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Dioxins

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has received from the New Zealand Government on their inquiry into dioxins and food packaging ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : I have seen the announcement by the New Zealand Government stating that the levels of dioxin found in samples of cartoned milk there are not considered a risk for milk drinkers.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is now in a position to publish his report on the investigations into dioxins and food ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : The results of the work on dioxins in food carried out at my Ministry's food science laboratory will be made available shortly.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what meetings he has had with the manufacturers of paper milk cartons on the subject of dioxins in milk ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : None. My officials are in close contact with manufacturers on this issue and they are being kept in touch with developments.

Pesticides

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the advisory committee on pesticides has completed its review of danminozide ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Mrs. Peacock) on 3 May at column 124 .

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the amounts of pesticides used each year since 1959.

Mr. Ryder : My Department has conducted sample surveys since 1965 on the use of pesticides for agricultural and horticultural crop protection. Similar arrangements have applied in Scotland since 1975. These published surveys have considered only a few crops each year, so a complete annual picture is not available. However, overviews have also been published from time to time and the following are the calculated annual averages for the periods in question. The quantities given are the amounts of active ingredients in the substance applied.


1

Estimates of annual use of pesticides for crop   

protection in                                    

agriculture and horticulture                     

(Tonnes of active ingredients)                   

Scotland     |1975-79 |1980-85                   

-------------------------------------------------

Insecticides |-       |152     |97               

Fungicides   |-       |303     |473              

Herbicides   |-       |4,415   |4,852            

Others       |-       |21      |72               


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Estimates of annual use of pesticides for crop   

protection in                                    

agriculture and horticulture                     

(Tonnes of active ingredients)                   

Scotland     |1975-79 |1980-85                   

-------------------------------------------------

Insecticides |-       |152     |97               

Fungicides   |-       |303     |473              

Herbicides   |-       |4,415   |4,852            

Others       |-       |21      |72               

For 1965-70 there are no overall data available. The cycle of surveys after 1983 (1985 for Scotland) is not yet complete.

Fertilisers

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the amount of fertilisers used each year since 1959.

Mr. Ryder : It is not possible to provide such information as the term "fertiliser" covers a wide range of substances, while fertilisers are available in many different forms and in different concentrations and have many uses not restricted to agriculture.

Advertising

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will provide as much information as possible about his Department's expenditure on commercial television advertising which does not breach commercial confidentiality for each of the past five years ;

(2) how much advertising air time his Ministry purchased with each commercial television company in each of the last five years.

Mr. Donald Thompson : Nothing has been spent by my Department on commercial television advertisement in the last five years.

DEFENCE

Services (Age Entry Limit)

Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if consideration has been given to raising the upper age entry limit for the armed services as a measure to deal with the falling numbers of school leavers in the 1990s ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neubert : The Royal Navy is considering raising the upper age limit for officer entry but has no plans to change the age limit for Royal Navy ratings (currently 33) or Royal Marines other ranks (28). The Army also keeps it upper age limits under review and has made adjustments upwards recently for some officer entrants. There is provision to accept officers with special skills (for example, doctors and dentists) on qualifications and experience with formal age limit and for other ranks to join up to age 33.

The current upper age limit for entry into the Royal Air Force is 39, except for some branches and trades where the physical demands of the work necessitate a lower age limit, for example the general duties (air) branch and the physical training instructor trade. There are no plans to change this, though there is provision to vary these limits in exceptional circumstances.


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Greenham Common

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have been arrested under the RAF Greenham common byelaws since 23 February ; and how many have been charged with offences under those byelaws since that date.

Mr. Neubert : Between 23 February and 10 May 34 individuals were arrested and reported with a view to prosecution by summons. The numbers of arrests involved has totalled 331.

Low Flying

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by year since 1983 and for current year to date, the number of flights that have been authorised to fly over the Yorkshire mainland at a height less than that set out in joint service publication 318 and the United Kingdom military low-flying handbook, as provided in section 51(b) of the Air Force Act 1955 ; what were the comparable national figures for those years ; what air forces were involved ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neubert : The information requested is not available.

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions were imposed on military low flying in the Lockerbie area in the period following the Pan Am crash on 21 December 1988 ; what was the radius of the restricted area ; and on what date the restrictions were lifted.

Mr. Neubert : In the wake of the Lockerbie crash the Ministry of Defence took a number of steps in order to ensure that the citizens of Lockerbie and its environs were not disturbed by the activities of military aircraft carrying out routine training, including low flying, during follow -up work to the Pan Am crash. The position is being kept under careful and sensitive review in the light of circumstances in the area but it is not our practice to release detailed information on flying restrictions in individual areas.

