Square Kilometre Array Telescope mentioned in Parliament

Whilst checking hansard (the official publication of the UK Parliament) for Trainwatch I spotted this set of written answers published yesterday (26 March 2012) about the Square Kilometre Array Telescope:

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on implementation of the recommendations of the Square Kilometre Array Site Advisory Committee; and if he will make a statement. [101678]

Mr Willetts: Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation will consider the report and recommendation of the SKA Site Advisory Committee, and agree on next steps and actions. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) represents the UK in the SKA Organisation and it liaises closely with the Department on SKA discussions.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish the location recommended by the independent Square Kilometre Array Site Advisory Committee; and if he will make a statement. [101956]

Mr Willetts: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Site Advisory Committee has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the two candidate sites and has presented its report and recommendation on the preferred site for the SKA to the SKA Board.

All parties involved have agreed that this information should remain confidential while the process for arriving at the SKA site location decision is under way.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

  1. whether the independent Square Kilometre Site Advisory Committee has completed its evaluation of the cost and infrastructure implications of the African and Australian and New Zealand bids to host the Square Kilometre Array telescope; and if he will make a statement; [101957]
  2. whether the independent Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Advisory Committee has submitted its recommendations regarding the location of the SKA; and if he will make a statement. [101958]


Mr Willetts: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Site Advisory Committee has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the two candidate sites and has presented its report and recommendation on the preferred site for the SKA to the SKA Board.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

Badgers & Bovine Tuberculosis

So reading this, the only way to test a Badger for bovine tuberculosis is when it’s dead?

Badgers

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely trends in the prevalence of infection in badgers inside the specified culling areas in the first year of the operation of the new arrangements. [68432]

Mr Paice: Our objective is to bring down the incidence of bovine TB in cattle throughout England from its current unacceptable level.

Currently there is no reliable diagnostic field test for bovine TB in live badgers so it would not be possible to know the prevalence of TB in badgers in an area before culling. Therefore the effect of culling on prevalence in the first year could not be seen.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

Written answers in Parliament about Wildlife in Circuses

Wildlife: Circuses

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take in response to the Resolution of the House of 23 June 2011 on wild animals in circuses. [70894]

Mr Paice: The Government have listened to the view of the House and are sympathetic to the motion for a ban. We will continue to look carefully at how this could be introduced, but there are unavoidable legal difficulties that cannot be ignored.

The Government have received legal advice that if the Government were to introduce a ban now, it could be challenged in both British and European courts. While we are working towards overcoming these legal obstacles, Ministers will proceed with a very tough licensing regime which will stop circuses from using these wild animals if they do not provide very high welfare standards.

As it would ultimately be taxpayers who would foot the bill for defending a legal challenge, the Government have to verify the legal status of any policy before going ahead as well as listening to the views expressed in the House of Commons debate. Accordingly, work is under way to resolve the legal uncertainties which currently make it difficult to impose a ban as expressed in the Commons resolution.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2011, Official Report, column 1085W, on wildlife: circuses, what legal difficulties are present in relation to the implementation of a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses; and whether she plans to introduce a licensing scheme for the use of wild animals in circuses as an interim measure prior to implementing a ban. [71962]

Mr Paice: As I have previously said in the House, on the legal difficulties, we consider that a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses may well conflict with:

(i) article 16 of the European Services Directive 2006; and

(ii) article 1 protocol 1 of the European convention on human rights, which was given further effect by the Human Rights Act 1998 and sets out the conditions which must be met by a state which seeks to restrict or control the use a person may make of his own property.

We are continuing to explore ways of overcoming such legal obstacles. However, given that a ban is not an immediate possibility, work is under way to develop a licensing regime that will stop circuses from using wild animals unless they provide appropriate welfare standards.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006