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Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) with which internet service providers the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit has held discussions on the illegal trade in wildlife; when these discussions took place; and what assessment she has made of the steps taken by internet service providers to combat such trades; 
Jim Knight: Details of the relationships between the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit and internet service providers (including individual websites such as e-Bay) are confidential and I am unable to provide any detailed information. I agree with the hon. Member that this is an important issue. But discussions are taking place, and progress is being made.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the (a) National Farmers Union, (b) Farmers Union of Wales and (c) National Sheep Association on re-started live exports of sheep and cattle. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the environmental effects of disposing of disposable nappies in landfill. 
The Environment Agency's recently published 'Life Cycle Assessment' has helped to provide an understanding of the environmental impact of disposables and the traditional type of re-usable nappy. The main conclusion of the study is that the overall environmental impact of disposable and reusable nappies is similar.
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Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to amend the definition of open country in section 1(2) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to include coastal land. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have been in contact with interested parties, both for and against the banning of pet fairs, in order to prepare proposals in relation to these events. We have now had an opportunity to consider the responses to this first consultation and our proposal to license pet fairs is detailed in a Regulatory Impact Assessment which DEFRA published alongside the Animal Welfare Bill. We also intend to undertake a wider public consultation before any legislation in this area is finally introduced.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions have been (a) sought and (b) obtained from her Department and its predecessors since 1997 under the Piers and Harbour Order (Bembridge Harbour) Confirmation Act 1963. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 9 January 2006]: As the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minster of State for the Department of Transport on 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2315W, explained, responsibility for granting consents under various local harbours legislation where the approval of the Secretary of State is required, was transferred to this Department with effect from 1 October 2004.
The Department's Marine Consents and Environment Unit has no record of any application for consent, or of any approvals being given, under the Piers and Harbour Order (Bembridge Harbour) Confirmation Act 1963 since that date.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has held with (a) animal welfare organisations, (b) the Jockey Club and (c) others, about the whipping of racehorses. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what studies she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the animal welfare implications of the whipping of racehorses; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The central part of the Ragwort Control Act is the publication of a code of practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort. The code was published in July 2004 and provides comprehensive guidance on how to develop a cost-effective and strategic approach to weed control. It includes advice on the identification of Common Ragwort, risk assessment and priorities for control, the suitability and efficacy of control methods, environmental considerations and health and safety issues. The code of practice aims to reduce the risk of ragwort poisoning in horses and other livestock. It has been made widely available to individual land managers and also land owning institutions, such as local authorities.
The code of practice provides a yardstick against which compliance with an enforcement notice served under the Weeds Act 1959 can be measured. Together with Defra's revised procedures for investigating complaints about injurious weeds, the code of practice has enable Defra to make better use of the statutory measures available under the Weeds Act. In 2005, 69 enforcement notices were issued. Prior to the introduction of the code and the revised procedures, enforcement notices were rarely issued, if ever.
Mr. Bradshaw: Support for local authorities who wish to run a Christmas recycling scheme is provided through the Waste and Resources Action programme's (WRAP) 'Recycle Now' campaign, funded by Defra. The support includes the use of artwork, advertising templates and PR materials.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what appeal procedures are in place against the results of the tuberculosis test when a vet makes an error in administering the test. [R] 
Mr. Bradshaw: Testing, techniques and methods of interpretation are tightly prescribed in EU law. To prevent errors, rigorous training procedures are in place for those authorised to carry out bovine tuberculosis testing work. Any errors in administering the test would be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances her Department would not approve the use of a private tuberculin test; and in how many cases the use of such a test has been refused in the last two years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In the case of statutory tuberculin testing of cattle, any request to release tuberculin for a further private test will always be declined by the Department. Approval for private tests is generally granted in the context of a test for purchaser assurance, or as a condition for cattle export in herds not subjected to tuberculosis restrictions.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to introduce polymerase chain reaction testing to reinforce the tuberculosis test in cases where reactors are found. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are continuing to fund projects at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency to develop methods (including polymerase chain reaction-PCR) for detecting Mycobacterium bovis in clinical samples. PCR methods potentially offer extra flexibility and speed in confirming M. Bovis in post-mortem cattle samples. So far, however, PCR has not shown itself to be superior in terms of sensitivity, specificity or overall reliability to conventional culture.
At present it is unrealistic to consider PCR methods as a viable alternative to the existing primary surveillance tool for TB in live cattle (i.e. the tuberculin skin test) or to other ancillary ante-mortem tests that are used when skin test reactors are found.
The use of the tuberculin skin test and the gamma interferon blood test in parallel has the potential to significantly increase the detection of infected cattle in herds where TB has been confirmed. Defra does use the gamma interferon test in identified problem TB herds at a rate of about 6,000 animal tests a year. EU legislation allows the blood test only to be used to supplement the skin test.
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Preparations are now being made for wider use of the gamma interferon test, in prescribed circumstances. A working group has been established to prepare and deliver a policy for increased use of the test.
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