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Mr. Bradshaw: The Holton site comprises a turkey finishing unit, a slaughterhouse, and two processing plants. There are numerous controls throughout the various stages of production and processing, with additional measures in place during an outbreak. These measures include the cleansing of equipment, transport and people, and separation of animal and meat products. Biosecurity measures in place at the Holton finishing unit included:

DEFRA does not collect such information from other poultry units although these are the kind of measures that owners and managers of the larger operations, such as those at the Holton site, would adopt. We are, however, not aware of many other finishing units in the UK which have a processing factory located as near as at the Holton site. Other finishing units, therefore, may have a less complex biosecurity regime to protect the health of the birds.

Local authorities, and the Meat Hygiene Service enforce compliance with animal health, welfare and public health legislation. Information has been published in the two reports into this outbreak (available from the Library of the House) and a final epidemiological report is yet to be published.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the birds recently slaughtered having been infected with avian influenza were transported from Suffolk to Staffordshire to be destroyed. [124986]

Mr. Bradshaw: The rendering plant in Staffordshire was chosen as it was the nearest plant to the H5N1 outbreak that had the necessary biosecurity measures in place to deal with a case of this kind, and also had the capacity to deal with the number of birds.

Strict biosecurity measures are in place for the transportation of animals culled for disease control purposes. The carcases were transported in specialist leak-proof lorries, fully covered with securely fixed top covers or tarpaulins.

A number of measures were taken prior to the lorries leaving the infected premises to ensure that trucks were not overfilled and leaks did not occur. Prior to use, each vehicle is leak tested and visually inspected for defects. Before being licensed off the site, the external surfaces of the vehicle were sprayed down with an approved disinfectant as a further biosecurity measure. Each batch of trucks was also accompanied by an escort to ensure that the trucks did not leak, that material did not fall from the vehicle and that, in the unlikely event of an accident or incident involving the vehicle, measures could be taken to protect human and animal health and the environment.

Drivers carried a certificate of leak-testing and a transport incident record card which detailed the actions to be taken in the event of an accident or incident.

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Carbon Dioxide: Air Pollution

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government's target for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050 includes cuts in the UK's share of international aviation emissions. [118502]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 8 February 2007]: Emissions from aviation are not included in the Government's target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050, since there is currently no international agreement on ways of allocating such emissions.

The Government believe that, for an international industry, an international trading scheme is the best solution and we are, therefore, pursuing this with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. But until a truly global solution can be found, the EU has the opportunity to show leadership by including aviation in the existing EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

The EU ETS is a key policy measure in the UK's wider strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change. Emissions trading is an economically efficient way of achieving emissions reductions as it provides companies with the flexibility to respond in the most cost-effective way.

Disease Control: Compensation

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there is an EU-wide agreement on the payment of compensation to workers who are laid off following an outbreak of animal disease. [124323]

Mr. Bradshaw: No. Market impacts of animal disease are a risk carried by the industry. However, the Government seeks to minimise that risk, particularly by encouraging wide public understanding of the issues and an evidence-based and proportionate response. Clear advice from the Food Standards Agency has helped with this.

The market support that was made available last year by the European Commission (EC), which was not used by the UK, was time-limited and a one-off in response to the acute pressures in some member states at the time. In administering the support regime, the EC made it clear that the assumption would be that no future use would be made of such market support provision. They also made it clear that the industry would need to prepare itself for any similar market fluctuations in the future.

It is open to the Company to use any compensation it receives for the birds compulsory slaughter to help staff laid off due to a drop in sales.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will ensure that legally docked working dogs continue to be allowed to take part in agility, working trials and obedience shows where the public is admitted on the payment of a fee; [124546]

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(2) if he will ensure that dogs with tails that have been shortened or amputated for medical reasons may continue to be shown at all events. [124547]

Mr. Bradshaw: There will be a ban on the showing of docked dogs at events to which members of the public are admitted on payment of a fee. However, this ban does not apply to dogs shown for the purpose of demonstrating their working ability.

Any dog which has had all or part of its tail removed after the commencement date(1) will be banned from being shown at events to which members of the public are admitted on payment of a fee. This will close a potential loophole in the law.

