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23 Mar 2007 : Column 1163W—continued

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Antisocial Behaviour

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans
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to introduce sanctions against people who are evicted for antisocial behaviour who subsequently refuse intensive family support. [128215]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have been asked to reply

In the Respect Action Plan, published on 10 January 2006, the Government announced that they were considering the use of sanctions to ensure that those households who are evicted for antisocial behaviour take up help offered to them. A measure to sanction housing benefit when evicted households have refused offers of help is currently before Parliament as Clause 30 of the Welfare Reform Bill, first introduced in July 2006.

Avian Influenza

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) date and (b) location was of each outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in UK poultry; what type of bird was involved in each case; what action was taken to contain each outbreak; and what the source was of the infection in each case. [128999]

Mr. Bradshaw: There have been three confirmed outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in UK poultry.

In 1959, H5N1 avian influenza was detected in a flock of chickens in Scotland. In 1991, H5N1 avian influenza was detected in turkeys in Norfolk, England. In both cases the birds were culled and the disease was confined to a single premises.

On the basis of genetic analysis, the H5N1 viruses discovered in 1959 and 1991 were a different strain to the H5N1 Asiatic strain which is currently circulating. The source of neither outbreak was ever firmly established.

Most recently, on 3 February 2007, H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed at a Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton, Suffolk. In accordance with EU legislation, a 3 kilometre Protection Zone, a 10 kilometre Surveillance Zone and a further Restriction Zone around the infected premises were put in place. Extensive guidance was issued to bird keepers in the zones on biosecurity measures to protect their birds from avian influenza. The birds on the infected premises were humanely culled and disposed of according to DEFRA’s published Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases.

Within the area around the infected premises, there were enhanced levels of surveillance of wild birds. While the investigation in the outbreak was under way, 25 wild bird locations comprising 73 sites in the area were regularly patrolled. Laboratory tests were completed on dead wild birds found in the area as well as on live wild bird droppings from the infected premises. All results were negative.

We are currently developing our investigation into what might have caused the outbreak of avian influenza at Holton. The conclusion of the interim report is that importation from Hungary is the most plausible route. However, investigations are still ongoing and nothing can be ruled out at this time. The final epidemiological report will be published in due course.

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Birds of Prey: Qatar

Ms Angela C. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations govern the (a) import from and (b) export to Qatar of hybrid falcons; and what recent representations he has received on the numbers of hybrid falcons imported from and exported to Qatar. [128383]

Mr. Bradshaw: There are two separate sets of regulation governing the import and export of hybrid falcons into and out of the EU.

Imports of all captive birds, including hybrid falcons, from countries outside of the EU into the EU community are currently prohibited by Commission Decision 2005/760/EC (as amended). The only captive birds currently permitted are birds for conservation purposes or for zoos which must have and must meet the conditions of a licence issued by Defra.

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For exports of hybrid falcons to Qatar, official veterinary health certificates are required, which are issued by local SVS Animal Health Divisional Offices.

There are also EU regulations which implement the Convention on International Trade in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), currently Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006.

I have received no recent representations on numbers of hybrid falcons imported from and exported to Qatar.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Compensation

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid in compensation to farmers for losses of animals because of (a) TB and (b) other reasons in each of the last five years. [127861]

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

Compensation paid in Great Britain
Cause of animal loss 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Bovine Tuberculosis






Bovine Brucellosis






Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(2)












Foot and Mouth Disease












Avian Influenza






Newcastle Disease






1 Figures are provisional and subject to change.
2 Figures include BSE suspects, cohorts and offspring in Great Britain. The culling of cohorts commenced in 2005 and involved culling a backlog of cohorts in anticipation of the replacement of the Over Thirty Month rule.
3 Only one premises affected. Defra does not make public individual compensation payments.

Climate Change Bill

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he expects the draft Climate Change Bill to allow emissions reductions attributed to the UK to be achieved overseas; and if he will make a statement. [128112]

Ian Pearson: The proposed Bill would allow, under prescribed conditions, a proportion of emissions reductions achieved overseas and paid for by UK entities, to be counted towards the reduction targets in the Bill. This is fully consistent with (and would be limited by) international law, including the Kyoto Protocol and its Marrakech Accords which state, under the flexible mechanism provisions, that countries are permitted to use credits, so long as they are “supplemental to domestic action”, and that domestic action comprises a “significant element” of the efforts made by each country.

