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It is important to bear in mind that failure to confirm the disease at post-mortem examination or by laboratory culture does not mean that the disease was not present in the animal, or that the animal had not been in contact with bTB. In the early stages of the disease, it is not always possible to see lesions with the naked eye and, due to the fastidious nature of the organism, it is not possible to culture from samples in every case.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average cost of a pre-movement tuberculosis test was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bradshaw: A pre-movement tuberculosis test is a private transaction between an individual farmer and his or her local veterinary inspector. However, the Government are continuing to fund the provision of tuberculin and all routine tuberculosis surveillance tests and this is estimated to cost about £40 million a year. Where animals are moved within 60 days of a routine test being conducted, there is no need for a further pre-movement test.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by his Department on food and alcohol for its staff working out of office in each year since 2001-02. 
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of (a) staff and (b) new staff employed since April 2005 in (i) his Department and (ii) each of the agencies for which he has responsibility is recorded as disabled. 
Since April 2005 approximately 4 per cent. of all new entrants to the Core Department and the Agencies covered by the Departments personnel database have declared a disability. The proportions for the core Department and individual Agencies are shown in the following table:
|Department/Agency||New entrants with a declared a disability (percentage)|
|(1) These Agencies recruited fewer than 20 staff in this period.|
Data for the remaining Agencies i.e. the Central Science Laboratory, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Rural Payments Agency, and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences is held by the Agencies. It has not been provided due to the disproportionate cost involved in collating the information.
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 6 October 2006]: The gangmasters licensing scheme applies to labour providers who supply workers to work in agriculture, horticulture and the food processing and packaging sectors. It also applies to the supply and use of workers to gather shellfish. The scheme does not apply to the supply of labour to work in retail establishments, such as supermarkets.
It has been an offence to act as a gangmaster without a licence in agriculture, horticulture and the food processing and packaging sectors since 1 October 2006. From the same date the Gangmasters Licensing Authority started accepting licence applications from gangmasters operating in the shellfish gathering sector. The introduction of licensing has been phased in this way as more time was needed to finalise the detailed licensing arrangements to apply to shellfish gathering.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) in how many sites of special scientific interest in (a) Shropshire and (b) England the Heath Cudweed plant, Gnaphalium sylvaticum, is to be found; 
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of Londons waste that is transported to other regions; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what progress has been made in London to meet its 2010 Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme targets; which elements of the package of measures for waste management set out in the Governments proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and the Assembly address such progress to such targets; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The package of measures set out by the Government provides the Mayor with increased powers and responsibility to deliver his municipal waste management strategy and spatial development strategy for London. The enhancement of his powers to require waste authorities to deliver services in general conformity with his strategy, along with his existing power of direction, will help ensure the strategic vision the Mayor sets out for London is delivered on the ground.
The Waste and Recycling Forum, announced as part of the package, will be led by the Mayor to co-ordinate activity across different sectors and address the key strategic issues facing London. The Waste and Recycling Fund is associated with this and will help the Mayor to address these key strategic issues.
In addition, there will be a dedicated London element to the Waste Infrastructure Development Programme (WIDP), which was announced in May 2006, providing a strong role for the Mayor in working with local authorities and the regions to accelerate the building of new waste diversion infrastructure, allowing London to manage more of its waste within London.
The Mayor already has a leading role in planning for Londons waste treatment needs through the London Plan, where he has set a target for London to be 85 per cent. self sufficient for waste management by 2020.
This will significantly reduce the pressure on surrounding regions. The Mayor will also have increased powers related to planning and will now have
the power to take over and decide on planning applications that are strategically important to London.
London authorities are making good progress towards meeting their 2010 Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) obligations. I announced on 12 October thatsubject to final confirmation by the Environment Agencyall Englands waste authorities were within their allocation of landfill allowances for the first scheme year of LATS (2005-06).
