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Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what criteria he proposes to use for future standard spending assessments for Inner-London local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Our Green Paper "Modernising local government finance" consults on options for reforming the way revenue grant is distributed to local authorities (it is currently determined by standard spending assessments (SSAs)). The three year moratorium on changes to SSA formulae is due to end in 2001-02 and the Green Paper invites views on whether that moratorium should be extended to 2002-03.
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress he has made towards implementing the new ethical framework for local government established under the Local Government Act 2000. 
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Among other things, the provisions will require all relevant authorities to establish standards committees to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members and co-opted members. We are today publishing a consultation paper setting out how authorities are to go about establishing standards committees and the procedures under which those committees are to operate.
Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to publish his response to the recommendation of the panel that conducted the public examination of the draft regional planning guidance for the south-west; and if he will make a statement. 
In March my right hon. Friend set out a new approach to planning for housing provision. This was taken forward in more detail in the revised Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) Note 3 also published in March. More recent guidance on regional planning has been set out in PPG11, and important issues for the regions to take forward are contained in the urban and rural White Papers issued last month. The Proposed Changes to the draft RPG for the south-west reflect the principles and priorities set out in those statements. They aim to support economic growth and regeneration, while protecting and enhancing the region's environment. They endorse the housing target proposed by the Panel of around some 20,350 additional dwellings a year as the starting point for the plan, monitor and manage approach.
This is a modest increase of 10 per cent. on the figure of 18,350 proposed by the local authorities in their draft, and is well in line with existing levels of provision. We are also, however, proposing to increase to 50 per cent. the target for such housing to be on previously used land buildings and buildings, compared with the 44 per cent. proposed by the Panel. This takes account of the likely availability of such land in a largely rural region, but also of the advice in PPG3 to make more efficient use of land, particularly within urban areas. This higher target figure means that the slight increase in overall housing provision will not lead to any additional demand for greenfield sites.
We endorse the Regional Planning Body's view that most development should be concentrated in the cities and larger towns. This is consistent with our policies for urban renaissance and the better use of land. To aid that objective we have proposed changes which will help local authorities to make swift progress on the identification of the extent and potential of such settlements. The potential of these areas will now be the subject of studies with the Regional Planning Body, the local authorities concerned and other interested parties. Building on the Panel's recommendations, we are proposing a sequential approach to development, looking first at the capacity and reuse of previously developed land within urban areas, then
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possible urban extensions. Where it is not possible to make such provision, the possibility of new settlements in sustainable locations may be an option.
We have accepted the Panel's recommendation for a review of the Green Belt around the main urban areas as an essential part of the process of finding sustainable locations for development. It should be carried out by the local authorities, with any changes taken forward through the review of development plans. The policies are designed to help achieve an urban renaissance and the improved economic and social viability of the rural areas, while protecting and enhancing the countryside.
The Proposed Changes set out priorities for transport investment and study, and include revised parking standards. However, they make clear that more work needs to be done to develop the Regional Transport Strategy to facilitate the economic performance of the region, achieve more sustainable patterns of movement and to combat congestion.
The consultation period on the Proposed Changes will be for 12 weeks, ending on 14 March 2001. Copies of the relevant documents have been placed in the House Library and made available to the region's MPs.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list each new publication issued by his Department since 1997; and what the total cost is to the Department of each publication. 
Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 11 December 2000]: The Welsh Office published approximately 1,200 official publications per year between 1997 and July 1999. I will place a list in the Library of the House. The cost of each publication could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what levels of depleted uranium radiation were found on the Iraqi (a) main battle tanks, (b) other armoured vehicles (A vehicles), (c) soft skinned vehicles (B vehicles), (d) vehicle mounted artillery systems, (e) field artillery and (f) anti-aircraft gun systems recovered by British armed forces from the Gulf War and brought to the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
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uranium (DU). These surveys would have detected any contamination levels at which special health and safety precautions defined in Statutory Instruments would have had to be introduced. No DU levels above five becquerels per square centimetre were found during Iraqi equipment monitoring and therefore no special precautions were needed under current or past legislation.
Between 1985 and 1999, the relevant legislation was the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985 and controlled and supervised contamination areas existed when DU contamination levels exceeded 60 and 20 becquerels per square centimetre respectively. Controlled contamination areas are those in which personal protective equipment is generally worn and where washing, monitoring and decontamination facilities are immediately available. Supervised contamination areas present a lower level of risk and the principal requirement is for these areas to be monitored to prove that contamination levels are not increasing towards controlled area levels. From January 2000, the corresponding controlled and supervised contamination area levels were increased to 82 and 27 becquerels per square centimetre respectively. This change results from the introduction of new legislation and a re-evaluation of dose coefficients by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the procedures used in the peritonitis experiments conducted on pigs at Porton Down; if the pigs were anaesthetised; and what measures were taken to protect the pigs' welfare; 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 13 December 2000]: No formal financial cost/benefit analysis has been applied to the work involving pigs to study the potential benefit of treatment with pentoxifylline following septic shock initiated by haemorrhage and peritonitis at the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Porton Down. However, balancing 'cost' to the animal and the likely scientific benefits to mankind is a pivotal consideration.
