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Mr. Morley: The Government have no plans to introduce a Bill of Rights for Animals. We are undertaking a review of animal welfare law with a view to modernising and consolidating them into an Animal Welfare Bill.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Rural Payments Agency will complete its review of the case referred by Mr. and Mrs. McCoy of Dartmouth regarding their 2001 bovine subsidy scheme claim. 
Alun Michael: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) received a number of representations about the penalties imposed and considered them in consultation with the industry, taking account of the advice and views of the European Commission. As a result, a number of categories were identified where a review of the earlier
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decision was considered to be appropriate. Full details regarding the consultation and the categories affected have been sent to all bovine producers.
The RPA aims to process cases as quickly as possible but has made a commitment to the industry to complete the exercise by the end of March 2003. Mr and Mrs McCoy's case will be considered under the review provisions and a reply will be sent to them by the deadline.
The RPA is required under European legislation to cross-check bovine subsidy claims against the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) Cattle Tracing System (CTS) database. Discrepancies were found when checks were carried out on 2001 bovine claims resulting in a significant number of producers having penalties applied and also delays in making the subsidy payments.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many bovine TB reactors were positive in (a) Herefordshire and (b) Worcestershire in 2002; and how many have been positive in 2003. 
Mr. Morley: Reactors to the tuberculin test are slaughtered and examined post-mortem. Infection is confirmed by either the presence of typical, visible lesions of tuberculosis or by the laboratory culture of the causative agent (Mycobacterium bovis) in tissue samples. These post mortem examinations, carried out in abattoirs, are less than 100 per cent. sensitive. Failure to detect visible lesions or failure to culture the organism from a test reactor does not necessarily rule out infection with M. bovis. It would be misleading, therefore, to equate unconfirmed test reactors to "false positives" or "negative" reactors.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to change the law relating to the welfare of circus animals; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: There is currently a review of animal welfare law with a view to modernising and consolidating it into an Animal Welfare Bill. The legislation relating to the welfare of circus animals is part of that review. I am considering a thorough overhaul of the present licensing system for performing animals including the welfare of animals in circuses and circus winter quarters. Officials have held discussions
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Mr. Morley: Maritime District Councils are empowered to carry out works in the management of coastal erosion by the Coast Protection Act 1949. The Environment Agency does not have responsibility for coastal erosion.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding is being made available under the Government's financial statement 2003 for (a) West Somerset District Council and (b) Sedgemoor District Council for coastal erosion. 
Mr. Morley: Grant aid is made available by DEFRA to support capital projects carried out by the maritime district councils to manage the risk from coastal erosion, provided they meet specified economic, technical and environmental criteria, are on the Department's forward capital programme and achieve the Department's threshold priority score. The total allocation for all authorities for coastal erosion works in 200304 is £35 million. Responsibility for deciding on which projects to promote and their timing rests with the councils. West Somerset District Council has an entry for a study on DEFRA's forward capital programme for 0304 but Sedgemoor District Council has no entries.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many laptop computers were used by (a) Ministers and special advisers and (b) officials in her Department in each year since 1995; how many were (i) lost and (ii) stolen; what their cost was; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: The number of laptop computers used by (a) Ministers and special advisers was six and (b) officials was 1,835, in the 200102 financial year. In that year (i) five laptops were lost, and (ii) six were stolen; the total value of these was £18,675. None of the laptop computers lost or stolen was being used by a Minister or special adviser.
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The detailed powers are set out in Sections 14, 15, 1921, 25, 36, 5557, 6264 and 66 of the Act. They include powers for the improvement and maintenance of existing works, construction of new works, acquisition and disposal of land, powers of entry and the making of byelaws.
Mr. Morley: The Land Drainage Act 1991 sets out the financial powers of internal drainage boards (IDBs). Section 36 provides for IDBs to meet their expenses (net of payments to, and receipts from, the Environment Agency (EA)) by drainage rates and special levies. Section 37 sets out how these payments will be apportioned. Sections 3839 deal with differential drainage charges which are set by sub-dividing the IDB area. Sections 4054 deal with levying of drainage rates and related provisions. Section 55 provides powers for IDBs to borrow in relation to their functions under the 1991 Act or to discharge other loans. Ministerial consent is required for new borrowing. Section 56 allows IDBs to set navigation tolls. Section 57 allows IDBs to seek contributions from the EA in relation to water from higher land or dealing with water before it reaches a main river.
We intend to use the forthcoming Water Bill to restore the power for IDBs to borrow to finance contributions to the Environment Agency, which was inadvertently lost when water legislation was consolidated in 1991.
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 February 2003]: In 2001 the EU agreed new rules requiring the compulsory marking of hen eggs. From 1 January 2004 eggs will have to be marked with a code identifying the method and place of production. This will improve consumer information and choice and will assist with traceability and enforcement of EU egg marketing regulations. We will soon be consulting interested parties on the format of the producer code. There is no truth in the rumours that each egg will have to be traceable back to an individual hen.
Egg marking will only apply to class A eggs most of which are sold at retail level. Some 80 per cent. of eggs produced and sold in the UK are already marked under the industry's Lion assurance scheme. In negotiations, the UK successfully argued for the inclusion of a provision in the new rules to allow the marking of eggs to take place at any approved packing centre as well as on farms. Furthermore, eggs sold by the producer directly to the consumer for their own use (e.g. farm gate sales or at farmers' markets) will not have to be marked, nor will any non-class A eggs or those sold for processing.
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