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RDAs and National Park Authorities:Co-operation

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The statutory purposes of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) apply as much in relation to the rural parts of their areas as to the non-rural parts. The statutory guidance on the preparation of RDAs' strategies states that RDAs should take account of the particular features of the region's rural areas. Supplementary policy and programme guidance has also been issued to RDAs.

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This provides material on rural policy, including information about the main rural partners with which RDAs will wish to co-operate, including National Park Authorities.

Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995 also places a general duty on relevant authorities, including the RDAs as public bodies, to have regard to the statutory purposes for which the National Parks are designated. This ensures that the RDAs take account of these purposes when coming to decisions or carrying out their activities relating to or within the National Parks

Sheep and Goat Identification

Lord Ewing of Kirkford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will report progress on the proposals to introduce a requirement for the tagging or tattooing of all sheep and goats in England before they leave their holding of birth.[HL3334]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Consultation documents were issued by the Government on 17 April to seek views on proposals to introduce a requirement for the tagging or tattooing of all sheep and goats in England before they leave their holding of birth. The consultation period ended on 12 June.

We have taken account of the comments given and we now intend to introduce new Sheep and Goat identification legislation in England in early September. Given the need to ensure that the industry has enough time to order and be supplied with the appropriate tags, we have decided that the tagging and tattooing requirements of the new legislation will not take effect until 1 January 2001. We will be writing to all sheep and goat keepers with full details of the new rules shortly.

Small Animal Carcase Incinerators: Air Pollutants

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What independent research has been conducted to evaluate the levels of heavy metals, dioxins and oxides of nitrogen emitted by the burning of animal carcases in the current range of small incinerators used by farmers, veterinary practices, hunt kennels and pet crematoria; and, if there is any, how the results compare with the standards set by the draft directive on the Incineration of Waste.[HL3216]

Baroness Hayman: Apart from the Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken by ENTEC Ltd for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in relation to the draft Waste Incineration Directive, the Government are not aware of any independent research relating to the emission of air pollutants from small animal carcase incinerators.

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BSE: Veterinary Treatment of Affected Holstein Cow

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a full epidemiological study, to include exposure of the affected animal or her dam to veterinary medicines such as vaccines and hormone injections containing bovine tissues, organophosphate parasiticides, or feeds which were likely to have contained residues of organophosphate grain dressings, will be conducted on the four-year old Holstein cow recently found to be suffering from BSE; and whether her toxic load has been investigated.[HL3217]

Baroness Hayman: A full investigation of veterinary treatments is being carried out. We already know that the animals were not subject to oestrus synchronisation using pituitary extract.

It is not possible to examine the toxic load of either the case or her dam as suitable tissues have not been retained.

Car Sales and Price Comparisons

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 26 June (WA 56), (a) what are the recommended retail prices in May 2000 of the 1.6 Ford Focus, the 1.25 Ford Fiesta and the 1.6 Vauxhall Astra taking the model that is the nearest equivalent to those chosen in the Answer for May 1999, particularly in respect of number of doors and engine size; and (b) what is the individual percentage increase or decrease of the recommended retail price compared with May 1999 for each of the three car models; and what is the average percentage increase or decrease in the recommended retail price for these cars.[HL3125]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Further to my Written Answer of 26 June 2000, although recommended list prices are made available to dealers, they are not publicly available. The European Commission obtained recommended retail prices for May 1999, but has not been able to obtain them for this year. However, under the draft Supply of New Cars Order 2000, which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State proposes to issue very shortly, it will be incumbent on manufacturers to notify dealers, at intervals of three months, the list price and discounts available and the volume discounts available. This will ensure greater transparency and will be beneficial to consumers.

It is not possible completely to replicate the choice of cars cited by the European Commission in its regular price survey quoted in my Written Answer of 26 June since the Commission did not specify the precise variants that it had assessed. Therefore it

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should be noted that the figures below are not directly comparable with those quoted in my Written Answer.

There are, however, unofficial sources of new car price data. According to What Car, the prices of the three models quoted, for the following registration types, have been as follows for the two years 1999 and 2000 (in this case the figures are directly comparable since they are based on vehicles with identical or near identical specifications):

1999 T2000 W
Ford Focus: 1.6 Zetec Estate 5 door£13,620£14,000
Ford Fiesta: 1.25 Zetec Hatchback 5 door£9,620£9,850
Vauxhall Astra: 1.6 LS 16v Hatchback 5 door£13,900£13,345

Note: W: 3/00-8/00; T: 3/99-8/99

The particular models shown had a 2.8 per cent, 2.4 per cent and -4.0 per cent change in price respectively. The overall change in price was 0.1 per cent.

Millennium Dome: Staff Bonuses

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total sum that will be paid by way of bonus payments to--

    (a) managerial staff at the Millennium Dome; and

    (b) host staff at the Millennium Dome. [HL3049]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): New Millennium Experience Company's (NMEC) performance and retention bonus policy for employees and remuneration policy for executive board directors is detailed in its Annual Report and Accounts, which were published and placed in the Libraries of the House in July 1999. These policies reflect the fact that NMEC employees and directors are employed on fixed-term contracts and it is in the interests of the success and smooth running of the Millennium Experience that there is an incentive to maintain a high level of performance throughout. At this point in the project it is not possible to estimate accurately what the total sum payable to staff under these schemes might be.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 8th June (WA 173), what type and make of cars are used by the Privy Council. [HL2822]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 6 July (WA 148.) All cars used by the Privy Council are supplied by one Government Car and Despatch Agency.

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Volatile Substance Abuse

Lord Sawyer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the most recent figures available on deaths associated with the practice of volatile substance abuse. [HL3364]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Statistics collected by St. George's Hospital Medical School and published today show that there were 70 deaths in the United Kingdom in 1998 associated with volatile substance abuse (VSA). Deaths in 1998 were less than half the number recorded at their peak in 1990. We take any death associated with VSA very seriously and are committed to continuing action to address this problem.

It is particularly important that young people should know about the dangers of abusing volatile substances. We are supporting a programme that will enable general practitioners and other healthcare professionals to assist teachers in communicating health messages about the dangers of drugs and solvents. Other measures to address this issue include a campaign to inform retailers about the risks of volatile substance abuse, and their responsibilities under the law. The Department of Health is also working with voluntary organisations to develop training packages for professionals working with young people at risk of abusing volatile substances.

The report Trends in Deaths Associated with Abuse of Volatile Substances 1971-1998 is available in the Library.

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