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22 Jun 2010 : Column 121Wcontinued
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future regulation of use of wild animals in circuses. 
Mr Paice: We will consider the results of the recent public consultation exercise on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses before deciding what future action to take, if any.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of representations received on the Government's consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses; 
(2) if she will ban the use of wild animals in circuses. 
Mr Paice: The previous Government issued an initial analysis of responses to their consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses. We will consider the results of the consultation exercise before deciding what future action to take, if any.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to support farmers diversifying into energy production. 
Mr Paice: Grants for the establishment of dedicated perennial energy crops, such as Miscanthus and short rotation coppice, are available through the Energy Crops scheme, which is funded under the Rural Development programme for England (RDPE).
Feed in tariffs (FITs) are available to farmers, and other generators, to support new anaerobic digestion, hydro, solar photovoltaic, and wind projects, up to a maximum capacity of 5 Megawatts (MW). Varying levels of FIT support are offered, depending on the technology and the capacity of the installation. We are currently exploring how we can help more farmers make use of anaerobic digestion technology.
The Renewables Obligation provides support for large scale electricity generation stations and combined heat and power plants (including anaerobic digesters) over 5MW, which are fuelled by energy crops, regular biomass and biomass waste.
Farmers wishing to diversify their businesses, including into energy production, may be eligible for assistance under the RDPE. Farmers should contact their local Regional Development Agency to discuss what funding may be available.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what her policy is on the control of bovine tuberculosis in cattle; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment she has made of the conclusions of the June 2007 Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB on the introduction of badger culling to the future control of cattle tuberculosis. 
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps she plans to take to ensure that all scientific views are taken into account before determining her policy on any badger cull in England; 
(2) whether her Department has identified areas with high and persistent levels of bovine tuberculosis; 
(3) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of badger culling as a means of controlling bovine tuberculosis. 
Mr Paice: Bovine tuberculosis is one of the most worrying animal health problems facing our cattle farmers, and dealing with it is a high priority for the Department.
Bovine TB is largely a regional problem, with high and persistent levels of the disease concentrated in the South West and West Midlands in England, and in South-West Wales.
We are currently considering all the issues carefully, including the scientific evidence, to work out the detail of a package of measures to tackle bovine TB. We will be looking at culling and vaccination options as part of that package.
The coalition Government have committed that as part of a package of measures, we will introduce a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of TB in cattle. We are currently developing that package of measures, considering all the issues carefully, including the scientific evidence, to work out the detail and to make sure we get it right.
The most recent results from post-trial analyses of the randomised badger culling trial show a continued beneficial effect on the incidence of TB in cattle within the culled areas for at least three and a half years after the culling ended. We will be considering this latest evidence alongside all the other relevant evidence and issues before taking a decision.
I have also met the TB eradication group for England and asked them to advise me on this package of measures.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to reduce the effects on the health of cattle of selective breeding for high milk yield. 
Mr Paice: In taking steps to reduce the effects on the health of cattle of selective breeding for high milk yield, we fully recognise the need to improve the health, welfare and longevity of dairy cows. This includes enhancing expression and recognition of oestrous, increasing conception rate to artificial insemination, improving energy balance in early lactation, identifying management factors affecting the welfare and longevity of cows, identifying strategies to control milk somatic cell counts and improving the functionality of dairy products through dairy cow nutrition.
A comprehensive, integrated programme of collaborative research is currently being undertaken by DEFRA in support of the dairy industry.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the farming industry and other interested parties on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA Ministers and officials meet regularly with farming and environmental groups, as well as other interested parties, the devolved administrations and other EU member states, to discuss reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence with the Permanent Secretary of her Department in respect of her private interests since her appointment. 
Mrs Spelman: In accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, the Government are committed to publishing Ministers' relevant interests twice yearly. The list will be published in due course. In the meantime, I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had at EU level on country-of-origin food labelling. 
Mr Paice: Ongoing discussions in Europe on the new EU food labelling regulation include origin labelling.
The Government support the need for clear and accurate origin labelling as set out in the Government Programme, and will be working with the food industry, retailers and others achieve this.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to promote the procurement of food from sustainable and ethical sources in the public sector. 
Mr Paice: The procurement of food in the public sector is an area where the coalition Government are looking for progress, both in terms of efficiencies and sustainability. The public sector must lead by example on this, and DEFRA is looking into how this can be achieved.
DEFRA is taking forward the commitment in the Coalition Agreement to ensure that food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future regulation of the use of battery cages to keep gamebirds. 
Mr Paice: The welfare of game birds reared for sporting purposes is covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We have no plans to introduce further legislation to cover game birds.
