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Whether they hold records of animals removed from quarantine centres before their period of quarantine is completed; and, if so, whether these records show that any birds from the Pegasus Centre, which may have come into contact with the parrot infected with avian flu, have been routinely tested. [HL2096]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): Animals are not removed from quarantine centres before their period of quarantine is completed. There are therefore no records of this.
There is an ongoing investigation into the case at the Pegasus Centre. However, there is no evidence to suggest that live birds were at any time removed from the facility during their period of quarantine.
Lord Bach: On 28 October, the EU introduced a ban on imports into the Community of all captive birds (wild birds), along with new restrictions on the importation of pet birds. UK import rules have been amended to reflect that. Therefore, given the safeguard measures taken, this risk remains negligible.
Legal imports of all live poultry and their products from countries where H5N1 has been detected have been banned. Therefore the direct legal importation to the UK of live birds and products from a third country known to be affected or indirect importation to the UK of live birds and products from a third country known to be affected through another member state to the UK is highly unlikely to occur. Therefore, given the safeguard measures taken, this risk remains negligible.
There is an increasedbut still lowlikelihood for the introduction of the H5N1 virus to the UK from the outbreaks in the known affected countries in eastern Europe. That is based on advice from UK experts on migration that there is no major migration of water birds from those countries to the UK. However, there is a possibility that the frequency of H5N1 virus detection in wild birds may increase in those countries.
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Should that be the case, experts consider that H5N1 virus may arrive in the UK at some point in the future because of the potential for limited "mixing" at some "contact" points between the existing water bird populations from this part of Europe with the populations in the EU.
The likelihood of the H5N1 virus being introduced to the UK may escalate to high should outbreaks be detected in the northern part of European Russia. That conclusion is based on the fact that outbreaks of H5N1 virus in this area would be within the direct migratory routes between northern Russia and the UK and involve greater numbers of migratory waterfowl.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has established an independent casino advisory panel to assist her in the exercise of her order-making powers under Section 175(4) of the Gambling Act 2005 to determine the geographical distribution of the new casino premises licences, including those for large casinos. The panel is due to make its recommendations by the end of 2006, and the Secretary of State will announce her decisions in spring 2007. The licensing authorities whose areas are chosen by the Secretary of State are required to be specified in the order under Section 175(4). That order will be subject to parliamentary approval by the affirmative resolution procedure.
Whether they will abandon the proposed budget ceiling of 1 per cent. for European Union gross domestic product in order to facilitate an agreement within the 200713 European Union financial perspectives. [HL2231]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Government continue to believe that in the next financial perspective the EC budget should be stabilised at around current expenditure levels and should not exceed 1.0 per cent. of EU GNI.
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Based on the analysis of regulatory impact assessments carried out on EU and domestic legislation, we estimate that around half of all UK legislation with an impact on business, charities or the voluntary sector emanates from the EU. Analysis by the Library of the House of UK statutory instruments implemented annually under the European Communities Act, suggests that on average, since 1998, around 9 per cent of statutory instruments originate from Brussels (Standard Note SN/IA/2888). The total volume of statutory instruments of course encompasses a wide range of instruments, including those, such as road closures, with purely local effect.
The priorities are future financing, economic reform and social justice, including issues such as better regulation; Europe's role in the world, in areas such as the Doha Development Agenda, development and Africa, climate change, sugar reform and the Middle East; and security and stability, including counter-terrorism and enlargement.
On future financing, the Government will work hard to reach a deal at the December European Council. A budget deal is part of putting Europe back on the right track, but it is easier to get the budget right in the context of a clear direction for Europe's economic and social policy for the future. At the informal summit at Hampton Court on 27 October, EU leaders reached broad agreement on the direction outlined in the European Commission's paper European values in a globalised world. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister made a Written Statement on the Hampton Court informal summit on 31 October (Official Report, Commons, cols. 3032 WS).
We have also already made real advances on these policy priorities. On better regulation, we have made major progress. Some 68 regulations have been withdrawn in the EU, and 100 have been simplified. The post-financial services action plan, which is
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intended to secure a much lighter touch over regulation, has been agreed. On development in Africa, there have been major improvements, with a doubling in the promises of aid to Africa. Sugar reforms should be agreed by the Agriculture Council in November. On enlargement, we were delighted that the European Union was able, under the United Kingdom presidency, to open accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia.
Lord Bach: In compiling statistical records, the department does not use the term "exotic" when referring to birds. However, figures recorded for birds classified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) and seized when illegally imported are given in the table below.
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