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Quiet Lane Schemes

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is for local highway authorities to consider such matters and take action where necessary. The department may provide technical advice following the completion of a current research project to monitor two pilot quiet lane schemes.

Proxy Voting

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: As part of its review of absent voting, the Electoral Commission intends to examine the use of proxy voting and make proposals about its future. The review aims to report before the end of the year and we will consider any recommendations carefully.

Pendle: Postal Voting

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No discussions have taken place between my department and Pendle Borough Council about postal voting. Any allegations of criminal activity in relation to postal voting should be reported to the police for investigation.

Cheetham Ward: Delayed Ballot Box

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will comment on the circumstances in which a ballot box from the Temple School polling place for polling district CTC in the Cheetham Ward of Manchester City Council on 2 May took 90 minutes to arrive at the count compared to less than 30 minutes for all the other boxes in that ward; whether the content of this ballot box affected the result of that election; and what action they intend to take to prevent any future such occurrence. [HL4511]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I understand that the returning officer's investigation of this delay found no evidence of electoral malpractice. All candidates were notified in writing of the findings of that investigation. The contents of the ballot box which had been delayed were mixed with the contents of another ballot box in accordance with the proper procedures for conducting the count. This prevents any speculation about the effect of the contents of a single ballot box on the outcome of any election. The returning officer has put in place measures to ensure good practice at future elections and I see no reason for the Government to take further action.

Animal Feeding Stuffs

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are certain that the use of cannibalised material in the manufacture of animal feeding stuffs has stopped. [HL4399]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): In relation to feeding animal proteins back to the same species from which they are derived, current BSE-related feed controls combining national and EU measures prevent processed animal proteins from being fed to animals kept, fattened or bred for food production, and mammalian meat and bonemeal from being fed to all farmed livestock. These controls effectively prevent same-species feeding practices.

There are a few remaining permitted exceptions to these controls, where the scientific evidence does not suggest that a total ban is necessary. Notable examples include the use of milk and milk products; non-ruminant gelatin used for coating of feed-additives; animal-derived dicalcium phosphate; tallow; and eggs and egg products.

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The results of UK feed surveillance have been very encouraging, indicating widespread compliance with the BSE-related feed control regime, and this finding is supported by the successful continuing reduction of new BSE cases in cattle.

Procurement: Environmental Import Considerations

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether consideration of the environmental impact of procurement decisions is an essential tool in developing a truly sustainable procurement policy.[HL4409]

Lord Whitty: The consideration of the environmental impacts arising from procurement is an essential tool in developing a truly sustainable procurement strategy. Government departments are required to identify the possible adverse environmental impacts of their operational activities and to eliminate them as far as practicable by specifying environmental criteria for the products and services they purchase.

The cross-government Sustainable Procurement Group set up by the Secretary of State will seek to identify opportunities for public sector buyers to purchase more effectively to help achieve government commitments on sustainable development within the policy and legal framework for pubic procurement. It is intended that the group will make recommendations that will form part of a new framework for sustainable development on the government estate that will be rolled out by spring 2003 to cover key operational areas such as energy, water, travel, waste, bio-diversity and procurement.

TSE Monitoring

The Duke of Montrose asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the response by Lord Whitty on 15th May (HL Deb, col. 410) that under the European Union Regulations the Government had been required to extend their powers in order to be able to examine animals which have "been sent to the slaughterhouse, are fallen stock or are otherwise slaughtered", whether they will amend the powers of the veterinary inspector in all other circumstances by reinstating only those contained in Part II of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (No 2) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/3183) which applied only to affected, suspected and exposed animals.[HL4400]

Lord Whitty Council Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001 requires member states to carry out compulsory TSE monitoring and testing programmes, which apply to specified categories of cattle, sheep and goats. The TSE (England) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/843) set out the detailed arrangements whereby veterinary

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inspectors may slaughter animals for the purpose of the enforcement and administration of the Community monitoring requirements.

Elsewhere, slaughter powers within the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 are the same as those in place under the previous domestic regime and remain fully commensurate with our EU obligations. However, such powers were not contained within the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (No 2) Order 1996 alone. That is important to understand.

Further circumstances in which inspectors may need powers to slaughter are described in Parts III (Animal feeding) and IV (Specified Risk Material) of the TSE England Regulations 2002. These powers are in respect of animals exposed to an explicit TSE risk. They go no further than is necessary to meet the relevant EU legal requirements and continue arrangements that were previously in place under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(No 2) Order 1996.

Powers to slaughter animals in Part V of the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 relate to EU legal requirements for animals suspected of being infected with BSE or scrapie and for those confirmed as being infected. Under previous domestic legislation, equivalent powers were exercised under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (No 2) Order, the Sheep and Goats Spongiform Encephalopathy Order 1998 and the Animal Health Act 1981.

Powers to slaughter animals in Part VI of the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 are directly related to the enforcement and administration of EU legal requirements for the offspring of animals confirmed as being infected with BSE. Equivalent powers were previously in place under the BSE Offspring Slaughter Regulations 1998.

Thus, the powers afforded to a veterinary inspector must necessarily be wider than those needed to implement the compulsory BSE and scrapie monitoring and testing programmes covered by the new EU requirements and those previously set out in Part II of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (No 2) Order 1996. However, in no respects do the powers extend beyond the degree necessary to comply with EU legal requirements and consequently to protect human and animal health and ensure the continued reduction and eventual eradication of these diseases. Rebo

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why under Schedule 1 to the TSE (England) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/843) the owner has to pay any reasonable costs of the Secretary of State in Part II, paragraph 3, Part IV, paragraph 4; and Part VI, paragraph 3. [HL4414]

Lord Whitty: Schedule 1, Parts II, IV and VI concern compensation under Regulations 8, 83 and 92 of the TSE (England) Regulations. These regulations make provisions for the administration and enforcement of the directly applicable Community TSE regulation.

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Part II paragraph 3, Part IV paragraph 4 and Part VI paragraph 3 relate to circumstances where the owners or occupiers have refused to comply with a direction made under the principal regulation. In order to enforce the regulation it becomes necessary for the Secretary of State to take action to effect compliance. However only reasonable costs and expenses are recoverable.

Part II relates to the EU's specified surveillance programme, which requires certain cattle, sheep and goats to be tested and all parts of any animal found to be infected to be destroyed. Part IV deals with animals showing clinical signs of a TSE infection and Part VI deals with their offspring. Like other member states, we are required to carry out a testing programme and to ensure that all parts of infected animals and relevant offspring are destroyed.

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