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Agriculture: Land

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many hectares of farmland of best and most valued status in England have changed to a developed use since 1996-97. [275764]

Mr. Iain Wright: I have been asked to reply.

Information is not held centrally on the area of farmland of best and most valued status that has changed to developed use. The Department's Land Use Change Statistics (LUCS) can provide estimates for changes to developed use from all agriculture, in hectares.

Estimates up to 2006 are available in LUCS Live Table 261

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to bring forward those provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which are not yet in force; and if he will make a statement. [273876]

Jane Kennedy: The following provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 have yet to be brought into force:

There is no timetable in place for the commencement of these provisions.

Animals: Clones

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) cloned animals and (b) offspring of cloned animals there are in England. [275939]

Jane Kennedy: All cloning of animals for research, medical or agricultural purposes in the UK must be approved by the Home Office under the strict controls of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

This information is not collated by DEFRA.

Badgers

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria are used to assess applications for removal licences in respect of badgers. [275441]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 includes provision for licences to be issued for specific listed purposes. Licences are issued only where it is demonstrated that three conditions are met:


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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how long on average elapsed between the end of the badger winter hibernation season and the commencement of approved work to remove badgers from unsuitable situations in the last five years. [275680]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Badgers do not hibernate as such but the licensing approach is attuned to sensitive periods such as the breeding season. Natural England, as the licensing authority, does not however record the time elapsed between the end of the badger breeding season and the commencement of licensed action.

Bluetongue Disease: Vaccination

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date the decision was made to reduce the cost of bluetongue vaccine to livestock holders; and what the reasons for the decision were. [275801]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA announced on 7 May that remaining bluetongue vaccine stocks will be discounted by 50 per cent.

Reduced uptake during 2009 may leave the national herd and flock vulnerable to further incursions of BTV-8. The Government hold unused stocks which are reaching their expiry dates, leaving the tax payer with a potential liability of £3.3 million if unsold.

The decision to cut the price of Government-owned vaccine has not been taken lightly. The situation is now very different to early 2008, when Government-owned vaccine was the only product available to protect livestock from BTV-8. Government-owned surplus is now competing against vaccines available on the open market, and the pricing is extremely competitive. There is also a need to remove Government-owned stock from the supply chain to allow the market place to operate as normally as possible.

A number of options were investigated and after careful consideration with industry and veterinary stakeholders on the Bluetongue Core Group, we decided that dropping the price of the vaccine was the best approach in order to mitigate financial losses to the taxpayer and reduce vaccine wastage.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the transmission of bovine tuberculosis to (i) pigs and (ii) domestic animals from wildlife. [275802]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has not commissioned any research into the spread of bovine TB from wildlife to pigs and other domestic animals. However, DEFRA has been funding passive surveillance in domestic and zoo animal species for several years. This consists of a free post-mortem and culture service for suspect cases of TB provided by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.


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The principal species affected by bovine TB in Great Britain are cattle and badgers. While small numbers of companion animal species and many wild animal species have been shown to be infected with bovine TB, most are spillover hosts. There is some indirect evidence of transmission from spillover hosts though it is uncertain how often this is occurring.

TB is not normally considered to be particularly contagious amongst pigs or to spread easily from pigs to other animals. In most cases, the disease is self-limiting and no extensive TB control measures are required. We are, however, likely to continue to observe sporadic incidents of porcine TB due to M. bovis on farms where pigs and cattle are co-located and in outdoor breeding-fattening units in the south-west of England and west midlands.

Even in areas where TB in cattle and badgers is quite common, not all badgers or family groups will be infected. Even in areas of high TB incidence in cattle and badgers, TB in domestic animals is rare.

Cattle: Mastitis

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of mastitis in dairy cattle to the dairy industry in each of the last three years; how many cases of mastitis there were in each such year; and if he will make a statement. [274925]

Jane Kennedy: Mastitis is not a notifiable disease hence reporting of mastitis diagnoses is voluntary. The levels of endemic diseases, such as mastitis in the cattle population of Great Britain (GB) are monitored through the DEFRA-funded Veterinary Laboratories Agency's (VLA) Endemic Disease Surveillance Programme. This is performed by analysis of test results from clinical diagnostic samples (usually milk samples in the case of mastitis cases) submitted by veterinary surgeons to the VLA regional laboratories and to the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) disease surveillance centres for investigation.

The VLA surveillance provides information on the causes of mastitis and their trends. The relative proportions of GB mastitis diagnoses attributed to a specific pathogen are monitored—results for 2008 are shown in the following table. The proportions of infection were similar for recent years.

