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Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has received from his United States counterpart concerning the length of time required to modernise the Lance missile ; and what assessment he has made.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The United States Administration have kept allies fully informed about their development programme for a successor to the Lance missile. The selection by the United States of a launcher at the end of last year was geared to having a new system available for development by the mid-1990s.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : In order to maximise operational availability, it is established practice to use tanks awaiting repair as a source of spare parts for other main battle tanks when the parts needed are not readily available through the normal supply chain.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training the British contingent of the United Nations transition assistance group receives in peacekeeping operations prior to its deployment to Namibia.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Prior to deployment, the British contingent to UNTAG (Britcon) underwent a training period during which they practised general military skills, were familiarised with aspects of peace-keeping operations, and were briefed on particular problems that they would encounter in Namibia such as the extremes of climate and the necessary medical precautions that they would need to take. They also practised their primary and specialist role, which is the provision of the force signals unit. In addition, the areas in which they were to operate were thoroughly reconnoitred.
It should be borne in mind that UNTAG is not primarily a peace-keeping force but is there to monitor and supervise Namibia's transition to independence.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what United States submarines were in the Irish sea during 17 April ; and if any reported an incident with the nets of the trawler Laurel ; (2) if a British submarine was involved in an incident on 17 April in the Irish sea with the fishing nets of the trawler Laurel, and if he will make a statement.
Column 280fishing vessel, Laurel, reported early on Monday 17 April 1989, that she had been towed backwards after a submerged object snagged her nets. When the submarine surfaced, it was found to have sustained superficial damage consistent with involvement in such an incident. The United States authorities are investigating.
No Royal Navy submarine was involved.
Mr. MacGregor : Following preliminary studies in my Department I have decided that the central veterinary laboratory, Weybridge, and the new veterinary medicines directorate which was set up on 3 April 1989 on the Weybridge site should be considered as further candidates for agency status. Feasibility studies will now be carried out with a view to the preparation of draft agency frameworks.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of agricultural development advisory service staff time is spent on advising farmers about methods of preventing pollution of rivers.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The 1988 edition of "Ministerial Information in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food" (MINIM), a copy of which is placed in the Library of the House, indicates the resources specifically devoted to the control of pollution in 1987-88. ADAS advisers do provide advice on environmental matters, including control of pollution, when responding to requests for advice on other relevant subjects.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to ensure that eggs imported into the United Kingdom will have been subjected to equally rigorous egg production and hygiene regulations as eggs produced in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) on 4 April at column 51. The monitoring system mentioned in that reply has now been put in place.
Column 281broad downward trend in radioactivity levels within the Cumbria restricted area in 1988 compared with 1987 was encouraging. However, whilst there are sheep above the 1,000 bq/kg limit, restrictions will have to remain in force. We shall be reassessing the situation in the light of the 1989 monitoring results to see whether there is scope for reducing the area subject to restrictions later this year.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of farms, number of sheep and number of acres subject to post-Chernobyl restrictions as at February ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of properties owned by his Ministry and suitable for residential accommodation have been empty for (i) up to a year and (ii) over a year ; and where these properties are located, by region of the United Kingdom or local authority area.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Four properties, less than 2 per cent. of the Ministry's holdings, are vacant ; two have been empty for over a year. Three are in Cambridgeshire and one in Hertfordshire. All are being sold. In addition, there are a small number of properties on experimental centres which are temporarily vacant pending occupation by employees.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has as to which foods aluminium is added and for what purpose ; and if he will make a statement regarding the necessity for, and safety of, aluminium food additives.
Mr. Ryder : The Colouring Matter in Food Regulations 1973 (as amended) permit the use of aluminium for the external colouring of dragees and for the decoration of sugar-coated flour confectionery only. In its report on these regulations the food advisory committee recommended that it should be made clear in future regulations that permission to use aluminium, silver and gold on dragees extends only to the traditional cake decoration dragees. The Government are currently considering the results of consultations on the report. Medical advisers in the Department of Health have advised that the regular consumption of larger aluminium-coated confectionery is undesirable because this may lead to an intake of aluminium by children in excess of the provisional tolerable weekly intake recently recommended by the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the county councils that have received grants for the disposal of bovine carcases infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy ; and what is the amount paid per animal in each case.
