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Waste Management

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to set the waste industry targets to allocate a greater proportion of tax credits under the landfill tax credit scheme towards sustainable waste management projects, particularly those which promote recycling. [161062]

Mr. Timms: The Government have set an indicative target of 65 per cent. of landfill tax credits to be allocated to sustainable waste management projects (category C-CC). The Government also propose that the industry works towards at least maintaining the current proportion of a third of tax credits within this category allocated specifically to recycling projects.

The Government will review progress towards these targets in future Budget reports.

Long-term Unemployment

Mr. Love: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on his measures to tackle long-term unemployment. [159880]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross).

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what regulations are in place concerning the import of (a) meat and (b) livestock from countries where foot and mouth disease is prevalent. [156369]

Ms Quin: EU rules permit the importation of meat from a limited number of third countries where foot and mouth disease is present and where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specified regions. The meat must come from those regions of the relevant countries that are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not pose foot and mouth disease risk, may be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. GB domestic

10 May 2001 : Column: 286W

rules currently prohibit the import of meat from Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Swaziland where foot and mouth disease outbreaks have been recently confirmed. The GB Regulations governing the imports of these products are the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996 (as amended) and the Fresh Meat (Import Conditions) Regulations 1996.

GB imports livestock under EU or national rules only from countries or areas officially recognised as being free from foot and mouth disease. GB imports of livestock are regulated by the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (as amended) and the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (as amended).

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those countries in which foot and mouth disease is considered to be endemic, indicating in each case if importation of their meat into the United Kingdom is prohibited. [154429]

Ms Quin: The importation of meat is permitted from a limited number of third countries where foot and mouth disease is present and where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specified regions. EC rules permit imports from those regions of the relevant countries that are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not pose any foot and mouth disease risk, may be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. UK domestic rules currently prohibit the import of meat from Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Swaziland where foot and mouth disease outbreaks have been recently confirmed. The UK Regulations governing the imports of these products are the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996 (as amended) and the Fresh Meat (Import Conditions) Regulations 1996.

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when restrictions on imported beef from (a) Argentina and (b) other countries where foot and mouth disease is endemic were first imposed. [155232]

Ms Quin: EC rules permit the importation of meat from a limited number of third countries where foot and mouth disease is present and where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specified regions. The meat must come from those regions of the relevant countries that are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not pose a foot and mouth disease risk may be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Uruguay. Domestic legislation in England and Wales currently prohibits the import of meat from South Africa and Swaziland (since 5 January 2001), Argentina (since 14 March) and Uruguay (since 26 April). Scotland and Northern Ireland took similar action for each of these countries shortly after each of the dates specified.

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Mr. Field: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list his main policy decisions in response to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, indicating in each case whether he had to seek EU approval. [157266]

Ms Quin: The following table lists the key policy decisions, showing where EU approval had to be sought. Where it was not necessary to obtain EU approval, we have kept the Commission and other member states informed.

DecisionEU approval required
Suspension of issue of export certificates(15)No
Immediate standstill on all FMD susceptible animal movements throughout GBNo
Prompt slaughtering of all infected premises and dangerous contactsNo
Sheep and pigs 3 km cull in CumbriaNo
Army deployedNo
Contiguous premises to be treated as dangerous contactsNo
24/48 hour targets setNo
Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme launched(16)Yes
Contingency plan for emergency vaccination in Cumbria and Devon drawn upYes
Lifting of restrictions in some areasNo
Animals in surveillance zones sent for slaughter for food chain, at approved abattoirs in same zoneNo
Refinement of contiguous cull policyNo

(15) But resumption of exports will require EU approval

(16) For State Aid purposes


Mr. Gray: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when movement restrictions imposed on the area surrounding Stiles abattoir in Bromham will be lifted. [156902]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 April 2001]: The Declaratory Order relating to the infected area which includes Bromham was revoked on 22 April 2001.

