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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents occurred at the Nether Alderley junction between the A34 and the A537 in Cheshire in each of the last eight years, broken down by those which resulted in (a) fatalities, (b) serious injuries, (c) minor injuries and (d) other outcomes. 
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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2008, Official Report, column 1276W, on animal welfare: religion, what progress has been made on taking into account the views of religious communities while upholding the requirements of animal health and welfare legislation; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 14 March 2008]: Further to my holding reply of 4 February, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment held a meeting on 7 February with representatives of the Hindu community.
They discussed how we take into account the views of Hindu religious communities when enforcing the requirements of animal health and welfare legislation. It was agreed that interested parties should work together to establish how such cases should be approached in future.
In addition, they proposed that a protocol should be drawn up which, while acknowledging the deeply-held religious beliefs of the Hindu community, will ensure that animals do not suffer unnecessarily.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he was first advised that the RSPCA were seeking in December 2007, to euthanise the cow, Gangotri, at Bhaktivedanta Manor under the terms of the Animal Welfare Act 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
He concluded that the animal was suffering unnecessarily and wrote to the Hindu community at Bhaktivedanta Manor on 5 December 2007, advising that the animal should be put down during an arranged visit on 7 December 2007.
RSPCA staff telephoned Animal Health officials on 11 December to advise them of their concerns about Gangotri. The Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming and Animal Health was informed about the Gangotri case on the afternoon of 12 December and was advised that imminent euthanasia was likely.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what is the specified minimum time within which farmers must vaccinate once a decision to vaccinate against bluetongue has been made. 
Jonathan Shaw: Working in partnership with a Core Group of stakeholders, we have developed a vaccination delivery plan. This advances a voluntary approach, supported by an industry-led campaign to promote the importance of vaccination. The plan aims to:
i. allow vaccination to be rolled out as quickly as possible, as the doses are delivered;
ii. reduce the cost of vaccination to a minimum by using existing delivery chains and reducing regulatory burdens; and
iii. encourage farmers to take advantage of the freedom to make business decisions based on knowledge of the potential costs of the disease and the significant benefits that vaccination offers.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contingency arrangements he has made for controlling imports of livestock from the EU should bluetongue become more prevalent. 
Jonathan Shaw: Bluetongue-susceptible animals coming from a bluetongue zone in another member state must satisfy the requirements of Annex III of the EU Bluetongue Regulation (1266/2007). Susceptible animals may be moved out of restricted zones into free areas, provided an official veterinarian from the exporting country has certified that all the necessary conditions are met. Importers also have a responsibility only to import animals that comply with the rules and to notify Animal Health before the movement takes place. Animals are permitted to move freely within the same zones within EU member states; for example, from the French protection zone to the UK protection zone.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of cows in the national herd which are being kept in zero-grazed conditions. 
Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conclusions his Department has reached in fulfilment of the duty under section 3.111 of the statutory code of practice of the disability equality duty. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA was one of the Government Departments that was criticised by the Disability Rights Commission in 2007 for failing to produce an effective Disability Equality Scheme. Rather than trying to improve and strengthen the disability aspects of our Joint Equality Scheme, DEFRA took the opportunity to produce a more focused and effective single equality scheme for disability.
Our new scheme was developed with the involvement of disabled people and was approved by the new Equalities and Human Rights Commission at the end
of 2007. This new Disability Equality Scheme has been published in full and summary form on the DEFRA internet site.
Over the past year, and during the course of developing our new scheme we have seen some very tangible improvements for disabled and deaf staff and service users. We have, for example, created a central disability fund to meet the cost of reasonable adjustments for disabled and deaf staff in the Core DEFRA Department. Our bullying and harassment policy has been revised and we have recruited and trained a cohort of harassment advisers. We have also launched a mediation service for staff. In addition, we have strengthened our relationship with DisNet, our staff network for disabled staff. A very significant advancement has been in the governance arrangements for our Disability Equality Scheme. We have set up a Disability Equality Scrutiny and Advisory Group made up of independent disabled experts to monitor and advise on our progress against our action plans.
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