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Mr. Luce : I was recently able to discuss the future of the BTA with Mr. Robert Holmes a'Court. I am now very pleased to say that the executive committee of the BTA has accepted Mr. Holmes a'Court's offer to provide premises for the association in central London. These premises will enable the BTA to continue its operations with a firm financial base underwritten by Mr. Holmes a'Court and I would like to pay tribute to his remarkable generosity, which has enabled satisfactory future arrangements for the association to be agreed. I am contributing £25,000 to the BTA towards its transitional costs.
33. Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Minister for the Arts whether, in the light of concern about the ability of the new building at St. Pancras to house all the London collections of the British library, consideration has been given to the retention of the accommodation in the British Museum building with a view to continuing to make use of the round reading room and King's library, and to maintaining the link between the historic collections of the library and museums.
Mr. Luce : The British Library board is satisfied that the library's key requirements--including appropriate accommodation for the King's library--will be met by the completed building at St. Pancras. There are no plans for the British library to retain any reader or storage accommodation in the British Museum building when the new library is complete in 1996.
Mr. Luce : I am delighted with the progress of the scheme which, since its inception in 1984, has already brought £23 million of new money into the arts and has attracted over 900 new sponsors. As I announced to the House on 6 February at column 643, to encourage even more businesses to support the arts, I propose to allow individual arts organisations to be eligible for up to two awards next year instead of one as at present, up to the maximum of £25,000.
ading Northern Ballet Theatre 41. Mr. Devlin : To ask the Minister for the Arts what recent representations he has received seeking his intervention to protect the future of the Northern Ballet Theatre ; and if he will make a statement.
The fastest area of growth has been in the independent museum sector where the Association of Independent Museums has indicated that its current membership of 750 represents a doubling of the membership in 1980.
Mr. Luce : The Crafts Council, which is funded by my Department, seeks actively to promote the sales of works by artists/craftsmen at home and abroad. During the past year, its activities have generated sales of crafts exceeding £2 million, of which more than £450,000 (20 per cent.) has been for export.
Mr. Luce : I welcome the establishment of the city technological college at Selhurst, in 1990, which will train young people in the full range of abilities, from performance to technical skills, that the performing arts will require in the future. I hope that there will be similar, schools.
Mr. Luce : The dean and chapter of Hereford cathedral, having withdrawn the map from public auction at the end of February, announced at the weekend their decision on the proposals before them. They hope to raise the substantial sum required for the cost of cathedral repairs, running costs and pastoral work by offering shares at £1,000 each in a company, the shareholders to receive a replica of the map and the dean and chapter to hold 50 per cent. of the stock. The national heritage memorial fund today issued a press notice detailing its proposals, put to the cathedral on 17 February, but not in the event taken up. These were that a charitable trust should be set up, to which would pass ownership not only of the Mappa Mundi, but also the chained library, both of which would be housed in a new building. The trustees had secured from Mr. J. Paul Getty an offer of £1 million, and NHMF had also offered £2 million on the understanding that a public appeal should be launched to raise a similar sum. These proposals were open to negotiation.
I am grateful to the trustees of the fund for their efforts which, along with those of other interested parties, including Hereford city council, have led to the withdrawal from sale of Mappa Mundi. I wish the cathedral authorities every success in their task.
Mr. Luce : Sponsorship of new or refurbished buildings by businesses is eligible for matching under the Government's business sponsorship incentive scheme in the same way as other arts activities. In 1988-89 such projects attracted over £100,000 in awards.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list for each of the three counties of Yorkshire, the number and grade of veterinary officers employed by his Department at the end of 1988 and give comparable figures for 1983 and 1978 ; what recruitment of staff he is undertaking within these three counties at the present time ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Because my Department's regional organisation has undergone changes in the period covered by the question and because the geographical areas of responsibility of veterinary staff are not contiguous with the boundaries of the three shire counties of Yorkshire, the precise figures requested by the hon. Member are not available. However, the number and grade of my Department's permanent veterinary staff with responsibilities covering all or part of Yorkshire for the end of years 1988, 1983 and 1978 were :
|1988|1983|1978 ----------------------------------------------------- Regional Veterinary Officer |1 |1 |1 Deputy Regional Veterinary Officer |1 |1 |1 Superintending Veterinary Investigation Officer |1 |1 |1 Divisional Veterinary Officer |4 |4 |4 Senior Veterinary Investigation Officer |<1>1|2 |2 Veterinary Investigation Officer (VIO) |<1>3|6 |6 Veterinary Officer (VO) |11 |14 |16 |- |- |- Total |22 |29 |31 <1> Leeds Veterinary Investigation Centre closed in 1986.
