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Mr. Donald Thompson : The only part of a cattle carcase known to carry the BSE agent is the brain, which is removed for laboratory examination prior to the disposal of the carcase and subsequently incinerated. Research is under way to establish whether any other parts of the
Column 471carcase carry the agent. The carcases are buried in such a way that no other species would be exposed to the agent should it be present.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action his Department has taken on reports by United Kingdom fishing vessel operators of breaches of Community fisheries policy and European Community rules by Belgian trawlers.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The United Kingdom fishermen concerned have not produced any solid evidence to support their allegations against Belgian trawlers, nor are they substantiated by information available to the fisheries protection service. The United Kingdom co-operates closely with the Belgian authorities on fisheries control matters and information is regularly supplied to them. Such information has in the past been used by the Belgian authorities to institute proceedings against certain of their fishermen.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy in future that any reports by United Kingdom fishing vessel operators of breaches of Community fisheries policy and European Community rules by Belgian trawlers are taken up promptly with the Community ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : It has always been my Department's practice to pass all properly substantiated information on offences of this kind to the vessel's member state and, if appropriate, to the Commission.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent representations he has had from fishermen and fishing organisations on the relationship between the viability and the quota of the Belgian fishing fleet ; and what action he intends to take with the Commission.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, the South West Fish Producers' Organisation and the Cornish Fish Producers' Organisation have made allegations that the level of activity by the Belgian fleet is higher than would be justified by its quotas. The organisations concerned have not, however, provided any concrete or substantiated evidence in support of their allegations. Nor are they supported by evidence available to the Department from the fisheries protection service.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he intends to take at the Council of Ministers to prevent the Dutch Government from permitting vessels over 4,000 brake horsepower to derate their engines to below the 1800 brake horsepower cut-off which allows these vessels south of 55 north.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The derating of the engines of Dutch fishing vessels to enable them to fish in the North sea south of 55 north between 1 April and 30 June is a matter for the Dutch authorities and the Commission. We shall be following closely any developments.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what monitoring his Department has done in the past six months as to how successfully the Dutch and Belgian Governments are enforcing agreed European Community rules on fishing vessels.
Mr. Donald Thompsan : It is primarily the reponsibility of the Commission to monitor member states' compliance with Community rules and the Community inspectorate makes frequent visits to member states to examine their control and inspection arrangements. The United Kingdom continues to inspect Belgian and Dutch vessels , along with other nationalities, operating in British fishery limits. We also continue to press for improved enforcement and control of the common fisheries policy throughout the Community.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make it his policy not to grant a product licence for BST in the light of the trials at Winchester and Edinburgh showing that cows treated with bovine somatotropin fail to gain weight compared to control cows and that treated heifers lose weight ;
(2) if he will make it his policy not to grant a product licence for BST in the light of the trials at Shinfield, Hurley and Newcastle showing that cows treated with bovine somatotropin lose body condition score ;
(3) if he will make it his policy not to grant a product licence for BST in the light of the trials at Edinburgh, Shinfield and Hurley showing reproduction problems in treated cows ;
(4) if he will make it his policy not to grant a product licence for BST in the light of evidence that treating cows with bovine somatotropin through regular non-therapeutic injections can leave tender swellings ;
(5) if he will make it his policy not to grant a product licence for BST in the light of the fact that it is against the advice of the British Veterinary Association to inject cows daily for non-therapeutic purposes.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The policy for deciding applications for product licences is established by the Medicines Act 1968. In the case of BST products both data being generated in field trials and all other pertinent data will be rigorously assessed against the statutory criteria of safety, quality and efficacy.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research is being done to determine whether BST can survive in the flesh of slaughtered cows which have been treated with BST.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Applicants for product licences for BST are, in accordance with the Medicines Act, obtaining or generating all data necessary for a thorough assessment, including data on possible residues.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has about the imposition in the Netherlands of a 28-day withdrawal period on BST treated cows before they are slaughtered ; and to what extent a similar practice is followed in the United Kingdom.
