The biological properties of stem cells have been exploited over the past several decades to develop a number of highly successful therapies using adult stem cells including bone marrow transplants, corneal transplants, related-donor cord blood transplants and skin grafting.

Embryonic stem cell trials are being planned for several conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, spinal injuries and diabetes.

e-MERLIN

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The future of the Jodrell Bank Observatory is a matter for the University of Manchester.

Jodrell Bank is involved in a variety of radio astronomy activities, including the e-MERLIN project. E-MERLIN is the development of a network of seven UK radio telescopes run by the Jodrell Bank Observatory and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in partnership with the North West Development Agency and the University of Manchester. The STFC has recently undertaken a review of all its existing programmes to make sure that they are delivering, or will deliver, the anticipated science output, and that they continue to represent value for money. The initial results of this review have been subject to consultation with the relevant scientific communities, and the STFC is currently considering the responses it has received. The STFC has yet to take a decision on its future level of support for e-MERLIN. However, the STFC has made it clear that the e-MERLIN project is part of its strategy for radio astronomy and that it is in discussion with its partners about the issues raised by the review.


 
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Energy: Biofuels

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will include a reporting mechanism under which any transport fuel supplier wishing to claim a certificate in respect of any biofuel must submit a report detailing its environmental impacts. These reports will enable the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) to report regularly on the progress being made towards meeting targets under the obligation, as well as on the carbon savings and sustainability impacts of the policy.

The level of any longer term targets will depend on the outcome of negotiations on the proposed renewable energy directive. The Government will not support any increase in biofuel targets beyond 5 per cent until effective sustainability standards are in place. We are working with the European Commission to ensure that forthcoming EU legislation includes robust mandatory sustainability criteria for biofuels.

Environment Agency

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In October 2007, the Environment Agency instructed Brabners Chaffe Street LLP, a firm of external solicitors, to act on its behalf in respect of statements made by Mr Douglas Gowan regarding an employee of the Environment Agency.

Flooding

Lord Ryder of Wensum asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The figures below have been taken from the Environment Agency's
 
31 Mar 2008 : Column WA135
 
Flood Warnings Direct database and show the number of homes at risk from fluvial and tidal flooding in East Anglia.

FluvialTidal

Great Yarmouth

0

8,956

Norfolk

17,612

30,770

Essex

9,049

49,002

Suffolk

7,122

9,610

Cambridgeshire

22,313

0

Total

56,096

89,382

Flooding: River Yare

Lord Ryder of Wensum asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Over the next year, the Environment Agency will be talking to key partners about the long-term management options of Broad land. This will include the viability of a Yare barrier.

Food

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Food security is about ensuring that consumers in the UK, and internationally, have access to a stable and adequate supply of food. The Government believe that an important element in facilitating national and international food security is improved trading relationships based on more open international markets and reductions in trade distorting subsidies. Defra's role in this regard includes pressing for further common agricultural policy reform and an ambitious and successful outcome to the World Trade Organisation negotiations and the Doha development agenda. The UK currently enjoys a high level of food security, but we are not complacent and we will continue to monitor the key indicators of UK and global food security.

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:


 
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Lord Rooker: In 2006, Defra published a study on food security which concluded that the UK, as a rich and open economy in a temperate and northerly latitude, has a very robust and diverse food supply. However, the study also recognised the need to manage the various risks, including climate change, associated with modern food chains as well as the food security challenges facing developing countries. We will continue to monitor the key indicators of UK and global food security.

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Some research indicates that the impacts of climate change and increases in the global population are unlikely to exceed the global capacity to produce staple food commodities. However, clearly there are challenges ahead in feeding a growing world population, not least in developing countries, and doing so in a way that respects the limits of the world's natural resources. In the face of climate change, the UK is working with the United Nations, the EC, the World Bank, donor Governments and other organisations to improve understanding, globally, of the risks and impacts of climate change and how it may impact on food production systems. The UK will also work with the major emerging economies to support development and growth which is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Government: Mobile Phone Contracts

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: OGCbuying.solutions' framework agreement with mobile phone operators, called Mobile Solutions, enables customers to formulate their own contracts with the service providers directly. The framework was created in compliance with European regulation and public sector procurement rules. It contains the appropriate model form of contract, which can be made available if the reference to “conditions” means the contractual terms and conditions contained in the model form.

Health: Immunisation

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:


 
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Around 91 per cent of children have completed their primary immunisation courses against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, pertussis and Hib by their first birthday and around 93 per cent by their second birthday.

Around 85 per cent of children have been immunised against mumps, measles and rubella with the combined MMR vaccine by the age of two.

This is based on immunisations completed between July and September 2007 in the United Kingdom.

Housing: Roof Gardens

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government are committed to moving towards more sustainable low-carbon non-residential buildings which are more energy efficient, and we will continue to raise building standards to help achieve this.

Defra, along with other government departments, has been promoting green roofs as part of wider sustainable construction and will continue their active promotion.

Immigration: Medical Treatment

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Common humanity means we all feel sympathy when dealing with individuals who face challenging medical and personal circumstances, but this in itself is not enough to entitle someone to a different process or consideration. Cases such as Ms Sumani's will continue to be assessed and reviewed by independent judicial processes on an individual basis and in accordance with existing legislation and guidance.

Individuals who make formal applications for asylum in the United Kingdom are eligible for free NHS treatment while their applications, including any appeals, are being considered. Unsuccessful applicants who have exhausted their appeal rights are expected to leave the country as soon as possible and may be charged for any new course of medical treatment. Nevertheless, immediately necessary treatment would never be withheld or delayed, regardless of chargeability or ability to pay. This would be a matter for medical decision on a case-by-case basis.


 
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Iraq: Asylum Applications

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Information on asylum applications, initial decisions and appeals by nationality are published quarterly and annually. Copies of asylum statistics publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at www.homeoffice. gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Asylum applications are decided on an individual case-by-case basis. Information on how many asylum seekers applied on grounds of employment or association with British Armed Forces and civil servants is not available and could only be made available by examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.

Olympic Games 2012: Carbon Emissions

Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There are no national or international standards on assessing the carbon footprint of public events on the scale of the 2012 Games.

LOCOG and the ODA are developing a definition and measurement for the carbon footprint of the 2012 Games, and have commissioned a study to calculate an initial estimate, which will be published later this year.