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Maze Prison

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what response the Northern Ireland Prison Service has made to Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons' report on HMP Maze; and if she will place a copy of the response in the Library. [78162]

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Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 15 February 1999, Official Report, column 477.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many press releases were issued

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by the Northern Ireland Prison Service between 31 May 1997 and 31 December 1998; and how many of these notices were posted on the Prison Service Internet web site. [78161]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 15 February 1999, Official Report, column 477.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Genetically Modified Crops

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list (a) under which Sections of the (i) Environmental Protection Act 1990 and (ii) any other Act he has issued regulations concerning conditions to be met by applicants for cultivation of genetically modified crops for (1) research and (2) sale, (b) the (A) dates, (B) numbers, (C) titles of any such Regulations and (D) those which require approval by resolution of either House of Parliament and (c) what general exemptions from any part of any such regulations he has given to (x) which persons and (y) bodies and (z) for what reason. [72561]

Mr. Meacher: The release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is governed by the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1992, SI 1992-3280, as amended by the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1995, SI 1995-304, and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Risk Assessment) Regulations 1997, SI 1997-1900 which give effect to Part VI of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Together, these implement Council Directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms. There is no requirement for approval by resolution of either House of Parliament and no general exemptions have been given to particular persons or bodies.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will state the level of representation of the United Kingdom on each regulatory Committee of the European (a) Commission and (b) Council concerned with the approval for (i) experiment and (ii) sale of genetic crops, listing the producers used at each stage, the mode of decision by vote and the legal basis for such decision. [73720]

Mr. Meacher: All consents for the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs are issued on the basis of the procedures laid down in Directive 90/220/EEC.

Although there is exchange of information at EC level regarding the release of GMOs for research purposes, consents are issued on a national level without the need for EC-level approval. Applications to market GMO products must, however, be cleared by the European Community before consent is granted. The Commission's regulatory committee is therefore involved with the approval of marketing applications.

If objections are raised by other Member States' competent authorities to a marketing notification forwarded by the lead competent authority to the Commission, a decision is taken by the Commission

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regulatory committee using the type IIIa procedure. At these meetings the UK is normally represented by an official of at least Grade 7 level.

If the vote is in favour by a qualified majority, release is then approved by the original competent authority. If there is not a qualified majority in favour, the Commission submits a proposal to Ministers at the Environment Council.

If the Council agrees by a qualified majority the release goes ahead, while if it rejects the proposal by qualified majority, the proposed release is rejected. If the Council does not decide within 3 months, the Commission may approve the release.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what is the present acreage of trial genetically modified crops under cultivation; [74852]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 5 March 1999]: All the genetically modified crops currently grown are small- scale experimental trials. This year, we expect the area under cultivation to be approximately 300 hectares. This is about 0.006% of the total area under cultivation for all crops of almost 5 million hectares.

Advisory Committee on Releases to the

Environment

Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the names of the members of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, indicating their involvement with (a) the biotech industry and (b) companies with an interest in growing gene crops on a trial basis. [72305]

Mr. Meacher: Members of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) are required openly to declare their interests. These are published in ACRE's annual report, which is available in the House of Commons Library. The current entries are reproduced as follows:















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    Ms Julie Hill


    Programme advisor to Green Alliance


    Member of the Advisory Committee for the Pesticides Trust, Environmental Law Foundation, and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and environmental advisory bodies for Shanks and McEwan plc and Southern Electricity.


    Dr. Julian Kinderlerer


    Senior Lecturer--Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield


    Assistant Director--Institute of Biotechnology Law and Ethics, University of Sheffield


    Member of ACGM


    Consultant to UNIDO


    Mr. John MacLeod


    Director, National Institute of Agricultural Botany


    Member, UK Plant Varieties and Seeds Committee


    Member, Groupe Consultatif International de Recherche sur le Colza


    Professor Bev Moseley


    Retired, former Head of Institute Food Research Reading Laboratory


    Professor David Onions


    Head of Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Glasgow


    Honorary Director of The Leukaemia Research Fund's Human Virus Centre


    Consultant to Q-One Biotec


    Advisor to Intervet International BV


    Professor Nigel Poole


    External and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Zeneca Plant Science, Bracknell


    Honorary Professor, University of Aberdeen


    Honorary Professor, John Moores University


    Dr. David Robinson


    Principal Research Scientist, Scottish Crop Research Institute


    Honorary Lecturer, University of Dundee


    Member of Genetic Manipulation Safety Committee at Nickerson Seeds' Castleton of Eassie site


    Dr. Ingrid Williams


    Principal Scientist


    Leader of the Insect-Plant Interactions Group, Institute of Arable Crops Research Rothamsted


    Honorary Research Associate IGER


    Visiting Professor Estonian University of Agriculture


    Chairman of International Commission for Plant-Bee Relationships


    Council Member and Company director of International Bee Research Association


    Dr. Katherine Venables


    Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at Imperial College School of Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute.


    Honorary Consultant Physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health to the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Health Authority.

Rural Bus Services

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the future of rural bus services in the North-West of England. [76359]

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Ms Glenda Jackson: The Government are committed to increasing transport services in rural areas. The 1998 Budget provided an additional £50 million a year for three years for rural public transport. This was increased to £60 million a year for the next two years in the Budget on 9 March.

As part of this new funding, we have provided £2.635 million to local authorities for the support of new bus services in the North-West in the current year. We have also committed £1.15 million from the Rural Bus challenge competition to support schemes in the North- West aimed at a range of measures to improve the quality and availability of services. We have also approved £322,000 for schemes in the North-West from the Rural Transport Partnership, aimed at building on the success of existing local initiatives and facilitating better co- ordination of voluntary, local authority and commercial services.

We will be publishing shortly more details of our proposals, which were outlined in the White Paper "A New Deal for Transport" last summer, for measures to ensure that buses can play their full part in an integrated transport policy, in town and country alike.


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