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MV Mari Geni

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the options available to the owners of the MV Mari Geni, if they accept decommissioning, for the disposal of the fishing vessel's track record. [37925]

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Mr. Morley: Under the 2001 fishing vessel decommissioning scheme for England the fixed quota allocation (FQA) units and track record of decommissioned vessels may be transferred to:

It is possible to split the FQA units from a single decommissioned vessel and to transfer them to two or more licensed vessels, licence entitlements or producer organisations. However, the track record from a decommissioned vessel cannot be split in this way and must be transferred in its entirety to a single recipient which need not be the same as the recipient of the FQA units.

Meat Exports

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the resumption of exports of United Kingdom- produced meat to (a) non-European Union countries and (b) European Union countries. [33383]

Mr. Morley: Exports of UK-produced biungulate meat to EU countries have been possible throughout the foot and mouth disease outbreak, provided the meat was produced in accordance with the conditions set out in Commission Decision 2001/172/EC which introduced export controls on animal products in response to the outbreak. Exports to non-EU countries required the agreement of the importing country in addition to the conditions established under Community law. The requirements set out in the above Decision were in practice very demanding and only very few exports took place under those provisions.

On 7 June 2001, Community restrictions on exports of meat from Northern Ireland were lifted. Thereafter meat produced in Northern Ireland could be exported to other EU Member States without restriction.

Progressively exports from areas of Great Britain recommenced as counties met the criteria for classification as "FMD free" as required by the Decision.

The UK has now been recognised as FMD free by both the EU and the Office International des Epizooties, the international animal health organisation. On 5 February the European Commission's Standing Veterinary Committee agreed to lift all trade restrictions on the UK related to the FMD outbreak, including the need for export certification. As soon as this change to Community law has been formally adopted, we will reflect it in UK domestic law. This should be very soon. Trade in biungulate meat to EU countries can then resume under pre-FMD conditions. At that point trade with non-EU countries will solely take place on the basis of those countries' own important requirements. The Chief Veterinary Officer has written to non-EU countries informing them of the change to our official status and asking them to remove any conditions or restrictions that they applied because of our FMD outbreak.

Specific restrictions remain in place in respect of exports of beef because of BSE.

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Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will establish an investigation into a possible connection between the sonar signals sent out by Royal Naval vessels and the increasing number of dolphins found in UK coastal waters. [37926]

Mr. Morley: I have no knowledge of any research that indicates that sonar signals from Royal Naval vessels should increase the number of dolphins occurring in UK coastal waters. Currently, neither the Department nor the Ministry of Defence plan to carry out such an investigation.

Goats (Scrapie)

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the status of goats with regard to the national scrapie plan; how many goats have been reported to the authorities as having contracted scrapie in each year since 1993; and what assessment she has made of the significance of the incidence of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in the national goat herd. [37923]

Mr. Morley: Goats are known to be liable to scrapie infection. They do not possess genotypes which would allow breeding for resistance to scrapie, and it would not be appropriate to broaden the scope of the national scrapie plan to include goats as well as sheep.

Since the disease became notifiable in 1993, eight cases of scrapie have been confirmed in goats in Great Britain of which three were confirmed in 1993, one each in 1994 and 1995 and three in 1996.

In recognition of the limited data available on the true incidence of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in sheep and goats, a testing programme was introduced this year across the European Union. As part of an expanded programme coming into effect in April, the United Kingdom will be testing 66,000 sheep and goats.

Rio+10 Conference

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to involve (a) non-governmental organisations and (b) hon. Members in the (i) preparations for and (ii) attendance at Rio+10 Conference in Johannesburg. [36502]

Mr. Meacher: A dedicated team within DEFRA has been established to co-ordinate domestic preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). They are working closely with colleagues from other Government Departments to raise awareness of the summit across civil society, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as other organisations and the public more generally. We are working with NGOs by: supporting key umbrella organisations such as UNED-UK and the Environment and Development Group of the BOND Network (British Overseas NGOs for Development) working in partnership with NGOs, for example WWF on the "Our World Project"; including NGOs in the official UK delegation to the UN preparatory meetings; and establishing a wide stakeholder group to share information on preparations for WSSD.

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My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to all MPs in January informing them of the summit and suggesting how they might get involved. The Environmental Audit Committee are also conducting an inquiry into the UK preparations for the summit, at which the Secretary of State will give evidence on 20 March.

The decision on who will be part of the UK delegation for the summit will rest with the Prime Minister and no decisions have yet been made. But as with previous events of this type we will want a balance of interests represented.


Identity Cards

Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what work is being undertaken to study the introduction of identity cards; when the work is likely to be completed; if it will be published; and if he will make a statement. [32627]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 4 February 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth) on the entitlement card on 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 872W.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the publications issued by his Department in each of the last four years; and what the (a) circulation, (b) cost and (c) purpose of each was. [34194]

Mr. Leslie: This information is not held centrally, nor in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information on publications issued by my Department since May 1997 to December 2000 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

I have asked my officials to collate the information on publications issued by my Department from 1 December 2000 to 31 January 2002. I will write to the hon. Member with this information as soon as practically possible, and place a copy of this information in the Libraries of the House.

Information on the circulation and purpose of each publication is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mobile Telephones

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list, for 1997–98 and for each subsequent financial year, the amount spent (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) abroad by (i) his Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) its non-departmental public bodies on (1) providing mobile telephone equipment, including handsets and other associated equipment, (2) telephone calls made using such equipment and (3) telephone calls made using privately owned mobile telephones but subsequently reclaimed by (x) Ministers and (y) staff. [34394]

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Mr. Leslie: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Task Forces

Llew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what mechanisms have been set in place to enhance the openness of task forces; and what requirements there are for the publication of (a) details of meetings, (b) papers produced for meetings and (c) remuneration for task force members. [36465]

Mr. Leslie: Individual Ministers are responsible for agreeing the programme of work of the task forces for which they are responsible; that would include whether they publish details of their meetings or papers produced.

The Cabinet Office has on a regular basis published information on the number, remit and membership of task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews since 1997. The most recent report covering 2000–01 was published in October 2001. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

The 2000–01 report sets out details of the full title; the date established; the date wound up (if appropriate); number of members and information on the sectors they are drawn; the name and background of the chair; and details of reporting arrangements (including any reports published).

Task force members who are not civil servants do not generally receive remuneration for their work, but they are compensated for travel and subsistence ("out of pocket expenses").

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