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Agriculture: Foot and Mouth Disease

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Research into on-farm diagnostic tests for foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus is ongoing. Defra is a major sponsor of this research, which is investigating a number of test methods.

The research is being conducted in collaboration with commercial companies which are capable of developing the technologies in a miniaturised form that is portable and reliable in the field, as well as producing the complex equipment required at an affordable cost. This equipment must also be robust and able to be disinfected when moved from farm to farm. Progress in this area is being made, but more research is needed in relation to safety, appropriate cost, and the ability to diagnose all strains of the FMD virus. The opportunity has been taken, during the recent FMD outbreak, to contribute to the validation of the lateral flow device; one of the potential on-farm diagnostic methods currently being developed.

Asylum Seekers: Legal Representation

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Legal Services Commission is committed to establishing a smaller, increasingly quality-assured supplier base, remaining sufficient to meet need and is confident there are currently few gaps in supply.

The improvement in the quality of legal advice and representation has been one of the biggest achievements of the Community Legal Service and contracting. The introduction of franchising, the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM), initiatives such as the

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compulsory Immigration Accreditation Scheme (IAS) and peer review are generally agreed to have raised standards significantly.

In addition, the Legal Services Act, which received Royal Assent on 30 October, makes a new provision in the regulation of immigration advice and services. By 2010, persons regulated by the Law Society, the Bar or the Institute of Legal Executives will be regulated instead by the Legal Services Board (LSB), a single independent regulator. The LSB's objectives include improving access to justice and promoting competition in the legal sector, thereby increasing incentives to improve on quality.

China: Religious Freedom

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have raised human rights issues which affect the Muslim population of Xinjiang, including the management of mosques, permission for Hajji and other aspects of freedom of religious practice, with the Chinese Government. This was a major focus of the EU-China human rights dialogue under the UK presidency in 2005. We have since followed up bilaterally and through the EU. We will continue to urge the Chinese authorities to protect the legitimate rights of all ethnic and religious groups in Xinjiang, in line with international human rights standards, including at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Professor Poller has written to Defra, including three recent letters to Ministers, on the working drafts of guidance for local authorities on stray dogs functions and the commencement of Section 68 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. We are grateful to Professor Poller for his helpful representations, all of which have been considered in preparing the guidance.



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The final guidance, which has now been issued to local authorities, includes references to the important work of charitable organisations such as the one which Professor Poller represents and the advantages that partnership working can deliver. The guidance is available from the Defra website.

Common Agricultural Policy: Financial Support Systems

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The European Commission had said it intends to publish a consultative communication about the CAP health check on 20 November 2007. It estimates that legislative proposals will follow in spring 2008, with the aim of reaching political agreement by December 2008.

Crime: Rape

Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): An exact publication date has not been arranged, but we expect to issue this response soon.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Staff

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The current Defra staff voluntary early retirement and voluntary early severance scheme started in August 2007 with last applications in December 2007 or January 2008 depending on levels of uptake and affordability. Defra is currently awaiting decisions on the offers made to

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the latest tranche of applications. A significant level of acceptance will help Defra towards achieving its SR04 headcount target.

In terms of compulsory redundancies, the need to introduce this measure to reach the SR04 headcount requirements will be kept under review; should the need be confirmed, the normal consultative processes will be followed.

Emergency Services: Sirens

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): I am confident that the emergency services are fully aware of the legal controls on the use of sirens. Individual police forces and other agencies may issue their own guidance, but subject to the law it is a matter for individual drivers of emergency service vehicles to decide when they need to alert to their presence other drivers and pedestrians or others using the road.

These drivers are well aware that they should use sirens with restraint, so as not to cause a nuisance to other locals.

EU: Markets in Financial Instruments Directive

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on member states' implementation is collected by the Commission and is available at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/securities/isd/mifid_implementation _en.htm.

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Throughout this process, we have made clear to the Commission our concern over the potential failure of some member states to

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implement MiFID by the November 2007 deadline. The former Economic Secretary, Ed Balls, wrote to Commissioner McCreevy to urge him to maintain pressure on member states, the present Economic Secretary has discussed it with him personally and the Commission has emphasised its commitment to pursuing infringement proceedings.

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: It is for the Commission to enforce implementation of directives. We have made clear to the Commission our support for its actions to encourage all member states to implement MiFID as swiftly as possible, and we will continue to do so as appropriate.

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is responsible for the enforcement of its rules. The FSA's chairman, Sir Callum McCarthy, has been asked to write to the noble Baroness.

Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Her Majesty's Government have discussed the implications of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 with the Scottish Executive. The Scottish Executive are developing consultation work to seek the views of those affected and the agencies and organisations that provide support for them, on the possibility of creating civil legislation in this area. We continue to explore with the Scottish Executive the impact on cross-border cases.

House of Lords: Cost of Works

Lord Greaves asked the Chairman of Committees:



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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The main road outside the Palace was closed during the Summer Recess to enable Westminster City Council to undertake essential repairs to the road surface. The House Committee took the decision in June that this scheduled road closure should be used as an opportunity to move the Corus barriers further from the Palace as envisaged under Phase 2 of the Corus security programme. Further work was undertaken during the five days immediately after State Opening to replace the temporary installation with the final barriers.

The cost of the surface repair work was met by Westminster City Council. The road layout works and provision of components for the Corus barriers were undertaken by the parliamentary estate at a cost of £835,395. Further costs may arise due to additional requirements such as extra signage. The arrangements made in the area for the State Opening of Parliament, including the removal and reinstatement of the barriers, cost £70,100.

House of Lords: Smoking

Lord Berkeley asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Smoking is only permitted on the Terrace within the designated area at the end of the Lords Terrace abutting the Commons Terrace. Steps are being taken to provide a clearer demarcation of the smoking area in line with the decision of the Refreshment Committee on 17 October. Failure of a Member to observe the ban should be brought to the attention of the usual channels for further action.

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK position with regard to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 1989 (ILO 169) was set out in a 1989 White Paper (Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Command Paper Number: CM 1078). As the White Paper noted, ILO 169 was essentially an update of the 1957 ILO Convention 107. The White Paper explained that Convention 107 could not be applied in the UK as there were no indigenous, tribal or semi-tribal people there, and so

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had not been ratified by the UK. These same arguments applied to Convention 169 as it did not alter the scope of Convention 107. This position still stands. The UK takes its international law obligations very seriously and as a general rule will sign and ratify an instrument only when we can ensure our full compliance with it and commit to its implementation.

The UK is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. On 13 September 2007, the UK voted in favour of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN General Assembly, as we had previously done at the Human Rights Council in June 2006. The adoption of this declaration marks a significant advance for indigenous peoples around the world.

Isle of Man

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The relationship between the Isle of Man and the European Union is defined by Protocol 3 to the UK's Treaty of Accession of 1972 to the then European Economic Community. Under this relationship the Isle of Man is outside the EU. EU treaty provisions and EU law do not apply to the Isle of Man except in relation to the free movement of goods between the island and member states. In addition, the Isle of Man neither contributes to nor benefits from EU funds.

The Isle of Man Government have not and are not seeking to extend the remit of the relationship defined by Protocol 3, under which the Isle of Man has no voting rights in European Parliament elections as the relevant treaty provisions do not apply to the island.

The UK has no plans to extend the franchise for elections to the European Parliament to persons resident in the Isle of Man.


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