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Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Filkin on 10 May (WA 5), concerning the number of people excluded from the electoral roll since 1997, why this information is not collected; and whether they have plans to collect this information in future. [HL2794]
Lord Filkin: The electoral register is compiled afresh each year. Effectively all electors are deleted from the register annually unless they make a further application to be included. The reasons for ineligibility are well established and we are not aware of any particular problems relating to exclusion from the register in Great Britain. We have therefore seen no
7 Jun 2004 : Column WA12
need to collect this information. The position in Northern Ireland, where individual (rather than household) registration has been introduced, is slightly different and I understand that the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland has written to the noble Lord about this.
Lord Filkin: I understand that the Electoral Commission is conducting research into registration issues, aiming principally to establish the reasons for under-registration and which specific groups of people may be more likely than others to fail to register. The noble Lord may wish to write to the Electoral Commission's chairman for further details.
Whether they intend the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights to have regard not only to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 but also to the other international human rights treaties by which the United Kingdom is bound. [HL2871]
Lord Filkin: Yes. Paragraph 3.13 of the White Paper Fairness for all: A New Commission for Equality and Human Rights published on 12 May 2004 (Cmd 6185), makes clear our view that the proposed commission should promote public awareness and understanding of human rights, including those arising from the international agreements on human rights to which the UK is signatory.
Further to the Statement by the Lord Filkin on 13 May (HL Deb, col. 444), whether they intend the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights to use its statutory powers in relation to human rights functions by reference not only to the Human Rights Act 1998 but also the additional fundamental rights protected by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL2872]
Lord Filkin: The Convention rights, set out in the Human Rights Act 1998, specify the circumstances in which the fundamental rights of the individual may be limited or qualified according to the rights of others, the interests of the wider community and national interests. It is the Government's policy that rights should be approached in this balanced manner.
Whether they have funded any studies into pregnancy outcomes when an expectant mother has been exposed to toxic chemicals other than the study monitoring for teratological hazards associated with chemical exposure in the United Kingdom, prepared by the National Teratological Information Service for the Health and Safety Executive; and why funding for this study was discontinued. [HL2969]
Turning to the discontinuation of the contract with the National Teratology Information Service (NTIS), following data collection for six years, the HSE considered that continuation would not assist it in developing its policy in this area. For this reason, along with a review of HSE's research strategy, the contract was not renewed further.
In how many of the 47 incidents cited in the Advisory Committee on Pesticides' paper on risks to bystanders from the desiccation of potato haulms with 77 per cent sulphuric acid, involving exposure to sulphuric acid investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, was 24 hours notice given to those individuals living within 25 metres of the boundary
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: During the period 1 April 1993 to 31 March 2003, 47 incidents (complaints) concerning allegations of ill health from exposure to sulphuric acid had been received and investigated by HSE's Field Operations Directorate.
The complaints were predominantly raised by members of the public, typically passers-by or local residents, but included a number of occupationally related incidents raised by spray operators and other workers.
In eight of the 22 incidents involving the owners/residents of properties within 25 metres of the land being treated, prior written notification had been provided by users. In 12 of the incidents, prior written notification had not been provided. In the remaining two incidents, the information was not accurately recorded.
In 10 of the 15 incidents involving members of the public alleging various failures to comply with good application practice, adequate warning notices had been posted in footpaths/at points of access to or adjacent to the treated crop. In three of the incidents, adequate warning notices had not been posted. In one incident the information was not accurately recorded and the remaining incident related to alleged exposures over a period of time rather than to any identifiable, specific application/treatment.
Of the remining incidents, three concerned passing road users, three occupational exposure and in the remaining four incidents, the status of the complainant and the relevance of the conditions of approval was not clear from the investigation report.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): I refer the noble Baroness to the announcement the Chancellor made in his Budget statment that:
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