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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Caroline Flint): This statement should be read in conjunction with one which I made on 17 December 2003, Official Report, column 137WS announcing changes in the way in which the Home Office handles certain types of project licence applications made under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
The changes concerned licence applications referred for advice to the Animal Procedures Committee (APC). The statement was to the effect that some of the applications already referred would continue to go to the APC, others would not.
At that time I said that further consideration was to be given to the question of which additional categories of applications might be referred. That consideration has now been completed, leading to more recommendations by the APC for them to see
15 Dec 2004 : Column 142WS
applications likely to raise particular public or societal concerns. I have accepted these recommendations.
In summary the following are the types of project licence applications which are either currently referred to the APC, as explained in my previous statement, or which will be additionally referred from 1 January 2005 (asterisked):
any for projects with a substantial severity banding, or major animal welfare or ethical implications, involving (a) xenotransplantation of whole organs, (b) chronic pain models, (c) study of the central nervous system;*
Both the APC and the Home Office are concerned that the new referral arrangements do not unduly delay processing of the applications concerned. Steps have been taken to that end, and the arrangements will be kept under review.