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Mrs. J. Goodman

Mr. C. Harvey

Dr. D. Lambton

Mr. R. Law

Mr. J. Marsden

Mrs. E. Morgan

Mr. G. Revill

Mr. D. Smith

Mr. R. Vines

Mr. A. Webb

South West Region--

Chairman

Mr. P. Lethbridge

Members

Mrs. R. Berry

Mrs. G. Cobley

Mr. R. Hanbury-Tenison

Mr. D. Hills

Mr. R. Holland

Mrs. M. Horrell

Mr. J. Jordan

Mrs. D. Lavery

Mr. A. May

Mrs. A. Petch

Mr. V. Turton

Mr. J. Whetman

Wessex Region--

Chairman

Mr. R. Lawton

Members

Mrs. J. Banks

Mr. R. Bernays

Ms H. Browning

Mr. E. Cameron

Mrs. L. Cook

Mr. P. Feilden

Mr. J. Hughes

Mr. R. Martin

Mrs. A. Streatfield

Mr. G. Trehane

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who are the members currently appointed to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes.

Mr. Soames : The membership of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes is listed in the table :

Professor Derek Burke, CBE, BSc, PhD, HonLLD (Chairman) Professor G. E. Adams, BSc, PhD, DSc, FACR

Professor A. T. Atkinson, BSc, PhD

Dr. A. C. Baird-Parker, OBE, BSc, PhD

Professor E. Cocking, BSc, PhD, DSc, FIBiol, FRS

Professor H. M. Dick, MD, FIBiol, FRCP, FRCPath, FRSE

Dr. Michael J. Gasson, PSc, PhD

Professor W. P. T. James, MA, MD, DSc, FRCP, FRCP (Edin), FRSE Professor V. Marks, DM, FRCP, FRCPath

Mrs. H. Millar, MA, FRSA

Professor B. E. Moseley, MSc, PhD

Rev. J. Polkinghorne, MA, PhD, ScD, FRS

Professor P. Richmond, BSc, PhD, DSc, CPhys, FInstP

Dr. P. J. Rodgers, MA, DPhil

Professor J. E. Smith, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, FIBiol, FRSE Professor D. A. T. Southgate, BSc, PhD, MIBiol

Professor R. Walker, BSc, PhD, FRSD, CChem, FIFST

Professor H. F. Woods, BSc, BM, BCh, MRCP, DPhil, FFPM, FRCP

Hens

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the grants made available for the 25 projects currently receiving funding from her


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Department in order to carry out research into the welfare problems associated with laying hens in intensive systems, naming the project and giving the amount of funding for each ; what grants have been awarded to Horizon Farms by her Department over the last five years ; and what was the size of each grant.

Mr. Soames : Projects funded by this Department and of relevance to laying hens in intensive systems address the following topics :


