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I am sure that the Minister is only too well aware of the necessity for research into bovine tuberculosis. Is that a responsibility that the new integrated agency might pursue almost from its day of inception?
I am, perhaps, grateful for that intervention. I shall have to reflect on that question. My instinct is that that responsibility lies principally elsewhere, but I shall write to the hon. Gentleman and other Committee members when I get some clarification on that point.
I should probably have tabled an amendment to extract this information, but perhaps the Minister can answer my question. When the body carries out research, will its conclusions automatically become public knowledge? I ask because, as we have discussed, it will be a corporate body, so it is not obvious that such information will automatically be made public. Any such research will be paid for with taxpayers’ money, so I hope that the Minister will confirm that any findings will automatically be made public and not subject to some fee.
There will be no obligation on Natural England to publish research results. Such an obligation is not necessary because under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, with which I am sure he is familiar, all results from Natural England’s research will generally be disclosable—so disclosure would be the norm—unless they fall into certain narrow exceptions within the regulations, such as that the research is incomplete. I hope that that helps the hon. Gentleman.