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1 May 2003 : Column 457Wcontinued
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the most recent annual report into the sale of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK has been published. 
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Mr. Morley: The Report of the Sales of Antimicrobial Products authorised for use as veterinary medicines, growth promoters, coccidiostats and antiprotozoals, in the UK in 2001, was published on 10 April 2003 on the VMD website. I have placed a copy in the Library.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the consultation on Proposals to Amend the Statutory Controls for the use of Agricultural Sludge was carried out in accordance with the Government's code of practice on written consultation. 
Mr. Morley: I can confirm that the consultation on the proposals to amend the statutory controls for the agricultural use of sludge was carried out in accordance with the code of practice for written consultation including allowance for a 13 week consultation period.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of agricultural trade barriers on legal and illegal migration to the EU. 
Mr. Morley: My Department has not made any such assessment. There are many factors which might contribute to legal or illegal migration to the EU. The impact of agricultural trade barriers would be difficult to gauge but it is considered unlikely that it would represent a significant factor.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of workers in Shrewsbury and Atcham were working in agriculture in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Morley: Figures from the 2001 Population Census show that, of the 46,100 people in employment in the district of Shrewsbury and Atcham, three per cent were working in agriculture. The Population Census is the only source of information on the percentage in employment in agriculture for which sufficiently precise figures for Shrewsbury and Atcham are available, but it is only conducted decennially.
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the European Commission on the subject of the regulation banning on farm burial of fallen stock from 1 May in respect of (a) the challenges posed to farmers who have long distances to the nearest rendering plant and (b) the need for sufficient time for the Government to consult the industry on how it proposes to address the consequences of the ban. 
The Government has been discussing the possibility of establishing a national scheme for the collection of fallen stock with representatives of the farming industry since April 2002, but progress was hindered by the industry's initial reluctance to accept anything less than 100 per cent. Government funding. The industry were forewarned of the proposed ban even before these discussions and have had considerable time to prepare for the impending legislation.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what opportunities her Department has to secure derogations to the on farm burial ban of fallen stock equivalent to those secured by the Scottish Executive. 
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department has given to cooperative groups of neighbouring farmers assessing the prospect of purchasing jointly a biodigestor or incinerator to deal with fallen stock in respect of (a) siting and (b) the transport of dead stock from one member's farm to the farm on which the facility is sited. 
Mr. Morley: Guidance on on-farm incinerators, including shared incinerators, was included in a letter sent to all livestock farmers in England on 17 April. A copy of this letter is on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/by-prods/default.htm. Further guidance will be made available shortly.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the geographical spread of rendering facilities in the UK and its effect on collection of fallen stock; 
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Mr. Morley: Rendering or incineration facilities are available throughout the UK to deal with disposal of fallen stock. The collection and disposal industry have stated that there is sufficient capacity to deal with the expected increase in the volume of material when the EU Animal By-Products Regulation comes into effect from 1 May.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will nominate a representative to take forward discussions with bio-dynamic agriculture on the subject of the animal by-products order; and how many cases of BSE have been identified on bio-dynamic holdings. 
Mr. Morley: Defra has a number of officials negotiating the Animal By-Products Regulation, who have been taking account of all comments made in the course of our consultations, including those relating to bio-dynamic agriculture. The statistics requested are not available, as BSE statistics do not identify biodynamic holdings separately.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what exemptions are allowable under the animal by-products order, where agriculture involves a closed cycle of animal rearing. 
Mr. Morley: The new EU Animal By-Products Regulation permits member states to exercise a number of derogations. None of these provides for derogations simply because there is a closed cycle of animal rearing.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with representatives of bio-dynamic agriculture on the implications of the animal by-products order. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the EU on the introduction of the animal by-products order, with specific reference to obtaining exemptions for bio-dynamic agriculture. 
Mr. Morley: The practice of using animal by-products in the production of fertiliser was discussed at a working group meeting in Brussels on 17 March. It was noted that the European Commission intends to lay down further rules on fertilisers, and the TSE Regulation (999/2001) already prohibits the use of Specified Risk Material in the production of fertiliser.
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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her Answer to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) of 27 March 2003, Official Report, column 311W, on benzone, if she will make a statement on the chemical composition of benzone. 
Last year there were 93 new TB incidents in the county, 55 of which were confirmed and 29 unconfirmed, and nine with laboratory results outstanding. Provisional figures for 2003 show there have been four new herd breakdowns in January and seven in February all of which were confirmed.
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