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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average level of infection has been of (a) the H7 strain of avian influenza, (b) the H5N1 strain of avian influenza and (c) all other strains of avian influenza found in flocks during outbreaks. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The infection rate within a flock will depend on the stage at which infection or disease is detected. The rate of spread and local epidemiology within a poultry population will be dependent on many factors, but once the virus is introduced into a holding its rate of spread within the flock will be strongly influenced by the host species, the virus strain and the production type. These factors are consistent in their impact for rates of infection in terms of different virus serotypes where rates typically approach 100 per cent.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the detected infection rates for the H7 strain of avian influenza in (a) the UK and (b) other countries. 
The Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) is world renowned for its avian influenza testing work. As the International Reference Laboratory for avian influenza,
the VLA verifies other countries test results. It is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in veterinary research.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with scientists in Scandinavia on the UK's regime for testing for (a) the H7 strain, (b) the H5N1 strain and (c) all other strains of avian influenza. 
Mr. Bradshaw: As an international reference laboratoryand especially as the EU community reference laboratory for avian influenzathe Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) has frequent discussions with its counterparts overseas. The Agency takes a leading role in developing and defining standards and keeps abreast of the latest information.
Recent contact has been made with the relevant national laboratory in Sweden and a private laboratory in Sweden that conducts independent surveillance in wild bird populations. The national laboratory follows EU guidelines in its work to which the VLA makes a significant contribution. The private laboratory uses different sampling regimes which have not been validated to an international standard and lack comparative data with standard regimes.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of other countries experiences of outbreaks of avian influenza in preparing the UKs (a) testing regime and (b) biosecurity measures; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have worked very closely with the European Commission and all other member states on both the UK testing regime for avian influenza and the requirement for biosecurity measures for poultry keepers. We have also used the experiences of other countries to inform our assessment of the risk to UK poultry. We will continue to assess and review both testing procedures and biosecurity measures in the light of new developments.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the National Assembly for Wales on the analysis of data from roadside casualties of badgers regarding bovine TB studies; and if she will take steps to provide for the results to be jointly collated and issued in a combined report. 
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department received the documents (a) Comments by the European Communities on the Scientific and
Technical Advice to the Panel, Geneva, 28 January 2005 and (b) Further scientific or technical evidence in response to the other parties comments by the European Communities, Geneva, 10 February 2005, relating to the European CommunitiesMeasures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products (DS291, DS292, DS293). 
Ian Pearson: The document entitled Comments by the European Communities on the Scientific and Technical Advice to the Panel, Geneva, 28 January 2005 was made available to Defra officials on 1 February 2005. The submission Further scientific or technical evidence in response to other parties comments by the European Communities, Geneva, 10 February 2005 was provided to Defra officials on 11 February 2005.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the £600,000 provided by the Chewing Gum Action Group will be divided between the pilot areas; and how the pilot areas are dividing their funding between advertising, alternative disposal and enforcement related measures. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 8 May 2006]: The Chewing Gum Action Group funding provided to the 15 local authority areas is to be used solely to supply the paid advertising element of the campaigns. This will be complemented by local activity, funded by the individual local authorities, which will include enforcement and alternative disposal solutions.
The Chewing Gum Action Group funding has been divided between each local authority based on the advertising space available in the geographical area of the campaign, and the cost of advertising in that specific area.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the Chewing Gum Action Group pilots in 2006 will differ from the pilot campaigns carried out in 2005 in terms of the techniques employed to reduce gum litter. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 8 May 2006]: As the Chewing Gum Action Group campaigns in 2006 are based on the successful pilot campaigns in 2005, the techniques employed to reduce gum litter will remain the same and will focus on paid advertising, education and awareness raising, visible enforcement, and alternative disposal solutions.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 8 May 2006]: The success of the campaign, both in terms of reduced levels of gum deposited on the streets and in the effect on attitudes and awareness, will be recorded and analysed. The Chewing Gum Action Group is
currently working with a research agency to formulate this analysis. This will be finalised by the end ofMay 2006.
(a) Human Resources employed a total of 207 staff (200 full-time equivalents). This included 53 staff(51.4 FTE) employed in Learning and Development, Diversity and Equality and Occupational Support and Advisory teams.
(b) DEFRA's Press Office, which deals with media and press, employed a total of 33 staff (32.4 FTE). This included Press Officers, Planning team, administrative support staff, and senior managers. DEFRA recently set up a Customer Contact Unit to centralise provision of information to the public in response to correspondence, public enquiries, and responses to Parliamentary Questions. This employed 65 staff on31 March 2006. This figure does not include staff employed on telephone helplines. Staff elsewhere in the Department may also be involved in the provision of public information in specific areas; a figure onthe number of staff involved in this respect is notheld centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the staff in his Department is (a) male, (b) female and (c) disabled, broken down by grade. 
|DEFRA and Executive Agencies|
This applies to staff who have less than 20 years reckonable service. Staff may be retained until they either reach 65 or attain 20 years service, whichever is sooner, subject to continued satisfactory performance and efficiency.
Heads of departments and Agency chief executives may retain the services of members of the SCS if it is considered to be in the public interest, and they are satisfied with their performance and efficiency.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) women and (b) men are employed in the Department; what the average pay was for (i) women and (ii) men in the Department in (A) 1997 and(B) 2006; what women's average pay is as a percentage of men's average pay; and how many (1) women and (2) men the Department employed in each of the last five years, broken down by grade. 
The Cabinet Office collects and publishes annually statistical information on the Civil Service by Department. These include data on the employment of men and women. Information on the numbers of women and men employed in the Civil Service at31 December 2005 is available in the Library and on the Civil Service website at:
The earliest readily available pay data split by gender since the creation of Defra is held in the 2003 Equal Pay Review, which covered staff below the Senior Civil
Service in the core Department, the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate Executive Agencies.
(i) Women £20,770
(ii) Men £25,186
The review found that there were no significant pay gaps within the Department, provided that Defra's multi-year pay settlement was fully rolled out for future years up to and including 2005/2006. The final year of the settlement was rolled out last year and runs until the end of June 2006.
(B) For 2006, the average pay for men and women on core-Department terms and conditions (core-Defra, PSD, VMD, SVS, MFA and GDSthe latter three Agencies were created since the 2003 Equal Pay Review and were previously included within the core-Department) was as follows:
(i) Women £26,194
(ii) Men £30,135
(i) Women £17,168
(ii) Men £22,421
(i) Women £20,706
(ii) Men £26,195
(i) Women £73,403
(ii) Men £75,578
Average pay figures for the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, the Central Science Laboratory and the Rural Payments Agency areeither unavailable or could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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