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Bovine Materials Used in Medicinal Products: Sourcing

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: New applications to market any medicinal product are assessed individually either by the Medicines Control Agency for national authorisations or by the relevant scientific rapporteurs for European authorisations to ensure that they comply with the European Note for Guidance on minimising the risk of transmitting spongiform encephalopathies through medicinal products. It addresses the geographical sourcing, tissues used and processing of bovine materials, and has recently been revised in the light of latest scientific evidence. Recent European legislation has given compliance with the Note for Guidance the force of law. The United Kingdom has transposed this legislation into national law.

Smoking and Government Ministers

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government have a responsibility to inform smokers of the dangers of the habit and to provide help and support for those who want to give up. This Government are spending more than £100 million over three years on a tobacco education campaign and NHS services to help smokers to quit.

Legal Services Ombudsman: Annual Report

Baroness Wilkins asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Legal Services Ombudsman has today published her ninth annual report, and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Soil Association

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The standards for the production of organic food adapted by the Soil Association must at least comply with the standards laid down by the UK Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS). Any standards which the Soil Association adopts additional to those prescribed by UKROFS are a matter for the Soil Association.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 26 June, what type, make and number of vehicles are supplied for the use of Ministers in the Home Office by the Government Car Service.[HL3050]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The information requested is not held by the Home Office. I refer the noble friend to the Answer given to him by my noble friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, on 6 July (Official Report, WA 148).

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 29 June (WA 98) on the type and make of cars used by the Ministry of Defence, what types, makes and number of cars are supplied to the Ministry of Defence by the Government Car and Despatch Agency; and who has the use of these cars.[HL3164]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): I refer my noble friend to the Answer which my noble friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, gave him on 6 July, (WA 148).

BNFL Magnox, Berkeley Centre: Experimental Work

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the work for the Ministry of Defence being undertaken at the British Nuclear Fuels Limited Magnox facility at the Berkeley Centre in Gloucestershire.[HL3275]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The work undertaken for the department by BNFL Magnox, Berkeley Centre, has been very successful but did not commence until June 1999 and has taken longer than anticipated because of problems developing the experimental apparatus. Further examination of spent fuel is taking place and it is now planned that the site will revert to its fully safeguarded status by 30th September 2000.

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Chinook Helicopter ZD576: Flight Plan

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the inquiry into the crash of a Chinook helicopter on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1984, whether the way point change was made approximately 20 seconds before the accident; whether there is any evidence (a) that the helicopter changed direction; (b) that the crew decided not to change direction, but instead to overfly the Mull of Kintyre and (c) of when any decision not to change direction was made; whether the original flight plan showed an intention to fly over the Mull of Kintyre; and whether there were any advantages in terms of safety or of time saving in overflying the Mull of Kintyre rather than following the original flight plan.[HL3052]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The flight plan indicated a route to the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse and then a course change to port on a track following the western shoreline of the Mull. The first way point or landmark the pilots entered on the on-board navigational computer was the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse. At 0.95 nautical miles, or about 20 seconds before impact, the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull and set it to indicate the bearing and distance to the next way point at Corran, 87 miles to the north.

There is no evidence of any significant change of course and none of the decision, if any, that the crew made. When the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull, the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were and, given the deteriorating weather and the strict visibility requirements under visual flight rules they should by that time already have chosen an alternative course. As they had not done so, they could--and, under the rules, should--have either

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turned away from the Mull immediately or slowed down and climbed to a safe altitude.

Westminster Bridge: Roadworks

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the works at either end of Westminster Bridge to be completed; and whether access to the bridge will, as a result, be improved.[HL3183]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The works to the north of the bridge are being carried out on behalf of the Parliamentary Works Directorate and are associated with the Jubilee Line extension and the new parliamentary building. These are expected to be complete by the end of September.

The works to the south are now a matter for the Mayor for London. However, I understand that they are part of a scheme to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and that they should be completed by Christmas.

Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill

Baroness Howells of St Davids asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a statement has been made under the Human Rights Act 1998 in connection with the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.[HL3333]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have made a statement under Section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in my view, the provisions of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill are compatible with the convention rights.

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