From Hansard Nov 7th 2011
Mr Paice: The AHVLA executive team initiated a review of the delivery of laboratory services across England and Wales as part of an exercise to identify additional savings that need to be made in 2012-13, while enabling the agency to continue to deliver important scientific services to Government and the livestock industry.
This review built on the recommendations of the VLA Sustainable Surveillance project which recommended that the post mortem examination of carcasses, which makes up the most valuable aspect of surveillance work, be de-coupled from the provision of laboratory services functions, removing the requirement for co-location of the two work areas.
AHVLA's ability to respond to disease outbreaks will be maintained as confirmatory tests for notifiable and non-notifiable diseases are carried out at Weybridge which is not part of the regional laboratory network.
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration she has given to the public safety implications of using shooting as part of the proposed badger cull for (a) those taking part in the cull and (b) other countryside users. 
Mr Paice: Controlled shooting in the field (including at night) is a method which is widely and safely used for culling a range of other mammals. To obtain a licence to carry out culling, operators would be required to
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demonstrate competence and attend a Government-approved training course. Safety and security would be key elements of the training.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the effects of a badger cull using shooting on access to parts of the countryside affected by the cull; 
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has had discussions with (a) the Ramblers Association, (b) the British Horse Society and (c) other groups involved in access to the countryside on the potential effects on them of the proposed badger cull using shooting. 
Mr Paice: I have not discussed the proposed policy with the Ramblers Association or the British Horse Society. Any organisation or individual was able to submit a response to the 2010 or 2011 consultation on the policy.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has received any representations expressing concern about the policing of a badger cull. 
Mr Paice: Responses to the 2010 public consultation on the proposed badger control policy raised a number of important issues. A summary of responses was published in July 2011 and is available on DEFRA?s website at:
Mr Paice: We have estimated that farmers and landowners who apply for licences are likely' to incur a cost of around £1.4 million for one 350 sq km area to carry out the culling operation (including the costs of coordination and surveying). This is based on DEFRA's estimated cost of culling?the industry believes that it can be delivered for less.
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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on the proposed badger cull using shooting. 
Mr Paice: Bovine TB is a devolved issue; however, this disease does not respect national borders and we continue to cooperate and work closely with the Welsh Government and seek to co-ordinate activity as far as possible.
Mr Paice: Details of meetings with outside interest groups (ie any group or individuals, including lobby groups and other non-governmental organisations which have an interest in the policy of the Department) are now published on a quarterly basis. Details of all ministerial meetings up until the end of March 2011 are available online at:
Since March 2011, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), has met with the following organisations to discuss options for the control of TB?I was also present at the meetings as indicated.
Name of external organisation
Name of organisation