The Stiles abattoir in Bromham is able to take animals for slaughter. From 23 April, animals inside an infected area but not within 3 km of an infected premises have been allowed to move for slaughter to an abattoir within the same infected area. This movement is subject to veterinary inspection for clinical signs of disease. The Minister announced on 3 May that healthy animals within the 3 km protection zone could also be licensed for slaughter within the infected area, subject to an examination for clinical signs of foot and mouth disease by a MAFF local veterinary inspector.

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what warnings were given to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department of the risk of spreading foot and mouth prior to the present outbreak through out-of-ring sales at markets. [156882]

Ms Quin [holding answer 4 April 2001]: We are not aware of any warnings which highlighted the risk of spread of foot and mouth disease from out-of-ring sales. Since such sales are not recorded on the market records there will inevitably be delays and difficulties in tracing movements of these sheep from a market. Any delay in tracing livestock that may have been exposed to infection may increase the risk of disease spread.

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The Government are now consulting on proposals to introduce a requirement limiting movements of sheep, goats and cattle by restricting their movement off an agricultural holding within a period of 20 days following the movement of animals onto the holding. For sheep and goats it is also proposed to introduce a requirement for notification of movements. There is already a system of notifying cattle movements.

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what warnings were given to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department of the risk of spreading foot and mouth prior to the present outbreak on account of the absence of a standstill period after movement for sheep, goats and cattle. [156880]

Ms Quin [holding answer 4 April 2001]: Ministers and officials are not aware of any warnings about the risk of spreading foot and mouth specifically as a result of the absence of a standstill period.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish daily statistics showing the number of animals awaiting slaughter, broken down to show the number of (a) healthy animals, (b) animals suffering from foot and mouth disease and (c) the carcases awaiting disposal. [156835]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 3 April 2001]: Daily statistics are published on MAFF's internet site www.maff.gov.uk showing the number of animals awaiting slaughter, number of animals slaughtered and the number of carcases that are awaiting disposal. We also publish daily average slaughter and disposal figures.

It is not possible to break down the number of slaughtered animals into those that are healthy, and those that were diagnosed as infected with foot and mouth disease. This is due to the automatic cull of all animals on infected premises and those animals considered at risk as dangerous contacts. Not all animals which are slaughtered are tested for foot and mouth disease.

MAFF also publishes daily statistics showing the number of healthy animals slaughtered under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme.

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when it was decided to make a landfill site at Fosterville, Newton Abbot, available for the burial of carcases of animals slaughtered in connection with the control of foot and mouth disease; what category of carcases (a) have been buried at the site to date and (b) may be buried there in the future; how many carcases and what species of animal can be buried at Fosterville; how many carcases are to be buried at the site; if it is his policy to allow carcases from infected areas to be buried in uninfected areas; if he will list the burial sites that have been approved where carcases from infected areas are buried in uninfected areas; what (i) advice and (ii) representations he has received about the burial of carcases from infected areas in uninfected areas; and if he will make a statement. [157320]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The landfill site at Fosterville, Newton Abbot was made available from 30 March 2001 to accept uninfected carcases from the livestock welfare disposal scheme. Carcases from animals taken for disease control purposes rather than under the welfare scheme are not being sent to Fosterville.

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As of 23 April 2001 the site had accepted 34,540 carcases from the scheme. The site can accept approximately 200 tonnes of carcases per day. It is anticipated that use of Fosterville is likely to continue until the scheme is no longer necessary.

MAFF does not approve individual movements of livestock carcases under the livestock welfare disposal scheme. The Intervention Board is responsible for administering this scheme and directs carcases to disposal sites in order to maximise the use of available resources such as abattoirs and disposal sites at any one time, taking account of policy guidelines.

