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

Lord Warner: The proposed European Commission regulation on nutrition and health claims made on food, which is currently under negotiation, provides for lists of authorised health claims to be established. Authorisation would be contingent on all health claims being substantiated by generally accepted scientific data and on the views of the European Food Safety Authority.
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HIV: Contaminated Blood Products

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): We have received several recent communications from Ms Carol Grayson about the import of plasma from the United States. We will be responding shortly. I will insure that a copy of the letter from Ms Grayson dated 14 January is sent to my noble friend.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): In their draft response to reports on reform of the honours system by the Public Administration Committee and Sir Hayden Phillips (Reform of the Honours System: Cm 6479 of February 2005), the Government confirmed that all honours will continue to be awarded on merit—for exceptional achievement or service over and above that which might normally be expected.

Influenza Pandemic

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): In November 2005 a European Commission-commissioned, Health Protection Agency-run, influenza pandemic exercise (Exercise Common Ground) was undertaken. Participants included the EC and European Union member states.

The key lessons learnt from the EC viewpoint include:

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At a recent meeting, the HPA's report on the exercise to the European Commission was finalised with member states and other involved bodies. The report will now be submitted to the EC for consideration.

The initial feedback received from the participants in the United Kingdom part of the exercise indicated that the process was very useful and served to develop a better understanding of the various phases of a pandemic, and a clearer view of the respective roles and responsibilities ascribed to the agencies likely to be involved in the national and international response.

We are aware that the EC is currently considering a future exercise, but, as yet, no date or scenario has been confirmed.

Interception of Communications: Journalists

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

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The purposes for which, and the circumstances under which, the Secretary of State can authorise the interception of communications are set out in Part 1, Chapter 1, of the Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The statutory code of practice on the interception of communications describes additional considerations to be made when communications involve confidential information, for example, and confidential journalistic material. Information on the numbers of warrants issued is published, consistent with the need to protect the public interest, in the annual reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

Northern Ireland: Travel to UK Mainland

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is internal within the United Kingdom. Passengers from Northern Ireland are free to enter Great Britain at any point of entry. There are more than 2,000 such points. As such no photographic identification is required, although carriers may ask for such identification for the purposes of the security of their aircraft, vessel or vehicle.
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Psychiatric Hospitals

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

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): There is no evidence in the Mental Health Act Commission report that there is an issue of overcrowding in private psychiatric hospitals. However, that is not to deny the reality of high occupancy rates in National Health Service facilities. We are tackling this by increasing the numbers of assertive outreach teams and crisis intervention teams to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. We fully accept that the provision of a safe service implies acceptable occupancy rates.

Public Inquiries

Baroness Scott of Needham Market asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The inspector's role at public local inquiries into road schemes is to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether orders published under the Highways Act, which authorise the scheme, should be made, or confirmed. The Secretary of State then considers the inspector's recommendation and decides whether the scheme should be built.

Since 1997, there has been no trunk road scheme that the inspector has totally rejected by recommending that none of the published orders is made.

Local concerns about certain aspects of the published orders, identified by the inspector at the public inquiries into the A5 Birch Coppice junction improvement scheme (April 2002) and the A449 Coven to Gaily improvement scheme (March 2002), led the Secretary of State to conclude that they should not be built.

On local authority road schemes, where the Secretary of State has been asked to confirm orders that have gone to public local inquiry, he has accepted the inspector's recommendation and decided not to
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confirm the orders in the following cases, precluding that they should be built:

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