Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has to comply with the ruling by the European Court of Justice that European Community legislation for milk quotas was deficient in that it did not take into account those who had ceased milk production under a Community-financed scheme in 1984 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Commission has put forward proposals to deal with this problem, which were discussed by this House on 30 November. Discussion on these proposals will resume at the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) meeting on 23 and 24 January.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the farming industry following his recent announcement on the revision of capital grants.
Mr. Ryder : The proposals that I announced on 28 November for a new farm and conservation grant scheme have received a generally warm welcome from a wide range of agricultural organisations as well as from environmental, heritage and other bodies.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any evidence to suggest that salmonella enteritidis phage 4 infection of free range hens or their eggs may originate from wild birds.
Column 714However, I have no specific evidence that salmonella enteritidis phage 4 type infection in laying hens and their eggs originates from wild birds.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received concerning the administration of meat tenderisers to farm animals shortly before slaughter.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Representations have been received following the announcement of our decision not to accept the Farm Animal Welfare Council's recommendations that the administration of tenderisers to cattle before slaughter should be banned. These representations are being given full consideration.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Government's proposals for a new statutory order to protect the welfare of horses at markets, sales and fairs, and for a code of practice, were issued for comment to interested organisations in November. Following consideration of comments received, we will complete the new legislation and code of practice later this year.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many plants processing and producing feedingstuffs for chickens are in (a) England and (b) Wales ; and what is the precise location of each one.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 10 January 1989] : Ninety -one protein processing plants in England and three in Wales produce animal protein for incorporation into animal feedingstuffs including feedingstuffs for chickens. Information on the identity of the plants is collected by my Department in order to carry out inspections as provided for by statute. It would be wrong to disclose such data for purposes other than those for which they were collected.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the effect of the availability of the Channel tunnel on the movement of troops and logistical arrangements for the armed forces.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : We are considering the possibility of using the tunnel for the peacetime movement of personnel and material. Its use in an emergency is covered by an agreement between the Governments of the United Kingdom and France, but the tunnel does not form part of our reinforcement planning and is seen only as a potential bonus.
Dr. Reid : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many air misses occurred at less than 2,000 ft outside controlled airspace in the area between Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1987 and 1988 ; and how many of these involved (i) two military aircraft, (ii) a military aircraft and a civil aircraft and (iii) two civil aircraft.
Mr. Neubert : There were no such air misses reported in this area in 1987. One such air miss report, involving three military and one civilian aircraft, was filed on 10 August 1988. A second such air miss report, involving one military and one civilian aircraft, was filed on 18 November 1988. Both reports are being investigated by the joint air miss section of the National Air Traffic Services and the observations of the joint air miss working group will be published in due course.
Dr. Reid : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration is being given to alteration of the structure and boundaries of the United Kingdom low-flying system in the Edinburgh-Glasgow area.
Mr. Neubert : Whilst the operation of the United Kingdom military low flying system is kept under continuous review, there are currently no plans to alter the structure of the system in the Edinburgh-Glasgow area.
Dr. Reid : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low- flying military aircraft movements were recorded in the gap between the Edinburgh and Glasgow avoidance areas in each year since 1979.
Mr. Neubert : Information on low-flying military aircraft movements is recorded on the basis of low-flying areas. It is not available for the area between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which forms only a part of a low flying area covering much of southern Scotland.
(2) what instructions are given to military pilots concerning low flying over the town of Shotts.
Mr. Neubert : Military pilots are instructed to avoid overflying the centre of major conurbations and built-up areas at low level athough we cannot guarantee to avoid small communities such as Shotts and Harthill. Pilots will, however, make every effort to avoid populated areas wherever possible.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : On 29 December I announced proposals aimed at increasing the number of organs donated for transplantation. Details of the new arrangements are about to be issued for consultation. Health boards will be asked to keep specific records.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of his Department's marine laboratory's research into the environmental effect of Nuvan 500 EC ; and when he expects the results to be published.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The results of studies of the toxicity of dichlorvos, the active ingredient of Nuvan 500 EC, to the larvel forms of the lobster homarus gammarus and the herring clupea hargenus will be published later this year.
Other studies of the effects on marine life of prolonged or repeated exposure to low levels of dichlorvos are planned.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland's marine laboratory is studying ways of minimising release of dichlorvos into the marine environment by current methods of treatment in co-operation with the fish farming industry.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Scientists at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland's marine labora-tory are currently undertaking or taking part in collaborative studies of ways of minimising release of dichlorvos (the active ingredient of Nuvan 500 EC) after bath treatment of fish, and on possible alternative chemical or vaccine treatments for sea lice infestation.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to introduce stricter guidelines controlling the size, number and spacing of farm sites and the size and stocking density of production units in fish farms ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : When my right hon. and learned Friend announced the outcome of the review of the consultative procedures operated by the Crown Estate Commissioners on 19 December, he indicated that the Crown Estate Commissioners have been revising their guidelines for the siting and design of fish farms first
Column 717produced in 1987. I understand that a draft of this will shortly be the subject of consultation with interested parties. The Government have no plans to introduce separate guidance.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the frequency of inspections of fish farms and their effectiveness in control of the use of substances such as Nuvan 500 EC.