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report figures showing (a) the total number of movements by low-flying military aircraft over southern Scotland in 1988, (b) the number of complaints about low-flying received from southern Scotland in 1988, (c) the number of complaints about low-flying received from the Borders area in 1988 and (d) the proportion of low-flying activity over the United Kingdom which took place over southern Scotland in 1988.

Mr. Neubert : I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to undertake measurements of the noise generated by military aircraft flying at 100 ft above ground level.

Mr. Neubert : Apart from measurements during the course of noise surveys in the immediate vicinity of various military airfields, there are at present no such plans.

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) over what proportion of low flying area 13, military jet aircraft are permitted to fly at less than 250 ft minimum separation distance ;


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(2) over what proportion of low flying area 13, Royal Air Force Harrier aircraft are permitted to fly at 85 ft minimum separation distance.

Mr. Neubert : Flying below 250 ft minimum separation distance (msd) is only permitted in that part of low flying area 13 which is included within the Borders tactical training area and only when operational low- flying training is taking place. As with all operational low-flying training the lowest minimum separation distance permitted is 100 ft.

721 Signals Unit, RAF

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the functions of Number 721 signals unit, Royal Air Force.

Mr. Neubert : Number 721 signals unit controls the electronic warfare training range located at RAF Spadeadam, Cumbria, which provides a realistic electronic warfare training environment for the training of RAF and other NATO aircrew.

Military Aircraft (Supersonic Flight)

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those areas of the United Kingdom where supersonic flight by military aircraft is permitted over land, giving the minimum permitted altitude for such flights in each case.

Mr. Neubert : Military aircraft are not permitted to exercise at supersonic speed over land in the United Kingdom.

Noise Levels

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the definitions of the noise level measurement systems (a) LA, (b) LOASP, (c) LPN, (d) LTPN, (e) LEPN, and (f) LAX ; and which of these systems of measurement was used in (i) the figures provided in his reply to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire on 22 March, Official Report , columns 617-18 and (ii) the figure of 125 dB (A) used in his Department's policy on noise compensation arrangements.

Mr. Neubert : The systems listed are defined as follows : (a) LA-- maximum A' weighted sound pressure level ;

(b) LOASP--overall A' weighted sound pressure level ;

(c) LPN--perceived noise level ;

(d) LTPN--Tone-corrected perceived noise level ;

(e) LEPN--effective perceived noise level ;

(f) LAX--single event sound exposure level ;

The LA' system of measurement was used in the figures provided in the reply to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire on 22 March, Official Report , columns 617-18 and in the figure of 125 dB(A) used in the Ministry of Defence noise compensation policy.

RAF Jaguar (Incident)

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the nature and circumstances of the accident to an RAF Jaguar near St. Abbs on 13 April.

Mr. Neubert : During a routine training exercise on 13 April, a Royal Air Force Jaguar GR1A aircraft stationed


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at RAF Coltishall crashed into Lumsdaine cliff near St. Abb's head, killing the pilot. A board of inquiry has been established to investigate the cause of the accident, with a view to preventing a recurrence. A summary of its findings will be published in the usual way and a copy will be sent to the hon. Member, as I undertook when I wrote to him on 13 April.

Iraqi Pilots

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi pilots have been trained by the Royal Air Force over each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Neubert : This information is confidential between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Iraq.

Nuclear Tests (Compensation)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost so far to his Department of contesting the claims for compensation of the nuclear test injuries ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : This information is not readily obtainable and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Radiation

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the research commissioned by his Department into the relationship between cancer and radiation in the last 30 years.

Mr. Sainsbury : My Department keeps under review studies that might be appropriate to workers involved with radiation undertaken by the various organisations specialising in cancer research and epidemiology. It has also commissioned studies in four areas, which are :

1. Mortality and Cancer Incidence in United Kingdom Participants in the United Kingdom Atmospheric Nuclear Weapon Tests and Experimental Programmes. (NRPB--R214 dated January 1988). 2. MRC study of Mortality of AWE workers.

3. The current MRC study of Occupational Health in the Royal Naval Submarine Service.

4. Part sponsorship of a new epidemiological analysis covering the combined nuclear industries.

Nuclear Test Veterans

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases of multiple myeloma amongst the people on the ship HMS Scarborough, which was present at the nuclear tests, were found by the National Radiological Protection Board in its study of the mortality of nuclear test veterans.