As far as possible, the objective of the authorities responsible for the disposal arrangements is to ensure that carcases are not transported from a higher risk area to a lower risk area. However factors such as the location of abattoirs and landfill sites mean this is not possible in all circumstances. We recognise that this is a matter of general concern, and has been raised a number of times. Veterinary advice is that the risk of spreading the disease through transporting welfare carcases from infected areas to non-infected areas is low when proper protocols are followed on veterinary inspection before slaughter, transportation and disposal.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average amount paid to date to farms in compensation for the culling of animals in the foot and mouth outbreak; and what estimate he has made of the final average payment. [157787]

Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: Approximately £101 million has been paid so far (as of 3 May) to farmers in compensation for the animals slaughtered as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. The average payments for each species (as of 26 April) are as follows:

£
Cattle900.20
Sheep108.21
Pigs88.35

As of 5 May the estimated approximate total to be paid as compensation is £629 million.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 2 April 2001, Official Report, column 78W, for what reason motor vehicles arriving from France are not subject to the same disinfectant procedure as motor vehicles leaving Britain. [157085]

Ms Quin: The EU Standing Veterinary Committee considered that the risk of disease spread being transmitted by motor vehicles departing the UK for France, as compared to the risk posed by those departing France for the UK, was considered significantly greater because of the large number of outbreaks of foot and mouth in the UK compared with France. Foot and mouth disease related restrictions in France have now been lifted.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the disposal of carcases at Throckmorton airfield will affect the status of the surrounding area for foot and mouth control purposes; and if he will make a statement. [157867]

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Ms Quin [holding answer 10 April 2001]: The disposal of slaughtered carcases at Throckmorton airfield does not affect the surrounding area for foot and mouth disease control purposes. Part of the site is located within the protection zone of the infected premises at Bishampton and the whole site is included within the infected area.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the incidence of the airborne spread of foot and mouth disease. [158450]

Ms Quin: Airborne spread of the virus can take place, especially from pigs, but the evidence so far suggests that this has not been a major factor in the spread of the current outbreak.

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average cost per head is of (1) on-farm cremation of livestock; [158205]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: This information is currently not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his assessment is of the reasons for which the confirmed cases of foot and mouth are disproportionately concentrated in Dumfries and Galloway, Cumbria and Devon; and if he will make a statement. [158253]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The high concentration of cases in these areas is almost certainly attributable to the movements of sheep in the period before the infection at the farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall was confirmed on 23 February and livestock movements in Great Britain were banned on the same day. These areas are among the most highly stocked in the country and all received sheep from Longtown market during that period.

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if the pig swill used at Burnside Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall, was treated and used by a neighbouring farmer; [158244]

Ms Quin [holding answers 23 April 2001]: These matters are under inquiry. It would therefore not be appropriate for me to comment at this stage.

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his assessment is of the impact on the spread of foot and mouth of the time which passed between the implementation of the export ban and the UK movement ban. [158250]

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Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The export ban was introduced on 21 February. Before that, movement restrictions had been placed around all of the known cases of the disease, starting with the first suspected case in an Essex abattoir on 19 February.

The tracing of farms supplying the Essex abattoir began immediately the case was notified. Once the infection at the farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall had been confirmed on 23 February, the nationwide standstill on livestock movements was introduced the same day.

It is now known that the disease spread mainly through the movement of sheep and subsequent mixing of animals, and that the vast majority of the spread of disease around the country had already taken place before the first outbreak was discovered in Essex.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps his Department is taking to establish the role of personal contact between farmers and (i) other farmers, (ii) veterinary staff and (iii) personnel involved in slaughter in the spread of foot and mouth disease. [158565]

Ms Quin: Epidemiological investigations into the outbreak are considering all possible routes of spread. Farmers have been issued with a wide range of advice and guidance on managing contacts with other people. With regard to (i) farmers should limit contact with other keepers of livestock. However, if there is contact then they are advised to disinfect footwear, change clothes and wash with hot water and soap, including hair, before going near their own animals. Any item or object that may have had contact with disease should also be disinfected. On (ii) and (iii) veterinary staff and slaughtermen operate under strict instructions to ensure that all appropriate cleansing and disinfection procedures are followed before and after attending a farm.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what cost to benefit analysis he has conducted of the implications of (a) a regime of regular inspections and testing and (b) immediate culling of dairy herds of farms contiguous to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. [158507]

Ms Quin: The scientific and veterinary advice we received was that the prompt culling of all potentially infected animals--including those on contiguous farms--was essential to the overall success of our disease control policy.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will halt the slaughter of healthy organic stock and rare breeds which are outside the three-mile zone of an area identified with foot and mouth; and if he will make a statement. [158283]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The only animals more than 3 km from infected premises which are being slaughtered under current foot and mouth disease control measures are animals which are dangerous contacts--that is, susceptible animals known to have been in contact with animals that have had the disease, or with personnel, vehicles and equipment which has been in contact with such animals. Exempting such dangerous contacts because they are organic stock or are from rare breeds would involve an unacceptable risk of disease transmission.