Mr. Donald Thompson : County councils do not receive grants for the disposal of carcases, which is the responsibility of the state veterinary service. On occasions when assistance is provided by county councils, the Ministry pays any appropriate charge. Details of amounts paid are not held centrally.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the amounts paid by different county councils to farmers for the disposal of each bovine carcase infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Mr Donald Thompson : Compensation is paid by the Government to farmers who have animals slaughtered because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The disposal of carcases is the responsibility of the state veterinary service and no payments are made by county councils.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the incineration plants within each county for the incineration of bovine spongiform encephalopathy infected cattle.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish a list showing the cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy confirmed in each county for the latest four week period.
County |Confirmed cases ----------------------------------------------------------------- Avon |9 Bedfordshire |3 Berkshire |6 Borders |1 Cambridgeshre |2 Central |1 Cheshire |5 Cleveland |1 Clwyd |5 Cornwall |52 Cumbria |2 Derbyshire |9 Devon |62 Dorset |44 Dumfries |7 Durham |1 Dyfed |12 Essex |4 Mid Glamorgan |1 South Glamorgan |3 Gloucestershire |14 Grampian |5 Gwent |3 Gwynedd |2 Hampshire |21 Herefordshire and Worcestershire |14 Hertfordshire |1 Highland |1 Humberside |1 Isle of Wight |2 Kent |20 Lancashire |5 Leicestershire |10 Lincolnshire |1 Merseyside |1 Norfolk |5 Northamptonshire |8 Northumberland |2 Nottinghamshire |5 Oxon |11 Powys |1 Salop |17 Somerset |35 Staffordshire |7 Strathclyde |4 Suffolk |7 Surrey |2 East Sussex |6 West Sussex |21 Tayside |2 Warwickshire |10 Wiltshire |26 North Yorkshire |13 West Yorkshire |2
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 14 April to the hon. Member for Caerphilly, how many of the 40 confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy were reported from EEC export approved slaugherhouses and how many were from non -EEC approved slaugherhouses.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many bovine spongiform encephalopathy infected cattle have been incinerated at each of the locations listed in his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields of 23 March, Official Report, column 722.
Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him on 23 March 1989 at column 726. Since many of my staff in the Ministry's pesticides data evaluation unit have been involved in reviews as well as other evaluations it is not possible to identify precise numbers.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the becquerel readings of each of the 40 sheep selected from within the restricted area of Cumbria used in the feasility study into monitoring of sheep carcases at slaugherhouses in December 1988.
|Readings --------------------------- 173 |579 191 |605 236 |620 258 |642 276 |642 294 |645 308 |651 311 |678 321 |684 335 |711 344 |780 401 |806 407 |810 462 |812 473 |905 483 |909 495 |1,004 513 |1,053 545 |1,119 566 |1,283
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what purpose the sheep involved in the December 1988 feasibility study into the monitoring of sheep carcases in slaughterhouses, referred to in his press release of 14 April, were intended to be used.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to conduct an aerial survey for radioactivity in the 20 per cent. of the restricted area not covered in 1988.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will outline the reasons for the delay of some three months in the allocation of the sectoral quotas to the industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Fisheries Departments hope to contact the industry shortly about a new and important issue which has arisen since the general arrangements for 1989 sectoral allocations were agreed in consultation with the industry last October. The original target for the notification of final allocations was the end of March.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Sewage sludge is the byproduct of sewage treatment and is more than 95 per cent. water. The solid component consists of inorganic material such as soil, grit, sand and so on from run-off, together with organic solids such as those derived from food wastes, human and animal excreta and detergents. The organic solids are predominantly natural materials which are degradable in the marine environment by the action of dissolved oxygen, light and the diverse natural microbial flora. The rate of degradation varies according to the source of the individual components and the degree of sewage treatment. The ultimate products of degradation are carbon dioxide, inorganic nitrogen compounds and water.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement on the health implications for fishermen fishing in water off the mouth of the river Tyne of the dumping of sewage waste ;
(2) what advice he has given to fishermen fishing in waters off the north- east coast of England in the vicinity of the area used for the dumping of sewage waste.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The subject of sewage disposal at sea and fishermen's occupational health was raised by representatives of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations at a recent meeting with my officials. Arrangements were agreed with the fishermen's representatives for the reporting of medical evidence on this matter to the appropriate authorities, the Health and Safety Executive's employment medical advisory service.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many days in the first four months of the current year the RV Corystes (a) was due to be in place and (b) was in place off the north-east of England.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether scientists on his research vessel Corystes monitors for AIDS, hepatitis, meningitis, polio and other disease micro-organisms ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Bacterial counts are taken on Ministry research vessel cruises in the area of sites licensed for the dumping of sewage sludge from ships. The measurements are taken from seabed sediments for the purpose of assessment of the fate of the material disposed of at sea.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the revocation of the Statutory Instrument, Public Health, Food Protection (Emergency Provisions) (Sea Fish) Order 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 529) ; and what plans he has to introduce an alternative instrument.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) on 19 April. We shall continue our programme of sampling fish and crabs landed at south coast ports. Any necessary further restrictions will be introduced should this reveal evidence of lindane having leaked into the aquatic environment.