The previous code of practice for the welfare of game birds was withdrawn from Parliament on 27 May because we did not consider that it was sufficiently based on scientific evidence. We understand that there are concerns
on the use of barren cages to house breeding game birds. We are now amending the code in consultation with members of the working group that drafted the first version. This will be laid before Parliament for approval once the amendments have been agreed.
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish her proposals on a new risk-based approach to regulation for hill farmers. 
Mr Paice: The Government announced, on 9 June, a new industry-led task force on farming regulation. It is chaired by Richard Macdonald, former director-general of the National Farmers Union, and is charged with identifying ways to reduce the regulatory burden. It will provide advice on how best to achieve a risk-based system of regulation in the future. The task force will make its initial recommendations by early 2011. To provide additional support for hill farmers, we will explore the scope to add to the funding provided by the Uplands Entry Level Stewardship Scheme through changes to the arrangements, under both pillar 1 and pillar 2, of the common agricultural policy, all of which are likely to require EU agreement.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether she plans to bring forward a protocol for assessing the toxicity of soil contaminated by incinerator bottom ash; 
(2) if she will publish the adopted sampling protocol for assessing the ectoxocity of incinerator bottom ash; 
(3) if she will ensure that the adopted protocol for sampling incinerator bottom ash to assess ecotoxicity will require representative sampling; 
(4) when her Department began its discussions with the Environmental Services Association on sampling procedures for H14 ecotoxicity of incinerator bottom ash; and what the outcomes were of those discussions; 
(5) if she will take steps to ensure that incinerator bottom ash which is ecotoxic or hazardous is appropriately classified and sent to hazardous landfill; 
(6) when she plans to publish a protocol for the sampling of incinerator bottom ash. 
Richard Benyon: The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has been developing the sampling protocol for assessing the ecotoxicity of incinerator bottom ash (IBA) for some time. It had been expected to be published earlier this year. The ESA will publish the document once it is completed to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency. The sampling protocol being prepared by ESA is based on representative sampling. The Environment Agency is not aware of any examples of soil contamination by IBA.
It is the responsibility of any waste holder to ensure that the waste is correctly classified and managed accordingly. Any waste identified as hazardous should be managed in accordance with the relevant waste legislation to protect human health and the environment.
This may include appropriate treatment and recovery, or controlled landfill. It is the role of the Environment Agency to enforce the waste legislation.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's policy of the recent Commission for Rural Communities report on upland areas of England. 
Richard Benyon: We recognise the significance of the uplands, and are grateful to the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) for their contribution to this debate. The CRC's report covers a wide range of issues including farming, environmental stewardship, CAP reform, and rural services, and we shall be considering these carefully within DEFRA as well as in other Departments. As the CRC itself recognises, many of the issues raised in this report are not unique to the uplands, and reflect broader issues faced by all rural communities, including low-land and coastal communities.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has made to her Japanese counterpart on allegations that crews of Japanese whalers undertaking secretive whaling are appropriating whale meat for commercial sale; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: It is up to Japan to regulate its whaling industry. I cannot comment on a potential criminal investigation in another country. We remain of the view that Japan's large-scale killing of whales, under the guise of 'scientific' research, is unnecessary and should stop.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to express to her Japanese counterpart the Government's policy to the resumption of commercial whaling by Japan; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: I attended the 62nd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to express the UK Government's opposition to Japan's continued whaling.
We will continue to make our position known to Japan at every appropriate opportunity and argue that Japanese whaling operations undermine the credibility of the IWC as an effective organisation for the conservation of cetaceans world-wide.
Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in Makerfield constituency have received payments from the Child Trust Fund since its inception; and what steps he plans to take in respect of stakeholder accounts into which a child's parents or guardians have not paid a child trust fund voucher within one year of its issue. 
Mr Hoban: Statistical Information about Child Trust Funds is published on HM Revenue and Customs' website at:
The Government currently send a voucher to the parents or guardians of all eligible children so they can start a Child Trust Fund for their child. If the voucher is not used by its expiry date then HM Revenue and Customs opens an account on the child's behalf.
On 24 May 2010 the Chancellor announced that the Government intend to reduce and then stop Government payments to Child Trust Fund accounts. More detail on the announcement can be read at:
The 24 May announcement does not affect what happens where a child's parents or guardians have not used the voucher by its expiry date. HM Revenue and Customs will continue to open accounts for these children where vouchers have been issued.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people living in (a) Harrow West constituency and (b) the London Borough of Harrow have a child trust fund. 
Mr Hoban: Statistical information about Child Trust Funds is published on HM Revenue and Customs' website at
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