Previous Section Index Home Page


Waste Management

Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration she has given to instituting specific procedures to check on the background, including criminal convictions, of new relevant persons once a waste management licence has been granted. [21210]

Mr. Meacher: Under section 74 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Agency has the power to take into account the relevant offences of a new relevant person in relation to a current waste management licence. Under section 38 of the 1990 Act, the Environment Agency has the power to suspend or revoke licences if the licence holder ceases to be a fit and proper person—one of the tests of which is relevant offences. When invoking these powers the agency must have a regard to the statutory guidance provided in Waste Management Paper 4, "Licensing of Waste Management Facilities".

Livestock Movements

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the restrictions on the movement of livestock will be further relaxed. [24056]

Margaret Beckett: I welcome the fact that we have not had a confirmed case of FMD since the end of September, and that the programme of testing has enabled us to reduce the risk status of all the counties affected, so considerably easing the movement of livestock within the present control regime. I hope that it will not be long before the country can, with reasonable confidence, be regarded as free of disease. We still need to maintain precautions against the recurrence of the disease. This will need to be recognised in an interim animal movement regime which, assuming all continues to go well, we hope to introduce in mid-February. My Department has been

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 142W

discussing the terms of such a regime with the livestock industry over recent weeks. My noble Friend Lord Whitty plans to publish tomorrow the general principles of such a regime.

Fisheries

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has assessed for the year 2000 the impact of the economic link measures introduced for the fisheries sector on 1 January 1999; and if she will make a statement. [23918]

Mr. Morley: From 1 January 1999 all British registered fishing vessels over 10 metres in length and catching more than 2 tonnes of quota stocks have had to demonstrate an economic link with fisheries-dependent communities in the United Kingdom. This link can be demonstrated in a number of ways, for example by vessels landing at least 50 per cent. by weight of their quota catch into the UK or by employing a crew of whom at least 50 per cent. are normally resident in a UK coastal area.

In 2000, 1,627 vessels caught more than 2 tonnes of quota stocks and in each case achieved a satisfactory economic link, primarily through landings into the UK. The economic link arrangements have maintained the increases in UK landings and expenditure achieved by foreign-owned UK-registered vessels in 1999. In addition almost 400 tonnes of quota was made available for redistribution to the UK fleet.

A full report by the Fisheries Departments in the United Kingdom on the operation of the economic link measures and their impact in 2000 has been placed in the Library of the House.

Illegal Timber Logging

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent measures she has taken to promote an international code to combat illegal timber logging. [8286]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 October 2001]: The Government are currently investigating options for intergovernmental agreements to combat illegal logging. My Department works closely with the Department for International Development (DfID) on this. A study by the Royal Institute of International Affairs has been commissioned and final results will be available before the end of the year. The study considers possible options to combat illegal logging and in particular frameworks for voluntary and mandatory agreements and the relationship of such agreements with WTO rules, market based instruments such as labelling and certification, particularly where they include requirements for chain-of- custody documentation.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for International Development represented the Government at the recent Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, East Asia, Ministerial Conference (Indonesia, 11–13 September 2001). The conference was successful. Participants agreed to intensify national efforts and strengthen bilateral, regional and multilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime and to create a regional task force on forest law enforcement and governance. The UK will play its part in taking forward these actions on forest

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 143W

governance, working with overseas partners both bilaterally and internationally through the United Nation Forum on Forests and the G-8 processes.

Foot and Mouth

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will update and publish the information given in the letter of 11 September from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for the Vale of York assessing the damage to the agricultural and tourism sectors of the foot and mouth outbreak (ref 3468). [12070]

Mr. Morley: My letter of 11 September provided the following information:


Our best estimate continues to be that overall UK tourism, in terms of gross value added, may fall by over £3 billion over the eight-month tourism season (March-October). More recent International Passenger Survey statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that on average over the seven months between March and September the number of overseas visitors was down by 7 per cent. compared to the same period in 2000. The number of overseas visitors was also down on average 7 per cent. in the first nine months of the year, including those months prior to the outbreak of FMD. There was also an 11 per cent. fall in spending by overseas visitors over the same period.

The survey of farmers mentioned in my letter has now been completed by ADAS. Officials are now considering the results and these will be made available early in the new year.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 144W

blood tests taken from animals slaughtered in efforts to eradicate foot and mouth disease were later confirmed as positive; and if she will make a statement. [13888]

Mr. Morley: 55 per cent. of tests from animals slaughtered in efforts to eradicate foot and mouth disease were later confirmed as positive. This percentage includes samples taken from animals slaughtered on infected premises, as dangerous contacts, on contiguous premises and as slaughter on suspicion cases. Not all animals slaughtered on infected premises are sampled; confirmation of the disease frequently being based only on clinical examination. Additionally, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that the premises was free from disease. For instance, if the disease is old the virus may not be present in the sample collected, and blood tests from newly infected animals may not give a positive reaction to the laboratory test as antibodies may not yet be present.



Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what scientific evidence there is that vaccination can prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease. [15363]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 November 2001]: There are three principal lines of scientific evidence which demonstrate that suitable foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccines, properly applied, can minimise or prevent the spread of the disease. These are:


It is essential that any vaccination campaign is both effectively and efficiently managed in order for it to work and there are many aspects to this, including, the correct strain of vaccine and enough of it, targeting the correct population of animals in the right location and that there are enough trained vaccinators.

