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1 Nov 2006 : Column 460W—continued

Pet Medicines

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investigation he has undertaken of unlicensed and counterfeit pet medicines advertised on the internet. [97597]

Mr. Bradshaw: Responsibility for the enforcement of unauthorised and counterfeit pet medicines rests with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), one of Defra's agencies.

The internet is one route through which authorised veterinary medicines can be sold legally.

Reports of websites selling veterinary medicines illegally are investigated. Those UK based websites which do not change their practices may be subject to prosecution. The UK has no jurisdiction in other countries. For websites based outside the UK and selling veterinary medicines illegally in the UK, the VMD contacts the authorities in the country of origin to try to get the websites’ illegal operations in the UK stopped.

The sale of veterinary medicinal products in the UK is controlled by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2006. These make it an offence to import, be in the possession of or administer unauthorised veterinary medicinal products. Therefore, UK customers dealing with these sites are committing offences under UK law and may have their purchases seized and be liable to prosecution.

Pet Travel Scheme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dogs have been admitted in each year since the inception of the pet travel scheme. [97596]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is set out in the following table:

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Number of dogs entering the UK under the pet travel scheme (PETS)













2006 (to September)


Pollution (Inspections)

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors were taken into account when deciding not to put the inspection process for the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations out to tender. [98264]

Mr. Bradshaw: Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) is a development from the system of Integrated Pollution Control which was established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution set up as the regulator. That body became part of the Environment Agency (EA) on its formation in 1996. The EA has continued to maintain and develop the high level of expertise necessary to regulate the wide variety of often complex industrial activities covered by the Act and the wider variety covered since 2000 by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations. Indeed, the level of expertise needed has increased as a result of the requirements of IPPC, which themselves have become fully apparent only in the light of implementation since 2000.

Even if a comparable breadth of expertise could be found at an attractive cost as a result of a tendering process, the EA would itself still be left inevitably with a range of inspection-related tasks, including:

Furthermore, difficulties would remain arising from the need for private sector inspectors to have access to installations where national security issues are present.

However, the EA is already using private companies to assist with the assessment of applications for IPPC permits. Contractors are used by the EA to undertake monitoring of industrial releases. This work is undertaken to tight standards and specifications set by the EA.

The EA is continuing to develop its risk-based approach to inspection and the assessment of compliance with permit conditions. Commitment by an operator to the verification of its environmental performance by an independent third party verifier is taken into account by the EA's officers and can result in a reduced level of inspection and charges.

The EA is always watchful for ways of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its regulation and the
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achievement of environmental goals. This includes the use of a range of regulatory and other tools and could include the further use of private sector resources. One such possibility, which is now under consideration, is that of using synergies with assurance schemes for the intensive pig and poultry sectors, whose installations are expected to account for some 1,200 of the nearly 4,000 IPPC installations regulated by the EA.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department has given to local authorities on the public health implications of requiring households in areas with a compulsory recycling scheme to store waste food separately before it is collected; and if he will make a statement. [89684]

Mr. Bradshaw: This Department has not provided any specific guidance on the public health implications of requiring households to store waste food separately before it is collected. Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 both empowers local authorities to specify the conditions of the waste collection service they provide, and requires them to inform the recipients of those conditions by way of a section 46 notice. The local authority can, under the Act, request that householders place their waste for collection in receptacles of a specific kind and number.

Sealable waste containers for external storage are provided free of charge by the majority of local authorities operating separate food waste collections and around half provide kitchen caddies for household kitchens.

The Department of Health has confirmed that the storage of household waste for periods of up to two weeks is unlikely to increase levels of biological material carried in the air, either indoors or outdoors, providing that the waste is sealed in the correct container. As far as the Department is aware all food waste only collections are weekly, so storage for any longer periods of time should not be necessary.

In addition to local authority collections, the Government also encourages home composting as a good way of diverting biodegradable waste from landfill. The Waste and Resources Action Programme is working with local authorities and other partners to improve the uptake of home composting through the distribution of one million home composting bins to households across the country.