A national recruitment exercise for VOs and VIOs is planned for early May, which will take account of one veterinary officer vacancy at Leeds and additional posts granted for salmonella controls.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) on what basis he decides which of his publications should be available to hon. Members in the Vote Office on the day of publication ;
(2) how many reports he has published in the last 12 months ; and how many of these were made available in the Vote Office on the day of publication.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Reports and other material, compiled by my Department and published by HMSO should be available to hon. Members under arrangements agreed between HMSO and the House authorities. I make other important material available if, for example, the document is of direct interest to a parliamentary debate, or referred to in a parliamentary answer. In the last 12 months HMSO published 14 reports on behalf of my Department. Other than HMSO publications the Department made 98 documents available to hon. Members by placing copies in the House Libraries and copies of 490 documents were lodged in the Vote Office. The total number of documents which my Department made available to the public is not held centrally.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what inspections he carries out in slaughterhouses to ensure that cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy and sheep with scrapie do not enter the food chain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : On the advice of the Southwood working party, the carcases of cattle suspected of having bovine spongiform encephalopathy are destroyed as a precautionary measure. The Slaughterhouses (Hygiene) Regulations 1977, as amended, prohibit the entry of animals which are diseased, or suspected of having a disease into a slaughterhouse unless they are accompanied by a certificate issued by a veterinary surgeon which states that the animals are not suffering from any disease or condition which would render the carcase unfit for human consumption.
Scrapie has been present in this country for at least 200 years without any evidence of a risk to humans. Neither has research identified such a risk. Therefore action to prevent sheep with scrapie being slaughtered for human consumption would not be appropriate.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the regulations which control hygiene and animal welfare standards in abattoirs for meat prepared for domestic consumption.
Mr. Donald Thompson : For the requirements applying to red meat slaughterhouses I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on Wednesday 1 February at columns 240-41 to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Mr. Cousins).
In respect of poultry slaughterhouses the following apply : The Poultry Meat (Hygiene) Regulations 1976, as amended. The Slaughter of Poultry Act 1967 (as amended).
The Slaughter of Poultry (Humane Conditions) Regulations 1984.
Mr. Donald Thompson : It is a condition of licences for all veterinary medicinal products that suitable advice on use is included on the label including, where appropriate, operator safety warnings and contingency medical advice.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Sheep dip labels carry advice on safe disposal. Fuller guidance is available free in ADAS booklet 2198, "Guidelines for the disposal of unwanted pesticides and containers on farms and holdings".
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he is taking to ensure that chemicals used in sheep dips do not enter rivers and streams ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Sheep dip labels point out that it is unlawful to permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting substance to enter any river, stream or watercourse etc. The law is enforced by local water authorities from whom further guidance is available.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what monitoring is carried out by his Department into transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in mammals in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a notifiable disease in Great Britain and all suspected cases must be reported to the Ministry. Members of the Ministry's sheep and goat health scheme may participate in an optional scrapie monitoring programme. The veterinary investigation service of the state veterinary service continues to monitor for novel diseases which have not been recorded in this country.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has of delays in obtaining permission to proceed with plantings with the farm woodland scheme during the present tree-planting season.
Mr. Ryder : As I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) on 16 February at column 357, most applications for the farm woodland scheme submitted by then should receive approval in time for planting to go ahead this season. That remains our intention. In England, 311 applications had been approved by the end of February. This represents some 66 per cent. of the applications received in England by the end of January. Applications received later than mid-February may not be approved in time for planting this season, although I have given clear instructions that everything must be done to quicken up the process.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he intends to widen the criteria by which the veterinary products committee assesses products submitted for approval for a product licence.