Information about the performance of all waste disposal authorities in England with respect to allocated allowances is available on the LATS public register at: http://lats.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu =register&Module=publicRegister/registerMain
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the package of measures for waste management set out in the Government's proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and the Assembly encourage London waste authorities to tackle climate change; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government believe that all sectors have an important role to play in achieving the significant challenge of meeting climate change objectives and landfill diversion targets. The London-wide Waste and Recycling Forum, announced in The Government's Final Proposals for Additional Powers and Responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly, will bring together key interested parties, including London waste authorities, to improve waste minimisation and recycling, promote collaborative action and link waste with other London priorities around climate change, transport and employment.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions have taken place under the Ragwort Control Act 2003; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that Act; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: The Weeds Act 1959 enables the Secretary of State to serve an enforcement notice on an occupier of land on which injurious weeds are growing, requiring them to take action to prevent the spread of weeds. It is an offence to fail unreasonably to comply with an enforcement notice served under the Act. The Act also enables the Secretary of State to take default action to clear weeds, where control action has not been taken following the issue of an enforcement notice.
Defra takes action under the Weeds Act where there is a risk to the welfare of horses and other livestock.
Under revised procedures for investigating complaints about injurious weeds, introduced in 2003, Defra has made far greater use of the statutory powers available under the Weeds Act. To date we have issued 134 enforcement notices and taken clearance action in three cases. There have been no prosecutions under the Act.
The Ragwort Control Act 2003 amended the Weeds Act 1959 and provided for the preparation of a Code of Practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort. The Code was published in July 2004 and provides comprehensive advice on the control of ragwort. It is available from Defra Publications (telephone: 08459 55 6000) and is on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/horses/topics/ragwort.htm.
The Code and revised enforcement procedures have increased public awareness of the dangers to horses and other livestock from ragwort, and are proving effective in preventing the spread of ragwort where there is a threat to animal welfare. This is illustrated by the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, where Defra has served an enforcement notice, land managers have acted promptly to take action to clear weeds.
Barry Gardiner: The Code of Practice was published in July 2004. Defra worked with The British Horse Society, English Nature, Wildlife and Countryside Link, ADAS, the British Beekeepers Association, Network Rail and representatives of Local Government to draw up the Code. There was also a formal public consultation on the Code as required by the provisions of the Ragwort Control Act 2003. Further details are available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/ragwort/index.htm.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to prevent the sale of meat from animals which have been fed soya grown in former rainforest areas. 
Barry Gardiner: We do not restrict meat imports based on the source of the soya fed to the animals. However, the UK, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Global Opportunities Fund, is supporting the Amazon Deforestation Soya Certification Project. This is aimed at helping to combat deforestation by developing an independent certification scheme for forest-friendly soya.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Medical and Scientific Review Panel on the ongoing investigation into the neuropsychological sequelae of organophosphate poisoning caused by sheep dip. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The research project into the neuropsychological sequelae of organophosphate poisoning allegedly caused by sheep dipping is part of the Governments £1.5 million programme looking at the hypothesis that the use of organophosphate sheep dips is the cause of ill health reported by some farmers and others. The contractors from University College, London met with the Veterinary Products Committees Medical and Scientific Panel and Defra officials on 15 September to discuss concerns about the scientific viability of the project and, in particular, the difficulties experienced by the contractor in identifying individuals to act as a reference group with whom to compare the health of sheep dippers.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of claimants in (a) England, (b) the South West and (c) Torridge and West Devon are waiting to receive their single farm payment in full; what the total value of payments which remain to be paid is in (i) England, (ii) the South West and (iii) Torridge and West Devon; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: As of the 11 October 2006 of the 116,474 English SPS 2005 claimants 113,461 have received either a partial or full payment which leaves approximately 3,013 that are still to receive a payment. This is 2.6 per cent. of the total number of 2005 Single Farm Payment Scheme claimants and equates to £11 million yet to be paid.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in (a) North Dorset and (b) England are yet to receive a full balance of their 2005 single payment scheme payment from the Rural Payments Agency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the proposed Veterinary Bill will be introduced; and whether it will propose changes in the self-regulation of vets. 
We are considering proposals submitted by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to modernise the current arrangements for self regulation. These place greater emphasis on ensuring that veterinary surgeons maintain appropriate levels of competence. They also include improved arrangements for the management of complaints against vets.
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