Column 473product such as BST are determined following a thorough assessment of the licence application and its supporting data.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what provisions there are to monitor the environmental effects and regulate the use of products used under the Medicines Act 1968, which are not licensed, including products prescribed by veterinary practitioners ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Products not licensed under the Medicines Act may be prescribed by veterinary practitioners for particular animals under their care, and in accordance with their professional judgment. The wide range of products involved is not a specific category for environmental monitoring purposes.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide details of the review of the north-east drift net fishery as laid down in section 39 of the Salmon Act 1986 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Section 39 of the Salmon Act 1986 requires my right hon. Friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Scotland to prepare and submit to Parliament a report reviewing salmon netting off the coasts of north-east England and eastern Scotland. That report is to be submitted as soon as practicable after 7 November 1989, three years after the enactment of the 1986 Act. Work on the review is currently in hand and it would not be appropriate to pre-empt it.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My veterinary officers visit non-export approved slaughterhouses once a year to monitor standards and give advice to enforcement authorities. They aim to make monthly visits to export approved plants and quarterly visits to licensed poultry slaughterhouses.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to introduce legislation to ensure that landlords have no legal claim on payments made under the ESA scheme applied for by a tenant.
Mr. Ryder : No. ESA payments are made to the applicant who will usually be an owner-occupier or tenant of the land. Any questions relating to tenants' participation must be a matter for the parties concerned since they will depend on individual circumstances. I would advise tenants to seek professional advice if they are in any doubt about their position under a tenancy agreement.
Mr. Ryder : The leaflets entitled "Nuclear Accidents and the Farmer" are being distributed by post to farmers in the vicinity of major nuclear installations. Copies are also being sent to local liaison committees at these sites and to representatives of national organisations such as the Milk Marketing Board, the National Farmers Union and the Country Landowners Association and copies have been placed in the Library of the House. Further copies are available on request from my Department's regional offices.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list each egg producer who received assistance under his scheme to aid the egg industry ; and how much was paid out in each case.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Payments under the egg industry scheme were made to egg packers. The slaughter of hens scheme did involve payments to egg producers but it would not be appropriate to list their names and the amounts which they received.
Mr. Ryder : As promised in the Government's response to the Agriculture Committee's report, "Chernobyl : the Government's Reaction", we have been examining the feasibility of monitoring for radioactivity in English slaughterhouses. An initial pilot study was carried out in December 1988 involving the monitoring of 40 sheep carcases at one slaughterhouse. A more extensive trial is now under-way at six slaughterhouses, as part of which 314 sheep carcases were monitored in February and a further 442 had been monitored by 15 March.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the present arrangements for agricultural and related training in the light of the period of considerable change in the industry.
Mr. MacGregor : Over the past 22 years the agricultural training board has made a most valuable contribution in developing training provision in the agricultural industry. I believe, however, that it is timely to consider on what lines the future role of the board might most appropriately develop, taking into account the changing patterns of employment and associated training needs in agriculture and related industries ; the diversification of the range of training offered by the agricultural colleges ; and the Government's plans for the reform of training set out in the White Papers Cms. 534 and 540. In the circumstances I have, with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, and with the agreement of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Employment and for Education and Science, decided to institute a review with the following terms of reference :
"To consider the future role of the Agricultural Training board (ATB) in meeting the agricultural and related training needs for the 1990s bearing in mind the Secretary of State for Employment's proposals on training in Employment for the 1990s', and the proposals of the Secretary of State for Scotland contained in Scottish Enterprise', and the resources and facilities available at agricultural colleges ; and, from the basis of the existing Agricultural Training Board legislation, to make specific recommendations to Agriculture Ministers on the national and local organisation and structure most appropriate to meet those needs ; and to report by Autumn 1989. "
This review will be conducted by Mr. John Smith, a partner in Arthur Young who today becomes chairman elect of the agricultural training board. He will be assisted in his task by the following assessors :
Mr. J. S. Barber, Cavick House Farm, Wymondham, Norfolk Mr. D. H. Wilkinson, Southdown Farm, Ringstead, Dorset Mr. D. Rose, Principal, Barony College, Dumfries
Mr. T. Jones, Plas Gwyn, Llangyniew, Welshpool, Powys
Mr. A. G. Harris, Principal, Harper Adams College, Newport, Shropshire
Mr. P. Brown HMI, Staff Inspector for Agricultural Education (England).
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Forty-three members of Her Majesty's armed forces are currently located in the republic of Korea. A platoon of 34 men from the Hong Kong garrison contribute towards the United Nations honour guard and we have nine personnel in the headquarters of the Commonwealth liaison mission to the United Nations command.
