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During the period April 2004 to the end of March 2005, a total of 39,186 cases were convicted in court for vehicle excise duty evasion by DVLA London offices. A further 25,120 people settled out of court.
A VED offence is prosecuted in the area in which it is detected wherever the driver is resident. A breakdown of cases by reference to the driver's residence could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding the Department has allocated to the dairy industry to promote dairy products in each of the last five years. 
Barry Gardiner: Grants have been available during each of the last five years through the Agriculture Development Scheme for the promotion of greater efficiency throughout the food chain, the Processing and Marketing Grant for assistance with processing and marketing of agricultural products, and through the Rural Enterprise Scheme for the marketing of quality agricultural products and for small-scale on-farm processing projects. A number of dairy processors and dairy marketing organisations have benefited from funding from each of these schemes.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Department has allocated to supporting organic farming in the last five years; and how much of this was to assist transition of farms to organic farming. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The amount allocated over the last five years to support organic farming under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) and its predecessor, the Organic Aid Scheme (OAS), including support for conversion was £49.8 million.
The OFS closed to new applications at the end of March 2005. It was replaced by Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS). Under OELS, the cash spend to date is just over £753,000. Some £9.8 million has also been committed over the next three years to fund the cost of conversion under this new scheme.
Over the last five years DEFRA has also provided funding for the Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS), a free advice service for farmers interested in converting to organic farming, at a cost of £1.3 million.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much financial support the Soil Association received from the Department in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: For each of the financial years 2001/2002 until 2005/2006 the following grant payments were made to the Soil Association and its associated certification companies, Soil Association Certification Limited and ASCISCO.
|(a) Payments made by Defra to Soil Association Certification Limited and ASCISCO as part of the partnership agreement with organic certification bodies in connection with the implementation of the EU Organic inspection regime|
|(b) Grant payments to the Soil Association under the Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) and Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) and the England Objective 1 programme|
No formal assessment of the environmental impact of its current structure has been made, but the Government will continue to explore options for developing economic instruments, including air passenger duty, through which improved environmental performance in the aviation sector can be incentivised.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of the Environment Agencys survey of Public Attitudes to Angling 2005; and what response has been made to its findings. 
In response to the findings the agency has produced local and regional angling guides and made them widely available. They are working with angling governing bodies to develop more angling coaches, and supporting initiatives including National Fishing Week. The agency will also continue to work with partners to develop further opportunities for angling participation.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2006, Official Report, column 813W, on Asda, if he will list the participants at the meetings that took place between his Department and representatives of Asda, including Asdas parent company Wal-Mart, on (a) 22 July 2005, (b) 11 November 2005, (c) 8 December 2005, (d) 8 February 2006 and (e) 3 March 2006. 
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the use of ventilation shutdown as a method of killing birds for the purpose of disease control with Annexe E and Article 3 of Council Directive 93/119/EEC on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The use of ventilation shutdown as a method of killing birds for the purpose of disease control is compatible with EU Directive 93/119/EC. The directive allows for disease control methods not specifically listed in the text of the directive, provided any pain or suffering to the birds is unavoidable. Appropriate measures must be taken to kill the animals as soon as possible and before they regain consciousness. Nothing can be done to the animals before it is ascertained they are dead.
Any use of ventilation shutdown as a method of killing diseased birds would be compliant with these requirements and be restricted to circumstances where no other method, as outlined in Schedule 9 of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (as amended), could be practicably employed for the killing of large numbers of birds on a specific farm.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what
assessment has been made by his officials of the animal welfare implications of the use of ventilation shutdown as a method of killing birds for the purpose of disease control; and if he will make a statement; 
The use of ventilation shutdown would therefore only be authorised as a last resort where no other method, as outlined in Schedule 9 of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, could be practicably employed for the killing of large numbers of birds on a specific farm for disease control purposes.
The priority in dealing with a notifiable animal disease is to ensure that public health and safety of poultry workers is protected, particularly where, as with some strains of the avian influenza virus, there is a risk of human infection. Disease outbreaks must be dealt with quickly and effectively to reduce the likelihood of further spread of disease and it remains our intention to kill birds by the most humane method possible.
