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Toxin Pollution (River Strule)

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the toxin responsible for the major fish kill on the River Strule, West Tyrone, discovered on 5 August, has been identified; what action has been taken to identify those responsible for the introduction of this toxin; what action has been taken to ensure the river is fully restocked after this incident; and what action is being taken to secure the future environmental integrity of the river system. [202243]

Angela Smith: The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) and the Loughs Agency (LA) investigated a fish kill in the River Strule which was reported on 5 August 2004. Preliminary investigations indicate that Omagh
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Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) was a significant factor in creating the conditions which caused a fish kill.

Discussions involving officials from EHS, LA and Water Service in relation to the events of August 2004 have taken place and, not withstanding the final conclusions of the investigations into the causes of the fish kill, measures have been agreed to provide both an early warning of potential future problems on this stretch of the river and the means to prevent such events resulting in further fish kills.

In addition, the Water Service is spending £7.5 million on the provision of a new WWTW for Omagh, which is designed to meet EHS and EU standards to protect the Strule, and which is planned for completion by October 2005.

The Loughs Agency has responsibility to conserve and protect salmon stocks and inland fisheries of the Foyle region, and it is seeking compensation to undertake river improvement work to enhance the native salmon population. Salmon ova of the genetic type suitable for restocking the River Strule are not available, however the angling season on the river and its tributaries was closed on 13 September—some 38 days early—to protect the remaining adult salmon stock in the river, thereby maximising the natural ova deposition in the area affected.

The Loughs Agency, EHS and Water Service have undertaken to meet representatives of the local angling community before Christmas to discuss the investigation of the incident and the way forward.

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of pollution in the River Strule, West Tyrone, have been recorded in the last six years; whether those responsible for polluting the river on each occasion have been identified; and what action was taken against them in each case. [202244]

Angela Smith: From 1998 to 2003 there have been 242 substantiated incidents of water pollution in the River Strule. (The figures for 2004 have not yet been collated.) The records of the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) indicate that 38 per cent. of the incidents were attributed to the Water Service, 21 per cent. to Farms and 21 per cent. to Industry; however 204 of the pollution incidents were assessed as having low impact on the river and only four incidents were judged to be of high impact.

A range of enforcement tools is available to EHS regulatory staff, including warning letters, enforcement and prohibition notices, and prosecution. During this period, EHS has taken enforcement action in relation to 14 of the pollution incidents which have affected the River Strule, ie, nine warning letters have been issued and five prosecutions have been taken under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999. Fines imposed by the courts have ranged from £300 to £3,000.

Water Service has Crown Immunity, and as such cannot be prosecuted under the Water Order. However, all incidents of pollution where Water Service have been identified as the polluter are passed to Water Service for remedial action, and the discharges from their WWTWs are subject to regulatory standards .
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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his latest estimate is of the cost incurred in a year in the Province from dressing wounds. [202065]

Angela Smith: The information requested is not available centrally.


Alcohol-related Violence and Disorder

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in tackling alcohol-related violence and disorder. [201522]

Ms Blears [holding answer 2 December 2004]: The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England was published on 15 March 2004 and contains a number of recommendations for, among other things, tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder. In implementing one of the Strategy's key recommendations, the Home Office's Police Standards Unit and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) led an Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign (AMEC) over the summer from 8 July to 31 August.

92 Basic Command Units representing 39 police forces in England and Wales and 46 Trading Standards departments participated in the campaign. Results from the campaign show that over 30,000 visits to licensed premises were conducted leading to over 1,200 offences being detected. Around 1,800 Test Purchase operations were conducted with over a third resulting in an offence being committed. Over 4,000 fixed penalty notices were issued and over 9,500 alcoholic containers were confiscated with more than one-third of these being confiscated from children.

Prior to the start of the AMEC, the Home Office published "Violent Crime—Tackling Violent Crime in the Night-Time Economy—Guidelines and Tactical Options". The document set out a selection of successful initiatives that were readily transferable to police forces, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) and local partners in helping to tackle alcohol-related violence and disorder.

