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Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I refer the noble Lord to UK membership of the single currency: An assessment of the five economic tests (Cm 5776) and the Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Parliament on 9 June 2003 (Official Report column 25–35).

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the total costs of the recent assessment of the five economic tests and the background studies; and what were the costs of (a) the physical production and delivery of the assessment and studies themselves; and (b) payments to outside experts who contributed to the studies.[HL3338]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The resources allocated to producing and delivering the assessment of the five economic tests and the eighteen EMU studies were met from within the Treasury's three-year departmental expenditure limits.

Iraq: Debt

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their intentions and future plans in respect of the international debts of Iraq.[HL3394]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government would like to see a fair and sustainable solution to Iraq's debt problems. We believe the best way to achieve that is through a full assessment by the IMF and the World Bank of Iraq's needs, resources, and obligations, leading to a shared agreement on debt by the Paris Club of official creditors, and comparable treatment by other creditors.

Genetically Modified Maize

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have evaluated evidence that the genetically modified maize, Chardon LL, when fed to chickens, resulted in twice the mortality of chickens fed conventional maize; and if not, what action they propose.[HL2983]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Lord Whitty): The Government have evaluated the evidence mentioned. A number of concerns about the safety of Chardon LL, a variety of the GM maize type

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T25, were raised at the "public hearing" into the proposed addition of Chardon LL onto the UK National List of Seeds. The Government sought advice from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) on all the safety issues raised including the results of the study where T25 genetically modified maize was fed to chickens. ACRE consulted the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs (ACAF) on matters related to the use of Chardon LL in animal feed, including the chicken feeding study, and issued their advice to government on 13 December 2002. The full text is available on the Defra web-site at Point 12 of the advice deals specifically with the chicken feeding study. In summary there is nothing in this study to indicate that T25 maize grain poses any more risk to humans or animals than non-GM varieties. In particular no statistically significant difference in mortality rate was observed between chickens fed T25 grain compared to those fed non-GM maize.

I have sent the noble Lord a copy of this advice, and have placed copies in the Library.

Farming: Landscape Enhancement and Biodiversity Schemes

Lord Renton of Mount Harry asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the growth in the introduction of landscape enhancement and biodiversity schemes in English farming[HL3334]

Lord Whitty: The Government have in place two main agri-environment schemes, Countryside Stewardship and environmentally sensitive areas, whose objectives include the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance and enhancement of landscape quality and character. Expenditure under these two schemes in 1996–97 was £40 million. We have expanded them every year since then and the total budget for the two schemes in the current year (2003–04) is £129 million. However we want to go further. We are reviewing the current agri-environment schemes, with the aim of streamlining and simplifying them while also improving their effectiveness.

We also intend to increase the opportunities for all farmers to take part in agri-environment schemes by introducing a broadly based, entry level agri-environment scheme. This will reward a range of simple management practices designed to benefit a range of objectives, including biodiversity and landscape, on a much wider scale than has been possible hitherto. This scheme is currently being piloted in four areas of England. If the pilots for the scheme are successful, the Government will make national funding available to roll the scheme out across England.

This new entry level scheme will be designed to complement a revised higher tier scheme, incorporating both Countryside Stewardship and

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environmentally sensitive areas, which will continue to deliver the more demanding, complex and expensive aspects of environmental management. These two new schemes will form a single integrated structure.

Horse Passports (England) Order 2003

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the estimated costs of implementation of the Horse Passports (England) Order 2003, published in the final regulatory impact assessment on 27 March, include costs for drawing up legislation; and if so, what are those costs.[HL3382]

Lord Whitty: The regulatory impact assessment estimated the costs to the equine sector of implementing the horse passports legislation and did

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not include costs to government in drawing up legislation. These costs will be absorbed with existing departmental administration budgets.

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed to provide resources to support the health aspects of the Horse Passports (England) Order 2003.[HL3385]

Lord Whitty: One of the main objectives of the Horse Passports (England) Order 2003 is to protect human health. It will achieve this by providing the necessary controls to ensure that horses treated with certain veterinary medicines which may not be used on food-producing animals do not enter the human food chain. Enforcement of these controls at the slaughterhouse will rest with the Food Standards Agency.

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