Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Mentally Ill Patients and Crime

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): We do not collect information on a named patient basis so it would not be possible to collate health data with Home Office case records relating to violent crimes, which relate in any event to convictions rather than acts committed. The Government have no plans to change the basis upon which the National Health Service collects or collates such information.

Foetal Pain

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government have no plans to introduce legislation. The Government have noted the report produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in response to questions about foetal awareness and foetal pain, and welcome the decision to send the report to Fellows and Members to inform and guide their practice in termination of pregnancy. A copy of that report will be placed in the Library.

4 Nov 1997 : Column WA282

Vitamin B6 Prescriptions

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prescriptions for Vitamin B6 for daily doses greater than 10mg have been issued by NHS general medical practitioners in the last five years.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Information on the recommended daily dose on doctors' prescriptions for Vitamin B6 is not available because doctors' instructions to the patient are not collected.

European Fisheries Council, 30 October

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the European Fisheries Council held on 30 October 1997 in Luxembourg.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary (Commons) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food represented the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on 30 October, together with my noble friend the Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office. Under each agenda item decisions were taken which will enhance fisheries conservation.

The Council agreed by qualified majority, with Denmark voting against, a wide ranging package of technical measures designed to conserve fish stocks by reducing catches of juvenile fish and discarding.

Key features of the present arrangements, such as the areas closed to protect juvenile fish, will be maintained. The minimum mesh size for cod, haddock and other large bodied species was confirmed at 100mm in the North Sea and north west of Scotland, and will increase, with special transitional arrangements, from 80mm to 100mm in other waters to the west and south of the United Kingdom. Other measures to increase the selectivity of fishing nets include a new requirement to use square mesh panels in nephrops nets and limits on twine thickness. In order to assist enforcement, there will also be limits on the number of nets of different mesh sizes that fishermen may use on a single trip, with the detailed rules on this aspect to be decided next year.

The rules on discarding will change in order to reduce the quantity of fish discarded. The minimum landing sizes of fish will be made more consistent with the mesh sizes used, again in order to reduce discarding. Minimum sizes have also been improved for shellfish stocks to give this sector added protection.

The new conservation rules will come into effect on 1 Janaury 2000 so as to give fishermen time to adapt their fishing gear and practices. The Government have worked closely with the fishing industry in discussing technical conservation measures, and the new rules

4 Nov 1997 : Column WA283

respond to many of their concerns. As well as securing conservation gains, we successfully resisted proposals which would have undermined effective enforcement at sea.

The Council unanimously agreed conclusions on future policy towards fisheries agreements with third countries. As a result, the European Commission will undertake a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of these agreements. In the meantime the Council has called upon the Commission to explore ways of ensuring that the agreements are coherent with general development policy and involve fishing opportunities set at sustainable levels. The Council has also called upon the Commission to examine the funding arrangements and to provide full evaluations before expiring agreements are renewed or new agreements sought. We fully support these conclusions, which lay the foundation for a more soundly based future policy.

The Council unanimously adopted new rules on catch reporting in Western Waters to come into effect on 1 July 1998. These new rules make up the last enforcement element of the December 1994 Western Waters agreement on Spanish and Portuguese integration into the Common Fisheries Policy. They will strengthen enforcement but should not create significant additional burdens on fishermen because catch reports will be submitted along with the position reports which vessels have had to submit since 1996 when operating in Western Waters.

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary (Commons) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food used the opportunity of the Council to draw attention to the need to make progress on the Commission's long-standing proposal to phase out the use of drift nets on the high seas. He made it clear that the United Kingdom would seek to reach an agreement during its Presidency of the European Union next year, taking account of both environmental concerns and the needs of the fishermen who have hitherto participated in the fishery.

Vitamin B6: Sales Restrictions

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the restrictions on general sales of Vitamin B6 in all the other European Union countries, and in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Lord Donoughue: Information on the maximum permitted daily dose of Vitamin B6 in dietary supplements on general sale in other member states of the European Union is not readily available. However, information on the maximum permitted daily dose of Vitamin B6 in dietary supplements sold under food law is given in the table below. We have no information on the maximum levels applying in Portugal, Ireland, Austria or Luxembourg.

4 Nov 1997 : Column WA284

Maximum permitted daily dose of Vitamin B6 permitted in dietary supplements sold under food law

Member State(mg)
NetherlandsNo set limit

(2) Proposed maximum limit.


Based on information supplied by British Embassies in the member states concerned.

We understand that there is no limit on the daily dose of Vitamin B6 in supplements in the USA. It has not been possible in the time available to ascertain the position in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Organophosphate Exposure: Scientific Studies

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many scientific papers relating to neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms in human and animal subjects, occurring as a result of exposure to organophosphates, have been placed before the medical and scientific panel of the Veterinary Products Committee and the medical and toxicological panel of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides since 1992; and whether they will place a list of these papers in the Library of the House.

Lord Donoughue: A total of 144 published scientific papers relating to neurological and neuropsychiatric effects in humans and animals have been placed before the Medical and Scientific Panel of the Veterinary Products Committee. These papers cover studies in fields ranging from epidemiology and clinical case studies to fundamental work on mechanisms of toxicity. The range of organophosphorus compounds studied is also very broad and includes lubricants and nerve gases, as well as pesticides. A list of the papers has been placed in the Library of the House.

No such papers have been put to the Medical and Toxicological Panel of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides since 1992, although the panel is updated from time to time on the results of searches of the scientific literature for issues within its remit. The panel looks only at regulatory issues that are not specific to particular compounds, and then only at the direction of the Advisory Committee. All compound-specific issues go direct to the Advisory Committee and the resultant evaluation documents are published.

4 Nov 1997 : Column WA285

North East Coast Drift Net Fishery

The Earl of Kimberley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many north east coast drift netters are still operating (a) full time and (b) part time, and what is the estimated cost to buy them out.

Lord Donoughue: This year the Environment Agency issued licences to 81 netsmen operating in the north east coast salmon drift net fishery. Under the terms of the Net Limitation Order applicable to the fishery, licences are issued only to applicants who are dependent on fishing for their livelihood.

The Net Limitation Order also precludes the reissue of any licences surrendered by existing licence holders; this makes it possible for interested parties to buy-out the fishery by paying licence holders to surrender their licences. The cost of such a buy-out would be a matter for negotiation between the interests concerned and the licence holders.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page