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Mr. Ryder : The top-up scheme, which will be known as the countryside premium for set-aside land, will be administered by the Countryside Commission with advice and assistance from the Nature Conservancy Council, the Department of the Environment and my Department. Details of the scheme are to be announced on 19 June by the chairman of the Countryside Commission.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether cows treated with bovine somatatropin under experiment can subsequently be sold for slaughter for human consumption ; and whether his Department imposes any time limit on the period to elapse between the ending of bovine somatatropin treatment and slaughter.
Mr. Donald Thompson : When the animal test certificates for BST products were assessed, the veterinary products committee, following rigorous evaluation of all the available data, was satisfied that it would be safe to eat meat from treated cows when they were culled. Accordingly, such cows may be sold for slaughter for human consumption ; no withdrawal period has been specified.
(2) how many American bandogs are presently in quarantine following importation ;
(3) if he will make a statement on the powers available to his Department to control the importation of dogs ;
(4) if records on the importation of dogs kept by the animal health division of his Department are kept manually in written form, or on computers ;
(5) what advice has been issued to members of his Department concerning American bandogs ; and if he will make a statement ; (6) what information he has on the origins, purpose,
characteristics and temperament of the American bandog ; and if he will make a statement ;
(7) what is the number of Neopolitan mastiff bitches currently in quarantine in the United Kingdom ; and what information he has as to the purposes of their import ;
(8) what records his Department keeps on the importation of dogs ; and whether these include information as to the breed, sex, age, weight, name, colour, distinguishing marks, exporter and importer of each dog ;
(9) what returns of information on the importation of dogs are submitted by the animal health division of his Department to the central statistical unit of his Department.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 as amended restricts the importation of dogs to licensed animals landed at prescribed ports and airports and requires them to be quarantined for six months. These powers are designed to prevent the introduction of rabies into this country and not to limit the number and breeds of dogs imported. Applicants for import licences must provide information, necessary for identification should it escape during quarantine, concerning the dog's breed, sex, age, weight, name, colour and distinguishing marks, together with details of the owner, authorised carrying agent, quarantine premises and expected date of landing. No information is required as to the purpose of the importation.
All information is retained on a confidential basis by the animal health division in the form of manual records. Summary data by breed are not kept and it is not possible
Column 500to say how many Neopolitan mastiff bitches or American bandogs are presently in quarantine, as these may not have been described as such in the licence application. I understand that an American bandog is a cross between a pit bull terrier and a Neopolitan bull mastiff bull. No advice has been issued concerning this breed.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The WHO centre at Tuebingen, West Germany recorded 5,051 European rabies cases for the fourth quarter 1988. The total for the same quarter 1987 was 4,280 cases. A species breakdown for the fourth quarter 1988 reveals :
|Numbers ----------------------------------- Wild animals |3,950 of which Red Fox |3,536 Domestic animals |1,100 of which Dogs-Europe |75 Dogs-Turkey |100
Urban rabies continues to occur in Turkey, where 77 per cent. of all cases were in dogs, and 99.6 per cent. of all cases occurred in domestic animals. One human case occurred, in Blackburn, England. The disease had been contracted in Pakistan. There are undoubtedly cases of human rabies in Turkey but there is no regular reporting of these cases to the rabies centre. In several countries, a substantial rise in cases has been reported. Although a single quarter's figures must not be taken out of context, it is clear that the progress being made in the control of wildlife rabies in western Europe will be slow. The yearly total shows a reduction of 3.7 per cent. In West Germany, which has previously recorded dramatic falls in the number of cases, the number recorded was 31 more than in the fourth quarter 1987. A substantial increase in cases (490--53 per cent. of the country's total) occurred in the Bundesland Hessen. All the other Bundeslander registered slight rises or remained stable. However, the total for 1988 in West Germany was 2,628, compared with 791 in 1987. It seems that areas where the oral vaccination of foxes has only been used once are the most vulnerable. Clearly, this form of control has to be repeated regularly. Although expensive, this appears to be a successful method of limiting the number of cases. It is not, however, a procedure which will, without other supporting mechanisms, lead to the eradication of rabies from Europe.
In Belgium, the number of cases continues to increase, taking the year's total to 515 cases ; however, in the areas where oral vaccination of foxes has been carried out, the number of cases has reduced by 49 per cent.
