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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The regulation of telecoms operators is a matter for Oftel. I understand that in December 2002 Oftel published a statement setting out its conclusions in relation to revised guidelines on removal of telephone boxes. Oftel has received a number of representations in recent weeks about the removal of telephone boxes in rural areas and is discussing them with BT.
The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Government assessment on whether they should bid to host the Olympic Games has included an analysis of the impact of the Games in other Olympic cities. This has included the Games held in Munich 1972 and Atlanta 1996, where there was bloodshed, and Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, which were subject to boycotts. The Government have also assessed the new criteria issued by the International Olympic Committee on the current rules of conduct applicable to cities wishing to organise the Olympic Games. The Government recognise that we face dangers in staging major events and that security consideration are of great importance.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Since the launch of the voluntary National Scrapie Plan, up to the 13 February 2003, a total of 352,753 sheep in 8,685 flocks have been genotyped. This includes 21,710 in 866 flocks tested as part of a survey of rare breed genotypes (for which there are no culling requirements). Under the terms of the plan's ram genotyping schemes, NSP members with rams carrying one or two copies of the scrapie susceptible VRQ allele, have agreed that under normal circumstances these rams will be slaughtered or otherwise prevented breeding by castration or vasectomy. Instructions to slaughter or castrate 8,112 rams have so far been dispatched, of which confirmation of slaughter or castration has been received for 5,956. The remainder are either ram lambs that are being fattened for slaughter, or rams (with 1 VRQ allele) that are being used by agreement with the flock owner in controlled breeding programmes because there is a particularly low level of resistance conferring genotypes in the flock, or rams that are subject to a reminder instruction to slaughter. The number of rams by breed for which confirmation of slaughter/castration has been received is as follows:
|Sheep Breed||Confirmation of slaughter/castration (as at 13 February 2003)|
|Badger Faced Welsh Mountain||21|
|Beulah Speckled Face||115|
|Black Welsh Mountain||73|
|Bleu du Maine||58|
|Brecknock Hill Cheviot||103|
|British Inra 401||2|
|Dorest Horn & Poll Dorset||186|
|Ile De France||12|
|North Country Cheviot||762|
|Rouge de L'Ouest||21|
|South Wales Mountain||96|
|Welsh Hill Speckled Face||65|
|White Face Dartmoor||4|
|White Faced Woodland||1|
What can replace the use of terriers to locate and bolt foxes and mink from underground, should any person be unsuccessful in obtaining a licence from the registrar and;[HL 1591]
If the Hunting Bill were to receive Royal Assent, what advice they would to give to gamekeepers using dogs to flush a wild mammal from cover who find themselves in a situation whereby they cannot take a safe shot to despatch the wild mammal and;[HL1592]
Why a registered gamekeeper using dogs to control mammals may expect an inspector from a prescribed animal welfare body to accompany him or her whilst carrying out these pest control measures.[HL 1593]
Lord Whitty: On 25 February, the Standing Committee in another place added a clause to the Hunting Bill which would prevent the registration of hunting in respect of any hunting that involves the use of a dog below ground. My right honourable friend the Minister for Rural Affairs made it clear that the Government would bring forward amendments at a later stage of the Bill to meet the legitimate needs of gamekeepers, in particular to use dogs underground in certain specified circumstances and subject to conditions designed to prevent unnecessary suffering. His remarks were warmly welcomed by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. My right honourable friend is considering the details of the amendments at the moment and will have regard to the concerns which underlie the noble Earl's questions.
Lord Whitty: The Rural Payments Agency does not have data relating solely to the Beef Special Premium Scheme. However, it is estimated that producers made 20,000 representations in 2002 in relation to all bovine subsidy claims because the British Cattle Movement Service records differed from those held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This represents 7 per cent of the total bovine subsidy claims received.
Lord Whitty The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) scans, records and interprets all movement cards received immediately. This can be up to 45,000 cards per day. No loss of cards has been detected by the BCMS. The Post Office has informed us that its loss rate is one in 100,000 documents sent to the BCMS.
Lord Whitty: Keepers who send movement information to the British Cattle Movement Service through its website can see that a transaction has been recorded by revisiting the site the next day. Those who send movement data through the bulk e-mail system will receive a file receipt notification from BCMS for every file they send.
The barrier to the issue of a receipt for each movement card received by the BCMS is cost. With up to 48,000 movement cards received in a single day last year the logistics of producing and despatching receipts for them all are daunting. With the waiver to industry bearing the full cost of the BCMS services due to expire on 31 March 2004, the cost of the production of receipts (manpower, materials and postage) would be passed directly to industry. The cost could be over £10,000 per day, just for receipts.
Lord Whitty: Assured Chicken Production is an independent company that owns and develops the Assured Chicken Production Scheme (ACP) standards for poultry. Members of the company are British Retail Council, British Poultry Council (BPC) and the National Farmers' Unions of England and Wales. Decisions about the standards for this scheme are taken by ACP's technical advisory committee, not by the Government.
Lord Whitty: Zootechnical feed additives, including those containing ionophores, are centrally authorised under Council Directive 70/524/EEC for use in all EU member states. Applications for authorisations are individually assessed by the Standing Committee for Food Chain and Animal Health (Animal Nutrition) against a set of scientific criteria to assure their safety, quality and efficacy. This committee is chaired by the European Commission and includes representatives from all EU member states. UK representatives include officials from the Food Standards Agency as well as the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
In March 2001 the Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC) established a sub-group to look at the risks from residues of medicinal and zootechnical feed additives (including ionophores) in meat and other food products. This sub-group has not yet provided any advice to government on these issues.
Lord Whitty: In their formal response to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review Group report, the Government announced they would provide up to £750,000, subject to match funding from private interests, towards the voluntary buy-out of mixed stock salmon drift net fisheries in England. Efforts are focusing on the largest of these that fish off the north-east coast of England.
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