Environment Agency: Waste Management

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will increase the enforcement capability of the Environment Agency as new waste regulations come into force. [124465]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government's approach is to ensure better prevention of illegal waste activity in the first instance, as well as providing more effective powers to bodies like the Environment Agency (EA) to aid detection and more risk-based, targeted enforcement. As new waste regulations are introduced, we would expect the EA to recover any increased regulatory compliance and inspection costs through charges. The Government also provide the EA with grant-in-aid to pay for its wider enforcement work.

Amendments made to waste regulations are intended to simplify them and encourage compliance. They will not necessarily increase costs to either the EA or to businesses. They are also intended to reduce the amount currently spent on clearing up illegal waste dumps, which is currently costing local authorities and private landowners £100 million per year.

Helicobacter Pullorum

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether helicobacter pullorum is classified as a poultry-human zoonose. [123907]

Mr. Bradshaw: Helicobacter pullorum has been associated with diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and liver disease in humans and hepatitis and enteritis in poultry. This organism is considered a zoonotic agent although no animal sources or routes of transmission have been identified for human infection.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the subject of helicobacter pullorum. [123908]

Mr. Bradshaw: None.

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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence he has received regarding trends in the level of anti-microbial resistance among (a) existing zoonoses and (b) Helicobacter pullorum. [123909]

Mr. Bradshaw: There are few published studies worldwide on the antimicrobial resistance associated with Helicobacter pullorum. This reflects the very low numbers of isolates available.

A European Food Safety Authority report on trends and sources of zoonotic agents in animals, feedingstuffs, food and man in the UK, which includes information on antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella and Escherichia coli, is produced annually and can be found on the Defra website.

Defra, jointly with the Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency and devolved Administrations, will be publishing, very shortly, the first report in the UK providing an overview on the usage and resistance to selected antimicrobials in humans, animals and food. The report covers antimicrobial resistance in a number of zoonotic bacteria.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of Helicobacter pullorum among poultry in England. [123910]

Mr. Bradshaw: No estimate has been made on the level of Helicobacter pullorum in poultry in England. It is not currently regarded as a significant cause of disease in humans or animals and there is, therefore, insufficient reason to prioritise resources towards surveillance in animals.

Waste Management: Greater London

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which London boroughs have sold their trade waste portfolios to the private sector; and what the estimated annual tonnage is of each such borough. [124055]

Mr. Bradshaw: My Department does not hold information on the number of London boroughs that have sold their trade waste portfolios to the private sector.

Results from the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Centre Local Authority Trade Waste Recycling Survey, carried out in January 2007, show that 26 of the 32 London boroughs provided a trade waste collection service. These are listed as follows:

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London boroughs are not required to provide an estimate of annual tonnages for trade waste. However, the latest results from WasteDataFlow 2005-06 show that approximately 21 per cent. of municipal waste in London came from non-household sources. This includes waste from municipal parks, garden waste, commercial and industrial waste and waste resulting from the clearance of fly-tipped materials.


Departments: Databases

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what databases are controlled by his Department; and what percentage of the data in each database he estimates is inaccurate or out of date. [124024]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office has use of two database systems, both within the contracted services procured and made available to us by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA). One is a document storage system, which complies with DCA records management policy. The other is the financial system, to support our payments, financial management, and accounting. These processes are subject to internal and external audit for DCA as a whole. The Wales Office does not have direct control over either of these systems.

Departments: Redundancy

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in his Department in each year since 1997-98; how much is planned to be spent for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [124802]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office came into being in 1999. Since then the Department has not held any involuntary or voluntary staff exit schemes, nor do we plan any. There has been no cost to the Department for such schemes.

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Communities and Local Government

Council Tax: Greater London

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) average per dwelling and (b) average Band D council tax was in (i) two-tier areas, (ii) London boroughs, (iii) metropolitan areas and (iv) unitary areas in (A) 1997-98 and (B) 2006-07. [124420]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested is in the following table. Average council tax per dwelling is not available for 1997-98:

Average B and D council tax (1997-98) Average B and D council tax (2006-07) Average council tax per dwelling (2006-07)

(i) Two-tier areas




(ii) London boroughs




(iii) Metropolitan districts




(iv) Unitary authorities




Source: BR and CTB1 returns

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