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Scottish-domiciled Students: Tuition Fees

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: Tuition fee support for Scottish-domiciled students is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

GM Food

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Prime Minister's article on 27 February did not indicate any change in the Government's policy in regard to genetically modified foods and crops, which is to ensure that health and the environment are adequately safeguarded by means of a strong regulatory regime and to proceed cautiously on the basis of science.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Conference in Edinburgh, which focused on the science of GM food safety, acknowledged that not everything was yet known about the potential effects of using this technology to produce new food products, particularly in the longer term. On environmental safety, the conference concluded that there has so far been insufficient work to be able to assess environmental impacts fully, especially in the biodiversity rich tropics. These conclusions support the cautious approach that we are taking and will continue to take in approving the use of GM crops and foods.

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Bovine and Ovine Tissues: Use in Nutritional Supplements

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any human nutritional supplements on sale in the United Kingdom which contain material from bovine or ovine glands, brain or other nervous tissue.[HL1777]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There are no specific compositional rules on food supplements and no prior approval system exists to assess their composition. Nutritional supplements, like other foods, are subject to the general provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 which make it an offence to sell food which is injurious to health. Certain bovine and ovine tissues are however covered by the controls on specified risk material, the purpose of which is to ensure that no food containing such material may be sold for human consumption in the United Kingdom. Specified risk material includes the brain and spleen of all sheep and the spinal cord and tonsils of cattle slaughtered in the UK aged over six months and the thymus and intestines of all cattle slaughtered in the UK for human consumption.

Specified Risk Material: Red Deer Antlers

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether red deer antlers are designated as specified risk material in draft European Union Commission Document XXIV/2905/99.[HL1966]

Lord Hunt of King Heath: The document to which the noble Lady refers would designate only tissues from cattle, sheep and goats as specified risk material.

New-variant CJD

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they are unwilling to state the genetic make-up of the infant born to a mother with new-variant CJD when this information is readily available from other sources.[HL2030]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Individual case details are regarded as confidential between patients, their families and the healthcare practitioners involved.

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What validation has been carried out of the methodology being used in the new-variant CJD tonsils and appendix surveys; and what rate of (a) false positives and (b) false negatives they currently expect in the results.[HL2031]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Validation of the methodology and data arising from the tonsil and appendix surveys falls to the Medical Research Council/Department of Health steering group for studies of detectable abnormal prion protein. That

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group will consider these issues at its future meetings. It is not possible at present to provide any meaningful forecast of the rate of false positives or false negatives that may, or may not, arise.

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that the public will be better prepared for the eventuality of a sizeable epidemic of new-variant CJD if they (a) are not aware of developments in research into the disease or (b) have all available information offered to them at all stages.[HL2033]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Details of government funded research projects currently under way into all transmissible spongiform encephalopathy issues are available to the public through the Medical Research Council website. In accordance with standard procedures supported by reputable scientific journals, all data resulting from government-funded research projects must be validated and peer reviewed. Results are then published once that process has been completed.

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any children born to mothers who have, within three years of the birth, shown clinical signs of new-variant CJD, and, if so, whether any of them are displaying signs of a neurological condition that might be caused by a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy; and, if so, how many and whether they are homozygous or heterozygous at codon 129 of the prion protein.[HL2057]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: All reported cases of progressive intellectual or neurological deterioration in children are investigated for potential variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease and details of any suspect cases are passed to the National CJD Surveillance Unit, Edinburgh. No definite or probable cases of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease have been found in children under the age of 13.

Refusal of Reciprocal Healthcare Benefits to UK Nationals

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What help they give to United Kingdom nationals refused reciprocal healthcare benefits in other European Union member states.[HL2150]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: United Kingdom people denied benefits to which they believe they are entitled may seek advice from the relevant UK authorities. Details are given in the leaflet Health Advice for

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Travellers which is available from post offices and is in the Library. UK authorities will make representations to their counterparts in other member states, as necessary.

Diabetes Services

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they have given to the Audit Commission report Testing Times: a review of diabetes services in England and Wales; and what action they have taken since receiving the report.[HL2173]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government welcome this important report. It highlights unacceptable variations in the quality of diabetes services. It is those variations that prompted us to announce last year the development of a national service framework for diabetes. This will be a framework for England but the National Assembly for Wales expects to produce a very similar model for use in Wales. The national service framework will set national standards and define service models to improve the quality of care for people with diabetes.

We have sent copies of the Audit Commission report to members of the expert reference group who will advise Ministers on the development of the national service framework, and it will inform its work.

Medicines Control Agency

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the high level targets for the Medicines Control Agency. [HL2179]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath : The high level targets for the Medicines Control Agency are included in its annual business plan, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

Utility Street Works

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who responded to their consultation paper on holes in the road Reducing Disruption from Utilities' Street Works, identifying those which had an interest in avoiding charges for roadworks; and [HL2006]

    What they estimate to be the costs incurred by business as a result of holes in the road, using the £16.28 valuation of business time which applies in the evaluation of new road building; and [HL2007]

    Whether the Department of Trade and Industry of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is the lead department for policy on holes in the road; and [HL2008]

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    What is the estimated yield of a £1,000 per lane per day levy on those who dig holes in the roads; and [HL2009]

    What arrangements are in force in other European countries to charge those who dig holes in the road for doing so; and [HL2010]

    Whether they will commission an appropriate economic consultancy to assess the costs and benefits of charging statutory undertakers who dig holes in the road. [HL2011]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty) ; The list of respondents to this consultation follows.

