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Mr. Bradshaw: It was research project SB4021 (rather than SE3013) that was established to evaluate the specificity of the gamma interferon (IFNg) test. This project confirmed the findings of previous studies by concluding that the commercially available IFNg test had a specificity of between 95-97 per cent.
Findings from SB4021 supported the view that it would be inappropriate to use IFNg for routine screening purposes because it risks producing too many false positive results. However, there would be value in making greater use of it, as an ancillary test, in a variety of herd breakdown situations. DEFRA is currently using these findings to develop new policies for the increased use of the IFNg test.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned into the costs for a holding facing a bovine tuberculosis breakout. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In 2004, DEFRA undertook an assessment of the economic impacts of bovine tuberculosis and alternative control policies (SE3112). The survey found a large variation in the costs associated with a breakdown, ranging from £229 per farm to £103,817 per farm, depending on the number of reactors, their valuation and the length of the breakdown.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many disputed payments for bovine tuberculosis compensation have been registered since the new system began, broken down by county. 
Mr. Bradshaw: A small number of farmers have disputed the level of compensation payments offered since the introduction of the table valuation system on 1 February 2006. Some of these have subsequently been resolved in discussion with the State Veterinary Service.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether wildlife unit supervisors employed by his Department in connection with the Randomised Badger Culling Trials have been served with redundancy notices; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 16 May 2006]: The Wildlife Units at Aston Down and Polwhele have not been closed. Fieldwork in support of the trial was completed at the end of March, and staff are working to complete trial data entry and final quality checking of data.
Decisions about the future of these units will be taken following Ministerial decisions on future policy for the control of bovine tuberculosis in England. No compulsory redundancy notices have been served.
The wildlife officers who carried out the cage trapping in the Badger Culling Trial have been told that their posts are surplus, and efforts are being made to redeploy these staff. Those indicating a preference to leave have received offers of voluntary redundancy on compulsory terms. This decision was based on a cost- benefit analysis showing that state-operated culling could lead to higher costs and slower delivery compared to other options.
Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedure companies wishing to apply for a permit for animal carcase rendering are required to follow on the expiry of existing permits issued by local authorities. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 8 May 2006]: If for any reason an animal rendering plant is without a valid permit issued under the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 or an authorisation issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, that plantlike any other any installation subject to the Regulationsis deemed a new plant and must apply afresh to the relevant regulator for a permit.
The application has to be advertised by the applicant and the regulator has to send copies of the application to statutory consultees. The regulator has to consider representations made as a result of these consultations in determining the application. If the regulator is minded to grant the application, it is required to advertise its draft determination. If any representations are made within 20 days of that advertisement, the regulator has to take them into account in reaching its final decision. The process is fully explained in Integrated Pollution Prevention and ControlA Practical Guide (Edition 4), published by my Department and the Welsh Assembly Government.
Ian Pearson: The Government's new Climate Change Programme, published in March 2006, recognises the important role Sustainable Community Strategies, Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and Local Area Agreements have to play in tackling climate change. It includes information on the role of the Sustainable Community Strategy framework as a route for local authorities to strengthen the delivery of sustainable development at the local level, including with partners on LSPs. Further information is available at:
So far, over 100 local authorities have signed the Nottingham declaration, each pledging to actively tackle climate change within their area. We do not have information on how many Local Strategic Partnerships are also signatories. The response to the declaration is being coordinated by the Energy Saving Trust, and more information can be found on their website:
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Minister of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 3 March 2006, about riverside meadows near Pixham Ferry, Callow End, on the River Severn. 
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations the Environment Agency has (a) made and (b) received on the Cranleigh Brick and Tile planning application in Waverley; and what assessment the Agency has made of (i) total funding and (ii) works needed to remediate the site. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency was consulted on the Cranleigh Brick and Tile planning application and replied on 27 March 2006 to the planning authority, Waverley borough council. The Agency did not object to the proposal and gave their conditional approval. The Agency submitted a statement on the objectives and remedial options for the site, including a preliminary appraisal of the works required to remediate it. The Environment Agency has not made an assessment of the total finding of the remediation scheme as this was purely a planning consideration.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to meet representatives of the dairy industry to discuss options other than live export for the marketing of UK dairy-bred calves; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I am meeting representatives of the dairy industry in July to discuss these issues. Officials are also in discussion with the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) and other English farming organisations.
