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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis among cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Under EU legislation, routine TB testing is carried out annually or biennially in parishes with a historically higher number of bovine TB incidents in cattle. This is reduced to testing every four years in parishes with historically low or no TB incidents. TB reactors are removed for slaughter and the owner is compensated using a new table-based valuation system, which was introduced on 1 February. The rest of the herd are placed under movement restrictions.
In addition, we introduced compulsory pre-movement testing of cattle in England on 27 March, which will help to reduce the risk of spreading TB through cattle movements. The legislation applies to cattle over 15 months of age moving from one and two-year tested herds. It will be extended to movements of cattle over 42-days-old on 1 March 2007.
Improved diagnosis of TB in cattle is a major objective of Defra's wide-ranging research programme. The laboratory-based gamma-interferon test is not sufficiently specific to replace the TB test but use of the two tests in parallel has the potential to significantly increase the detection of infected cattle in herds where TB has been confirmed. Preparations are being made for wider use of the gamma interferon test in prescribed circumstances.
In this country, the main wildlife reservoir of bovine TB is in badgers. 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. This has now closed and we received more than 35,000 responses. These responses will be analysed carefully over the coming weeks to inform decisions alongside other available evidence.
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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research the Government have conducted into links between badgers and the spread of tuberculosis to cattle; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will commission research into the effect of boosting the selenium and iodine intake of badgers on their resistance to tuberculosis. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There is no persuasive scientific evidence which either confirms or refutes the theory that some animals with mineral deficient diets might have increased susceptibility to tuberculosis, particularly those in areas where soils are deficient in trace elements such as selenium. Defra has not dismissed the possibility of a nutritional link but feels that, given the resources available for research, the link is not of sufficient priority for research funding.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions (a) she and (b) her Department has held with the (i)energy and (ii) cement industries on the use of waste as a power source for cement kilns; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 20 March 2006]: The Government recognises the value of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) as a positive energy source. Therefore the Governments Waste Implementation Programme (WIP") commissioned RPS consultants in September 2005 to approach industrial intensive energy users to establish interest in using solid recovered fuel (SRF") as an alternative energy source to compete with current fuels. A workshop was held in London on 17 January 2006 attended by ten industrial companies and a potential SRF supplier at which the benefits and relative economics of this approach were presented and discussed.
With regard to (b) (ii), WIP is aware of discussions between developers of mechanical and biological treatment (MBT") plant and cement companies with
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the aim of securing outlets for SRF. This outlet route is not well developed and contracts are usually of short duration for limited tonnages. For this reason, WIP is endeavouring to stimulate alternative RDF outlets with intensive energy users or in purpose built energy recovery facilities.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to extend the chewing gum pilot schemes to the rest of England and Wales; and what estimate she has made of the costs of so doing. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chewing Gum Action group announced on 2 March 2006 that it would be working with 15 local authorities across England to launch a series of chewing gum litter campaigns between May and September this year which would build on the success of the pilot campaigns in 2005. The action group is funding the poster advertising for these campaigns using the 'Thanks for binning your gum' message that was piloted in Preston, Manchester and Maidstone. Theaction group has invested £600,000 in the 2006 campaigns.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what private sector funding her Department has received towards the cleaning up of chewing gum in public streets and buildings. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from Wrigley UK Ltd. regarding Government-sponsored chewing gum cleaning campaigns. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of how much local government spent on cleaning up chewing gum (a) in 2005 and (b) in the last 10 years. 
These figures are not available. However, a recent survey by ENCAMSthe environmental charity which runs the Keep Britain Tidy Campaignreceived 66 responses from local authorities on gum removal. The spending by these
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authorities on removing gum ranged from £0 to £200,000 per annum, with an average per authority of £12,792.
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to start the consultation into prohibiting the use of certain animal species in travelling circuses; whether the consultation will be open for public comment; if she will list the organisations she plans to consult; and which species she plans to include in proposals for the consultation. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Discussions with industry, welfare organisations and other Government departments on the content of draft regulations will be given high priority once the Animal Welfare Bill becomes law. All non-domesticated species will be considered.
Consideration is still being given to the organisations which will be invited to participate in initial discussions. Proposals will be subject to public consultation before being laid before Parliament.
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