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Fluoridation: Water Company Responsibilities

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Under the Water Industry Act 1991, Northumbrian Water may fluoridate the water supply in their area when requested to do so by the health authority. It is for the courts to decide the duties and responsibilities of water undertakers under the Act.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Water Industry Act 1991 gives health authorities the power to decide, after public consultation, whether or not to apply for fluoridation of the water supplies.

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Community Dental Services

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that health authorities fulfil their statutory obligation to provide dental inspection, dental treatment and dental health education of school children; and

    What measures they are taking to ensure the continuation of the intended use of the community dental services as a "safety net" for patients unable to obtain dental treatment in the general dental services, when the NHS trusts are making community dental service dentists redundant.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Guidelines have recently been issued to the National Health Service which reinforce the important roles of the community dental services in providing a safety net function for patients experiencing difficulty in obtaining treatment in the general dental service, and oral screening for children in state funded schools. A copy of the guidelines will be placed in the Library.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those health authorities which are proposing to cut their community dental services budgets.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Health authorities are responsible for determining service priorities within their budget allocation.

Crop Cultivation on ESAS

Lord Ackner asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take to deal with the current situation whereby the objectives of the South Downs Environmentally Sensitive Area Schemes, designed primarily to promote traditional chalk grassland, are being frustrated by the much higher production subsides offered to farmers for cultivating oil seed crops.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Government consider oil seed and fibre crops to provide a useful alternative source of primary raw materials for industry which should be encouraged. However, in view of the recent concern about planting of flax, we are looking at a range of options specifically to address the problem of cultivation of crops on valuable wildlife sites.

Tobacco Subsidies: EC Records

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the European Commission, or national Governments, are able to identify the individual farmers who benefit from tobacco subsidies under the common agricultural policy.

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Lord Donoughue: We understand from the European Commission that each producer member state maintains a national register of individual tobacco growers who claim premia, and that the Commission keeps a copy of each register for control purposes.


Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What European legislation or proposals for legislation affect the use of Emtryl in the rearing of game birds.

Lord Donoughue: Council Regulation (EEC) 2377/90 requires the setting of maximum residue limits for the active ingredients of all veterinary medicinal products used in food producing species. Following a review of dimetridazole, the active ingredient of the product Emtryl, the European Commission proposed that it be included in Annex IV of the Regulation, and a regulation entered into effect on 25 September 1995. Inclusion of Annex IV requires that, in principle, Marketing Authorisations for medicinal products containing dimetridazole should be withdrawn. However, because of serious health and welfare implications related to the rearing of game birds, we notified the Commission, under Article 9 of Council Regulation (EEC) 2377/90, that the UK had temporarily suspended the operation at the Commission Regulation No. 1798/95, which placed dimetridazole in Annex IV. We are currently conducting a residues surveillance programme in pheasants and partridges, the objective of which is to demonstrate that dimetridazole can be safely used in the treatment of game birds without creating any risk to human health. Results are being reported to the European Commission.

Transport Policy, Scotland

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they propose to discharge the manifesto commitments to provide an effective and integrated transport policy and to carry out a strategic review of the roads programme in Scotland.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland intends to publish a White Paper early next year which will set out our proposals for a workable, effective and integrated transport policy appropriate to the needs of Scotland. Our development of that will operate in parallel with the development of the planned White Paper on integrated transport policy announced by my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 5 June.

One key strand of developing an integrated transport strategy is the strategic review of the trunk roads programme promised in the manifesto. We believe that we need a thorough examination of our rationale for

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new roads construction. Possible new roads projects must be properly examined in the context of their local and wider economic and environmental impacts and with the possible provision of alternative modes of transport properly considered in parallel. Our eventual decisions must meet our commitment to sustainable development.

This review will consider the full range of factors, including traffic growth, which will give rise to pressure for further major improvements across the trunk road network over the next decade. In parallel with the review, as part of the work leading to the White Paper, we shall examine means of restraining growth, including consideration of the opportunities for doing so on the trunk road network. We will also consider the role which new technology and improved information systems can play.

The review will examine the criteria (including accessibility, safety, economy and environmental impact) for setting priorities within the trunk road programme. It will also review the scope for improved value for money for expenditure on maintenance, structural repairs and minor schemes.

The review is being conducted against the background of our clear commitment to control public expenditure overall and fundamentally to review expenditure priorities through the comprehensive spending review. Given this, no further procedural work on major schemes will be undertaken before the reviews are concluded. However, schemes under construction will continue; and the schemes for the A.828 (Creagan Bridge) and the A.75 (The Glen), which are both close to commencement, will also continue. Tenders are expected in July for a privately financed design, build, finance and operate contract on the M.8 (Baillieston to Shotts) and a decision on that will be announced after the evaluation of tenders, in the light of the information provided by the tenders and other relevant factors. The review will reach conclusions on options for the Kincardine Bridge in advance of those on other projects because of the uncertainties attaching to the operational condition of the bridge and the need to progress contingency plans.

The Scottish Office will continue to invest in the maintenance and structural repairs of the existing network and take forward small schemes, costing less than £3 million, where route action and accident plans have identified measures to alleviate congestion and improve safety.

There has been extensive comments about the previous Government's Green Paper Keeping Scotland Moving and these, where appropriate, will be considered as part of both the development of our White Paper and the review of the trunk roads programme. We intend to consult about the options and the findings emerging from the review, with the objective of concluding the review by the summer of 1998.

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Magheramorne Quarry: Planning Application

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the decision of the commissioner, Mr. James Mossop, who chaired the public inquiry into the proposal to develop Magheramorne Quarry as a waste landfill site.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): The decision relating to this planning application will be announced soon. The report of the commissioner will be published at the same time as the decision.

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