Mr. Ryder : My Department's food science division has recently carried out a survey of the aluminium content of 10 brands of commonly available infant formulae. The Department of Health's independent expert committee on the toxicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and
Column 286the environment has considered the results of the survey. It concluded that the intakes of aluminium are well within the safety limits established by the World Health Organisation. Despite this it asked for further research to be undertaken, which will show whether or not further action is needed. Research on the bioavailability of aluminium from food has been commissioned at Southampton university. Work is in hand on identifying the forms in which aluminium occurs in foods and investigating the precise source of the aluminium in infant formulae. Consideration is also being given to the further work needed on the gastro- intestinal absorption and renal clearance of aluminium by infants.
Further information is contained in a food facts press notice being issued today, copies of which I am placing in the Library of the House.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what chapel facilities exist at Wakefield prison for prisoners segregated on rule 43 ; when work was commenced on refurbishing the chapel ; and when this work will be completed.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Rule 43 prisoners segregated for their own protection may attend the temporary chapel at Wakefield prison but those who are segregated for reasons of good order and discipline may not. This is partly because of the location of the chapel and partly because of the nature of the offenders and offences concerned. The number of rule 43 prisoners who may not attend fluctuates between about 15 and 30, not all of whom will be practising Christians. Chaplains visit prisoners every day and will take private services for any prisoner who so requests.
A date has not yet been fixed for commencement of the refurbishment of the permanent chapel.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out in the Official Report details of those policies introduced by him since 1983 with the intention of improving the quality of life for the rural communities.
Mr. John Patten : Many of our policies on crime prevention are applicable to rural areas. We have issued a circular to the police and courts about the powers available to deal with outbreaks of disorder and issued guidance to the courts about arranging speedy court hearings after sudden outbreaks of disorder. We have strengthened controls on firearms and encouraged the creation of local farm watch and rural watch schemes to increase community co-operation in preventing crime.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information requested for 1988 is not yet available. Corresponding information for 1987 is published in table 3 of Home Office statistical bulletin 33/88, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of officers in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, and overall in his Department are (a) women and (b) members of ethnic minorities.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The latest available figures show that 126 staff in grades 1 to 7 and their equivalents are women : this is just over 11 per cent. In the unified grades, 9 per cent. of staff at grade 3, 18 per cent. at grade 5, 4 per cent. at grade 6 and 15 per cent. at grade 7 are women.
Thirty six members of staff in grades 1 to 7 and their equivalents described themselves in staff surveys as of ethnic minority origin. This represents nearly 4 per cent. of respondents in these grades. In the Home Office as a whole, 23 per cent. of staff are women ; and 4 per cent. of respondents to staff surveys described themselves as of ethnic minority origin.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department last conducted a survey of the ethnic origin of its employees ; when it next plans to do so ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : All non-industrial staff in the Home Office were asked to state their ethnic origin in regional surveys conducted between 1983 and 1986. A further questionnaire was sent in September 1988 to those who had not previously responded. A survey of industrial staff will be undertaken shortly. People seeking posts in the Department are asked to state their ethnic origin when making their applications.