Following the campaign, a "Lessons Learned" document was published and launched at a joint Home Office and ACPO conference on 8 November. The document is intended to assist those who are responsible for the continued drive to tackle alcohol misuse and its associated harms in relation to crime and disorder. A second campaign will take place over the Christmas period from 17 December to 3 January 2005.

The Government and the police are building on existing good crime-cutting work and developing best practice in the local areas and CDRPs that still have a high volume of violent crime. This strategy will develop further the work begun by the Government and police over the summer to tackle alcohol-related disorder.

In addition, the Government have introduced new fixed penalty notice offences for selling alcohol to a person under 18, the purchase of alcohol for a person
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under 18 on licensed premises, consumption of alcohol by a person under 18, and allowing delivery of alcohol to a person under 18. These offences came into effect on 1 November. Local authorities have also introduced around 120 Designated Public Places Orders to help tackle anti-social drinking.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis was for point one of the Home Office response to 12 questions raised by Dan Lyons, Uncaged Campaigns, about Imutran xenotransplantation research licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. [199910]

Caroline Flint: The information relating to the deaths of animals used in moderate procedures in the Imutran xenotransplantation research licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was drawn from progress reports provided by Imutran Limited and other documents examined during the course of the Home Office Chief Inspector's review of compliance with the project licence authorities granted to Imutran Limited staff for the research.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether lethal endpoints were expected in (a) project licence authorities and (b) other communications between his Department, the Animal Procedures Committee and Imutran xenotransplantation procedures with a moderate severity limit. [199911]

Caroline Flint: The possibility that animals would die in the course of the Imutran xenotransplantation studies licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was considered and humane endpoints were set to require action to be taken before any such deaths, and to minimise any suffering caused. Permission was neither sought by Imutran Limited, nor granted, for procedures requiring death as the endpoint, other than as the result of humane killing.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what infringement action has been taken under section 6(6) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 against (a) named day-to-day care persons and (b) named veterinary surgeons employed by Huntingdon Life Sciences, in respect of failures to make arrangements for the care or destruction of primates in Imutran xenotransplantation procedures where breaches of the moderate severity limit occurred as identified at paragraph 5.14 of the Chief Inspector's compliance review. [199985]

Caroline Flint: None. The infringement described in paragraph 5.14 of the then Chief Inspector's review of compliance with the project licence authorities granted to Imutran Limited staff for its xenotransplantation research related to a delay in implementing the agreed humane endpoint for a procedure applied to protected animals. Responsibility for this was considered to rest with the project license holder and with the personal licensees, who were also clinicians. In mitigation, the
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licensees' decisions were based upon clinical judgment, rather than undisputed or unambiguous facts and the Chief Inspector's view was that they did not indicate any fundamental disregard for the welfare of the animals. The infringement was dealt with by means of letters of admonishment to those responsible.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the unpublished documents on which he based his assessment that moderate severity limits had not been broken during xenotransplantation research by Imutran; and if he will make a statement. [200024]

Caroline Flint: A wide range of material was considered during the review carried out by the then Chief Inspector of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate in assessing compliance with the severity limits of the Imutran xenotransplantation research licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. This included the relevant project licence and personal licence files, Animal Procedures Committee papers, correspondence with and reports supplied by Imutran Limited, correspondence between the Home Office and others, Imutran study documents, internal memoranda and reports, draft and final reports and other documents maintained at the designated place at which the studies were carried out, laboratory results, records maintained by the veterinary surgeons and animal care staff, operational notes and clinical records maintained by personal and project licence holders, and other papers prepared or kept by Imutran staff. Many of the documents and records were examined at the designated place or Imutran Limited premises and copies have not beenretained by the Home Office. As far as we are aware only part of the material has been published. A detailed list of unpublished documents held by the Home Office is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the species was of each primate in procedures of moderate severity as part of the Imutran xenotransplantation programme found dead (a) in the peri- and post- surgical period, (b) having suffered significant clinical findings and (c) at (i) five, (ii) seven and (iii) 22 days; and if he will make a statement. [200025]

Caroline Flint: All of the animals were cynomolgous macaques.
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