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Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will extend the remit of the Environment Agency to include responsibility for critical ordinary water courses to main rivers. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 June 2002]: We recently consulted on a Review of Flood and Coastal Defence Funding including a number of options for streamlining the service. These included the possibility of transferring to the EA responsibility for watercourses presenting the most significant flood risk. We have received nearly 300 responses to the consultation, and will be considering these and our conclusions through the summer and autumn.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the policy of her Department is on the use of chrysotile asbestos in environmental projects for which her Department is responsible. 
Mr. Meacher: The Asbestos Prohibitions Regulations 1985 were amended in 1999 to ban the marketing, supply and use of chrysotile from 24 November 1999, with a few limited exceptions where there is no substitute material. Directive 1999/77/EC requires the marketing, supply and use of chrysotile to be completely banned from 1 January 2005. Therefore all derogations/exemptions issued for chrysotile under the 1985 Regulations will cease to apply from that date, apart from a general exemption for research and analysis for all types of asbestos. This Department's policy on the use of chrysotile is in accordance with these legal requirements.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the payment structure is for the Government's compensation scheme for dead bovine TB-infected cattle; and what the time scale is for payment of the compensation. 
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The Government recognise that compensation for animals slaughtered should be paid promptly. We are aware of some delays in payment, in some areas, due to the priority given by Animal Health Offices to clearing the backlog of TB testing after the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many confirmed TB herd incidents there have been in 2002, broken down by month, in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Herefordshire and (d) Worcestershire. 
Mr. Morley: The information is not available in the format requested. The figures for the Hereford and Worcester Animal Health Region are given as a total. Individual totals for the separate counties are not yet available. The table details the information requested.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been spent on (a) testing and (b) investigating TB in cattle in (i) Gloucestershire and (ii) the UK in each of the last four years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The information requested is not available on a UK-wide basis. Total expenditure on TB controls, including testing, and research in GB between 199899 and 200001 is set out in the table. The information is not available by county.
|TB controls, including TB testing||16.8||27.1||20.8|
|Research including badger culling trial, other research and Veterinary Laboratory Agency contracts||8.0||11.1||15.1|
3 Jul 2002 : Column 379W
are available to compensate a farmer whose cattle have contracted bovine TB in (a) Gloucestershire and (b) England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The average time taken to pay compensation to a random sample of farmers whose cattle have contracted bovine TB in Gloucestershire is approximately ten and a half weeks. The same information for all TB breakdowns in Gloucestershire, or for England as a whole, is not readily available and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.
The Government believe that compensation for animals slaughtered should be paid promptly. We are aware of payment delays in some areas due to pressure of work generated by increased bovine TB testing in order to reduce the backlog.
Mr. Meacher: The effectiveness of the "Are You Doing Your Bit?" campaign has been assessed by surveys of public awareness and attitudes before and after periods of advertising. As "Are You Doing Your Bit?" funds were contributed last year to rural support during the foot and mouth disease outbreak, no advertising or assessment has been carried out by the Department.
Mr. Meacher: Local authorities are responsible for dealing with abandoned vehicles and the Department currently holds no central records of the number of vehicles abandoned each year. However, we estimate that some 350,000 were abandoned in the United Kingdom in 2000.
Information on the number of abandoned vehicles removed by local authorities has been collected for the first time in the Department's 200001 Municipal Waste Management Survey which will be published this summer.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of her Department have been employed in its regulatory impact unit in the past five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Since the creation of DEFRA on 8 June 2001 there have been four people working full time in the Better Regulation Unit. The unit is supervised by a member of the senior civil service who is also engaged on other duties.
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with the officials responsible for developing policies within their Department and the Regulatory Impact Unit within Cabinet Office. They focus on those regulations that impact on business, charities, and the voluntary sector.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from interested parties regarding the implementation of the proposals contained in the Curry report; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The Government's discussion document "Sustainable Food and Farming: Working Together" invited views on how to take forward issues identified in the Policy Commission's report on the future of farming and food. Approximately 250 responses have been submitted, supplementing representations made during the extensive process of stakeholder engagement conducted recently. These responses are being analysed and will help inform the construction of a Strategy for Food and Farming in England, to be published this autumn.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what checks are carried out on (a) people and (b) animals travelling from (i) North and (ii) South Korea to test for diseases related to animals. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 July 2002]: Targeted checks on passengers are determined by risk. We alerted enforcement officers to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in South Korea. We received veterinary advice that there was no significant risk of travellers bringing back the virus provided rules on personal imports of animal products were observed. We hold central information on products seized. We do not hold central information on all checks that are undertaken.
Veterinary checks and tests are carried out in accordance with EU legislation on imports of registered horses from South Korea and for captive birds from North and South Korea. Imports of non-registered horses from South Korea and all horses from North Korea are not permitted. Imports of all other animals from North and South Korea are not permitted.
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