In France, there has been no extension of the "rabies front" westwards. A total of 2,223 known cases was recorded in 1988, 155 more than in 1987. Most of the cases are found in the fox. Italy has recorded 19 cases in the area bordering Yugoslavia. Much surveillance of wild and domestic animal carcases has been carried out, and some foxes were found positive in one Alpine region. Oral vaccination of foxes is planned in the spring, using the Tuebingen
Column 501vaccine, in conjunction with Yugoslavia and Austria. Vaccination of dogs and grazing animals is also compulsory.
Switzerland recorded only 16 cases, and none were recorded from Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Spain.
Bats found positive to rabies-related virus were recorded in the Netherlands (5) and West Germany (1). The total number of cases in Europe in 1988 was 53, compared to 140 in 1987. Denmark and Spain (affected in 1987) had no new cases. There continues to be no evidence of bat-related rabies virus in terrestrial mammals in Europe. During the quarter, 25 bats were examined in Great Britain, and all were found to be negative.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the annual administration costs, for each of the last five years of operation of the beef variable premium scheme and of maintaining the register of confusion marks ; and how many animals were so registered in each of these years.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 13 June 1989] : The beef variable premium scheme was administered on behalf of the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce by the Meat and Livestock Commission in Great Britain and by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland. Their costs over the last five years are estimated to have been as follows :
£ million |<1>MLC|DANI ----------------------------- 1984-85 |3.8 |0.6 1985-86 |4.0 |0.7 1986-87 |4.1 |0.7 1987-88 |4.4 |0.8 1988-89 |4.4 |0.8 <1> BVPS duties were usually carried out by MLC officers concurrently with their responsibilities under the sheep variable premium scheme. BVPS costs are therefore calculated as a proportion of the total cost of administering both schemes based on the number of presentations under each.
These figures include the costs of administering the confusion mark procedures. These were operated on a local basis and the costs of administration and numbers of animals were not centrally recorded.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what contingency plans his Department has for dealing with an accident involving (a) any seaborne, (b) any airborne or (c) any landborne nuclear weapon, in the course of non-operational activities, including courtesy calls.
Mr. Ian Stewart : Contingency plans throughout the United Kingdom for accidents involving nuclear weapons are a matter for the Secretary of State for Defence. In the event of any such incident affecting Northern Ireland these would be complemented by local contingency plans.
Column 502involving children disembarking from school buses, indicating the number of such fatalities in the past five years.
Mr. Ian Stewart [holding answer 15 May 1989] : Information is not available in the exact form requested. Existing records do not differentiate between types of bus operators and the following information includes buses operated by education and library boards, public service vehicles used solely for transporting children to and from school and buses used by the general public. Details of children, that is, persons under 15 years of age, killed immediately after alighting from buses are as follows :
T Location |Year |Number of fatalities ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Armagh |1984 |3 1 Lisburn 1 Bellaghy 1 Greyabbey |1985 |1 1 Loup |1986 |2 1 Ballymoney 1 Castledawson |1987 |1 1 Coleraine |1988 |1
5. Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the policy of his Department in treating as illegal immigrants entrants who have been given leave to enter the United Kingdom and who are alleged to have withheld information from an entry certificate officer or immigration officer.
Mr. Renton : A person who deliberately withholds evidence and thereby gains entry to which he would not otherwise be entitled may be treated as an illegal entrant under the Immigration Act 1971 and removed from the country. It is clearly right that people coming to this country should not benefit from deceiving the entry clearance officer or the immigration officer. All such cases are fully and carefully considered before removal is authorised.
9. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has been able to make an assessment of the anti-racial harassment campaign launched by the Metropolitan police at the beginning of the current year and its effect on public opinion and public reaction.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is for the commissioner, not the Home Office, to make his assessment of the Metropolitan police campaign, I understand that the commissioner intends that the campaign will be evaluated. The Metropolitan police are determined to meet the needs of the community in this sensitive area, and the campaign is playing a central part in their strategy.
Mr. John Patten : At the end of March 1989 there were 66,423 neighbourhood watch schemes in England and Wales, covering approximately 3.25 million households. This compares with 3,669 schemes in January 1985-- an increase of 62,754, or 1,710 per cent. over the period.
Mr. Hurd : During the 12 months ending 31 March 1989 a total of 184 people were detained in Great Britain under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1984 and 1989. A total of 173 of these detentions were in connection with Northern Irish terrorism and 11 were in connection with international terrorism. Twenty seven of those people were charged. During the same period, 17 people were made subject to new exclusion orders.