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Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy only to proceed with the cull of dairy cattle at Old House Farm and Eatons Farm, Tibberton, Worcestershire, after the case for such a cull has been reviewed by a Minister; and if he will make a statement. [158989]

Ms Quin [holding answer 26 April 2001]: We currently have no plans to cull dairy cattle at either of these premises.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent advice he has received on the properties of napalm relating to (a) vaporising and (b) producing fumes and by-products. [158869]

Ms Quin [holding answer 26 April 2001]: The Ministry has received advice from the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) concerning the use of napalm. There are two forms of napalm available, which both produce very toxic compounds when they burn. We therefore have not used napalm because of the public and environmental health risks.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what epidemiological studies he has conducted in (a) Cumbria and (b) elsewhere which study the location of animal cremation pyres, wind direction and later outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. [159455]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The Institute of Animal Health at Pirbright has recently produced a report, in collaboration with MAFF and the Meteorological Office, on the spread of the foot and mouth disease virus from the burning of animal carcases on open pyres. This reports is to be published in the "Veterinary Record" shortly.

Six pyres, located in Devon, Exeter and Worcestershire, were monitored. Additional pyres are currently being investigated in Cumbria and Devon. The report concludes that early results indicate that breakdowns due to virus dispersion from pyres are unlikely to occur in general and the pyres analysed to date have shown no evidence that breakdowns due to this cause have occurred.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average valuation per cow has been for dairy Holstein cattle in each week of the foot and mouth epidemic. [159462]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The precise information requested is not readily available. The weekly average of cattle valuations received is as follows:

Week ended£
11 March712
18 March662
25 March864
1 April810
8 April1,007
15 April1,006
22 April878
29 April1,229


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Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of animals from farms caught in the 3 km voluntary cull have tested positive for foot and mouth at Great Orton. [159458]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The information requested is not currently held on a computerised system and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many slaughtered on suspicion cases there have been; and how many of these were included in the totals of infected premises. [159459]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: As of 2 May there have been a total of 210 slaughtered on suspicion cases. Of these, 50 have been reclassified as infected premises, following clinical examination or testing, and included in the total of infected premises.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list for each week of the foot and mouth epidemic the number of suspect cases reported to his Department by farmers and the numbers of those which had swabs sent to Pirbright before foot and mouth disease was confirmed. [159450]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The information requested is given in the table.

Week commencingNumber of suspect cases reported(17)Number of samples taken from suspect cases
19 February 20013618
26 February 2001365124
5 March 2001426167
12 March 2001581219
19 March 2001674290
26 March 2001722259
2 April 2001596223
9 April 2001537199
16 April 2001446138
23 April 200134077
30 April 200115135

(17) The figures include all suspect cases reported, not just those reported by farmers.


Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the ranks and job titles of the officials in Page street from whom temporary veterinary inspectors had to obtain authorisation that their diagnosis of foot and mouth was a confirmed case. [159451]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: On investigation for foot and mouth disease, a veterinary inspector in the field contacts a Veterinary Adviser at the Emergency Control Centre in Page street, London to discuss the individual case. The Veterinary Adviser will discuss the case with the Veterinary Manager of the Centre or a VA supervisor appointed by him. Centre managers are veterinary members of the senior civil service or unified grade 6. Veterinary Supervisors appointed by them are at veterinary grade 7 or equivalent. All these grades are staffed by experienced and qualified veterinary surgeons. The case is then either confirmed or negated on clinical grounds or the option of "slaughter on suspicion of disease" is followed.