Fish farms are subject to inspection, as and when appropriate, by officials of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland's marine laboratory in relation to diseases of fish legislation as well as by river purification boards and the Health and Safety Executive in relation to their functions.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has regarding uranium carried on board the Pan American aircraft which crashed at Lockerbie ; whether any has been traced to any water supply ; what action he has taken ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Pan American aircraft which crashed at Lockerbie was carrying a quantity of depleted uranium as counterweights in the tailplane structure. These counterweights, each weighing around 1kg, are not a radiological or toxic hazard, and most have already been recovered. The material recovered so far is not a public health hazard.
None of the depleted uranium has been traced to a water supply. The solubility of the metal in water is extremely low and does not threaten water supplies. However, as a precautionary measure, Dumfries and Galloway regional council took water samples at Winterhope reservoir and at Terrona springs near Langholm which have been analysed by the National Radiological Protection Board. The results obtained can be accounted for by natural backgroundf radioactivity and show that levels are well within the World Health Organisation limits for drinking water and give no cause for concern.
My officials have been and remain in close contact with regional council staff throughout and following the incident.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider providing long-term financial assistance to Lockerbie to meet the cost of restoration and support ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Rifkind : My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for home affairs and the environment has told Dumfries and Galloway regional council and Annandale and Eskdale district council that the Government will respond most sympathetically to requests for special financial assistance towards additional costs incurred by them arising from the disaster and for any additional capital expenditure allocations which might be required for restoration work. In particular, he announced on 5 January an additional allocation to
Column 718Annandale and Eskdale district council which will allow an immediate start on a £1 million programme of reinstatement and improvement of the whole of the council housing in Lockerbie affected by the air disaster. As further restoration requirements are identified, the Government will consider how they and their agencies can best support the local authorities concerned in this work.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Due to the nature and cost of the equipment involved, no family practitioners in Scotland have facilities for breast cancer screening by mam-mography, the most effective method for the detection of early breast cancer. The comprehensive screening service now being established should be available throughout Scotland by 1991. Individual practitioners can, of course, clinically examine patients for signs of breast cancer.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : This information is not available centrally. Most health boards in Scotland now have at least an interim computerised call/recall system in operation for cervical cancer screening.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what inquiries or investigations have been carried out into the sinking of the Ardlough, Ocean Gain, Mhari-L, Alert II, St. Patrick, Emma Jane and Inspire ; what has been the result of such inquiries or investigations ; which of the incidents took place in submarine exercise areas or normal submarine lanes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : Inquiries were carried out by the Department's marine surveyors into casualties involving Ardlough, Ocean Gain, Mhari-L, Alert II, Emma Jane and Inspire, but not the French flag vessel St. Patrick. Of those investigated, only the Ardlough and Mhari-L were in a submarine exercise area. The positions of submarine lanes are classified information.
The surveyors found no evidence of submarine involvement in any of the cases investigated.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if there are any means open to him to expedite publication of the report about the British Airtours Boeing 737 accident at Manchester airport on 22 August 1985.
The report is long and contains complex appendices in colour. Her Majesty's Stationery Office will require about seven weeks to produce the document.
Mr. Luce : I have learnt of this proposal with great pleasure. I am very appreciative of the considerable contribution which the city of Birmingham is to make to the promotion of dance. The move will enable the Sadler's Wells royal ballet to perform on a larger scale and to tour more widely. It will bring ballet of the highest quality to more people than ever before. To facilitate the move, I propose to make an extra payment of £0.5 million to the Arts Council, to be passed to the royal opera house, in 1989-90.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the real increase in the direct tax allowances and reliefs published in table 6.5 of "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1988- 89 to 1990-91", Cm. 288-I.
The following table shows those items where subsequent revision has led to a change in the estimated percentage movement in real terms between 1986-87 and 1987-88 together with the latest estimate of that movement.
|Per cent. change ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Income Tax: Single person's allowance |-2 Widow's bereavement allowance |12 Relief for: Lump sum payments to pensioners |-1 improvement of owner-occupied etc. property |-1 Inheritance Tax/Capital Transfer Tax: Transfers to charities on death |10
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax income was lost to the Exchequer in each of the years 1979 to 1987 through the provision of tax concessions for companies leasing company cars.
Q54. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the manner in which reports of the Court of Auditors are dealt with by the EEC ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : The Government have consistently supported the work of the Court of Auditors. In particular, we were instrumental in ensuring that the court's annual reports are formally considered by the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers. We shall continue to press for appropriate follow-up action on the court's specific recommendations.
Q95. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will discuss with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Felipe Gonzales, the methods of appointment of the vice-presidents of the European Commission.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
The Prime Minister : We have agreed in principle that the third stage of the CSCE conference on the human dimension should be held in Moscow. But our attendance depends upon the Soviet Union making further specific major human rights improvements between now and 1991.