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Alun Michael: A definition of "ease of use" was developed by the Countryside Agency in conjunction with our officials an the County Surveyors Society and the Audit Commission in order to provide an appropriate measure for performance indicators. This was refined last year when it became a Best Value performance indicator under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1999. The definition can be revised each year if necessary but there are advantages in avoiding change so that there is consistency in the data collection over a period of years.
Ease of use is measured according to the percentage of total length of footpaths and other rights of way which are easy to use by members of the public. This involves consideration of the extent to which a footpath or other right of way is signposted or waymarked; the extent of unlawful obstructions and other interference, including overhanging vegetation, to the public rights of passage; and consideration of the good repair of the surface and lawful barriers, such as stiles and gates, to a standard necessary to enable the public to use without undue inconvenience.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the reasons for which no English county council has met the national target of easy-to-find pathways. 
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Alun Michael: The Countryside Agency's Rights of Way Condition Survey 2000 was conducted to establish how easy it is to find, follow and use public rights of way. Whilst it found there had been a substantial improvement in "easy to find" category, I am concerned that no survey region met the national target of 95 per cent. of their paths signposted. No formal assessment has been made of the reasons for this, although lack of funding and low priority are generally seen to be the cause. It is because the Government wants to be able to establish where the performance of local highways authorities could be improved, that we introduced a provision in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, section 71, that will enable the Secretary of State to require local highway authorities to publish reports on the performance of their functions relating to rights of way.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government plans to implement powers in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which will allow local authorities to divert or close rights of way for the purpose of crime prevention; which areas the provision will apply to; if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: I have published proposals to implement the provisions in 'Crime Prevention on Rights of Way: Public Consultation paper on the Designation of Areas and Other Procedural Matters'. This was published on 19 June and a copy placed in the Library of the House. Once the arrangements are in place it will be for the appropriate authorities to apply for designation. Normally the application will be made by the highway authority for a ward area or areas, but I have proposed some flexibility in my proposals. I am arranging for a copy to be forwarded to my right hon. Friend.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment has been conducted by (a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency into the destination of waste from municipal waste incinerators; if she will place copies of this documentation in the Library; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) if she will list those applications where incinerator ash, waste lime or dust was ultimately released to land by (a) site location, (b) year, (c) tonnage, (d) source and (e) end-use in 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Environment Agency has completed their investigation into the destination of ash from municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs). The Agency has accounted for all the solid residues produced between 1996 and 2000 by MSWIs in England and Wales, and has evaluated the environmental implications of the
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residues' use, including use in construction. It has also looked at what steps may be needed in the light of these findings.
Four municipal waste incinerators sent ash for processing with a view to its subsequent use in construction during the study period. Details of the total amounts of ash produced from each plant and the proportions sent for processing and landfill are in the table as follows (IBAIncinerator Bottom Ash, ESPElectrostatic Precipitator Ash):
|Incinerator||Total ash (19962000) in tonnes||Proportion to landfill||Proportion to processors|
The Agency's investigation, summarised in their report "Solid Residues from Municipal Waste Incinerators in England and Wales" has now been published and I will ensure that the hon. Member receives a copy of it. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House. It is also available on the Agency's website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.
The Agency's investigation covered the period 1996 to 2000. The report itself lists annual tonnages of ash for the period covered by the investigation, and sites where MSWI residues were sent for disposal or reprocessing. Data on the end use of residues for 2001 are not available. Figures for 2001 for air pollution control residues will be available later in the year.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial help her Department is giving to county councils with the task of disposing of used refrigerators. 
Mr. Meacher: In December 2001, we announced a payment of £6 million to go to local authorities to cover their costs up until March 2002 for the disposal of refrigerators. We realise local authorities are in need of further funding and intend to make an announcement as soon as possible.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 2 July 2002, ref 64247, what financial aid is being made available to each local authority in 200102 to help with the storage and disposal of refrigerators. 
Mr. Meacher: £6 million was allocated to local authorities for the extra costs they faced from 1 January to end March this year as a result of the disposal of refrigerators regulations. This money was added to local authorities' general grant for the current financial year and distributed using standard spending assessments. It is not possible to provide a meaningful allocation for each authority.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what average number of hours per week is spent on veterinary surgeons in her Department in herd testing programme for Bovine TB; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 1 July 2002]: Veterinary Officers of the State Veterinary Service (SVS) are supported by approximately 100 Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs). During the six-month period December 2001 to May 2002 these veterinary surgeons spent approximately 15 per cent. of their time on TB-associated duties.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many veterinary surgeons in each regional office of her Department work on the herd testing programme for Bovine TB. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 1 July 2002]: The State Veterinary Service (SVS) comprises five regions and 23 divisions. Veterinary Officers of the SVS are supported by approximately 100 Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs). During the six-month period December 2001 to May 2002 these veterinary surgeons spent approximately 15 per cent. of their time on TB- associated duties.
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