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At the peak of the outbreak in late March/early April, in order to reduce delays in confirmation, those veterinary advisers who were experienced were given the authority to confirm or negate cases if need be without referral to the manager, though working under supervision. In practice about two thirds of the cases were still discussed before a decision was taken. As soon as the situation eased somewhat centre managers reverted to the standard process of confirmation of cases after discussion with a veterinary manager.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farms in (a) England, (b) Cumbria and (c) Devon that were originally designated as contiguous were not slaughtered out because of appeals or interventions by (i) the farmers concerned and (ii) third parties. [159461]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: This information is not available in the format requested and cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost. However, in Cumbria currently there are 14 and in Devon 21 appeals outstanding. These appeals were made by the livestock owners or solicitors acting on their behalf.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farms in Cumbria have had sheep slaughtered in the voluntary cull; and how many sheep were affected. [159456]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: As at 2 May, 523,857 sheep had been slaughtered on around 1,800 holdings in Cumbria as part of the north Cumbria/Solway precautionary cull.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (i) cattle and (ii) sheep on how many farms in (a) England and (b) Cumbria have been slaughtered because they were contiguous to infected premises but where the infected premises later tested negative. [159475]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The information is as set out.

EnglandCumbria
(a) Infected premises for which laboratory tests detected no FMD virus22458
(b) Number of premises contiguous to (a)(18)1309
(c) Number of cattle slaughtered on (b)13,8271,616
(d) Number of sheep slaughtered on (b)89,5167,322

(18) Some premises may also be contiguous to other infected premises


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what powers his Department has to restrict the holding of car boot sales in agricultural areas during the foot and mouth outbreak. [159544]

Ms Quin: Article 29(3) of the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983 allows a veterinary inspector to prohibit by notice in writing the holding of any sporting or recreational activity on any land in an infected area specified in the notice when in his opinion the holding of such activity on that land may cause the spread of disease.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration he has given to disposing of (a) infected and (b) non-infected

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animals slaughtered during the foot and mouth crisis at sea; what advice he has received on this option; and if he will make a statement. [159424]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The UK is a Contracting Party to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic, which does not permit the disposal of animal carcases at sea. We are also advised that there would be substantial practical and environmental problems associated with the disposal of large numbers of carcases in this way.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he first notified other EU Governments of a suspected case of foot and mouth in England during the current outbreak; [159522]

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 April 2001]: We notified the European Commission, and through it other EU member states, on 20 February, the day the first case was confirmed. We understand that the French authorities started slaughtering susceptible animals of UK origin and contact animals, shortly afterwards. We have kept in close touch with the French authorities about export consignments of susceptible animals from Britain. Any decision to trace these exports back to 15 January has been taken by the French authorities. No animals slaughtered for foot and mouth disease control reasons have been returned as carcases to the UK.

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what measures he is taking to control pollutant emissions from tyres used as accelerants in the open-air burning of slaughtered livestock; [159855]

Ms Quin [holding answers 2 May 2001]: Those responsible for building pyres are already instructed to avoid using tyres as fuel, where possible, and their use is discouraged by the Environment Agency (EA). This practice may have continued in some cases as tyres are effective in establishing the fire, and it is important to have a well established fire at an early stage. The Prime Minister announced on 3 May that no pyres to dispose of large numbers of carcases will be lit, and so it is unlikely that the use of tyres in pyres will continue.

It is not possible to say how many disposal sites have used tyres for combustion purposes, as disposal arrangements are made at local level.

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The Defence Establishment Research Agency is currently carrying out research into how pyres can be made more efficient. The EA and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) have been monitoring pollution from pyres; two sites in Devon are being monitored automatically and findings from this project are published on the DETR website www.detr.gov.uk and are updated daily. Dioxins are being measured in three areas in Devon. Dioxin measurements from a site in South Wales have been published www.powys.gov.uk, and have also been measured in Cumbria. The studies so far have found that pollution levels from pyres are generally low. DETR is also working with the Department of Health (DoH) looking at the possible environmental impact of pyres and guidance for siting pyres has been produced; this is available on the DoH website www.doh.gov.uk/fmdguidance.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when his Department expects to pay the outstanding invoices to Greyhound Plant Services, Oswestry in connection with foot and mouth plant services; and if he will make a statement. [160165]

