|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Dr. Howells: My Department operates an enquiry unit, which refers those members of the public contacting our general enquiry number 020 7215 5000 (Minicom for the hearing impaired: 020 7215 6740) to the range of sources
2 May 2001 : Column: 687W
of help and advice provided by the Department. DTI's website: www.dti.gov.uk also provides a number of links to such sources of information and advice.
A list of those individual helplines currently operated by the Department, which have been notified to the enquiry unit, as well as those provided by Companies House, the Employment Tribunals Service, the Radiocommunications Agency and the Small Business Service has been placed in the Library of the House.
Trade Partners UK, which brings together the work of my Department and the FCO in support of British trade and investment overseas, operates an UK enquiry service--020 7215 5444/5445--to assist UK businesses to find the appropriate contact within their network.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to secure access to the health records of retired miners when the holders of these records refuse access. 
If there are difficulties of non-co-operation, Healthcall (who manage the medical assessment process for the Department) in liaison with the Department, issue two warning letters in sequence. If there is no satisfactory response within one week of the second letter, the Department will begin court proceedings. It has not been necessary to go beyond the second warning letter to date.
Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in his Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis for this limit is. 
Dr. Howells: As a general rule, none of the public appointments made by my Department has age limits, whether upper or lower, attached to them. The only exceptions to this general rule are a number of judicial appointments. They are:
2 May 2001 : Column: 688W
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how the work on crime undertaken by Lord Birt contributed to his speech "Improving Your Local Environment", delivered on 24 April; and if he will make a statement; 
The Prime Minister [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The proposals in my 24 April speech which related to crime reduction drew on the Government's strategy document "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" (Cm 5074).
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Prime Minister if the Performance and Innovation Unit's global health project will examine the issue of patents protection and its impact on access to medicines; 
The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) on 19 March 2001, Official Report, column 9W. The project includes consideration of intellectual property protection.
2 May 2001 : Column: 689W
Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister what the conclusions were of his recent discussions with the Belgian Prime Minister on the preparations for the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council and the Laeken Summit. 
The Prime Minister: Mr. Verhofstadt and I had useful discussions on a range of issues likely to feature during the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. We agreed to work closely together throughout the Presidency.
Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Secretary for Rural Affairs of the National Assembly for Wales about the proposed trial growing of GM maize at Mathry, Pembrokeshire. 
The decision on locations for the trials was taken by the scientific steering committee, on the basis of advice from the research consortium and information about the availability of sites from the supply chain initiative on modified agricultural crops (SCIMAC).
Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Cabinet Office concerning the National Assembly for Wales's policy on GM crops. 
Mr. Hanson: As a member of the Ministerial Committee on Biotechnology and Genetic Modification, I have regular discussions with the Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, on policy on GM crops.
European Directive 90/220/EEC governs the release and marketing of GMOs in the European Union. It recognises two broad categories of release of GMOs into the environment: part B releases for research trials and part C releases for marketing purposes.
Applications for part C consents in any EU member state are circulated to the European Commission and to all other member states, who forward them to their experts and competent authorities (including the devolved Administrations in the case of the UK). When all member states have commented and if there are no objections, then the application will proceed. Once a part C consent has been approved in any one member state of the European Union, it is valid throughout the European Union. GM Maize already has a part C consent.
2 May 2001 : Column: 690W
However, the Government have negotiated a voluntary written agreement with the industry biotechnology body, SCIMAC, that there will be no commercial growing of GM crops for a three-year period during which farm scale evaluations (FSEs) are undertaken. This means there will be no widespread planting leading to general market access of GM crops grown in the UK until the FSEs are complete.
In Great Britain, directive 90/220 has been implemented by part VI of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1992, as amended in 1995 and 1997. The functions of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under part VI of the EPA have been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales. The Assembly has now recognised that it does not have a sufficient basis for the exercise of its powers under section 110 of the EPA 1990 to restrict the planting of GM crops on the sites currently proposed. It now proposes to place existing separation distances between sites of GM and non-GM means of production on a statutory basis. This will trigger a notification to Europe under article 16 of European directive 90/220, affording the Assembly an opportunity to take its concerns directly to the European Commission.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|