Veterinary Surgeons

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he has put in place to increase the number of ethnic minority veterinary surgeons. [97593]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government fully accepted the recommendations made in Sir Alan Langlands’ report “Gateway to the Professions”. The Department for Education and Skills’ response to the report is available
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on their website at:

Defra is working closely with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to help the veterinary profession address these issues. We are consulting other government departments and agencies that employ veterinary surgeons via the Government Veterinary Surgeons network (GVS). We have also established a liaison group between the GVS and the Veterinary Schools.

Defra is part funding a ‘Gateways’ project, led by the RCVS and supported by the Veterinary Colleges, aiming to change unhelpful stereotypes of the profession. This targets secondary schools and focuses on career advice.

Waste Management

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding the Government have allocated to local authorities under (a) the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant, (b) the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund, (c) the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and (d) Waste private finance initiative credits to support the use of radio frequency identification chips to assist with domestic waste collection. [94773]

Mr. Bradshaw: Alnwick district council and Leeds city council were allocated £43,335 and £98,981 respectively as part of the Household Incentives Pilot
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Scheme, funded from the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant in 2005-06. The pilot schemes used weight-based technology, including radio frequency identification chips, which enabled local authorities to measure how successful efforts were to reduce residual waste and increase recycling. As well as encouraging more sustainable resource use, increase recycling rates help divert waste from landfill and therefore contributes to our efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The final report from the Household Incentives Pilot Scheme is available on the Defra website at:

No other central Government funding has been specifically allocated to support the use of radio frequency identification chips.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) funding streams, (b) special grants and (c) specific grants the Government has given to local authorities in England to promote (i) recycling, (ii) waste collection and (iii) waste disposal activities in each year since 1997-98. [94777]

Mr. Bradshaw: The main source of funding for local authorities’ waste management services is the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) block of Government grant, distributed each year. It is for the local authorities to decide what proportion of the block to invest in waste management services, including recycling. Other funding allocated to local authorities in England for waste management since 1997 is shown in the following table:

Funding provided (million)
Scheme 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund





Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant




Grant to Relieve Spending Pressures on Waste


Household Incentives Pilot Scheme


Private Finance Initiative







Local Communication s Fund (WRAP)


Behavioural Change Local Fund (WRAP)


Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the progress in Afghanistan towards each of the 43 benchmarks specified in the London Compact of 1 February 2006. [98077]

Dr. Howells: The Afghanistan Compact, launched at the London conference on Afghanistan, 31 January—1 February 2006, sets out a clear framework for progress in Afghanistan, measured against 43 benchmarks covering Security, Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights and Economic and Social Development. Process against these benchmarks is assessed by the Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB), established under the Compact to oversee the implementation of its political commitments. The third quarterly meeting of the JCMB will take place on 12 November 2006.

At this point, progress against the standards defined in the Compact will vary according to the timelines set out for each benchmark. These run from six months to five years. The first benchmark in the Compact was met when the Appointments Advisory Panel was established by presidential decree in September. As a
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member of the JCMB the UK is playing a full part in ensuring the Compact is implemented and carefully monitored.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to promote free and fair elections in Argentina; which international observers will be present at those elections; and if she will make a statement. [97882]

Mr. Hoon: The Government work with, inter alia, the Argentine government, Argentine civil society and through international organisations, to contribute to good governance and transparency initiatives throughout Argentina, predominantly through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund.

No public announcement has yet been made about the 2007 presidential elections. These are likely to be held in either March or October. International election monitors from one of the Latin American multilateral organisations may attend next year's elections, but no announcement has yet been made. The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights sent a team of monitors to the last presidential elections in 2003. They maintained a very low profile.

There are no current indications that next year's presidential elections will be anything other than free and fair by international standards.

Arms Exports

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of an end-use monitoring system for arms exports. [97917]

Dr. Howells: The Government believe strongly that the assessment of any proposed export at the time of application, i.e. before the export goes ahead, is the best way to ensure exports are not diverted or misused. If at the licensing stage it is assessed that there is a risk that the equipment will be diverted from its stated end use, and hence not meet the requirements of the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria, a licence will not be issued. Our diplomatic posts monitor local developments closely and note any information that comes to light that equipment supplied by the UK has been used in a manner inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. This will be taken into consideration when assessing any future export licence applications. The relevant licence may also be revoked, and the authorities in the country concerned asked to investigate.

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