We must however be prepared for all eventualities including extreme circumstances where catchers are unavailable, logistical capabilities are stretched and where a grave threat to public health exists. The risk of that may be very small but it is right that we provide for it.
To enhance our capability to kill large numbers of birds through humane means, we have developed, and continue to develop, the use of gas or gas mixtures. Such techniques have been endorsed by the Humane Slaughter Association and were used successfully in the recent disease incidence in Norfolk. We expect that such techniques will be useable in the great majority of circumstances where an outbreak occurs.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list the occasions since September 2005 on which blood samples from birds initially tested positive for avian influenza virus types; where the birds were located in each case; what action was taken by (a) his Department and (b) the State Veterinary Service in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Since September 2005 approximately 5,000 blood samples, from 435 domestic poultry premises, have been tested. In October, samples taken from a number of geese on a premises in Somerset tested positive for antibodies to H5N2 and H5N7. Movement restrictions were served on the premises and a veterinary inquiry was initiated. Clinical examination revealed that the geese were healthy. Further sampling and laboratory tests did not isolate avian influenza viruses. The presence of infection with avian influenza viruses was ruled out. It is likely that the positive antibody result was due to
previous exposure to low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses. Disease was not confirmed on the premises.
In April 2006, H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed in a sample from the partially decomposed body of a swan found in Cellardyke, Fife, Scotland. Movement restrictions were put in place and a 2,500 sq km wild bird risk area was established. No further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 were found, restrictions in the wild bird surveillance zone were lifted on 1 May and the wild bird risk area was ended.
H7N3 low pathogenicity avian influenza was confirmed on three poultry farms near Dereham, Norfolk in late April 2006. A low pathogenic avian influenza restricted zone with a radius of 1km was imposed around the infected premises. Movement restrictions were served on the premises and the three flocks were culled. Surveillance and testing was carried out on all additional premises belonging to the owner of the infected premises.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department produces for members of the public on dealing with nuisance bonfires; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of sensitivity of the standard intradermal skin test for bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The single intradermal comparative cervical test (SICCT) for bovine tuberculosis is an effective test. It is the accepted standard laid down in both national and international legislation for determining the existence of disease in a cattle herd.
No diagnostic test, including the SICCT, is 100 per cent. accurate. When used as a routine screening test, the SICCT is designed to maximise specificity (identification of uninfected animals) while retaining good sensitivity (identification of infected animals). The specificity for a correctly performed SICCT is above 99 per cent.; its sensitivity is between 77 per cent. and 95 per cent.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the unit cost is for a Bovigam gamma interferon bovine tuberculosis test; and what estimate he has made of the economies of scale which would be achieved through the bulk purchase of the Bovigam test. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence his Department has assessed for a possible correlation between herd size and (a) the likelihood of a bovine tuberculosis outbreak and (b) the length of time that a herd is likely to be under restriction. 
DEFRA has carried out, at the request of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, two studies (the TB99 Epidemiological Questionnaire and the Case Control Study 2005) to investigate TB risk factors, and to identify those that appear to be key. Initial analyses of TB99 and CCS2005 data show that larger herds are more likely to have a TB breakdown.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice he has received from the Independent Scientific Group on the reasons for a positive correlation between larger herd sizes and bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what advice he has received from the Independent Scientific Group on using gamma interferon to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle; 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Independent Scientific Group has welcomed DEFRA's intention to increase the use of gamma interferon (IFNg) as an additional testing protocol to control bovine tuberculosis, and has also agreed the priority uses recommended by the Working Group, which was established by DEFRA to prepare and deliver a policy for wider roll out of the test.
The increased use of IFNg, in parallel with the skin test, has the potential to significantly increase the detection of infected cattle in herds where TB has been confirmed. DEFRA is already using the IFNg test on an ad hoc basis in identified problem TB herds. About 9,000 such tests were undertaken in 2005.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the results were of research project SE3013 into the specificity of gamma interferon; and what implications the results have for controlling bovine tuberculosis. 
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