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AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Computers

Mr. Miller: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all cases since 1987 where his Department has bought computer capacity from (a) other Departments and (b) the private sector, giving the value of each contract and the name of the private sector contractors. [19450]

Mr. Boswell: Since 1987, the Ministry has not bought in any computer capacity from other Government Departments but has let one outsourcing contract to the private sector company Data Sciences. The value of the contract with Data Sciences is estimated to be £1.5 million.

Executive Action

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those areas of executive action where he has discretion to act in respect of an individual without giving reasons for his decision. [20550]

Mr. Boswell: Comprehensive records are not kept in the form requested. Identification of the kind of provisions referred to could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

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Methyl Bromide

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what environmental impact assessments his Department has made in respect of methyl bromide. [20581]

Mr. Clappison: I have been asked to reply.

The stratospheric impact of Methyl Bromide was reviewed by the UK stratospheric ozone review group in its last report "Stratospheric Ozone 1993". Its next assessment will be published by the end of 1996.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidelines his Department has issued regarding the use of methyl bromide. [20582]

Mrs. Browning: My Department has not issued specific guidelines relating to the use of methyl bromide. The British Pest Control Association operates a strict system of regulation, certification and training for the use of methyl bromide which was drawn up in collaboration with my Department and the Health and Safety Executive. Industry has a good history of self-regulation and only those who obtain a BPCA certificate may be supplied with methyl bromide.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what alternative fumigants to methyl bromide are approved for use in the United Kingdom.[20586]

Mrs. Browning: There is no single alternative to methyl bromide in all of its wide range of uses.

Approved alternative fumigants for soil sterilisation include chloropicrin, 1,3 dichloropropene and formaldehyde. Phosphine may be used for commodity fumigation. No alternatives to methyl bromide exists for rodent control and insect elimination aboard aircraft.

Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much funding the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research at Aberystwyth received from his Department in (a) 1985, (b) 1990, (c) 1992, (d) 1993, (e) 1994 and (f) 1995; how much will be allocated in 1996; and if he will make a statement. [20995]

Mr. Boswell: The Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research was not established until 1989. Records of payments made to the institute by the Ministry in respect of research and deveopment projects are kept on a financial year basis only. These show:


It is too early to forecast total payments for 1996-97 but, to date, some £5,823,000 of expenditure has already been committed.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations his Department has recently received from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research; and if he will make a statement. [20997]

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Mr. Boswell: This Department is a major funder of research at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and, as such, maintains regular contact in the course of monitoring and reviewing its on-going research. Most recently, discussions have focused on the future scope and content of the MAFF programme on oat breeding at IGER. A formal mid-term review meeting was held on 13 March at which this issue was considered. No final decisions have yet been taken.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much grant aid from the European Commission the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research received in (a) 1990, (b) 1992, (c) 1994 and (d) 1995; how much is to be allocated in 1996; and if he will make a statement. [20998]

Mr. Ian Taylor: I have been asked to reply.

The Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research received grant in aid from the European Commission for the respective years as follows:


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which is the Research Council responsible for IGER, estimates that in 1996-97 IGER will receive £240,000 from the European Commission.

Merchant Shipping Act 1988

Mr. French: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the implications of the ruling by the European Court of Justice that the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 contravenes European Law. [20827]

Mr. Baldry: Action has already been taken to amend merchant shipping legislation following the European Court of Justice's judgments in earlier Factortame cases (C 221/89 and C 246/89) in 1991.

In regard to the recent judgment on the latest Factortame case (C 48/93) and the steps which the Government plan to take to deal with quota hopping, I would refer to the replies which my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food gave to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) on 5 March 1996, Official Report, columns 130-31, and to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) on 6 March 1996, Official Report, column 345.

Fishing Vessels

Mr. French: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many vessels are currently licensed to fish in British waters; and of those, how many are owned by Spanish operators. [20844]

Mr. Baldry: As at 1 January 1996, some 8,500 British registered vessels were licensed to fish for profit in British and Community waters, although not all of these are entitled to fish for the full range of stocks subject to quota.

Following the introduction of the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Shipping) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No. 3138), the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen no

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 151

longer collects details of shareholdings in UK companies owning British-registered fishing vessels. We estimate, however, that there are more than 100 licensed UK vessels with a significant Spanish interest.

Live Animal Exports

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many veterinary officers and technical assistants were involved on (a) 13 February, (b) 14 February, (c) 15 February and (d) 16 February, in lairages near Dover, in inspecting animals to ensure that they were fit to travel under the Welfare of Animals During Transportation Order 1994 and to deal with other related matters; [20772]

Mrs. Browning: I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to the hon. Member for Glandford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) on 20 February 1996, Official Report, columns 136-37 and on 26 February 1996, Official Report, columns 381-82).

HOME DEPARTMENT

Women Prisoners (Drug Tests)

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the procedures involved in respect of the random mandatory drug testing policy for women prisoners. [20618]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 18 March 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Brian Landers to Mr. Alex Carlile, dated 19 March 1996:

The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the procedures involved in respect of the random mandatory drug testing policy for women prisoners.


19 Mar 1996 : Column: 152

Mr. Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women prisoners have been tested under the random mandatory drug testing policy; and what were the results. [20616]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 18 March 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Brian Landers to Mr. Alex Carlile, dated 19 March 1996:



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