Ms Quin [holding answer 3 May 2001]: Outstanding invoices are currently being processed and should be paid under the Ministry's normal terms of payment, that is within 30 days of receipt of an undisputed invoice.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his Department's responsibilities in relation to the drawing up of maps denoting the infected area status of constituencies in Wales. [160677]

Ms Quin: When a case of Foot and Mouth Disease is confirmed, an Infected Area with boundaries which are at least 10 km from the infected place has to be designated by a Declaratory Order unless the area is already within an existing Infected Area. The boundaries are set by describing features and map references from the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 series. Declaratory Orders for England and Wales are made by my Department and a map depicting the infected area may be inspected in the MAFF office at 1A Page Street, London between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday. The maps are also reproduced on the MAFF website http://www.maff.gov.uk/.

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures have been taken to increase the scrutiny of imports at (a) ports and (b) airports as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. [160503]

Ms Quin: As my right hon. Friend the Minister said in his statements on 27 March and 3 May, MAFF is co-ordinating action across Government to ensure that rules on both commercial and personal imports at ports and airports are enforced effectively. In addition he has also asked the European Commission to give urgent attention to ensuring that the law on personal imports is clear and robust to help enable effective controls across all the Community's borders.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the reliability of the different kinds of test for foot and mouth disease carried out at his Department's laboratories at Pirbright. [160742]

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Ms Quin: The Foot and Mouth Laboratory at Pirbright is the FAO/OIE nominated World Reference Laboratory for foot and mouth disease. They employ a number of diagnostic methods. We are confident that they provide the best possible scientific advice on the disease.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many farms at which his Department carried out contiguous culls of livestock were subject to laboratory tests for foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement; [161012]

Ms Quin: This information is not currently held in the format required.

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence his Department has collated relating to the use of borax in the treatment of foot and mouth disease. [160715]

Ms Quin: We have not received any evidence relating to the effectiveness of Borax as a treatment for foot and mouth disease, nor have we received any scientific evidence to demonstrate its efficacy, safety or quality. In the absence of such evidence which would be required before Borax could be authorised as a veterinary medicinal product, claims that it is effective in preventing foot and mouth disease would be incompatible with the requirements of the Marketing Authorisations for Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulations 1994 as amended. Manufacturers of such products as Borax may apply for such authorisation.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps have been taken by his Department to ensure fair and comparable standards in the valuation of livestock to be culled as a result of (a) foot and mouth disease contact and (b) inclusion in the livestock welfare disposal scheme. [160753]

Ms Quin: The two are not directly comparable. When livestock are slaughtered for disease control purposes, compensation is paid at market value. Under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme, a payment is made to ensure welfare problems are resolved. It is not a compensation scheme and the payment rate does not reflect the full commercial value of the livestock involved.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the consequences of the formation of dioxins at high temperatures in the presence of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine, as a result of the use of pyres, built with creosote-soaked railway sleepers and tyres. [158867]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 April 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

Guidance has been issued by the Department of Health entitled "FMD: Measures to minimise risk to public health from slaughter and disposal of animals--further guidance" to provide practical advice to those at the local level on the best way, from a public health perspective, to dispose of animal carcases (available on www.doh.gov.uk/

10 May 2001 : Column: 298W

fmdguidance). This includes guidance on the construction and siting of pyres which takes account of the possible risks to health from the emissions of air pollutants from the pyres At the beginning of the outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Environment Agency issued a joint statement which advised that pyres should be constructed as set out in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food "Air Code". The code contains detailed advice on the materials to be used for the construction of pyres. This also includes advice on the materials, which should not be used as fuels in such pyres (such as plastics, rubber, and tyres), so as to minimise the production of air pollutants such as dark smoke, dioxins and furans.

The national environmental technology centre have advised, with respect to the use of treated timbers in pyres, that "creosote treated wood is not expected to give rise to significantly higher emissions of dioxins or PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) than untreated wood". This advice, and consequences for public health, is contained within the risk assessment published by the Department of Health "Foot and Mouth--Effects on Health of Emissions from Pyres Used for Disposal Animals" available on www.doh.gov.uk.


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