Mr. John Patten : The Government believe that a high proportion of burglaries are preventable. That is why we have encouraged neighbourhood watch schemes which can do so much to help prevent crime. Five years ago there were no watch schemes in Humberside. There are now over 1,300 such schemes in Humberside, covering some 30,000 households. At the end of April 1989 burglaries from dwellings in Humberside had fallen by 21 per cent. compared to two years ago. Detection of burglaries has increased by 28 per cent. over 1988 figures. Hull has agreed to participate in the Home Office safer cities programme and a project is being set up in the city this year. Its aims are to reduce crime, lessen the fear of crime, and create a safer city within which economic enterprise and community life can flourish.
16. Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a further statement on his plans to ensure that prohibited drugs are not imported into the United Kingdom after 1992.
Column 504are, and will continue to be, an indispensible part of the protection for our citizens against the evil of drug trafficking. Sir Leon Brittan confirmed in a speech to the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs conference on 20 April that the control of drugs trafficking involves, among other things, the ability to conduct checks.
17. Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he plans to produce new publicity material to encourage people to register to vote, in the light of the recent Office of Population Censuses and Surveys reports on electoral registration.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We shall, as in previous years, support electoral registration officers in their statutory task with a nationwide advertising campaign during the autumn. We also plan to issue guidance to electoral registration officers on the need for a co-ordinated local publicity strategy.
Mr. John Patten : No, but I know that the charity commissioners played an essential part, with my Department, in promoting the community trust movement in this country by, among other things, advising on the development of model trust instruments.
20. Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to collect more frequent statistics about the numbers of young people charged under section 3 of the Vagrancy Act 1824.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Government plan to publish a Green Paper in the next few weeks. Harmonisation with the central European time zone is one of three options presented for discussion on future summer time arrangements.
Column 505avoid sending mentally disturbed people to prison if at all possible, for example by using their powers to remand to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983, or make attendance at or admission to hospital a condition of bail. We are also preparing a circular to the police and courts on provision for mentally disturbed offenders.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There is no central record of the costs of policing football matches. This information could be obtained only at dispropotionate cost, but substantial resources are involved. Typically 5,000 officers are deployed, at a total cost of perhaps £200,000 to £300,000, each football Saturday.
Mr. John Patten : The police give high priority to dealing with street robbery. We are concentrating resources on certain urban high-crime areas through our safer cities programme, and we have produced a crime prevention handbook which contains advice on how members of the public can reduce the risk of being attacked ; nearly 2.5 million copies of it have been distributed.
28. Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests he has received in the past 12 months to make orders under section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, to prohibit processions ; and if he will make a statement.
29. Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the proposals contained in his White Paper, Cm 517 to institute a regionally based privatised transmission system ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 506our proposals to privatise the transmission system. We published on 8 June the report commissioned from Price Waterhouse to identify options for privatisation, and we are considering its conclusions in consultation with interested parties.
Mr. Hurd : M. Joxe and I met on 19 May and had wide-ranging and fruitful discussions on matters of common concern, including immigration policy, action against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime, and the measures required to maintain the necessary controls in these areas after 1992. We also signed an arrangement providing for further practical co-operation between the United Kingdom and France on all these matters.
32. Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications for matters within his responsibility of the use of section 47 of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 to appoint special constables.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : This provision has operated without major difficulty at many ports for many years. However, I am aware of the concern expressed by my hon. Friend, some other hon. Members and the Police Federation following the recent use of this provision by a statutory harbour authority. My right hon. Friend has brought this matter to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport who has primary responsibility for the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847. We shall jointly be examining the representations which have been made.
34. Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to encourage greater parental responsibility for the prevention of juvenile crime ; and if he will make a statement.
50. Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to encourage greater parental responsibility for the prevention of juvenile crime ; and if he will make a statement.
56. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to make parents of children under 16 years of age responsible for the crimes committed by those children.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There are no plans to remove Crown immunity from penal establishments. I am satisfied that the present arrangements are effective in setting and monitoring standards required by the relevant legislation.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to what action the Metropolitan police are taking in enforcement of bus lanes.
40. Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress his Department is making in fostering greater co-operation between British police forces and their counterparts elsewhere in Europe.
Mr. John Patten : We are examining, in consultation with other Departments, the car manufacturing industry and other agencies, how best the recommendations of the 1988 Home Office standing conference on crime prevention working group on car crime might be taken forward. We are considering research into the correlation between car theft and road accidents, a car crime prevention video for use in schools, and the inclusion of assessments of car security features in published road tests. Publicity on the prevention of car crime will continue at a high level.