Subject                                                  |1993-94 costs              

                                                         |£000                       

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

Effects of handling methods, production systems and                                  

  nutrition on bone strength and bird damage in                                      

  laying hens                                            |197                        

Effects of battery cage design on bird condition,                                    

  feather loss and bone damage                           |195                        

Welfare aspects of current husbandry practices for                                   

  caged hens                                             |17                         

Bird welfare in non-cage systems                         |233                        

The principles underlying motivation, cognition and                                  

  learning in poultry                                    |46                         

The application of motivation, cognitive and learning                                

  principles to behavioural and environmental                                        

  questions relating to poultry                          |84                         

Improvement of welfare in poultry husbandry                                          

  systems, housing and transport by understanding                                    

  environmental and behavioural interactions             |138                        

Electrophysiological, neuro-anatomical and                                           

  behavioural studies into the perception of pain,                                   

  injury and stress by poultry                           |177                        

The physiological principles causing the elicitation,                                

  assessment and reduction of fear and distress in                                   

  poultry                                                |104                        

Causation and consequences of stress related                                         

  behaviours in poultry                                  |126                        

Skeletal integrity in laying hens                        |100                        

The preslaughter transportation of poultry by road       |66                         

Avian welfare during handling                            |31                         

Depopulation of laying hens                              |36                         

Survey of broken bones in end of lay battery hens        |35                         

Depopulation of alternative laying systems               |37                         

Trauma in end of lay hens                                |27                         

Destructive pecking and cannibalism in laying hens       |29                         

Behavioural assessment of hens in improved battery cages |18                         

Causes of broken bones and trauma in end of lay hens     |18                         

Mechanised handling of laying hens                       |96                         

Hen injury in alternative egg laying systems             |16                         

In the last five years Horizon Farms has received only one grant from this Department. In November 1993 it was awarded £298,750 by the EC Commission under EC regulation 866/90 together with £59,750 from this Department towards the cost of a new egg grading and packing plant near Corby.

Agricultural Assistance

Mr. Alexander : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list her Department's current proposals for the assistance of British agriculture in the next 12 months.

Mr. Jack : British agriculture is supported by the mechanisms of the common agricultural policy. In the forthcoming negotiations to set CAP prices for 1994-95, my right hon. Friend will press for a settlement which takes full account of British farmers' interests. British farming will in addition continue to benefit from the wide range of Ministry grant and subsidy schemes and


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from schemes to encourage effective marketing of agricultural products, as well as from our continuing drive to remove unnecessary regulation. Information on all these departmental activities is available in the House Library.

Farms

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what statistics she has showing net investment from retained income categorised by farm business size for (a) 1981-82 and (b) 1991-92 ; and what other data are published by her Ministry relating investment to farm business size.

Mr. Jack : Information on net investment in agricultural assets is collected annually from a sample of farms in the farm business survey. The net investment, including both investment from retained profits and new funds introduced, is shown as the difference between cash income and cash flow from the farming business. Estimates of these measures for 1990-91 and 1991-92 are published by type and economic size of farm in appendix 1 of "Farm Incomes in the United Kingdom 1991-92". The following table shows the averages for 1991-92 by farm business size group. Figures for 1981-82 are not available on a comparable basis.


Estimated Average Net investment (<1>) (£'000   

per farm)                                       

Farm size group |Average of all                 

                |types of farm                  

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

Small           |4.2                            

Medium          |9.7                            

Large           |27.6                           

(<1>) Net investment represents investment net  

of sales of assets using both retained profits  

and funds introduced from outside the farming   

business.                                       

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information she has relating farm size to participation in environmental schemes operated by her Ministry.

Mr. Jack : Farms of a wide range of sizes participate in our environmental schemes. For example, the average size of farms participating in those environmentally sensitive area schemes in which we require the whole farm to be entered into agreement currently ranges from 33 hectares in West Penwith to 487 hectares in the North Peak. I would also refer the hon. Gentleman to the environmentally sensitive area reports of monitoring 1991 and 1992, available in the Library of the House.

Poultry

Mr. Nicholls : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on relative welfare standards for poultry in the United Kingdom and eastern Europe.

Mr. Soames : No information is available on welfare standards for poultry in eastern Europe. However, Slovenia has become a contracting party to the Council of Europe convention on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, which contains general principles for safeguarding the welfare of such animals. Other eastern European countries may attend the meetings of the standing committee set up under the convention but have yet to become contracting parties to the convention.


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Nuclear Waste (Dumping at Sea)

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 30 November, Official Report , column 494 , whether Her Majesty's Government have yet reached a decision on whether to accept the recent London convention decision to introduce a permanent ban on the disposal of radioactive waste at sea ; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shepherd : The United Kingdom will accept the formal ban on dumping low and intermediate-level radioactive waste at sea, which was adopted at the consultative meeting of the London convention in November 1993. We are already committed to a moratorium on sea dumping until 2008 under the OSPAR convention, and we have not carried out any dumping since 1983.

The United Kingdom's firm view is that decisions on disposal of waste should be taken on scientific and economic grounds. At the meeting of the London convention, the UK therefore argued against an indefinite ban, in view of the scientific and economic arguments in favour of sea dumping for certain categories of radioactive waste. The scientific evidence shows that dumping at sea, carried out under controlled conditions, causes no harm to the marine environment and poses no threat to human health. This has been confirmed by careful monitoring over many years and studies have shown it to be the best practicable environmental option for the disposal of certain types of radioactive waste.