Mr. Hogg : Most senior posts are filled internally and the most important factor in increasing the number of ethnic minority staff in those posts will be their advancement over time through the promotion system. Considerable importance is attached to ensuring that they have every opportunity to do so. Recruitment direct to senior grades is generally conducted by the Civil Service Commission, and is always on the basis of fair and open competition. Advertisements make it clear that the Civil Service is an equal opportunities employer.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each year since 1979 in England and Wales (a) the number of women murdered by their male partner and (b) the number of women attacked causing actual bodily harm by their male partner ; and if he will show in his answer the percentage for each year this is of (i) all murders and (ii) all attacks causing actual bodily harm.
Mr. John Patten : Information relating to homicides is given in the table below ; "homicide" includes offences decided by the court to be murder, manslaughter or infanticide and those cases in which a court decision has not yet been reached. Provision of information for years prior to 1982 would involve disproportionate cost. Information is not yet available for 1988 or 1989. Information is not available on the number of women attacked causing actual bodily harm by their male partner.
|c|Female victims of homicides<1> in which the principal suspect was the|c| |c|spouse, former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant of the victim|c| England and Wales Female victims of partners<3> Year |All offences currently |Number |Percentage of total |recorded as homicide<2> |(=100 per cent.) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1982 |557 |102 |18 1983 |482 |87 |18 1984 |537 |97 |18 1985 |537 |101 |19 1986 |576 |109 |19 1987 |635 |83 |13 <1> As at 1 June 1988; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts or as further information becomes available. <2> Including both male and female victims. <3> Spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of properties owned by his Department and suitable for residential accommodation have been empty for (i) up to a year and (ii) over a year ; and where these properties are located, by region of the United Kingdom or local authority area.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Home Office owns quarters available for members of the prison service. As the Home Office is in the process of selling surplus prison service quarters, precise information is not available on a regional basis, but a broad estimate is that 10 per cent. of quarters have been vacant for more than 12 months and 3 per cent. for less than 12 months.
The following information is available about accommodation owned by the Property Services Agency but managed by the Home Office. Four properties managed by the Directorate of Telecommunications have been vacant for more than a year : one in Somerset and three in Nottinghamshire. Two out of 12 properties at the civil defence college in North Yorkshire have been vacant for over a year. Four out of 37 properties at the fire service college in Gloucestershire have been vacant for less than a year and two for over a year.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought under regulation 7(1) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and section 40(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1972 in each police force area in the latest year for which figures are available.
Column 289contravention of regulation 7(1) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, although information for 1986 indicated that there were fewer than 400 prosecutions nationally for vehicles with excessive dimensions. The information available for 1987 on prosecutions for vehicles in a dangerous or defective condition, is for all forces and is shown in table 5 of "Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales, 1987, Supplementary tables".
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason, and for how long, Mr. Dean Miles, prisoner 2672, has been held in the segregation unit at Her Majesty's prison, Albany ; what category prisoner is Mr. Miles ; for what category he was recommended ; and why he is held in maximum security conditions in a dispersal prison.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Mr. Miles was removed from association with other prisoners at Albany prison on 10 November 1988 under prison rule 48, which allows for the segregation of prisoners pending adjudication. He continued to be segregated under rule 48 until 22 December, when his case was heard by the board of visitors and a disciplinary award of 14 days' exclusion from associated labour was made. This punishment was served in the segregation unit. On completion of the punishment the governor decided that Mr. Miles should be segregated from other prisoners, in the interests of good order and discipline, under prison rule 43. Mr Miles remains segregated under rule 43 at this time.
Mr. Miles is categorised as security category C. It is not unusual for category C prisoners to be held in prisons of a higher security classification, in particular if the governor of a lower security prison has requested their transfer on the grounds that they have proved unsuitable for the regime of a lower security prison. Prisoners' allocation and categorisation are reviewed periodically at a local level. I understand that the question of Mr. Miles' location is to be reviewed shortly.