(2) whether any memorandum of understanding exists between Her Majesty's Government and the Sultanate of Oman.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : No British troops are based in Oman. A number of members of the United Kingdom armed forces are posted to Oman, as to other countries, as loan service personnel. The details of the arrangements under which this takes place are confidential between the two countries.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the speed, height and purpose of the low- level flight by a jet aircraft over East Linton, East Lothian at 11.45 am on Monday 27 February ; and if he will identify the type of aircraft involved and the base from which it was operating ; (2) if he will make a statement on the purpose, height, speed, home base, and type of aircraft which were involved in flights over Pencaifland at 11.30 am ; 3.01 pm ; and 3.26 pm on Wednesday 8 March.
Mr. Neubert : United Kingdom and other military aircraft are authorised as a matter of routine to carry out low level flying training in the area mentioned at heights no lower than 250 feet and at speeds normally not exceeding 450 knots. Aircraft may originate from a number of flying stations both in the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 253, how many complaints in respect of low flying aircraft during Exercise Red Lanyard have been received to date ; and at what locations.
Mr. Neubert : Nine complaints have been identified which are likely to have arisen from military aircraft activity connected with exercise Red Lanyard. They were received from members of the public in Watton, Wilby, Middleton, Monks Soham, West Winch, Stanground, Normans Cross, Lundy Green and Brockhampton.
(2) in how many cases each year since 1979 investigations by the Royal Military Police have required the services of a specialist accountant who is a serving officer with the Royal Military Police ; (3) how many Royal Military Police officers who are trained as specialist accountants are currently in post ; and how many have been in post in each year since 1979.
Mr. Neubert : Cases of suspected fraud are investigated by Royal Military Police (RMP) teams. The teams are composed of members of the special investigation branch of the Royal Military Police and, for technical assistance in their investigations, of advisers seconded from the Royal Army Pay Corps. Two RAPC warrant officers are currently employed full time as specialist financial advisers to provide technical assistance. The first full-time specialist financial adviser was seconded to the RMP in 1983. A second specialist was seconded in 1986.
Before 1983 all RAPC warrant officers could be called upon to assist with a SIB RMP investigation. In order to make best use of the experience and technical expertise gained in this type of investigation it was decided to second a warrant officer to the RMP as a full-time member of their SIB teams.
Since 1983, the financial advisers have handled 121 cases of false accounting, with five cases under investigation.
Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in how many cases each year since 1979 investigations by the Royal Military Police have required the assistance of specialist accountants who are (a) civilians, (b) civil servants, (c) officers serving with the ministry of defence police, (d) officers of the metropolitan police and (e) officers of other forces.
Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make public the Royal Military Police report on Warrant Officer Newbery which led to him being charged with false accounting in 1986 and being subsequently acquitted.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all the dates since 1 January 1988 on which nuclear weapons tests have been carried out on behalf of the United Kingdom ; and, in each case, whether these tests were carried out independently, or with the assistance of another country.
Column 478make available to Parliament details of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation deliberations on the plans for modernisation for short-range nuclear weapons ; and to what extent he takes into account their publication in other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : A communique is issued, following all NATO meetings, which is made available to the public. Copies are placed in the Library of the House. However, the details of the ministerial discussions and documentation for these meetings is, and should remain, confidential.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if nuclear submarines personnel have access to a record of their dose rates on leaving service with the nuclear submarine fleet or the armed services ;
(2) what levels of radiation are (a) received by nuclear submarine personnel and (b) reported by the Central Electricity Generating Board amongst classified persons working in nuclear power stations.
Mr. Archie Hamilton [holding answer 16 March 1989] : The ionising radiation doses accrued by Royal Navy nuclear submarine personnel during the operation of the submarines are in general very small, being for the most part lower than those received by members of the public, who are exposed to natural cosmic and terrestrial radiation from which submariners are shielded. The majority of nuclear submarine personnel are thus not categorised as radiation workers. Personnel who require regular access to designated radiation areas are categorised as radiation workers and subject to dosimetric assessment. Since 1986 such personnel have been isssued, on leaving the Royal Navy, with a termination record of the total dose which they have received. Before 1986, dose records were available to the individual on request. The average whole body dose received by Royal Navy submarine personnel categorised as radiation workers during 1988 was 1.5 milliseiverts.
I understand that the average radiation dose received by classified persons working in the Central Electricity Generating Board's nuclear power stations in 1987 was 0.7 milliseiverts (the 1988 figure is not yet available).
The radiation exposure limit for classified persons, set by the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985, is 50 milliseiverts per annum.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report the upper quartile range of maximum radiation dose rates sustained by nuclear submarine personnel in the last five years.
Mr. Archie Hamilton [holding answer 16 March 1989] : Figures for the radiation doses sustained by nuclear submarine personnel are not easily broken down into quartiles. The following table gives the cumulative total dose, the average individual dose and a breakdown of numbers of personnel by dose received for each of the last five years.
- Cumulative doseNumber of personnel in Average individual dose ranges Year |(man Seiverts)|0-15 mSv |15-20 mSv |20-30 mSv |30-40 mSv |40-50 mSv |Over 50 mSv |dose (mSv) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1988 |2.1 |1,398 |4 |0 |0 |0 |0 |1.50 1987 |2.6 |1,307 |19 |12 |4 |0 |0 |1.90 1986 |3.1 |945 |19 |18 |16 |1 |0 |3.07 1985 |2.9 |905 |18 |16 |10 |3 |0 |3.05 1984 |2.8 |777 |24 |13 |6 |0 |0 |3.46 Note: mSv=milliseivert.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what level of radioactivity his Department judges as significant in regard to the discharge of radioactive materials from nuclear submarines into the sea ; and what type of materials are involved.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Royal Navy submarines do not discharge radioactivity at sea under normal circumstances. The significance of such discharges depends upon their potential effect. In determining what levels are acceptable, therefore, the Royal Navy takes into account the recommendations of the International Commission on radiological protection regarding dose. The radioactive isotope of most significance in discharges from Royal Navy submarines would be cobalt 60.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department knows either in which foreign ports Britain's nuclear submarines may berth, or into whose territorial waters those submarines may enter.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the consequences of an accident involving the nuclear armed warheads of the Polaris class of submarine boats in berth, and when at sea nearby the coastline, with regard to the guidelines recently published by the Health and Safety Executive entitled "Tolerability of Risk".
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The consequences of a Polaris nuclear weapon accident have been thoroughly examined. The hazard from such an accident would be from contamination by nuclear material which might be dispersed by a fire or ignition of conventional explosives. The risks of such an accident occurring are extremely small, and are assessed as consistent with the HSE guidelines on the tolerability of risk, although these were drawn up with nuclear power stations rather than weapons in mind. Plans do, however, exist to deal with such an accident.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department regards nuclear submarine personnel as equivalent to classified persons, as specified by the Ionising Radiations Regulations ; and what measures are implemented to monitor and safeguard the health of such submariners, and to maintain the radiation dose exposure records of such personnel.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Most nuclear-powered submarine personnel are not categorised as radiation workers. Of those who are, a proportion are designated as classified persons using criteria laid down in the Ionising Radiations
Column 480Regulations 1985. Radiation protection advisers are appointed, and dedicated staff qualified in radiation protection are provided in each nuclear-powered submarine and in their operating bases. Where required, dosimetric assessments are made by the defence radiological protection service.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if dose rate records for submariners working aboard nuclear submarines are maintained on a national register ; and if those records are transferred to, or available to, future employers of such personnel.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : A national register of radiation workers is currently being produced within the United Kingdom. The doses accrued by nuclear submarine personnel will be included within the register unless the individual concerned chooses not to have his name entered. The requirements for termination records laid down in the Ionising Radiations Regulations are complied with, and for any radiation worker a summary of the dose received can be provided.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has knowledge of any medical disorders associated with radiation dose uptake amongst past and present submarine service personnel or their offspring.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average whole body radiation dose equivalent receipt or uptake of submariners aboard a nuclear submarine during an average tour of duty.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The average radiation dose per annum for those submarine personnel designated as radiation workers is included within the breakdown of dose statistics which I gave earlier today. The average tour of duty with an individual submarine is about two years. The majority of submarine personnel, on the basis of their type of employment and access to radiation areas, are not designated as radiation workers and are not, therefore, subject to dosimetric assessment.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if his Department has identified and evaluated the worst credible nuclear accident in the operation of its nuclear powered submarine fleet, its predicted frequency, and the severity of its consequences both in terms of an individual positioned at each operational dockyard station perimeter and, separately, for nearby populations beyond that perimeter ;
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the consequences of an accident involving the nuclear powered