Throughout the outbreak, the Government have kept vaccination actively under review. Vaccination would be used if scientific advice were clear that it was the most appropriate measure to shorten the outbreak. But vaccination on its own could never have eradicated FMD entirely.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will calculate Her Majesty's Government's annual expenditure on foot and mouth vaccine research in each of the last 10 years. [18208]

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 145W

Mr. Morley: Government expenditure on research into foot and mouth disease vaccine development for each of the last 10 years is as follows.

Year£
1992–93255,000
1993–94285,000
1994–95427,000
1995–96318,000
1996–97312,000
1997–98317,000
1998–99253,000
1999–2000309,000
2000–01268,000
2001–02154,000

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of alternatives to mass slaughter of livestock in the event of further outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. [18020]

Mr. Morley: The disease control policies employed by the Government to eradicate foot and mouth disease are being guided by advice received by the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser. The requirements to slaughter animals which are infected or suspected of being infected with FMD is also a key part of the rules established by the European Union on the control of the disease.

The use of vaccination in certain circumstances would be considered if scientific advice were clear that it was the most appropriate measure to shorten the outbreak. However, vaccination does not provide complete protection against FMD and could never be used solely to eradicate FMD entirely. The Government recognised early in this year's outbreak that future EU and international policies for handling FMD would need to be reassessed, including the role of vaccination. The UK, with the Dutch, took the initiative to organise an International Conference on Prevention and Control of Foot and Mouth Disease on 12–13 December in Brussels.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk of the transmission of foot and mouth disease from the consumption by dogs of fallen stock. [17969]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 26 November 2001]: Although experimental studies demonstrated a degree of susceptibility to FMD in some dogs, there is no direct evidence to show that the species has been involved in the transmission of FMD to susceptible livestock. There is a theoretical risk that dogs could be involved in the mechanical transmission of the virus by carrying infective virus on their paws or coat. There is also a remote possibility that the consumption by a dog of FMD infected material could pass infection on to susceptible livestock, particularly if the dog vomited soon after consuming the infected material. However, provided the dog had a normal digestive process, it is unlikely that any viable virus would survive passage through the stomach and intestines. It is considered most unlikely that this theoretical possibility poses a serious risk of spreading FMD.

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 146W

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her oral statement of 12 November 2001, Official Report, column 578, on what basis she stated the number of local appeals which were lodged against the contiguous cull in the Thirsk blue box. [20822]

Mr. Morley: Since my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement of 12 November, I have asked my officials to re-check the source of the figures I provided on challenges to the contiguous cull in the Thirsk area. I can now confirm, that while accurate in themselves, the figures my right hon. Friend gave then relate to North Yorkshire as a whole. Thirsk was the name given to the area imposed for foot and mouth disease control and is often used as a shorthand to describe the wider area. I apologise if this led to any confusion.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the changes in foot and mouth (a) management and (b) eradication policy since the previous significant outbreak; and if she will make a statement. [20991]

Mr. Morley: An accurate and complete list of headline changes in the management and eradication of foot and mouth disease since 1967 would need to pick up a wide range of issues such as changes in legislation, science and technology. This could be produced only at disproportionate cost. However, a comparison of the way in which the current outbreak differs from the 1967 outbreak may be found on the DEFRA website at http:\\www.defra.gov.uk/footandmouth/about/current/ comparisons/1967 a.asp. This contains a section on how the 1967 and 2001 outbreaks were tackled.

A clearer picture of the changes requested by the hon. Member will emerge as my Department and the independent inquiries commissioned by the Government are able to assess the lessons learned from the current outbreak.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is towards the request for pre-action disclosure of departmental papers relating to the Government's handling of the foot and mouth outbreak; and if she will make a statement. [21105]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 6 December 2001]: Pre-action disclosure is governed by the Civil Procedure Rules which regulate the conduct of civil litigation. The question of disclosure of any departmental papers would have to be considered in the light of these rules as applied to the facts and circumstances of each case.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what moneys remain outstanding to auctioneers and valuers subcontracted to MAFF in Scotland during the foot and mouth outbreak; and if she will make a statement. [21541]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 December 2001]: A total of £327,061 remains outstanding to auctioneers and valuers in Scotland. This matter is currently being considered by my legal department and it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.

17 Dec 2001 : Column: 147W

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many vets work for the State Veterinary Service; and how many were employed at the outbreak of the current foot and mouth epidemic. [22104]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2001]: The number of vets that work for the State Veterinary Service is 286 (full-time equivalents, as at January 2001). All of these veterinarians have assisted in the eradication of foot and mouth disease in some capacity.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost of employing temporary veterinary inspectors during the foot and mouth outbreak was. [22107]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2001]: The total cost of payment to those temporary veterinary inspectors (TVIs) appointed for foot and mouth disease, (as of November 2001) is £33,183,049. This comprises fees plus travel and subsistence expenses.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many temporary veterinary inspectors, by area, were taken on during the foot and mouth epidemic. [22105]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 December 2001]: It is not possible to provide the number of temporary veterinary inspectors (TVIs) employed by area during the foot and mouth epidemic. We appointed 2,575 TVIs during the foot and mouth crisis and they moved around the country where they were most needed. TVIs were not necessarily assigned to one area.


Next Section Index Home Page