To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) steps have been taken and (b) outcomes achieved to reduce the time taken to remove cattle which have had a bovine TB reactor from farms in (i) England, (ii) South-west region, (iii) Cornwall, (iv) Devon, (v) Gloucestershire and (vi) Staffordshire. 
The information is as follows:
(a) The following steps have been taken by the State Veterinary Service (SVS) to reduce the time taken to remove TB reactors from farms:
Reminders have been issued to Veterinary Inspectors to submit TB test charts to the SVS without delay after TB tests have been carried out.
Additional staff have been employed in Animal Health Offices to help process TB tests charts.
The SVS has asked the National Audit Office, Internal Audit and consultant valuers to look at ways to reduce delays caused by the valuation process.
The SVS has opened up discussions with representatives of the slaughter industry to see if the current arrangements can be improved by better coordination of transport with the slots available at slaughterhouses.
(b) The SVS are currently undertaking a review of all their business processes. This review is still underway, and discussions such as those mentioned above are still taking place. It is too soon therefore to measure performance improvements.
A snapshot of the situation for the last quarter of 2002 is given in the table. Data are not available by county, but by Animal Health Divisional Office(AHDO). Figures for 2003 are not yet available.
Number of reactors disclosed
Number of reactors removed from farm within 10 working days
Percentage of reactors removed from farm within 10 working days
1The figures for SW region cover Exeter AHDO (Devon) Gloucester AHDO (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Avon). Taunton AHDO (Somerset and Dorset), Truro AHDO (Cornwall) and Worcester AHDO (Hereford and Worcester).
2Stafford AHDO covers Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire