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Police Escorts

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who is responsible for the costs incurred in respect of police escorts of United Kingdom road transportation of nuclear waste cargos; and if he will make a statement. [14370]

Mr. Page: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 22 January 1997, Official Report, column 642 in which I explained


TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Supervisory Bodies

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many individuals and firms have been licensed by each of the recognised supervisory bodies created under the Companies Act 1989. [14791]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The table sets out the number of firms currently registered as auditors with each of the recognised supervisory bodies--the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and the Association of Authorised Public Accountants--and the number of responsible individuals within those firms:

ICAEWICASICAIACCAAAPA
Firms7,9746505382,866(16)263
Individuals16,0391,1541,3854,369--

(16) All sole practitioners.


Scientific Research and Development

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of gross domestic product in the United Kingdom has been invested in scientific research and development in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.[15091]

Mr. Ian Taylor: The figures requested are as follows:

Gross expenditure on scientific Research and Development in the UK

Percentage of GDP
19902.23
19912.16
19922.18
19932.20
19942.19

Mr. Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to increase his Department's budget for science and research development. [15081]

Mr. Taylor: The science budget for 1997-98 announced by the President of the Board of Trade on 28 November will be £18 million above the equivalent allocation for the current year. Information about the Department's other science and technology expenditure will be provided in the expenditure plans report to be published in March.

Cable Entertainment

Mr. Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to lift the prohibition on BT operating in the cable entertainment market; and if he will make a statement. [15090]

Mr. Ian Taylor: BT is not prevented from operating in the cable entertainment market. It is able to do so on the same basis as all other companies, by competing for franchises. BT can even use its existing network within the franchises it holds. It can also deliver on its existing network broadcast television nationally to businesses, and it is free to offer interactive, on-demand services nationally to both businesses and homes. This freedom includes such services as video on demand, with an appropriate licence from the ITC. The only prohibition is on BT using its network nationally to convey or provide broadcast television to homes, as this would give it an overwhelming advantage over cable and other operators that are still building their networks. The Government will review these limited restrictions in 1998 and 2001 for conveyance and provision, respectively, if the Director General of Telecommunications advises that competition continues to become sufficiently established to warrant it. Stability in this regard remains an important factor in underpinning the investment in alternative infrastructure of more than £12 billion which cable and other operators have scheduled for this decade.

Sellafield (Safety)

Mr. Meacher: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he was notified of the radiation contamination

12 Feb 1997 : Column: 218

accidents that took place at Sellafield on (a) 2 and (b) 4 February; what was the nature of each accident; and if he will make a statement on safety at Sellafield. [15063]

Mr. Page: The incidents were reported to this and other interested Departments and relevant regulatory bodies on 3 and 4 February, respectively.

The incident on 2 February occurred during the dismantling of redundant equipment in the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield. Six workers received slight contamination to their person following the removal of their protective clothing. They were subsequently decontaminated by normal washing/showering and were monitored as clear of contamination before going home. There was no release of radioactivity beyond the Magnox reprocessing plant building where the incident occurred.

The incident on the night of 3/4 February occurred during the transfer of medium active concentrate along a pipeline between storage tanks when some of the liquor spilled onto a tank roof. Heavy overnight rain washed some of this liquor along the installed drainage system and into a large concrete lined pond for the collection of storm water. The pumps which discharge the contaminated water to the sea were stopped automatically as a result of low levels of radioactivity being detected by the installed monitoring equipment. No one received contamination to his or her person or any significant radiation exposure.

The incidents are being fully investigated by British Nuclear Fuels to establish their causes and to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence. Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive's installations inspectorate and the Environment Agency are on site obtaining further information. The NII would not allow any nuclear site to operate if it were not satisfied as to its safety.

In accordance with normal procedures, details of both incidents were contained in last week's Sellafield site newsletter, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Cosmetic Products

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those organisations consulted by his Department on the draft Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996, indicating the date when each meeting took place. [15129]

Mr. John M. Taylor: One hundred and fifty-five organisations and individuals were sent one or both of the consultation documents on the draft cosmetics regulations. A list of these organisations and individuals has been placed in the Library of the House. Representations received, including meetings, are regarded as confidential unless otherwise agreed with the parties concerned.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will amend section 8(3) of the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 (No. 2925) in 1997 to bring the wording into line with article 7A.1(e) of the Council directive 76/768/EEC as inserted by Council directive 93/35/EEC of 14 June 1993. [15124]

12 Feb 1997 : Column: 219

Mr. Taylor: I am advised that regulation 8(3) of the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 transposes correctly article 7A.1(e) of the cosmetics directive. However, in light of the concerns raised about the interpretation of article 7A.1(e), my officials will be meeting the Commission in order to seek a way in which we can resolve concerns expressed by industry without placing the UK in breach of its Community obligations.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the text of section 8(3) of the draft Cosmetic Product (Safety) Regulations 1996, was based on the text of article 7A.1(e) of the Council directive 76/768/EEC as inserted by Council directive 93/35/EEC of 14 June 1996. [15122]

Mr. Taylor: Draft regulation 8(3), issued for consultation in July 1996, was intended to reflect the meaning of Article 7A.1(e) of the cosmetics directive, but following further consideration, it was decided that correct transposition of the directive required revised wording.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the role of the Royal Society of Chemistry as defined in the annexe to directive 89/48 EEC. [15126]

Mr. Taylor: The Royal Society of Chemistry is listed in the annexe to directive 89/48/EEC. However, article 7A.1(e) of the cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC, as amended, requires that the person responsible for the safety assessment


My officials will be seeking clarification from the Commission as to what constitutes a similar discipline.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the representations he had received on section 8(3) of the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 (No. 2925). [15123]

Mr. Taylor: My Department has received representations from five organisations. Representations to the Department from individuals or organisations, on any topic, are treated as confidential unless it is agreed that they can be made public.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has to amend the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 (No. 2925). [15127]

Mr. Taylor: The Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 implement in the UK the cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC and all subsequent amendments made to it. On average, the cosmetics directive is amended once a year. The Commission has recently amended the directive for the 20th time and we will need to amend the regulations to implement the requirements of that directive by 30 June 1997. The Commission has proposed further amendments to the directive. If, and when, these are agreed, we will amend our regulations accordingly.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many representations he has received about section 8(3) of the draft Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996. [15125]

12 Feb 1997 : Column: 220

Mr. Taylor: Of 51 written responses to the consultation documents issued in October 1995 and July 1996, five commented on regulation 8(3).

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what factors led his Department to amend section 8(3) of the draft Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996, following the completion of the consultation process initiated on 30 July 1996. [15121]

Mr. Taylor: On close and detailed examination of the text of article 7A.1(e) of the cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC, as amended, it became clear that draft regulation 8(3) failed to implement the directive correctly.

Mr. Anderson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when his Department sent the Royal Society of Chemistry its consultative note on the proposed new regulations on cosmetic products. [15128]

Mr. Taylor: The Royal Society of Chemistry was not on the mailing list for the draft regulations issued for consultation in July 1996.


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