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Bovine TB

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions with farmers' representatives she has had on potential market distortions arising from pre-tested cattle from an infected area selling at a premium. [46158]


 
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Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 30 January 2006]: The effect of pre-movement testing on cattle prices was considered in the report of the Tuberculosis Pre-Movement Testing Stakeholder Group and in a Regulatory Impact Assessment, available on the Defra website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/premovement/index.htm

Pre-movement testing will be introduced in England on 20 February. We will keep the policy under review.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to investigate the effects of the new requirement to test for bovine TB in all cattle over 15 months before movement on the holding of live auction markets. [46350]

Mr. Bradshaw: Pre-movement testing will be introduced in England on 20 February and will apply to cattle over 15 months of age moving out of one to two year tested herds, unless the herd or the movement meets any of the exemptions as defined in the TB (England) Order 2005 (as amended).

The possible impact of pre-movement testing on markets was considered in the report of the Tuberculosis Pre-Movement Testing Stakeholder Group and assessed in the regulatory impact assessment, available on the Defra website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/premovement/index.htm.

We will keep the policy under review.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on the random badger culling trial (RBCT) since 1998; and what estimate she has made of the total cost of the RBCT. [46731]

Mr. Bradshaw: The randomised badger culling trial began in December 1998. To the end of 2004–05 the cost was approximately £32 million. Surveying and analytical work is continuing and is expected to cost approximately £7 million in 2005–06.

Brazilian Beef

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) use of slave labour and (b) clearing of rainforest in the production of Brazilian beef exported to the UK. [46623]

Mr. Morley: The information is as follows.

(a) The Brazilian Government is committed to eradicating slave labour practices. Legislation has now been prepared to confiscate farms that practise forced and child labour. This issue continues to be a matter of serious concern and our embassy in Brazil is monitoring developments closely. We welcome the engagement of civil society in Brazil and internationally on this issue.

More broadly, the Government have played a leading role in ensuring that the international framework to tackle abuses of workers' rights throughout the world is in place, particularly through its work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) whose 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up works towards the elimination of forced labour and child labour, the ending of discrimination in employment and the right to organise
 
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and collective bargaining; and has provided specific support to the ILO's action programme on combating forced labour.

(b) With regard to deforestation, the UK has contributed £14 million to the multi-donor pilot programme for the preservation of Brazilian rain forests and is a major contributor to the global environment facility (GEF) which is creating and maintaining protected areas in the region through the Amazon Region Protected Areas Programme. The managers of the GEF have approved or endorsed funding for 29 projects in Brazil, with a value of approximately £150 million. The UK also continues to support projects in the Amazon through multilateral organisations, including the European Commission and the World Bank.

In terms of beef exports to the UK, our records indicate that there was a slight decrease in the amount of Brazilian beef entering the UK in 2005 compared to 2004. The UK still needs to import beef as, until very recently, we were only 70 per cent. self-sufficient in beef production. However, we do expect beef imports to now fall.

Climate Change

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what scientific monitoring her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated in relation to (i) climate change in general and (ii) temperature and salinity changes in the gulf stream; and if she will make a statement. [45599]

Mr. Morley: Climate change monitoring funded by DEFRA includes the accurate monitoring of global sea surface temperature by the AATSR (Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer) satellite instrument. DEFRA also contribute financially to the Argo project: a global array of over 2,000 free-drifting profiling floats that measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 2,000 m of the ocean. The Hadley Centre (UK Met Office), as part of their contract with DEFRA, monitor scientific developments in monitoring climate change that are relevant to DEFRA's needs.

The responses of the gulf stream and other components of the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation are being investigated in a major joint research programme by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, (CEFAS) (funded by DEFRA and its predecessor Departments since 1985). This study monitors two components of the ocean circulation off SE Greenland that are of key importance to climate. This study and the measurement of warm, salty flows passing into Arctic to the NW of Scotland, funded by the Scottish Executive and predecessors for over 100 years, form important elements of the international Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Flux Study (ASOF), which investigates all aspects of the role of the Northern Seas in Climate; ASOF, now the largest ocean-observing system in the Northern Hemisphere, is chaired by CEFAS. The Hadley Centre, funded by my Department, is also investigating the issue of gulf stream stability and evaluating research by others in this field.
 
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Departmental Vehicles

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average fuel efficiency of her Department's vehicles has been in each year since 1997. [21417]

Jim Knight: Information on fuel use is not collected for vehicles in the Defra or Executive Agencies fleet.

Domestic Water Rates

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average annual domestic water rates were for (a) each area of England and (b) each water supplier over the last five years. [45597]

Mr. Morley: Figures for average annual domestic water and sewerage charges are not collected on a regional basis.

Tables placed in the Library of the House show the average annual domestic water and sewerage bills for each of the water and sewerage undertakers in England and Wales for each of the last five years. For ease of comparison the figures are quoted in 2005–06 prices.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings of the EU (a) Committee for the adaptation to scientific and technical progress of the directive on a limit value for lead in the air, (b) Advisory Committee for the implementation of the directive on the reduction of sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, (c) Committee for the adaptation to technical progress and the implementation of the directive on the control of volatile organic compound emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations and (d) Committee for the implementation of the directive relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; which other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved Governments; and if she will make a statement. [39021]

Mr. Bradshaw: There were no meetings of the Committee for the adaptation to scientific and technical progress of the directive on a limit value for lead in the air, the Advisory Committee for the implementation of the directive on the reduction of sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, or the Committee for the adaptation to technical progress and the implementation of the directive on the control of volatile organic compound emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations, during the UK presidency.

There were no meetings of the Committee for the implementation of the directive relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars, during the UK presidency.
 
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