quality management. Where it is likely that the air quality objectives will not be met by the relevant deadline, the local authority must designate an air quality management area and take action, along with others, to work towards meeting the air quality objectives.

Air quality management areas in respect of the Nitrogen dioxide national air quality objective have been designated in the vicinities of Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The local authorities involved have drawn up or are working up air quality action plans, in partnership with the airport operators and other interested parties, setting out proposed measures to tackle the problem.


Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to regulate the (a) sale and (b) disposal of batteries in the UK; and what current EU regulations apply to batteries waste. [39721]

Mr. Bradshaw: Directive 91/157/EEC (as amended) on batteries and accumulators containing certain dangerous substances is the sole EU legislative measure applying to
10 Jan 2006 : Column 444W
batteries. This directive only covers those batteries containing specified levels of mercury, cadmium or lead, which are deemed hazardous.

However, proposals for a new batteries directive, to cover all batteries, is currently undergoing negotiation, and we expect the directive to be finalised this year. The proposed directive will require member states to adopt appropriate measures to collect and recycle their waste batteries. Once the directive has been agreed, HMG will consider how to transpose its requirements, including requirements relating to sales and disposal, into UK law.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to transpose European Union legislation regarding the sale and disposal of batteries in the UK. [39722]

Mr. Bradshaw: Negotiations on the proposed Batteries Directive have not concluded yet, and so we do not know what the final requirements will be. Once the Directive is agreed, HMG will consider how to transpose its requirements into UK law.

Next Section Index Home Page