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7 Jun 2005 : Column 524W—continued

Tetra Transmision

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of whether there is an intermittent transitory impact on calcium ion concentration in rat cerebellar granule cells as a result of the switching on of Tetra transmission. [913]

Hazel Blears: Recent research carried out for the Home Office by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has not been able to identify any effects on calcium exchanges between cells as a result of Tetra transmissions.
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Traffic Officials

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) traffic enforcement officers, (b) traffic wardens and (c) council parking attendants have been operating in each police authority area in each year since 2002–03. [2293]

Hazel Blears: Information on traffic enforcement officers and council parking attendants is not collected centrally. The statistics for traffic wardens are given in the table.
Traffic wardens by police force area: 2002–03 and 2003–04

Number of wardens
Avon and Somerset4334
Devon and Cornwall103102
Greater Manchester8888
City of London00
Metropolitan Police687505
North Wales75
North Yorkshire010
South Wales9992
South Yorkshire6837
Thames Valley4236
West Mercia1513
West Midlands7472
West Yorkshire9885

Vehicle Confiscations

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vehicles have been confiscated as a result of antisocial behaviour in (a) Leeds and (b) Leeds West since police were given powers to do so. [1727]

Hazel Blears: A power to seize vehicles being used anti-socially arises only when they are being driven off-road without authority or on-road carelessly or inconsiderately and in such a way as to cause alarm, distress or annoyance. Statistics on the number of vehicles seized under this provision in Leeds and Leeds West are not readily available.
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David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made with the investigation instigated by her predecessor into the facilitation by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service of terminations in Spain of pregnancies of more than 24 weeks' gestation. [1150]

Caroline Flint: The report was commissioned to the Chief Medical Officer by the previous Secretary of State. Decisions will be taken on the publication of the report once the Secretary of State has considered the CMO's conclusions and recommendations. It would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Government will make all bacterial diseases that are resistant to all antibiotics reportable; and what steps the Government are taking to deal with the development of resistance to antibiotics in infections. [890]

Caroline Flint: There are no plans to make all bacterial diseases resistant to antibiotics notifiable as the Health Protection Agency already operates reporting systems.

The Government produced the UK Antimicrobial Strategy and Action Plan" in June 2000. The strategy identifies three key elements in controlling antimicrobial resistance, surveillance, to provide an information base for action; prudent antimicrobial use, to limit unnecessary pressure for the emergence of resistance; and infection control, to limit the spread of infection in general, and thus some of the need for antimicrobial agents.

We have built on this by establishing the specialist advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance (SACAR) in 2001 to provide scientific advice. SACAR has an active work programme that is taken forward by a number of sub-groups. Another relevant initiative is the £12 million we are providing over three years to help hospital clinical pharmacists monitor the use of antibiotics.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will introduce a national strategy for supporting breastfeeding. [1254]

Caroline Flint: The Government do not have any plans to introduce a specific national strategy for supporting breastfeeding. However, the national health service priorities and planning framework and associated NHS local delivery plan lines already require the NHS to increase breastfeeding initiation rates by
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two percentage points per year for the period 2003–06 and 2005–08. Also, the public service agreement target to reduce health inequalities by 2010 has breastfeeding as an indicator for infant mortality.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the merits of introducing legislation in England similar to the new law in Scotland outlawing discrimination against women breastfeeding in places to which members of the public have access. [1317]

Caroline Flint: The Government are fully committed to the promotion of breastfeeding and have a range of ongoing activities to increase support for breastfeeding. The Department is conducting the next National Infant Feeding Survey this year. Within this, we will be seeking women's views on breastfeeding in public places and we will consider the findings from this survey in light of the Scottish Bill.

Childhood Cancer

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the Draper report on childhood cancer and electromagnetic field exposures from power lines to be published; what assessment she has made of the data on which the findings are based; and if she will make a statement. [2017]

Caroline Flint: A study of childhood cancer in relation to distance from high voltage power lines in England and Wales was published in the British Medical Journal on 4 June. The work was led by Dr. Draper at the Oxford childhood cancer research group and was funded under the Department's radiation protection research programme. The results found an association between an increased incidence of leukaemia for children whose home address at birth was near power lines. There was no association for other childhood cancers. Magnetic field exposures were not included in the publication, but will be included in the next phase of the study. A response statement has been posted on the Health Protection Agency (HPA) website at

There have been a number of population studies in the past that have linked magnetic field exposure with a raised incidence of childhood leukaemia. This has led to the International Agency for Cancer Research to classify extremely low frequency fields as a possible carcinogen". The World Health Organization and the HPA in this country have recommended additional research and the need for further precautionary measures to be considered. Government officials have already started detailed discussions with industry, regulators, professional bodies and interest groups about how to respond and a stakeholder group has been set up with the intention of making recommendations in the interests of society as a whole.

Drug Overdoses

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of deaths caused by overdose of illegal drugs. [1053]

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Caroline Flint [holding answer 6 June 2005]: Since the publication of the action plan to reduce drug-related deaths in November 2001, the Department together with the National Treatment Agency has taken steps to prevent or reduce deaths related to overdose of drugs controlled through the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These steps include improved surveillance and monitoring; promotion of more consistency in prescribing practice; and issuing guidance to treatment commissioners and providers and to users on limiting the risks of overdose.

Between 1999 and 2003, the most recent years for which figures are available, deaths related to overdose of controlled drugs have reduced by 14 per cent.

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