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Foundation Trusts

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The Government's response to the second report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Health, on foundation trusts, Cm 5876, has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Organ and Tissue Donation

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: We are publishing today Saving Lives, Valuing Donors—A Transplant Framework for England, setting out our key aims for organ and tissue transplantation over the next 10 years. It describes good practice based on national and international evidence, which we believe will help save lives and maximise the benefits of organ and tissue transplantation.

Copies of Saving Lives, Valuing Donors—A Transplant Framework for England have been placed in the Library.

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    As regards genetically modified plants and food, whether there is evidence:

    (a) from Canada that weeds resistant to three herbicides are spreading; and

    (b) from North America that genes from modified oilseed rape and maize have crossed into non-modified plants.[HL3576]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Weeds displaying resistance to herbicide (as opposed to crop plants growing as weed-like volunteers) are a regular part of the arable landscape and a near unavoidable consequence of the use of herbicides. The problem is not specific to GM crops. World-wide over 250 biotypes of herbicide-resistant weeds are known (different resistances and/or different weeds) with over 30 in Canada alone, including such plants as wild mustard (sinapis arvensis) with known resistances to six commonly used herbicides of conventional crops.

The Government are also aware of studies in Canada that have detected the occurrence of multiple-herbicide-resistant oil seed rape occurring as weed-like volunteers in fields that have previously grown herbicide-resistant oil seed rape crops. This includes volunteers with resistance to two herbicides associated with GM herbicide-tolerant oil seed rape varieties (glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium) and to one herbicide associated with a conventionally bred herbicide-tolerant oil seed rape variety (imidazlinone). If different varieties of herbicide-tolerant oil seed rape were grown in the UK we may want to take steps to prevent this occurring.

The Government are also aware of evidence from North America that genes from genetically modified oil seed rape and maize can cross-pollinate with non-GM equivalent crops or sexually compatible wild relatives. Similar evidence has been collected in the UK and indeed the Government have commissioned studies into the frequency and extent of cross pollination between crops and wild relatives. Before any GM crop was approved for commercial cultivation in the UK the potential environmental impact of cross-pollination would be carefully assessed.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans have they to improve welfare for greyhounds.[HL3582]

Lord Whitty: This department has begun a review of animal welfare legislation relating to captive, domestic and sporting animals. The intention is to update and consolidate the legislation into one animal welfare Act. The new legislation would be pro-active and would allow action to be taken before an animal

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suffers if it is not being given appropriate care. Areas for consideration under the new Bill include licensing controls to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds. My department has undertaken a public consultation and run a series of stakeholder meetings to consider the possible contents of the Bill. We aim to have a public consultation on a draft Bill early next year.

Great Western Railway Line: Closure

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the closure of the Great Western Railway line on 19 June, compensation is payable; by whom and to whom will compensation be payable; and what will be the cost to public funds.[HL3597]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Under its track access agreements with First Great Western (FGW) and Thames Trains Ltd, Network Rail is liable to pay compensation to those train operating companies for loss of access. That will be a transaction between private sector companies, so there will be no cost to public funds.

Southport and Ormskirk (A570)

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to improve the road between Southport and Ormskirk (A570) following the amalgamation and transfer of services between Southport Hospital and Ormskirk Hospital under the Ormskirk and Southport Health Trust.[HL3603]

Lord Davies of Oldham: I have asked the Acting Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Stephen Hickey, to write to the noble Lord.

Letter from the Acting Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Stephen Hickey, dated 7 July 2003.

Lord Davies of Oldham has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Highways Agency's plans to improve the road between Southport and Ormskirk (A570) following changes to the arrangements for delivering National Health Service health care locally.

Discussions are still ongoing to hand over responsibility for the A570 to Lancashire County Council. There are no plans to carry out improvement works to the route prior to the hand over. Subsequent improvements would be a matter for Lancashire County Council as the successor highway authority.

We are aware that the local Ormskirk and Southport Health Trust have decided to concentrate the children's Accident and Emergency (A&E) facility at Ormskirk, with Southport Hospital handling adult A&E cases. This means that children from the Southport area will be taken to Ormskirk Hospital for treatment, which I know has raised concerns about the

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move. We were not involved in that decision, but assume the Trust proceeded with the move in consultation with the Ambulance Service, which will be aware of travelling times on the A570.

I hope this is helpful. If you would like any further information about this matter, please contact the Agency's Route Manager for the A570, Alex Miller, Room 710, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4BE—Tel 0161 930 5627.

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Connex South East Franchise

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the effect of the Strategic Rail Authority budget (a) for 2003–04; and (b) 2004–05 of transferring the Connex South East franchise to South Eastern Trains.[HL3682]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Any additional costs will be accommodated within the SRA's existing budget provision.

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