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Organophosphates: Advisory Paper MS17

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Guidance note MS17, now retitled Medical aspects of work related exposures to Organophosphates, has been finalised following publication of the Committee on Toxicity report into organophosphates. It will be published towards the end of March, and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The specialised advice in MS17 is aimed at doctors and occupational health professionals. Copies will be sent to those consulted in the revision and relevant government departments and agencies. Discussions are still under way with the Department of Health on the most effective methods of publicising the revised document to the defined target audience. Arrangements will be made to publish a summary of the guidance on the Internet, and work is under way to include a reference to MS17 under the section "Information for doctors" on the labels of OP sheep dip products when they are next revised. MS17 will also be available extensively as a priced publication from HSE Books and high street bookshops.

M.11: Litter Clearance

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: I have asked the chief executive of the Highways Agency, Mr Peter Nutt, to write to the noble Lord.

Letter to Lord Marlesford from the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr Peter Nutt, dated 15 February 2000.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Whitty, has asked me to reply to your recent parliamentary Question about litter on the M.11 between the A.406 (Junction 4) and the M.25 (Junction 6).

Our Term Maintenance Contractors are responsible for litter sweeping and clearance on instructions from our agents, who make regular inspections and safety patrols, plus occasional checks at night. While no penalty is payable, payment for the work would not be approved unless it was carried out to the satisfaction of our agents.

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Weather and other constraints permitting, the M.11 between Junctions 4 and 6 is scheduled for litter picking and sweeping within the next two weeks.

No exceptional litter problems had been identified recently and no general complaint received about this stretch of motorway, but we do acknowledge that, in spite of our best efforts, during adverse weather conditions or when traffic queues build up, large amounts of litter can accumulate very quickly along any busy motorway.

If you have any further queries on this matter please contact the Highways Agency's Area Manager, Mike Ford, on 01306 878219.

Rough Sleeping

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the interests of the health, welfare and safety of rough sleepers, they will institute a policy of zero tolerance towards sleeping on the streets where adequate and reasonable accommodation exists within (a) one mile, (b) two miles, or (c) three miles.[HL937]

Lord Whitty: No. The Government recognise that sleeping rough is extremely bad for the health and welfare of the individuals concerned and are therefore committed to reducing rough sleeping in England to as near zero as possible or by at least two-thirds by 2002. This commitment is backed up by a budget of nearly £200 million over three years.

One element of the Government's strategy for tackling rough sleeping is to ensure that there is adequate accommodation available. The most vulnerable rough sleepers, however, will need more than accommodation to help them off the streets. Many will have other, more complex, needs, including drugs or alcohol abuse, and mental health problems, and these must also be addressed. Only then can we help rough sleepers to develop a settled and meaningful lifestyle away from the streets.

Young Offenders: Re-conviction

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of offenders aged under 18 are re-convicted following release from custodial sentences within two years and four years respectively.[HL913]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Estimates from criminal histories of a sample of young offenders who were aged under 18 when discharged from custody in 1987 showed that around 78 per cent were reconvicted within two years of release and around 87 per cent were reconvicted within four years of release. A more recent sample showed that around 85 per cent of those aged under 18 when discharged in 1995 where reconvicted within two years; a comparable four-year reconviction rate is not yet available.

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Extradition Requests: Secrecy

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For how long it has been their policy not to reveal whether requests for extradition have been received in individual cases; and what are the reasons for such a policy.[HL905]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: It has always been our policy not to reveal the existence of an extradition request in advance of an arrest taking place, since to do so could enable the subject of such a request to evade extradition proceedings.

General Pinochet: Extradition Request

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On which date they first revealed that an application had been received for the extradition of General Pinochet.[HL906]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The request for the extradition of Senator Pinochet was transmitted to the United Kingdom police via Interpol, from the Spanish authorities, on 16 October 1998, and his arrest took place on the same day. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary first made a statement to Parliament about the case in another place on 22 October 1998, Official Report, col. 1205.

Organophosphate Pesticide Approvals: Manufacturers' Data

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, in conjunction with the Pesticides Safety Directorate, relating to their assessment of the health effects of organophosphates, have asked manufacturers to provide data relating to the effects of organophosphates on human immune, endocrine and reproductive systems.[HL1002]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The information required to support pesticide approvals is detailed and comprehensive. It is designed to detect all key adverse effects. These include potential effects of the compound on human immune, endocrine and reproductive systems.

Agriculture Development Scheme Projects

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the costings for each project announced under the Agriculture Development Scheme on 2 February and the length of each project.[HL952]

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Baroness Hayman: The size of individual awards is commercially confidential, but these grants range in value from £5,500 to £100,000. It is a condition of the scheme that all projects must be complete and claims for grant submitted by 30 November 2000.


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report an updated table showing the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain each week in 1999 and in the current year to date, together with the moving annual total of cases reported in each 52-week period.[HL737]

Baroness Hayman: The following table shows the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain during each week of 1999 and in the current year to 3 February, together with the moving annual total of cases reported for each 52-week period.

Week NumberNumber confirmed each week52 week Total Reported

Note: 1999 Week 1 is the week ending Friday 8 January.

2000 Week 1 is the week ending Friday 7 January.

As a result of the sampling of heads from cattle slaughtered under the Over Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS) during the first quarter of 1999, an extra 18 BSE cases were confirmed. These have been included in the figures for confirmed cases for week 30. These 18 OTMS survey cases are excluded from the column for reported cases as they were not reported and placed under restriction while alive.

The data for reported cases excludes one private submission which was included in data already supplied to the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, by my predecessor, my noble friend Lord Donoughue, on 29 July 1999, Official Report, col. WA 221. This private submission, which tested positive, remains recorded as a confirmed case.

It should be noted that the rate of confirmation may not closely reflect the progress of the epidemic. This is because there may be a variable and sometimes long delay between slaughter and confirmation as a result of delays in laboratory diagnosis and administrative procedures. The delay between slaughter and confirmation is on average six to eight weeks, but may on occasion be considerably longer.

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