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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department offers to farmers on protecting their herds from bovine tuberculosis; and if she will make a statement. 
In addition, every cattle owner in Great Britain has received 'TB in cattlereducing the risk pre- and post movement testing in GB'. This booklet encourages herd owners to promote high standards of disease prevention and control through farm health planning. It also strongly advises herd owners to discuss the benefits of herd health planning with their local veterinary inspector or veterinary practitioner.
In England, European controls have been introduced under provisions laid down in the The Tuberculosis (England and Wales) Order 1984 together with the Animal Health Act 1981 (Section 32); and The Animals and Animal Product (Import and Export) (England) Regulations 2005. More detailed information is available on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/abouttb/legis.htm
The Government recognises the difficult and challenging problem of bTB. We therefore regularly review bTB controls to ensure they robustly protect public and animal health and consider whether they comply with requirements set out in European legislation.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the occasions when she has raised bovine tuberculosis in cattle with the European Union in each year since 1997; and what the outcome was in each case. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has undertaken on the incidence of bovine tuberculosis on individual farms; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Defra has funded a variety of projects which investigate aspects of tuberculosis risk to farms generally. Specific projects have looked at risk factors affecting tuberculosis incidence in cattle herds, the effects of re-stocking following whole herd slaughter (post foot and mouth disease) and the risks posed by badgers visiting farm buildings and feed stores. In addition, the Department has carried out two questionnaire based epidemiological studies (TB99 and CCS2005), on behalf of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle Tuberculosis, to identify factors that might influence outbreaks.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment her Department has made of the link between badgers and bovine tuberculosis in cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The evidence for a link between badgers and bovine tuberculosis in cattle was reviewed in 1997 by the Independent Scientific Review Group, led by Professor John Krebs. The Krebs group concluded that
More recently, experts 1 have demonstrated that badgers are a maintenance host for bovine tuberculosis. Although existing research does not quantify the specific contribution made by badgers to the appearance of bovine tuberculosis in cattle, patterns of infection in cattle and badgers are closely linked.
1 Donnelly, C.A. , Woodroffe, R., Cox, D.R., Bourne, F.J., Cheeseman, C.L., Clifton-Hadley, R.S., Wei, G., Gettinby, G., Gilks, P., Jenkins, H., Johnston, W.T., Le Ferve, A.M., Mclnerney, J.P. & Morrison, W.I. (2005) Positive and negative effects of widespread badger culling on cattle tuberculosis. Nature, doi.10.1038/nature04454 (http://www.doi.org/).
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department commissioned Oxford University, in 1999, to undertake a large project looking at the risk to cattle from M. bovis" infection in wildlife species other than badgers. One output from this was the recent publication which suggested that habitat management appeared to be important for a farm's TB risks. For example, the existence of ungrazed wildlife strips and the greater availability, width and continuity of hedgerows seemed to be associated with a reduced TB risk.
Mr. Bradshaw: Farmers are already able to apply for permanent footpath or bridleway diversion orders under section 119 of the Highways Act 1980, provided relevant criteria that balance the interests of the owner and the public are met.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what basis she stated at the recent National Farmers Union conference that the Prime Minister is the Minister for Biosecurity. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Noise Act 1996 was amended by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to remove the requirement of adoption. All local authorities can use the powers in the Noise Act 1996 to deal with night-time noise.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2006, Official Report, column 1018W, on travelling circuses, whether any of the research projects evaluated by her Department included scientific evidence on forms of entertainment involving (a) poor welfare, (b) suffering and (c) cruelty to animals; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department is not aware of any research that indicates welfare problems relating to the actual performance aspect of using animals in entertainment. Most research focuses on whether there might be welfare issues relating to husbandry aspects such as housing.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to increase water provision in East Sussex in the next 10 years; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department has no plans to increase water supplies in East Sussex. It is for the individual water companies concerned to consider the need for increasing provision of water in fulfilment of their duties to maintain adequate supplies of water. The companies' plans for meeting demand were set out in their 25 year water resources plans, prepared in 2004. The Environment Agency reported on those plans in 'Maintaining Water Supply', which is available from its website.
20 Mar 2006 : Column 8W
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of progress towards improving the status of women and girls in developing countries; and what steps are being taken by his Department to support such progress. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID recognises that no serious strategy for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can fail to address gender equality and women's empowerment as a central concern. We are committed to full implementation of the Beijing declaration and platform for action, and DFID participated in the review of progress on implementation of Beijing commitments which took place at the UN's 'Beijing plus 10' conference last spring. This meeting noted that progress had been made in improving the status of women and girls since the original conference in 1995 but that this progress had not been even across all areas and regions, and that considerable challenges remained. The conference called for strengthened efforts to implement the Beijing platform for action including critical areas such as health, education, tackling gender-based violence, economic empowerment and decision-making. The meeting also underlined the linkages between implementation of the Beijing commitments and achievement of the MDGs. These messages were reiterated by UN heads of state at the Millennium Review Summit in September.
As well as support to international processes, DFID is working to ensure that gender issues are made a priority area across our programme and that developing country partners integrate gender into their own national plans. DFID also supports specific activities to promote the rights of women and girls, including in the areas of girls' education, maternal mortality and reproductive health.
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