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HFCs

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of plant and equipment installed in her Department's offices in the last 12 months contains HFCs. [15519]

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Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 November 2001]: No central record is kept of plant and equipment installed in the Department. The Department is, though, well aware that in October 2000 regulations came into force which confirmed the total ban on the use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and introduced a ban on HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) in new equipment from 1 January 2001. Substitute refrigerants have therefore been introduced whose benefits include reduced ozone depletion potential, toxicity, flammability and global warming potential. These substitute refrigerants include approved HFCs. The Department therefore endorses the use of the Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions since they supply HFC based equipment. Our facilities managers and design consults are well aware of the regulations and specify new equipment accordingly.

BSE

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) on what date her Department became aware that meat from the offspring of a cow with BSE had entered the human food chain; [28688]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 January 2002]: The Animal Health Office discovered that an offspring had been moved while under restrictions on 3 January. After further investigation, a detailed written report outlining the circumstances of the case was received in London on 8 January. The Food Standards Agency was informed on 10 January.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she made of using postal services to obtain the passports of the offspring of cattle with BSE during the foot and mouth epidemic. [28690]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 January 2002]: There was no practical alternative to using postal services in circumstances where it was desirable to minimise visits both on to and off farms.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many cases comprise the backlog in the seizure of animal passports in relation to BSE controls; and if she will make a statement; [28684]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 January 2002]: Animal Health Offices have been asked to seize all outstanding passports for offspring animals under BSE restrictions and to report on progress early in the week beginning 21 January. Animal Health Offices have also been instructed to prioritise offspring cull work.

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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by what means her Department became aware that meat from the offspring of a cow with BSE had entered the human food chain. [28686]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 January 2002]: The Animal Health Office contacted the offspring's owner in order to arrange for it to be slaughtered. The farmer informed the Animal Health Office that the animal had been moved. Further investigation revealed that the animal had been slaughtered for human consumption.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to confiscate animal passports of cattle which are the offspring of animals with BSE and are awaiting slaughter. [28185]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 17 January 2002]: There are no changes to our policy that the passports of all offspring born after 1 August 1996 to suspected BSE cases should be removed. Checks are being made to ensure that this has happened in all cases. This does not alter the owner's responsibility to comply with restriction notices served on them.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many offspring of BSE-infected cattle were awaiting slaughter in January 2001; and what is the present number. [28186]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 17 January 2002]: 134 offspring of BSE-infected cattle were awaiting slaughter in Great Britain on 14 January 2001. As at 14 January 2002, there were 478 offspring awaiting slaughter.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to extend the loan action scheme to England. [29375]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 22 January 2002]: I assume the hon. Gentleman is referring to the loan action scheme to improve energy efficiency in small and medium enterprises run by the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, or the similar scheme which the Trust operates in Northern Ireland. The introduction of a similar scheme in England would be a matter for consideration by the Energy Saving Trust and the recently formed Carbon Trust, in the preparation of their business plans.

Flood Defences (Lewes)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications for flood defence provision in Lewes resulting from the decision on the contribution of East Sussex County Council to the flood levy for 2002–03. [27539]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 January 2002]: I understand that the Sussex Local Flood Defence Committee is meeting again on 25 January to discuss the 2002–03 levy and its implications for the Environment Agency's plans for flood management. I await the agency's assessment of any implications for flood defence provision in Lewes.

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Animal Experiments

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to seek changes to EU legislation in respect of the mandatory testing of chemicals on animals. [28633]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 22 January 2002]: In line with Government policy on experiments on live animals, the policy of the Department is to seek reduction in such experimentation wherever possible, consistent with the protection of human health and the environment. We take the view that, while a complete ban is not yet achievable, much more should be done to reduce the numbers of animals used in determining the environmental fate and effects of chemicals.

We are aware of the concern that has been raised that the EU Review of Chemicals legislation might lead to a large increase in the number of animals used in tests. We sympathise with these concerns, and have made it clear to the Commission of the European Communities and to other member states that a key objective of this review must be to keep the need for animal experimentation to an absolute minimum. This should include:


Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list those items valued at more than £50 which have been stolen or lost from her Department in each of the last four years. [27998]

Mr. Morley: The Department records show that the following items have been stolen or lost in the last four years. Data from 8 June 2001 relate to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while previous information covers Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

£

DateItems lostCost
1998
12 January2 PCs6,000
26 January1 Special telephone handset80
2 February1 Video recorder190
10 June1 Answering machine80
21 June1 Laptop2,500
5 September1 Laptop3,110
21 September2 Laptops6,000
1999
1 February1 Laptop plus zip plus mouse2,300
23 February 2 Central processing units2,250
26 March 2 PCs plus 8 copies of software plus 2 ethernet cards2,250
14 April1 Laptop2,000
19 April1 Psion Organiser350
27 April 4 power adapters with accessories400
23 July 1 Field equipment and mobile phone70
18 August 1 Laptop and accessories1,570
6 September1 Mobile phone and accessories100
20 September 1 Laptop2,300
27 September 3 Software CDs400
1 OctoberCash from purse100
28 October1 PC plus printer2,000
15 November1 Laptop1,950
22 November1 Laptop1,580
20 December1 Laptop1,320
2000
28 January1 Laptop1,000
13 February1 PC plus printer3,192
27 February1 Laptop plus floppy disk drive2,765
21 March1 Psion Organiser380
28 March1 Psion 5 MX383
5 April 1 Laptop plus mobile printer1,000
26 April1 Raincoat150
16 May 29 Processors plus 1 laptop5,478
24 May 20001 Laptop2,000
26 May 20001 Laptop, printer and accessories1,244
10 JuneCash100
10 June1 Mobile phone120
7 July2 PCs plus 1 Laptop5,000
19 July4 Compaq processors4,000
20 July1 Laptop plus Modem card1,100
2 August1 Laptop plus 1 printer plus 1 printer lead1,820
7 August3 PCs3,250
17 August1 Processor500
11 September1 Laptop, mouse and connections1,500
12 October 1 Modem100
30 October1 Laptop2,585
20 November1 Laptop plus 1 floppy disc and CD drive2,660
29 November3 Processors675
2001
1 February 1 Laptop2,998
6 February2 Laptops3,500
8 February1 Laptop2,000
12 February2 Laptops4,000
12 March1 PC plus printer2,500
21 March1 Laptop1,500
2 April1 Laptop2,000
9 May2 DIM cards146
20 May1 Keyboard96
2 July1 PC700
2 August1 Pentium1,000
16 August1 Laptop plus 1 modem and carry case2,000
14 September1 Laptop1,500
28 September1 Laptop1,500
1 October1 Laptop1,579
5 October1 Laptop1,579
21 November1 Laptop plus projector1,879
19 December2 Printers300

23 Jan 2002 : Column 924W


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