Percentage

Staphylococcus aureus

15

Streptococcus uberis

23

Streptococcus dysgalactiae

6

Streptococcus agalactiae

1

Escherichia coli

18

Other organism(s)

20

No microbial growth

5

Sample contamination

12

Source: GB Surveillance Cattle Diseases Quarterly Report October to December 2008.

The data available shows the mastitis pathogens isolated as a result of veterinarians submitting samples to these government laboratories and therefore do not provide an unbiased or comprehensive estimate of the occurrence of the condition in GB. The VLA is not contracted to determine the cost of mastitis to the dairy industry and cost cannot be determined from this data.


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The control of endemic diseases such as mastitis, that mainly affect the health and productivity of individual cattle herds, are primarily the responsibility of the owner and his veterinary surgeon. Industry milk recording organisations provide recording through monitoring of somatic cell counts in milk samples, which gives an indication of the presence of mastitis when somatic cell counts are elevated. DairyCo is the relevant levy-funded industry body with responsibility for promotion of the dairy industry and they keep national data on milk recording results.

Departmental ICT

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions arising from the operation of ICT systems in his Department under the Greening Government ICT Strategy. [273559]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply given to the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 11 May 2009, Official Report, column 506W.

Domestic Waste: Waste Disposal

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the effect on the management of bio-waste in the European Union on household waste collections in England of implementation of the proposals in the European Commission’s Green Paper. [275763]

Jane Kennedy: The European Commission’s Green Paper explores a wide range of options in relation to the management of bio-waste in the EU, but contains no firm proposals. Therefore the Government have made no assessment.

The Commission will undertake a formal impact analysis of possible policy or legislative proposals later this year. The Government do not expect any firm proposals before 2010.

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2009, Official Report, column 1302W, on domestic waste: waste disposal, what the volume of waste for recycling collected from doorsteps was as a proportion of the total volume of waste collected from doorsteps in each local authority area in the latest period for which information is available. [276113]

Jane Kennedy: A table showing waste collected for recycling and reuse from kerbsides as a percentage of total household waste collected as part of the ordinary waste collection service has been placed in the house Library. The table provides figures for each English local authority for the financial year 2007-08.

Floods: Property Development

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what data the Environment Agency obtains about proposed developments to assess the implications of flood risk. [275475]


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Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency is a consultee in the planning process. The data the Environment Agency receives about proposed development from local planning authorities includes its location and nature and assessments of flood risk. This should demonstrate that the type of development is appropriate for that location and will be safe from flooding over its lifetime, while not increasing flood risk to others.

Fly Tipping

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend, the Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) of 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 99W, on fly-tipping, if he will place in the Library a copy of the CD-ROM being distributed to local authorities. [275777]

Jane Kennedy: The CD-ROM has not yet been distributed to local authorities, as some additions are currently being made to the content. A copy will be placed in the Library as soon as it is published, which will be shortly.

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many incidents of fly-tipping were reported in each local authority area in London in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [275989]

(2) how many enforcement actions relating to fly-tipping have been taken in each local authority area in London in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [275990]

(3) how many prosecutions for fly-tipping offences in each local authority area in London have been brought in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [275991]

Jane Kennedy: I am placing information in the Library of the House on the number of incidents of fly-tipping, the number of prosecutions taken against fly-tippers and the number of other enforcement actions relating to the prevention of fly-tipping reported as being taken in each local authority in London in each of the last four years. Data on fly-tipping in 2008-09 will be published later this year.

Other enforcement actions that can be taken against suspected fly-tippers and to prevent incidents are investigations, warning letters, statutory notices, fixed penalty notices, duty of care inspections, stop and searches, formal cautions and injunctions. From 2009-10, data will also be collected on the number of vehicles seized from those suspected of involvement in fly-tipping.

Food: VAT

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent (a) representations he has received on and (b) assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of value added tax on non-fresh food products in shops on (i) food prices and (ii) the retail prices index; and if he will make a statement. [273130]


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Jane Kennedy: We have not received any recent representations on the introduction of value added tax on non-fresh food products and have made no assessment of the effect of introducing such a tax on food or the retail price index.

Food: Waste Disposal

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research into the amount of food waste used in ways other than being sent to landfill; and if he will make a statement. [275854]

Jane Kennedy: WRAP will commission a new survey that will aim to capture the amount of the UK’s food waste currently going through in-vessel composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. The six-month survey will start at the end of 2009 and is currently planned to end in early 2010.


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