Mr. Sainsbury : HMS Scarborough was a meteorological data gathering ship and was on station in August and September 1958 to the north of Christmas Island at distances never less than 38km from the points of detonation.

At no time was she, members of her crew or others on board her exposed to ionising radiation from the bursts, or from fall out, nor did she sail in waters contaminated with fall out at any levels above the normal background of the South Pacific area.

The NRPB identified one case of multiple myeloma amongst those serving on HMS Scarborough during this period.


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Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has refused to disclose any documents requested by the lawyers of the nuclear test veteran, Mr. Pearce, and other veterans seeking compensation.

Mr. Sainsbury : My Department has not to date refused to disclose any documents requested by the lawyers of the nuclear test veterans seeking compensation. In the case of Mr. Pearce, however, his lawyers have been advised that there might be documents which, for security reasons, cannot be released, although every effort will be made to release relevant parts of those documents.

Nuclear Tests (Compensation)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department provided information about radioactive levels at the British atomic test in 1950, to the Australian Supreme Court which awarded £300,000 compensation to an Australian present at the atomic tests.

Mr. Sainsbury : Copies of United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and Ministry of Defence reports which had previously been made freely available to Her Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth of Australia on many past occasions, were available to the Supreme Court of New South Wales which dealt with the civil claim in question. Some United Kingdom citizens, including one who is currently a senior Ministry of Defence officer, who had been present in the tests in 1953 and 1956, gave evidence before the court on a personal basis, on factual matters on which they had a direct personal knowledge. This included information on the radioactive levels at Emu field in the evidence given by the current Ministry of Defence officer.

Nigeria (Arms Sales)

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the value of arms sales to Nigeria for each of the last two years for which figures are available.

Mr. Sainsbury : It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to give details about arms sales to particular countries.

Submariners

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Ministry has sought or has been sent any evidence indicating that the health of sailors in nuclear submarines is significantly different from that of sailors in non-nuclear submarines.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : No. There is no evidence to suggest any difference in the health of sailors in nuclear submarines compared with those in non-nuclear submarines.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information has been given to submarine sailors regarding the objectives of the study of their health and the findings so far ; and if he is proposing to make available to sailors all the information obtained by the study.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : No advance information to sailors about the Medical Research Council study, was either given or considered necessary. The study was commissioned by the MOD purely as a scientific study to


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examine all the possible medical effects of the

machine-manufactured submarine environment, and was not specifically aimed at any particular aspect. The study is still in progress and it is too early to comment on any possible findings. On completion of the study report, non-classified information will be available in medical libraries.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information regarding their health has been provided to individual sailors for them to discuss with their general practitioners.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : While individual sailors are in the service, advice from the Medical Officer/General Practitioner is always available. When they leave the service, there is a standard procedure for the release of copies of the medical documents to the nominated civilian GP for the puposes of treatment. The radiation dose records of those serving submariners designated as radiation workers can be released to the individuals on request, and are forwarded as a matter of course when they leave the service, in accordance with the "Ionising Radiation Regulations 1985".

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the study of the health of submariner sailors began ; when it is expected to end ; what interim reports have there been ; and what are the objectives of the study.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The study into mortality and morbidity amongst submariners began in 1987, and will be completed in 1990. No interim reports have been issued because the first year was taken up with identifying the survey population. We are now looking at the service health records of those who have retired from the Royal Navy. The Institute of Naval Medicine is monitoring the progress of the study, but the design and conduct of the study remain independent, and in the hands of the Medical Research Council. The purpose of the study is to seek further confirmation, by an independent body, that service in submarines is not detrimental to the health of naval personnel. The study was not initiated in response to any perceived or anticipated medical problem.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the design of the study of the health of submarine sailors is such that it would show whether or not the health of sailors in nuclear submarines is significantly different from that of sailors in non-nuclear submarines.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The aim of the study, which will include personnel from both types of submarine, is to study the effect on people of working for long periods in an artificially-controlled environment. Comparison will be made with other sailors and other similar age groups in the civilian population.

Advertising

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much advertising air time his Ministry purchased with each commercial television company in each of the last five years.

Mr. Neubert : Information on television advertisements in the form requested is commercially confidential.


