Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 258W, on air quality, what progress has been made towards bringing the standard of air quality in the Stockport part of Denton and Reddish constituency to within the guideline limits. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Local authorities have a duty under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to review and assess the current, and likely future, air quality in their areas. Where local authorities consider that one or more of the nationally prescribed air quality objectives for each of the seven pollutants is unlikely to be met by the relevant deadline, they must declare an air quality management area (AQMA), covering the area where the problem is expected. These local authorities must then take action, along with other agencies and organisations, to work towards meeting the air quality objectives.
Stockport MBC initially declared AQMAs for nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) and particles (PM 1 0 ) in December 2001. It was subsequently predicted that the national objective for particles would not in fact be exceeded in Stockport. A new AQMA declaration in July 2005 replaced the 2001 declaration, and relates to nitrogen dioxide only. The AQMA covers single roads and groups of roads and areas close to them across the borough, including some in the north of the borough, in the Denton and Reddish constituency. Stockport MBC, in conjunction with the other Greater Manchester local authorities, produced a joint air quality action plan (linked with the Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan) which was publicly consulted upon in June 2004; my Department also commented on the plan. The action plan includes a range of both Greater Manchester-wide and borough-specific measures. Stockport are now engaged in implementing measures to work towards meeting the air quality objectives. The measures are aimed at traffic reduction and modal shift from cars to other forms of transport and include park and ride/walk schemes, green travel plans, and quality bus corridors. In the most recent Greater Manchester Air Quality Action Plan Progress Report (2005), Stockport MBC reported that they were on schedule in implementing the majority of their borough-specific measures.
Greater Manchester authorities are now working closely with transport planners in finalising the new Local Transport Plan (LTP) which is due by the end of March 2006. Including measures within the LTP should also help increase the capacity to deliver cleaner air within the AQMAs.
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The Government are also currently undertaking a review of the air quality strategy to identify potential new additional measures to move us closer to meeting the air quality objectives and generate cost-effective health benefits.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, columns 2589W, on air quality, what recent assessment has been made of air quality standards in the Stockport part of Denton and Reddish constituency. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Local authorities have a duty under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to review and assess the current, and likely future, air quality in their areas. Guidance on reviews and assessments are available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/lagm/guidance/index.htm and http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airguality/lagm/guidance/pdf/lagm-tg03.pdf.
Stockport MBC submitted their last Updating and Screening Assessment in November 2003. Stockport subsequently carried out a Detailed Assessment in respect of nitrogen dioxide and particles (PM 1 0 ), which was submitted to my Department in December 2004, and they submitted a Progress Report in May 2005. In light of the conclusions of the Detailed Assessment, Stockport amended their AQMA declaration in July 2005. The AQMA was enlarged with respect to nitrogen dioxide, but the particles objective was removed from the declaration. The AQMA covers single roads and groups of roads and areas close to them across the borough, including some in the north of the borough, within the Denton and Reddish constituency. As part of their review and assessment work, Stockport MBC continue to monitor nitrogen dioxide at roadside locations in the north of the borough.
The next round of review and assessments has now started and local authorities are asked to submit a new Updating and Screening Assessment by end of April 2006. Copies of all the review and assessment reports are available from the following contact at Stockport MBC firstname.lastname@example.org or air.group@stock port.gov.uk.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions powers introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 have been used to deal with environmental crime. 
Sections 4041 introduced the power for local authorities to shut noisy premises for up to 24 hours in order to address or prevent a public nuisance. We do not have information on how many times this power has been used.
Section 42 removed the requirement for local authorities to adopt the Noise Act 1996 and provide a specific level of noise service before the Noise Act 1996
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could be used. In 200405, one fixed penalty notice was issued by local authorities in England for night noise offences.
Sections 4347 introduced new fixed penalty notices for graffiti and flyposting. In 200405, 19 fixed penalties were issued by local authorities in England for graffiti offences and 57 for fly-posting.
Sections 4852 introduced a power for local authorities to issue Graffiti Removal Notices requiring the clean-up of property defaced by graffiti; however, these powers have so far been available only in 12 pilot areas and the Government are not aware of any notices having been issued. This is largely due to the establishment of partnership arrangements in these areas for dealing with graffiti defacement.
Section 54 made it an offence to sell aerosol paints to under 16-year-olds. No records of prosecutions under s.54 of the Act were notified for 2003 and 2004. Statistics for 2005 will be published in the autumn.
Section 55 extended certain enforcement powers to local authorities for use when investigating fly-tipping offences. No national data are collected on how frequently these powers are used as this is a matter for local authorities based on local enforcement policies. There is anecdotal evidence, however, that local authorities have been using these powers, particularly the stop and search powers, and that they have been extremely helpful to them when dealing with fly-tipping offences.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to protect bird populations in zoos and aviaries from avian influenza; and if she will make a statement. 
We have also planned for a possible preventive vaccination programme against avian influenza for zoo birds in the UK, for conservation purposes. This will be based on a veterinary risk assessment. As part of our planning, we have ordered 2.3 million doses of vaccine as a contingency reserve for zoo birds.
However, at the present level of risk, currently available vaccines do not make vaccination effective or efficient. A high standard of biosecurity, separation from wild birds and careful surveillance for signs of disease are the most effective means of prevention.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate has been made of the annual cost of (a) purchase of equipment, (b) transport, (c) staff training, (d) employment and salary and (e) other costs in relation to carrying out a large-scale badger cull in England. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are currently analysing the responses to a public consultation on both the principle and method of introducing a badger culling policy. No decisions have yet been made. A partial regulatory impact assessment was published alongside the consultation document and is available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/badgers-tbcontrols/partial-ria.pdf.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effects of culling badgers on reducing bovine tuberculosis in cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Recent research from the randomised badger culling trial (RBCT), together with the results from the Republic of Ireland's four area badger culling trial and other scientific evidence, has shown that culling badgers in hotspot areas can help reduce the incidence of disease in cattle. However, there is still enough scientific uncertaintyin particular about the potential risk of increasing bovine TB in herds surrounding areas in which badgers have been culled and different culling strategiesto make it important to consult on the principle as well as the method of badger controls.
A public consultation on both the principle and method of a badger culling policy in areas of high TB incidence in cattle was launched on 15 December 2005. The deadline has now passed and we are currently considering the responses received.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost of culling badgers in each of the (a) last five years and (b) next three years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The randomised badger culling trial (RBCT) began in 1998 and the culling element of the trial ended in October 2005, with some surveying work continuing. The costs shown in the table include the field trial, analysis and audit elements of the trial.
We are currently analysing the responses to a public consultation on both the principle and method of introducing a badger culling policy. No decisions have yet been made. A partial regulatory impact assessment was published alongside the consultation document and is available on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/badgers-tbcontrols/partial-ria.pdf.
Mr. Bradshaw: We have recently concluded a public consultation on both the principle and method of a badger culling policy to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle in high incidence areas in England. We are in the process of analysing responses. No decisions have yet been made.
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