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The environmental fate and effects of cypermethrin have been known for many years. A comprehensive monograph on the subject has been
published by the World Heath Organisation under the auspices of the International Programme on Chemical Safety: Environmental Heath Criteria 82, Cypermethrin, WHO, Geneva 1989.
The impact assessments for the cypermethrin sheep dip products were performed in accordance with the legislation pertaining at the time of approval of the marketing authorisations. In order to gain approval of the marketing authorisation the applications would have had to meet the required standards of quality, safety and efficacy. Environmental impact is only one part of the overall risk/benefit balance for an individual product.
Cypermethrin-based sheep dip products are important for the control of sheep scab, blow fly strike and a number of other ectoparasites, all of which have serious welfare implications for affected animals. Therefore, the suspension was made on a precautionary basis. Before the future of these products can be considered, the veterinary medicines directorate needs to receive and assess further information on the environmental risks presented by their use and how these can be managed. The Marketing Authorisation Holders have been asked to provide such information.
Additionally, the VMD and the Environment Agency have commissioned an R and D project on environmental exposure to cypermethrin released to the farmyard and the impact of recently dipped sheep crossing watercourses. The results of this project should be available by the end of the summer and will be included in the assessments.
The existing stocks of the cypermethrin sheep dip products would have been the remnant of the products made for the 2005 dipping season. Therefore, the likelihood is that these will be used during the 2006 dipping season.
We have been working with farming groups to produce further information for farmers on the risks of environmental pollution from the use of cypermethrin sheep dips and the need to use the products carefully to avoid any pollution. The VMD, EA and SEPA have produced a public notice that is on their websites and will be made available to farmers through NFUs and agricultural merchants.
The EA continues to monitor for sheep dip pollution using the same approach that has detected and reported previous incidents. In addition, further investigative monitoring for sheep dip pollution will also be undertaken by the Environment Agency during 2006. This will provide a detailed picture of levels of pollution across England and Wales and highlight any misuse of existing stocks of cypermethrin sheep dip products.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department on changes to the Diseases of Fish (Control) Regulations 1994; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department on (a) mitigation measures and (b) compensation in
relation to aquaculture industries in circumstances where compulsory slaughter is ordered following an outbreak of a List 2 disease. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Following the recent outbreak of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia on a trout farm in the River Ouse catchment area, officials from my Department are holding regular discussions with their counterparts in the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department on a range of matters relating to the control of the disease, including the application of risk mitigation measures.
The discussions have included consideration of changes that may be necessary to the Diseases of Fish (Control) Regulations 1994 (as amended), in the light of experience gained from dealing with the current outbreak. The discussions have also confirmed the Departments policy of not compensating for the compulsory slaughter of fish due to a serious disease outbreak.
Barry Gardiner: The principal mechanism for funding the retraining of farmers is the Vocational Training Scheme (VTS), set up as part of the England Rural Development Programme and administered by DEFRAs Rural Development Service. Under this scheme, applications are accepted from either training organisers, or eligible individuals.
VTS funding has been awarded to projects focusing on general transferable business skills, diversification opportunities, or skills development related to specific farming activities, in order to maximise returns. The information given in the following table shows the money awarded by year to VTS projects sited in the county of Suffolk.
However, a significant amount of VTS funding has been awarded to projects not based in Suffolk, but from which Suffolks farmers have still benefited. Also, the figures above do not take account of National VTS projects, funded from the National budget, which may have included some Suffolk-based beneficiaries.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received about the membership of the West Midlands Regional Flood Defence Committee; and if he will appoint a member who will represent Shropshire only. 
Ian Pearson: The Severn Trent Regional Flood Defence Committee, which covers the Midlands Region of the Environment Agency, comprises a Chair and seven members appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; two members appointed by the Environment Agency; and 11 members appointed by county and unitary councils in the area of the Committee.
I have received no recent representations about membership of the Committee. In making appointments to the Committee my right hon. Friend has regard more to the experience and skills of prospective members than their geographical location. However, one of the DEFRA appointed members does live in Shropshire. Also, we recently advertised a number of DEFRA member vacancies in the Shropshire Star newspaper.
With regard to council appointees, the Committees area encompasses 32 local authorities and clearly not all can be represented individually if we are to keep the Committee to a manageable size. We have therefore made provision for membership to be shared between some councils; one seat is shared between Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire.
The arrangement for sharing of seats was based on advice from the Committee themselves on the best strategic alliances and representation based on population and properties at risk from flooding. Within those groupings, councils will agree between themselves who should provide the Committee member at any one time and clearly we would expect that person to ensure that they properly represent issues of concern to the other councils.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which organisation undertook the technical assessment of the hydro-electric potential of the River Cam on the Littlecombe site in Dursley; how the decision that hydro-electric power from this source was not a viable proposition was communicated to the Environment Agency; and what the basis was for this conclusion. 
The Environment Agency does not know how the decision was taken. They have not received any technical assessment or report relating to this site. At a meeting to discuss the development proposals, an Environment Agency officer was informed by the agent that the joint planning applicants for this site, St. Modwens Developments Limited and the South West of England Regional Development Agency, will not be proceeding with any hydro-electric power scheme. They did not give a reason for this.
Mr. Roger Williams:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much beef
was imported into the UK from Brazil in (a) May, (b) June, (c) July and (d) August of each year since 2000. 
|Beef product||Beef (frozen)||Beef (fresh or chilled)|
H M Revenue and Customs Data prepared by Trade statistics, Agricultural Statistics and Analysis Division, DEFRA 2005 data is subject to amendments
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