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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Environment Agency spent on (a) hotel bills, (b) trips to the Belfry Golf Course, (c) trips to Henley Regatta, (d) other hospitality and (e) other corporate costs in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Woolas: In 2007-08 the Environment Agency plans to spend £0.6 million on routine maintenance in the Corby, Wellingborough and Kettering areas. Over the period from 2008-09 to 2010-11 it is planned to commit a further £1.8 million in this area to maintain watercourses and assets.
The Environment Agency also has a programme of capital improvements to flood defences. In 2007-08 £0.14 million will be spent on improving flood storage facilities downstream of Northampton and at Weldon. Over the next 10 years from 2008-09 a further £4.8 million is included in the Agencys capital programme to deliver flood defence improvements identified in the Nene Catchment Flood Management Plan, the Nene Strategy (Kettering and Wellingborough) and the Nene Flood Defence Structures refurbishment programme.
In North Northamptonshire further strategic flood risk measures will be necessary to mitigate proposed future development and housing growth. The Environment Agency, working in partnership with North Northamptonshire Planning Unit, will seek to secure up to £50 million from developer and local authority contributions to fund and build the new flood defences required to provide sustainable flood risk management infrastructure ahead of development.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the economic impact of the summer 2007 floods on the (a) agriculture industry, (b) horticulture industry, (c) local government and (d) tourism industry. 
Our application for the European Union Solidarity Fund European was submitted on 20 August. A provisional assessment of damage caused by the June and July floods lies at above €4 billion. While this is
currently the best working estimate based on work with local authorities and other agencies, the final and confirmed costs will not be known for some time.
Data on the economic impact on the agriculture and horticulture industries of the summer 2007 floods are not yet available. I understand that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have commissioned work to estimate the value of immediate crop and livestock losses from flooding, and will publish this when it is complete later in the year.
Following the floods 50 local authorities have registered for assistance from the Bellwin Scheme for June and 52 have registered for July. 20 local authorities have registered for both schemes. Once we have assessed the claims from these local authorities we will have information on the uninsurable costs they have incurred as a result of the floods. For the last nationwide flooding scheme in 2000, we paid out £21 million to 76 local authorities. We do not know yet what the level of costs will be this time.
A full estimate of the costs to the tourism industry of the floods has not been completed. It is of the nature of tourism that the impact on future holiday bookings will take time to emerge. However, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association estimates losses of around £25 million. Worcestershire estimates losses of between £100 to £150 million and Advantage West Midlands have reported losses of £20 million. Data on Hull and East Yorkshire suggest tourism costs of £4.75 million. A full assessment of the total impact on the tourism industry will not be available for some time.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions on (a) the insurability of properties in Worcestershire and (b) the availability of loss adjusters the Government are having with insurance companies following the July floods. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 10 September 2007]: Myself and ministerial colleagues from other departments met with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on 10 July and there has been a continuing dialogue with both the ABI and individual insurers. The ABI has confirmed that its members are continuing to adhere to the statement of principles and this should ensure continued widespread availability of domestic flood insurance cover.
Officials have met regularly with the ABI and representatives from other Government departments, forming a flood recovery and insurance working group to exchange information and help to identify and
resolve potential bottlenecks in the recovery process. The ABI is working with its members to manage the extra claims which have arisen to ensure they are processed as quickly as possible and additional loss adjusters have been brought in from other countries.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2007, Official Report, column 946W, on fly-tipping, how many incidents of fly-tipping were recorded in 2006-07, broken down by local authority; what the estimated cost was of dealing with incidents of fly-tipping in that year in each local authority area; and how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were for fly-tipping in each local authority area in the UK in 2006-07. 
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which recommendations of the Spratt Review into the outbreak of foot and mouth disease the Government do not intend to take forward in full. 