This research was part of an ongoing programme to improve the treatment of military casualties injured by weapons. Haemorrhage was induced by the withdrawal of 40 per cent. of the blood volume and peritonitis by the placement of known quantities of bacteria on a small quantity of sterile faeces within the abdomen. The animals were then resuscitated (blood volume increased) with intravenous fluids, and pentoxifylline was administered.
The pigs were anaesthetised throughout all procedures and never allowed to regain consciousness. The anaesthetised pigs were monitored for 24 hours and those still alive at the end of this period were culled while still under anaesthesia. As a standard veterinary practice prior to anaesthesia, the pigs were allowed access to water but denied access to food for 12 hours. All of these procedures were carefully monitored by a veterinary surgeon.
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not using living animals, to reduce numbers of animals used in particular studies, and to refine the procedures to minimise pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm prior to the issue of licences to undertake work. In this particular case, reduction was achieved by minimising the numbers of animals used through focused experimental design; the work was terminated when the specific scientific question of the effect of the drug had been answered. The results were published in 'Resuscitation', a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what cost-benefit analysis was conducted in respect of the food poisoning experiments on ferrets at Porton Down; and if he will make a statement; 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 13 December 2000]: No formal financial cost/benefit analysis has been applied to the work involving ferrets to study the mechanism of poisoning caused by Staph Enterotoxin B (SEB) undertaken at the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Porton Down. However, balancing 'cost' to the animal and the likely scientific benefits to mankind is a pivotal consideration.
The research has enabled the establishment of an alternative animal model to study the mechanism of SEB poisoning which can cause severe incapacitating vomiting in military and civilian personnel. This model will replace the use of non-human primates. The establishment of an alternative animal model is essential to the development of vaccines and antitoxins. Cell culture models are unable to predict the effects of SEB.
This research was part of an ongoing programme to improve the range of medical countermeasures available to the UK and its armed forces. All work with animals undergoes an Ethical Review Process and has to demonstrate that as much as possible has been done to replace the procedures with alternatives not using living animals, to reduce numbers of animals used in particular studies, and to refine the procedures to minimise pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm prior to the issue of licences to undertake work. All work is also undertaken in accordance with the terms of the Animals (Scientific procedures) Act 1986, which is overseen by the Home Office.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the procedure used in the Sarin experiments on marmosets at Porton Down; and how the monkeys' welfare was protected; 
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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 13 December 2000]: No formal financial cost/benefit analysis has been applied to the work involving the marmoset model to investigate whether a low dose of sarin disrupted performance of behavioural tests at the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Porton Down. However, balancing 'cost' to the animal and the likely scientific benefits to mankind is a pivotal consideration.
The marmosets lived in established male/female pairs in a housing system of interlinked cages. Behavioural tests were presented daily on a touch-sensitive screen in front of their home cage. Animals were always free to choose whether or not to engage in the task. This test battery was specifically devised to 'bridge the gap' between non-human primate research and human studies. Each correct response was rewarded with a small quantity of banana milkshake which was not routinely fed as part of their varied and nutritionally complete diet.
During performance of the task, the animal's electroencephalography (EEG) was measured by means of a surgically implanted radiotelemetry device. This technique represents a significant refinement in terms of animal welfare and does not involve the restraint of the animal. Once implanted, the data collection system did not interfere with the animals' freedom.
Following administration of the sarin, animals were closely observed by experienced staff and no clinical signs were detected either in the short-term or over the duration of the study. The research team was supported by dedicated animal care staff and a highly experienced veterinary surgeon throughout the study.
The techniques developed in the course of this work represent a significant advance in both animal welfare and scientific quality. This research involving marmosets has demonstrated that exposure to a single, low dose of the nerve agent sarin did not disrupt performance of a complex behavioural test and did not produce significant changes in brain electrical activity. These techniques have more widespread applicability in a number of areas of civilian research, notably in the investigation of neurodegenerative disorders.
All work with animals undergoes an Ethical Review Process and has to demonstrate that as much as possible has been done to replace the procedures with alternatives not using living animals, to reduce numbers of animals used in particular studies, and to refine the procedures to minimise pain, suffering distress or lasting harm prior to the issue of licences to undertake work.
All work involving the use of animals at the CBE Porton Down is also undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which is overseen by the Home Office.
In addition to the statutory controls, an independent body, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), reviews the arrangements for animal care and welfare at DERA sites, monitors the research programmes to ensure standards are the highest possible and advises on best practice.
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