DEFRA is committed to the welfare of all animals and we are strictly enforcing rules governing the health and welfare of livestock during transport. We also
prefer a trade in meat to the long distance transport of live animals for rearing or slaughter, whether in the UK or across borders, and would like to see a lower limit for maximum journey times.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in his Department have been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate numbers in each of the last five years. 
Barry Gardiner: Since DEFRA came into existence on 9 June 2001 three members of staff have faced formal disciplinary procedures for breaches of IT policy, one in each of the following years, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05. Of these, two officers (2002-03 and 2004-05), were dismissed and the other (2003-04) resigned before formal procedures were completed.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals have been employed in his Department in each of the last five years; what vetting procedures are in place for each category of staff; and whether these include liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies. 
Barry Gardiner: The Department does not maintain a central record which allows DEFRA to differentiate between EU and non-EU foreign nationals. Recruitment into DEFRA is carried out in accordance with the civil service nationality rules.
The need for an individual to undergo national security vetting, and the level of vetting that is appropriate will depend on the particular post they are going to fill. Where necessary, this will include a check of time spent overseas.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the auctioning of carbon emission permits under Phase II of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The Government are currently consulting on the proposal to auction (between 2 and 10 per cent. of the total amount of allowances, as part of the consultation on the draft plan for the second phase of the Scheme (2008-20l2). We have proposed that these allowances should be deducted from the allocation to the Electricity Supply Industry sector. The consultation closes on 23 May 2006. A final
decision on the use of auctioning in the Phase II plan will be taken alongside the final decision on the total quantity of allowances for Phase II.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the European Commission regarding the deadline for submitting the UK National Allocation Plan for Phase II of the Emissions Trading Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The EU Emissions Trading Scheme Directive states that the Phase II National Allocation Plan (NAP) should be submitted to the Commission by 30 June 2006 and the final allocation decision by 31 December 2006.
I wrote to Commissioner Dimas last week and am meeting him on 22 May 2006 for the first time since taking office. I expect to cover a number of issues. My officials have already had discussions with their counterparts at the Commission regarding the deadline.
This is a challenging deadline and in order to learn lessons from Phase I and to expand the Scheme to cover the activities set out in the revised Commission Guidance, the UK Government recognise that it will not be possible to collect and process the data in time to meet the first of these deadlines. The Government are however aiming to submit its NAP as soon as possible after the June deadline and to submit our final allocation decision by 31 December 2006.
Mr. Bradshaw: To help address the legacy of land contamination, the Government brought into force part IIA ("contaminated land") of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This places local authorities under a statutory duty to inspect their areas to identify contaminated land as defined in the Act, and to secure its remediation, in accordance with the detailed provisions of the regime. They are required to take a strategic and prioritised approach to the duty of inspection. A local authority must designate contaminated land as a special site if it meets specific legal definitions. Where a local authority designates a site as a special site, the Environment Agency will become the enforcing authority for the site. In broad terms, the regime addresses unacceptable risk arising from land contamination in situations where other statutory regimes cannot be applied.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK Biodiversity Action Plan species do not fall within the scope of the Environmental Liability Directive and
would not be protected under UK implementing laws unless its scope were to be extended. 
Barry Gardiner: UK Biodiversity Action Plan species that are not subject to protection under existing EU Directives (Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds; Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) would not be covered by UK legislation implementing the Environmental Liability Directive, unless the Government exercised the discretion provided in that directive.
|(1 )Including mixed tenure and seasonally rented holdings. Note: Farmers includes full and part-time farmers, partners, directors and spouses (if working on the holding.) Source: June Agricultural Survey|
Source: June Agricultural Survey.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 February 2006, Official Report, column 2041, on fisheries, if he will list the (a) countries and
(b) authorities which record estimates of discards; and what those known figures are for the last available year. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Since 2002 all EU countries have been required to collect data on discarding under Council Regulation 1543/2000 but the information is not yet compiled systematically. Last year, the European Commissions Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) requested data on discards from the North Sea and Skaggerak, Kattegat, Eastern and Western Baltic, West of Scotland, Irish and Celtic Seas. The UK, Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Denmark and the Netherlands provided data. UK data for Northern Ireland vessels were not available.
|Estimates of discards in 2004 (tonnes)|
|North Sea/Skaggerak||West of Scotland|
STECF has begun work to develop a Discards Atlasa compendium of available information from member states on discards as a resource for fisheries science. Member states will be asked to provide data by the end of this year and after database creation, quality checking, compilation, mapping etc. it is hoped that the atlas will be available in 2007-08.
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