Responses sent to the DETR regarding the consultation paper on reducing disruption from utilities' street works

Local Government

Local Government Association;

Babergh District Council;

Metropolitan Borough of Wirral;

Eastleigh Borough Council;

Wellington Town Council;

City of Sunderland;

North Lincolnshire Council;

Hampshire County Council;

Wandsworth Borough Council;

Bexley Council;

London Borough of Merton;

Corporation of London;

Kennet District Council;

Shropshire County Council;

Bristol City Council;

Warwickshire County Council;

Cheshire County Council;

London Borough of Lewisham;

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council;

Leicestershire County Council;

Warrington Borough Council;

Mid Devon District Council;

Devon County Council;

Staffordshire County Council;

London Borough of Redbridge;

Rutland County Council;

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council;

London Borough of Barnet;

Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council;

Birmingham City Council;

Nottingham City Council;

Derby City Council;

South Kesteven District Council;

East Sussex County Council;

Metropolitan Borough of Bury;

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Cornwall County Council;

Swindon Borough Council;

Hull City Services;

Middlesbrough Council;

Hertfordshire County Council;

City of Westminster;

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea;

Sefton Council;

Suffolk County Council;

Lincolnshire County Council;

Croydon Council;

Leicester City Council;

Borough of Pendle;

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council;

Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council;

Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames;

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead;

Suffolk County Council;

Northumberland County Council;

Dorset County Council;

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council;

Kirklees Metropolitan Council;

Wiltshire County Council;

South Gloucestershire Council;

Kent County Council;

City of Plymouth;

London Borough of Bromley;

Worcestershire County Council;

Derbyshire County Council;

Surrey County Council;

Cheltenham Borough Council;

Bradford Metropolitan District Council;

East Riding of Yorkshire Council;

Leeds City Council;

North East Lincolnshire Council;

City of York Council;

London Borough of Ealing;

Durham County Council;

Buckinghamshire County Council;

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council;

Bradford Metropolitan District Council;

Gloucestershire County Council;

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council;

Norfolk County Council;

Essex County Council;

Staffordshire County Council;

London Borough of Camden;

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council;

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council;

North Somerset Council.

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Utilities contractors and associated representative bodies


Norweb Telecom Ltd;

Yorkshire Electricity;


London Electricity;


Society of British Gas Industries;

Western Power Distribution;

Bristol Water plc;

National Joint Utilities Group (on behalf of Transco*, BT*, Water UK (representing water companies)*, Electricity Association (representing electricity companies)*, Telewest Communications, and Cable & Wireless Communications);

Yorkshire Water;

Society of British Water Industries.


Joint Committee on Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People;

London Walking Forum;

The Retroreflective Equipment Manufacturers Association;


Manchester Chamber of Commerce & Industry;

Government Office for the Eastern Region (Planning and Transport);

BAA plc; Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation;

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee;

Confederation of Passenger Transport UK;

Automobile Association;

Local Government Technical Advisers Group;


Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited;

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry;


Traffic Director for London;

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive;

Urban Design and Town Planning;

United Kingdom Society for Trenchless Technology;

National Sewerage Association;

British Property Federation;

Construction Confederation;

Institute of Public Rights of Way Officers;

Jason Consultants Ltd;

County Surveyors Society;

Midlands Amenity Societies Association;

Department of Trade and Industry;

Civil Engineering Contractors Association;

Traffic Control Systems Unit;

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British Road Federation;

London First;

Office of Water Services;

Pipe Jacking Association;

Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd;

Transport Research Laboratory;

Freight Transport Association;

Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management;

International Society for Trenchless Technology;

Road Haulage Association;

Canary Wharf Group PLC;

Belsize Residents Association;



Errut Products Ltd;

Civic Trust;

London Regional Passengers Committee;


Association for Geographic Information;

Sheffield Heat & Power;

Pedestrians Association, Stockton Pedestrians Group;

London Transport Buses;

Greater London Action on Disability;

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry;

Institution of Highways and Transportation;

British Chambers of Commerce;

Institution of Civil Engineers;

Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland;

Mr Derek Leggetter.

Note: The local government authorities listed are those that replied individually to the department; in addition, there was a co-ordinated reply sent on behalf of authorities in general by the Local Government Association (LGA). In the utilities, organisations marked with an asterisk (*) are those members of the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) which sent individual replies to the department: as with the LGA, NJUG sent a co-ordinated reply on behalf of its members.

The average value figure of £16.28 an hour in 1999 prices I gave in reply to my noble friend's Written Question on 13 March (Hansard, col. WA 191) related to car driving employees when considering the effect of new road building schemes and road maintenance. The Government do not hold data on which to form estimates of the cost of utility street works to business interests, since notification of planned works is given to the highway authority concerned and there is no provision for authorities to pass on the information for statistical purposes.

The Department of Trade and Industry has responsibility for the issue of the licences for telecommunications and energy companies that empower those organisations to place their apparatus

2 May 2000 : Column WA169

in the street. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is responsible for water companies and for overall policy on the control of utility street works.

The consultation document Reducing Disruption from Utilities' Street Works proposed, as a basis for discussion, a figure of £500 per day for overstaying by works in traffic-sensitive streets, with the possibility of a higher (perhaps double) figure for works in London. The consultation document also declared the Government's requirement of any system that the costs of operating it should be commensurate with the benefits derived from it. However, as information about the number and size of excavations in the road is not collected centrally, it is not possible at the present time for the Government to make a meaningful estimate of future yield.

The Government do not hold comparative information on the policy of other European countries with respect to charging undertakers for occupation of the road.

A regulatory impact assessment will be prepared before the first regulations under Section 74 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 are introduced, and these regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. In addition, we shall monitor the costs and benefits of the charging scheme.

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