Nevertheless, the United Kingdom recognises that the weight of international opinion on this matter means that such dumping is not, in any event, a practical proposition. We have, therefore, decided to accept the ban.

We shall continue our own programmes of monitoring and research, and will contribute actively to the scientific re-evaluation to be carried out under the convention after 25 years. The United Kingdom will be ready to reopen discussions in the convention at any time should the weight of opinion change in favour of accepting the scientific conclusions.

Milk Marque

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made in changing the Milk Marketing Board into Milk Marque ; and when a decision is expected.

Mr. Jack : The Milk Marketing Board submitted amendments to its reorganisation scheme on 9 February. We shall be issuing a further consultation document as soon as we are in a position to do so. If the reorganisation scheme were to be approved the existing milk marketing scheme would come to an end on 1 November 1994.

Mr. Clifton-Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she expects to make a decision on the schemes of reorganisation for the Milk Marketing Board ; what are the outstanding issues relating to the scheme of reorganisation ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : The Ministry issued a press release on 24 January which set out the position reached in discussions on the Milk Marketing Board's reorganisation scheme. On


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9 February the MMB submitted amendments to its scheme, on the basis of which the Ministry and the Welsh Office are preparing a further consultation document. It will be necessary to allow interested organisations a period of four weeks in which to respond, following which my right hon. Friends the Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales will consider the board's application having regard to all the circumstances, as required under the provisions of the Agriculture Act 1993. The timing of their eventual decision cannot be predicted with certainty but is unlikely to be before the end of April.

Kew Gardens

Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many living and preserved plant collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are currently fully documented on computer ; and when is the planned completion date for the capture of data from existing holdings of preserved plants.

Mr. Gillian Shephard : The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew estimates that some 200,000 of its living and preserved plant accessions are now documented on computer. There is currently no overall project or completion date for computerising information from its vast numbers of preserved plant specimens but emphasis is placed on the parts of the collection where active collaborative research programmes are being undertaken.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Residential Nursing Care

10. Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received about the financial interests of families whose elderly relatives have moved into residential nursing care.

Mr. Ancram : The only representation my noble Friend has received about this matter concerned the disposal of a small farmholding by a family to meet the nursing home costs of an elderly father.

Security

11. Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation in the Province.

13. Mr. Molyneaux : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons were charged with terrorist-related offences in Northern Ireland last year.

Sir John Wheeler : Since I answered a similar question on 20 January 1994 there have been three deaths, all of civilians, as a result of terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland. In addition, there have been 27 separate shooting attacks and 28 bombings and mortar attacks, all of which were intended to kill or maim, and many of which have resulted in horrific injuries to both civilians and security forces.

I resolutely condemn violence from whichever source it comes, whether from so-called loyalists or the provisional IRA. I can assure the House that the security forces will


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continue to pursue those responsible for these atrocities with unrelenting determination. Evidence of their continuing success is the fact that over 50 people have been charged already this year with terrorist-type offences. In 1993, 368 people were charged with serious terrorist offences, 196 firearms and 60 rocket or mortar launchers were recovered, some 6,561 kg of explosives were neutralised and 3,944 kg of unprimed explosives were also found.

Investment

14. Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received about the level of future investment in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Tim Smith : In the course of my duties I receive

representations from many parties within and outside Northern Ireland on the subject of future investment in the Province. They include Members of this House, local elected representatives, trade and industry associations, trade unions, voluntary and charitable institutions, professional and technical consultants and academics.

Joint Declaration

15. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about developments in security acceptance of the British-Irish joint declaration.

26. Mr. Clifton-Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress on the Downing street declaration.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Members for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche), for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) and for Neath (Mr. Hain).

Inter-party Talks

16. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the recent meetings that have been held with representatives of the political parties in Northern Ireland and on his new framework of ideas for a polital settlement.

17. Mr. Miller : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the recent meetings that have been held with representatives of the political parties in Northern Ireland and on discussions he has had with the Irish Government.

23. Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the talks he has had with the parties in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government relating to Northern Ireland.


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