The UK fully supports the principle of trading emissions at European level too through the EU ETS. There are significant advantages in allowing international trading as part of the UK’s legislative framework: for example, it would encourage the further development of global emission, trading markets which, as the Stern Review showed, will be central to global collective action to tackle climate change. The Committee on Climate Change will have an important role to play in advising Government on the optimal balance between domestic and overseas effort for each budgetary period.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many destruction orders were made under the (a) Dogs Acts and (b) Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in each London borough in each of the last five years. [128794]

Mr. Bradshaw: Figures for the number of destruction orders made under dangerous dogs legislation are not held centrally.

Energy: Conservation

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department will launch the consultation on the Energy Efficiency Commitment 3. [128725]

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Ian Pearson: The Government engaged in discussion with stakeholders throughout 2006 to inform development of proposals for the third phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment, 2008-11 (EEC3). This included an initial consultation from July to October 2006, for which the summary of responses was published on 12 January 2007. The first draft of the Illustrative Mix of Measures for EEC3 was published on 26 September 2006. Further to this, on 12 January 2007 we published the proposed scores for established EEC3 measures for consultation. On 16 March we published the final scores for those measures, in order to provide early certainty and facilitate the transition to EEC3. Statutory consultation on the EEC3 is planned for May 2007.

Horses: Insurance

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward amendments to the Animals Act 1971 to mitigate the effects on the cost of insurance for horse businesses of the 2003 House of Lords judgment on the interpretation of that Act. [127595]

Mr. Bradshaw: Decisions about the provision and cost of insurance cover for equestrian businesses are matters for the commercial judgment of the insurance industry.

However, the Government are well aware of the horse industry’s view that the Mirvahedy judgment in 2003 had an adverse effect on insurance premiums. My Department has consulted interested parties on the question of whether an amendment to the Animals Act 1971 to allow a defence of reasonable care would be desirable or appropriate. Parties consulted included the British Horse Industry Confederation, the Country Land and Business Association and the Countryside Alliance.

The majority of responses received were in favour of a change, and my Department has accordingly offered the horse industry its support if a suitable vehicle for amending the Animals Act, such as a Private Member’s Bill, can be found. That offer remains on the table.

Marine Fisheries Agency

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any costs will be incurred by changing the name of the Marine Fisheries Agency to the Marine and Fisheries Agency. [128820]

Mr. Bradshaw: The cost is in the region of £5,000 which is to be spent on signs for the offices and document templates. All costs will be met from within the existing Marine Fisheries Agency budget.

Poultry Farming

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with EU ministers about the implementation of the 1999 Laying Hens Directive; and if he will make a statement. [129476]

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Mr. Bradshaw: My ministerial colleagues and I have regular discussions with our EU counterparts on a range of issues.

Council Directive 1999/74/EC, which lays down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens, is implemented in England through the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.

Whales: Conservation

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which foreign Governments have responded to his Department's publication “Protecting Whales—A Global Responsibility”; what the nature has been of their responses; and if he will make a statement. [128659]

Mr. Bradshaw: Like-minded members of IWC have praised our initiative in publishing this booklet and are also making use of it in their own recruitment drives. The booklet and the lobbying which has accompanied its distribution has elicited positive responses from non-members (or unpaid-up members) of IWC, including Costa Rica, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro and others, some of whom are expected to be able to adhere to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling before the next IWC meeting. Pro-whaling countries have, of course, been critical but that is no surprise.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 194W, on whaling, to which 57 countries the “Protecting Whales—A Global Responsibility” document was distributed; whether it has been distributed to any further foreign governments; and if he will make a statement. [128616]

Mr. Bradshaw: Copies of the publication “Protecting Whales A Global Responsibility” have been delivered to Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Belize, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Guatemala, Nicaragua, China, Guinea, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Slovakia, Belgium, Hungary, Argentina, Australia, Ireland, India, Finland, Peru, Portugal, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Spain, Mexico, Oman, Kenya, Norway, Panama, France, Czech Republic, South Africa, Italy, Chile, Sweden, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, United States of America, Austria and New Zealand.

Copies will be delivered to all International Whaling Commission (IWC) members before this year's annual meeting of the IWC59 and in future the publication will be used to help encourage other countries to actively engage in the protection of cetacean species around the globe.

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Culture, Media and Sport

Cultural Heritage: Conservation

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 15 March 2007, Official Report, column 455W, on English Heritage: finance, what estimate English Heritage made in its analysis as supplied to her Department of the extra resources needed to fulfil its new responsibilities arising from the Heritage Protection for the 21st Century White Paper. [129343]

Mr. Lammy: My Department is considering English Heritage's estimate of their likely costs to undertake their responsibilities as proposed in the White Paper Heritage Protection for the 21st Century as part of the comprehensive spending review.

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