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Lord Lucas: We have no evidence to suggest that any of the BSE cases so far confirmed in cattle were caused by deliberate, as opposed to accidental or inadvertent, feeding of ruminant protein after the
Lord Lucas: The use of all mammalian meat and bonemeal, including that derived from sheep and cattle, as a fertiliser was banned for use on any agricultural land under the Fertiliser (Mammalian Meat and Bone Meal) Regulations 1996, which came into effect on 19th April 1996.
Blood and gut contents from abattoirs can be used as a fertiliser for the benefit of agriculture or ecological improvement. Land spreading of this kind is a recovery operation for the purposes of the amended EC Framework Directive on Waste and is controlled under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and
The independent Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) has recently considered the impact of disposal of abattoir waste on the environment, including the spreading of blood and gut contents on agricultural land. It concluded that since no BSE infection has ever been detected in blood there is no reason to recommend that this practice should be prohibited or be thought to be inadvisable.
Lord Lucas: This work has been reviewed, both by Ministry experts and by SEAC at its meeting on 5th September. A number of scientific questions have been raised about the validity of the experiment and until these are answered the significance of the results remains unclear. The experiment relates solely to the alleged demonstration that hay mite material injected into mice could cause scrapie and there is no evidence in the paper that hay mites can act as a vector for the natural spread of scrapie under farming conditions. We understand that further work is under way to validate the original findings. The Government are also considering proposals for research in this area.
The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): Changes are required to reflect the new tax payment dates under self assessment. The Memorandum of Understanding has been amended, and I am placing a copy of the amendment in the Library.
The Memorandum of Understanding provided that income tax and capital gains tax would be payable on 1st December following the end of the tax year. However, under self assessment 1st December will no longer be a tax payment date, and instead income tax will be payable on 31st January and 31st July and capital gains tax on 31st January. The Memorandum of Understanding has therefore been amended to make income tax and capital gains tax for 1996/97 (the transitional year) payable on 31st January 1998; and income tax and capital gains tax for 1997/98 and subsequent years will be payable on 31st January and 31st July in accordance with the normal rules of self assessment.
Viscount Cranborne: In accordance with Section 1(3) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 and Schedule 1 to the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, Sir William Reid will be retiring from these offices on 2 January 1997.
Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the appointment of Mr. Michael Sydney Buckley as Sir William's successor as Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, for Scotland and Wales, with effect from 3rd January 1997.
I am sure all Members of the House would wish me to express their gratitude and admiration for the very able and thorough manner in which Sir William Reid has fulfilled these duties over the last seven years. He has made an outstanding contribution to our public life.
Viscount Cranborne: The Government aim to answer written Questions within a fortnight of tabling. Thirty questions have been identified which have, during the course of this year, taken more than one month to answer.
Viscount Cranborne: Steps will be taken to publicise the availability of Hansard on the Internet when the service becomes available at the beginning of the next Session of Parliament. The opportunity will be taken to draw attention to the availability of the printed version, for which the price was reduced in June 1995.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): I understand that the Leader of the House has written to the noble Lord to inform him that it is hoped that from November of this year all judgments of the House of Lords will be included on the Internet.
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