In regard to Recommendation 1, we agree in principle but there is uncertainty as to whether any further work could conclusively identify the source of the virus. At present, we do not believe that it would add to our understanding of the risk mitigation measures that need to be put in place as a result of the Pirbright escape but we will keep that assessment under review.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the cost to the Government of the measures put in place during the most recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 10 September 2007]: To date, the total cost to the Department of dealing with the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease is approximately £8.7 million. This figure is subject to amendment as more data become available.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the total financial cost to the cattle industry of the latest outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 10 September 2007]: My Department has made an initial estimate of the total costs of the outbreak to the UK of £20 million, based on an economic model that has been developed for foot and mouth disease. The full impact will depend on domestic and international restrictions that remain in place and the estimate may be revised as further data become available. Disaggregated estimates of the cost for the cattle industry would be subject to very considerable margins for error.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what biosecurity breaches have occurred over the last five years at Government-funded laboratories conducting research into infectious animal diseases; and what penalties have been imposed on those responsible. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 12 September 2007]: Licences issued by DEFRA to laboratories which handle specified animal pathogens under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) 1998 impose strict requirements in relation to biosecurity. Under the Animal Health Act 1981, it is an offence to breach a term of a licence.
No such offences have been confirmed, and so no penalties have been imposed, at a Government-funded laboratory conducting research into infectious animal diseases, whether funded by DEFRA or another Department, in the last five years. Regular inspection and ongoing liaison with SAPO-licensed laboratories seeks to ensure that potential deficiencies in biosecurity are identified quickly and remedial action is taken.
The Health and Safety Executive has published a report on potential breaches of biosecurity at Pirbright following the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Surrey. This report is available from the DEFRA website and the Libraries of the House. SAPO legislation is enforced by local authorities. Surrey county council are now urgently considering the contents of the reports and will determine what action, if any, is necessary.
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 85W, on lorries: exhaust emissions, what plans he has to (a) to undertake and (b) to commission further research into the effects of HGV emissions on (i) special protection areas, (ii) sites of special scientific interest and (iii) sites of importance for nature conservation. 
However, Defra has committed, through the Air Quality Strategy review launched in July, to carrying out further analysis over the next year and considering how best to ensure the protection of ecosystems against
air pollution in the medium to the long term. Decisions on the funding of future research will be taken once this work is complete.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Milk Marketing Board TB testing station in Longford, Gloucestershire was closed; what the reasons were for its closure; and where its records have been kept since its closure. 
Jonathan Shaw: [holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Milk Marketing Boards (MMB) were abolished in 1994. While Defra took on some responsibilities for the Residuary Milk Marketing Boards, the records we retain do not relate to testing regimes.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons were for his Department commissioning Agra Leas Consulting to produce a report into the potential for future GB-European trade in liquid milk. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 12 September 2007]: DEFRA commissioned this work to clarify the various economic, logistical and technological barriers and risks apparently resulting in limited trade in liquid milk between GB and the rest of Europe (including Ireland). The report was also commissioned to provide an evidence base for the industry to use to identify further threats and opportunities with regard to global trade.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding the National Bee Unit received in each of the last five years; and how much it will receive in the next financial year. 
|Financial year||Expenditure (£)|
These figures do not include any expenditure on specific research projects, although some of the NBUs activity is in support of research initiatives. DEFRAs annual expenditure on bee health research has averaged around £210,000 since 2001.
There is an ongoing review of expenditure on all DEFRA programmes, including bee health. Future funding will need to be considered alongside the full range of priorities facing the Department but we will not take decisions that could compromise biosecurity and the sustainability of bee health in England.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for how many beekeepers each National Bee Unit inspector is responsible in the six months of the year when inspections are undertaken. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 12 September 2007]: The number of beekeepers for which bee inspectors have responsibility varies according to the inspector's allocated area and whether they are employed on a part-time or full-time basis. In 2006, 5092 apiary visits were carried out. Many inspectors conducted around 100 to 150 visits, and some 200 to 250 visits, per season. In addition, regional bee inspectors are available all year and can carry out inspections outside the traditional season. Inspections are targeted in areas where disease risk and colony density are highest and about 10 per cent. of the total number of apiaries is inspected each year.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the last inspection of biosecurity standards at the Pirbright Laboratory in Surrey took place before August 2007; and what the outcome was of that inspection. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 12 September 2007]: DEFRA inspects laboratories which are licensed to handle specified animal pathogens under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) 1998. The laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright was last inspected under SAPO in December 2006. Some issues relating to biosecurity were identified. IAH was required to submit action plans for addressing them and the progress of these plans was closely monitored.
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