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Ship-Town Links

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what links each of the following Royal Navy ships have with towns or cities in the United Kingdom ; what is the nature of each ship to town link ; and what are the annual costs involved to the Royal Navy of such links : (i) HMS Resolution, (ii) HMS Repulse, (iii) HMS Renown, (iv) HMS Revenge, (v) HMS Invincible, (vi) HMS Illustrous, (vii) HMS Ark Royal, (viii) HMS Birmingham, (ix) HMS Newcastle, (x) HMS Glasgow, (xi) HMS Cardiff, (xii) HMS Exeter, (xiii) HMS Southampton, (xiv) HMS Nottingham, (xv) HMS Liverpool, (xvi) HMS Manchester, (xvii) HMS Gloucester, (xviii) HMS Edinburgh, (xix) HMS York, (xx) HMS Broadsword, (xxi) HMS Battleaxe, (xxii) HMS Brilliant, (xxiii) HMS Brazen, (xxiv) HMS Boxer, (xxv) HMS Beaver, (xxvi) HMS Brave, (xxvii) HMS London, (xxviii) HMS Coventry, and (xxix) HMS Sheffield.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The ship to town/city links are as follows :


                          |Town/City                                          

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HMS Resolution            |Burton-on-Trent                                    

HMS Repulse               |Rotherham                                          

HMS Invincible            |City of Durham                                     

HMS Illustrious           |The Cinque Ports                                   

HMS Ark Royal             |Leeds                                              

HMS Birmingham            |Birmingham                                         

HMS Newcastle             |Newcastle                                          

HMS Glasgow               |Glasgow                                            

HMS Cardiff               |Cardiff                                            

HMS Exeter                |Exeter                                             

HMS Southampton           |Southampton                                        

HMS Nottingham            |Nottingham                                         

HMS Liverpool             |Liverpool                                          

HMS Manchester            |Manchester                                         

HMS Gloucester            |Gloucester                                         

HMS Edinburgh             |Edinburgh                                          

HMS York                  |York                                               

HMS Broadsword            |Chester                                            

HMS Battleaxe             |Newport, Gwent                                     

HMS Brilliant             |Tunbridge Wells                                    

HMS Brazen                |County Durham                                      

HMS Boxer                 |Trafford, Manchester                               

HMS Beaver                |Bolton                                             

HMS Brave                 |Waveney District Council                           

HMS London                |City of London                                     

HMS Coventry              |Coventry                                           

HMS Sheffield             |Sheffield                                          

HMS Renown and HMS Revenge are not currently affiliated to a town or city.

Much of the activity associated with these affiliations is concerned with charitable work. Each ship is connected with at least one local charity and makes considerable contributions to it by means of voluntary fund-raising activities contained within its already busy programme. Many of the ships have been granted honorary freedom of their affiliated towns and their companies are honorary freemen. These affiliations are greatly valued by both sides.

The precise cost to the Royal Navy of these affiliations is not recorded separately from that of other activities and would involve disproportionate effort to calculate. The costs are, however, likely to be small, consisting largely of the cost of public transport to visit towns and cities not accessible by sea approximately once every two years.


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SOCIAL SECURITY

Invalidity Pensions Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of people in receipt of invalidity pension who have an income from an occupational pension scheme.

Mr. Scott : It is estimated that in 1986, the latest period for which information is available, about 300,000 invalidity pensioners also had some income from an occupational pension.

Family Credit Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how the introduction of family credit has affected the incomes of those families at the bottom end of the income scale ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Family credit is a much more generous benefit than family income supplement which it replaced. For example, a family with three children aged nine, 11 and 13, claiming since 10 April, would normally be entitled to family credit of £66.70 a week if their net income was below the threshold of £54.80 ; about £42 a week if their net income was £90 ; about £24 a week if their net income was £115 ; and about £7 a week if their net income was £140. Family credit is now in payment to over million working families at an average award of over £25 a week. We are currently carrying out a major campaign to increase awareness of this very worthwhile benefit.

Terminally Ill People (Allowances) Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to be able to announce a decision about the recommendation of the social security advisory committee on the allowances paid to the terminally ill.

Mr. Scott : I refer my hon. Friend to my replies to the hon. Members for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) and for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke) on 6 March at columns 585-86.

Advertising Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much has been spent by his Department on advertisements on commercial television in each of the last five years, listed by each television company.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information on television advertisements in the form requested is commercially confidential.

Benefit Payments Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on his future plans for the method of payment of benefits.


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Mr. Peter Lloyd : The main focus of the Department's efforts to improve service to the public in the area of paying benefits is currently through the massive extension of computers to local offices. The Department is also striving to encourage people to have their benefits paid direct to bank accounts. This is cheaper, more convenient for many, and reduces the risk of fraud. We have no intention to adopt any method of payment which requires the use of plastic cards but we will continue to examine whether such methods offer further advantages.


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