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Lord Whitty: Defra contracts out the services of aerial surveillance to DirectFlight Limited. For 200506, DirectFlight will provide Defra with 1,000 "on task" hours. The company operates two Cessna 406 aircraft out of Exeter Airport and is tasked by the Sea Fisheries Inspectorate to undertake monitoring, control and surveillance of English and Welsh waters within British fishery limits. The aircraft have occasionally operated in waters of another member state and in international waters.
As part of our tasking programme, consideration is given to joint operations between surveillance aircraft and Royal Navy fishery protection vessels where it is appropriate for effective monitoring, control and surveillance.
No detailed records are maintained of flights where tasking of a ship and an aircraft is programmed or has been undertaken. Likewise, an aircraft and a FPV may communicate and co-operate but no detailed records of this are maintained. Communication between aircraft and FPV is encouraged by the Sea Fisheries Inspectorate and even though an aircraft and FPV may not be working in the same area communications may take place as the vessel might be gaining an insight as to activity for areas it may be working in later in a patrol. All aircraft sightings are downloaded and collected by the ships the following morning after a flight.
|On Task Hours 1||1,773||1,741||1,440||1,484|
|Total Mission hours||1,955||1,895||1,632||1,633|
|Targeted Hours 2 (No. of Flights)||1,061 (270)||900 (222)||709 (181)||686 (197)|
|Routine Hours (No. of Flights)||712 (194)||841 (215)||731 (198)||798 (180)|
|Total number of patrols||470||437||384||374|
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 21 March (WA 15) on the importation of bird feathers, what training is required by those responsible for carrying out the sensory check on all imports. [HL1976]
Lord Whitty: Veterinary checks are the responsibility of official veterinary surgeons (OVS). The Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2004 require that the OVS are qualified veterinary surgeons that have participated in a specialised training programme. Defra organises training courses for the OVS. Trained technical officers may assist the OVS and the OVS is responsible for ensuring that the technical officers have undergone suitable training.
Lord Whitty: Under EU rules every consignment of processed feathers from countries under restriction because of avian influenza are checked at border inspection posts on entry into the EU. Imports of processed feathers must be accompanied by a commercial document stating that the feathers have been cleaned with a steam current or by some other method ensuring that no pathogens are transmitted shall accompany the consignment.
Cleaning feathers with a steam current or by some other method ensuring that no pathogens are transmitted is considered effective in significantly reducing the quantity of virus, if present, to a negligible level. Therefore no further testing is carried out.
5 Apr 2005 : Column WA105
Further to the statement by the Lord Whitty on 23 March (Official Report, Col. GC 146), what they understand by the phrase "we have introduced better surveillance" in relation to bovine tuberculosis and the acute risk of infection of livestock by badgers. [HL2008]
Lord Whitty: The statement referred to a package of new measures announced by Defra on 1 November 2004 to tighten surveillance and reduce the risk of bovine tuberculosis (TB) spreading to new areas. These include:
Further information is available in the publication TB in Cattlechanges to testing and controls available in the Library of the House or on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/pdf/tbcattle04.pdf.
Lord Whitty: Badgers and their setts are fully protected under the provisions of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. However, the Act does provide for the department to issue licences to interfere with badgers or their setts to prevent, amongst other things, serious damage to land, crops or property. Before such
5 Apr 2005 : Column WA106
licences are issued, the site in question will be visited by the technical staff of the, Wildlife Management Team, the department's wildlife advisers, who will assess the situation and report to the administration unit who will then decide whether or not a licence will be issued.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 17 March (WA 150), whether the bridge and highway authorities are adhering to the advice on the methodology for measuring bridge heights set out in the Traffic Signs Manual; and whether they are under any strict obligation to do so. [HL1960]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Her Majesty's Government do not monitor compliance with the non-statutory advice given in chapter 4 of the Traffic Signs Manual. This is the responsibility of the relevant traffic authorities and bridge owners.
How many working days there are between the date that the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/639) were laid before Parliament and the date the regulations come into force. [HL1961]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The regulations are due to come into force on 4 April, the 22nd day after the date the regulations were laid before Parliament (14 March). There are two public holidays during this period. Excluding Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays there are 13 days between the date the regulations were laid before Parliament and the date on which they are due to come into force, including the date of laying but not the date they come into force.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Secretary of State has no powers to direct either the Office of Rail Regulation or Network Rail not to petition against the Crossrail Bill. Discussions will continue with both bodies with a view to resolving as many issues as possible which might give rise to petitions.
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