Column 468(2) what proportion of carcasses of cattle confirmed to be suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy are (a) buried, (b) incinerated and (c) disposed of by other means.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Some 1,300, or about one third of the carcasses of cattle compulsorily slaughtered, have been buried on licensed waste tips or on farm, with the approval of water and local authorities. The others have been incinerated.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any plans to make it a statutory requirement to consider evidence of need before the granting of a product licence to a veterinary product.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow on 1 December 1988, Official Report, column 860 , if he will publish details of the monitoring of the incidental capture of cetaceans ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department is working on the detailed arrangements for a proposed monitoring scheme and, once this has been established, it is intended that the information obtained will be made available. It is envisaged that fishermen will be asked to provide details of the species taken, its size, the type of fishing practice involved, the location of the capture and whether the animal was released unharmed. It is hoped that this range of information will help us to develop a much clearer understanding of the incidental capture of marine mammals.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he gives to farmers on the regulations he makes about disposing of scrapie-infected sheep carcases ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether any testing is carried out to ensure hygiene standards of goats' milk ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) whether he has plans to improve the standard of hygiene of goats' milk ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) if he will list the regulations that cover the hygiene standards of goats' milk.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The wording of the Food Act means that the detailed regulations which apply to cows' milk cannot be extended to cover goats' milk. Consultations on a new Food Bill have suggested that this should be remedied. Meanwhile, goats' milk is subject to the general provisions of the Food Act whereby all food (including drink) must be of the nature, substance and quality demanded by the purchaser, must be fit for human consumption, and must not be labelled in a false or misleading way. Local authorities are responsible for the enforcement of these provisions and for any testing required. In addition, the Ministry has issued a code of practice on the hygienic production of goats' milk.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what discussions he is having with Agriculture Ministers in other countries about the possibility of cyanide contaminated fruit being imported into the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement ;
Column 470(2) what action he is taking to ensure that cyanide contaminated fruit from Chile is not being sold in the United Kingdom. (3) whether he is considering banning the import of Chilean fruit.
Mr. Ryder : The Government have obtained full information from the Governments of the United States and of Chile about the anonymous threats made to the United States embassy in Santiago relating to action against fruit for export, and the subsequent discovery by the United States authorities of non-lethal doses of cyanide in two grapes in a consignment exported from Chile.
There is no indication that fruit other than grapes is involved, and the threat appears to be restricted to supplies consigned to the United States. My Department and the Department of Health have alerted the port authorities and the trade in the United Kingdom so that produce arriving from Chile can be thoroughly examined. In view of the transport time supplies shipped from the period of the threat cannot yet have arrived in this country.
The Departments will be maintaining a close watch on the situation. In the light of the existing position, no further action is justified at present.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the type of fruit and quantities of each that have been imported into the United Kingdom in each of the last six years.
Calendar year |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 |<1>1988 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Apples |399.4 |405.6 |401.0 |428.4 |442.2 |443.4 |498.3 Pears |63.8 |78.5 |66.0 |69.3 |64.3 |77.2 |92.5 Plums |21.0 |27.4 |20.5 |21.9 |20.9 |24.0 |23.5 Cherries |7.5 |7.8 |9.5 |9.2 |6.9 |9.3 |7.3 Strawberries |7.5 |9.0 |10.2 |12.5 |13.7 |15.4 |17.6 Oranges |315.1 |305.2 |317.3 |283.8 |344.4 |333.6 |400.3 Mandarins |110.4 |122.8 |134.8 |121.9 |131.1 |151.1 |134.6 Lemons |50.1 |48.0 |49.5 |47.2 |51.3 |51.5 |54.4 Other Citrus |98.2 |85.1 |79.3 |71.4 |82.2 |83.2 |92.2 Bananas |328.0 |307.3 |309.4 |323.7 |343.1 |359.6 |388.2 Melons |71.0 |90.5 |98.4 |99.1 |106.0 |107.7 |93.7 Peaches |67.3 |83.8 |82.4 |85.0 |79.3 |95.0 |83.8 Grapes |64.5 |85.7 |86.2 |106.4 |101.1 |107.8 |121.7 Avocados |9.3 |10.7 |11.9 |13.9 |14.9 |18.7 |13.0 Pineapples |15.8 |15.9 |15.2 |18.3 |19.2 |21.3 |22.3 All other fresh fruit |13.1 |13.3 |14.5 |15.9 |18.5 |18.1 |20.7 Total Quantity |1,642.0 |1,696.6 |1,706.1 |1,727.9 |1,839.1 |1,916.1 |2,064.9 <1> Provisional.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what criteria are applied when consideration is given to the method of disposal of carcases of cattle confirmed to be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy ;
(2) why burial was chosen as an appropriate means of disposal of the carcases of cattle infected with bovine spongiform
Mr. Donald Thompson : The criteria applied are as for other notifiable diseases ; the carcase must be disposed of in a way that does not pose a risk to animal or human health. Both incineration and burial are safe methods of
Column 470disposing of carcases of cattle slaughtered because of suspected BSE. The method used depends on the facilities available in various parts of the country.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has concerning the inactivation of the agent causing bovine spongiform encephalopathy by burial of the carcase of the host.