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What is the proposed timetable for the introduction of digital television in Northern Ireland; whether this timetable is dependent upon progress on the introduction of digital television in the Republic of Ireland; whether there is co-operation between the United Kingdom and the Republic on its introduction; and what attempts they are making to persuade the Ulster Television Company of the merits of the early introduction of digital television in Northern Ireland. [HL1342]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No firm dates for switchover have been set, but Ofcom has suggested an indicative date of 2011 for the Ulster region. The final decision on timing is a matter for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The sequence is determined by technical factors and the order is generally expected to stay as advised by Ofcom.
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Why the Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel categorised cases 01/005/03, 13/006/03, 17/012/03, 03/036/03 and 07/037/03 as "not classified as an incident" when they were reported to the Health and Safety Executive; and when ill health relating to a pesticide was alleged in these cases. [HL1157]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The objective of the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel and the principle of case assessment were set out in my Written Answer on 24 January 2005 (WA 141).
For the panel to accept a case as an ill health incident there needs to be a clearly defined incident, investigated by HSE (or a local authority), together with associated ill health. Each individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.
The five investigations listed included the assessment of 10 individual cases. For eight of the individual cases the panel concluded that there was no discrete event linked to a specific pesticide exposure. For two of the individual cases the panel concluded that the alleged ill health was unrelated to any exposure and the two incidents involving these individuals were assessed as "unrelated".
Why, when 11 railway track workers were allegedly exposed to pesticides while working together on tracks close to a field, the Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel categorised four of the workers' cases as "insufficient information" while the other seven cases were classified as "confirmed" or "likely". [HL1158]
Individual cases will be categorised as "insufficient information" where there are no data properly to assess either the exposure or the ill health. This includes where there is no clear route of exposure, known documents or medical reports are unavailable and where symptoms are inadequately defined. Each
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individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.
Where, as in the case highlighted, incidents involve more than one person alleged to have been made ill, each individual case is assessed independently. Where the individuals receive a different assessment by the panel, the overall incident is classified according to the most serious individual assessment. It is categorisation of the incident that is of specific importance in enabling the panel to meet its primary objective and in this case the panel assessed the incident as "confirmed".
Why the Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel case 01/008/03 was classified as "insufficient information" when the complainant had collected plant and soil samples, informed the Health and Safety Executive of this and contacted her general practitioner in writing asking him to record her symptoms in her medical notes. [HL1159]
Individual cases will be categorised as "insufficient information" where there are no data properly to assess either the exposure (including an unknown formulation, no clear route of exposure, or unavailability of known documents) or the ill health (including inadequately defined symptoms, and unavailability of known medical reports). Each individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.
The panel assessment is dependent on the availability of relevant information. Where the panel has knowledge that such information exists it will make every effort to obtain it. In the case of the incident highlighted, the information described in the questionthe soil samples and GP noteswas not brought before the panel for consideration.
What contraventions of regulations were found and what regulatory action was taken by the Health and Safety Executive in relation to all incidents involving sulphuric acid, investigated by the Health and Safety Executive's field operations director in 200304. [HL1160]
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The HSE does not routinely record contraventions of regulations unless enforcement action has been taken. One prosecution covering two alleged contraventions of the Control of
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Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) is pending as a result of the incidents involving sulphuric acid investigated by HSE during the year 200304.
From April 2003 to March 2004, HSE investigated five incidents involving sulphuric acid used in agriculture where allegations of ill-health from exposure had been made. A further 11 incidents were investigated where sulphuric acid, used as a pesticide, had been involved in allegations of other types of harm.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The primary school referred to in the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel incident 20/065/03 was Cellardyke Primary School, St Andrews Road, Anstruther, Fife. Since the alleged incident it has merged with Anstruther Primary School. The education authority is Fife Council.
What are the weekly income thresholds, both before housing costs and after housing costs, against which they have determined that the proportion of working age adults on absolute low incomes is at its lowest since 199697; and [HL1253]
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Poverty is about more than low income; it also impacts on the way people livetheir health, housing and the quality of their environment. The sixth annual "Opportunity for all" report (Cm 6239), published in September 2004, sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy.
The most commonly used measure of "absolute" low income is the percentage of individuals living in households with incomes below 60 per cent of 199697 national median incomethat is, an income level which has been held constant in real terms.
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