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9 Feb 2010 : Column WS39

9 Feb 2010 : Column WS39

Written Statements

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Agriculture: Pesticides


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): My honourable friend the Minister for Rural Affairs and Environment (Dan Norris) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I should like to announce the publication today of a public consultation on the implementation of two key pieces of European pesticides legislation.

In September 2009, the European Council of Ministers agreed two new pieces of legislation-the Plant Protection Products Regulation1 (the regulation) and the Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides2 (the directive). These are part of the EU's thematic strategy on pesticides which aims to minimise the risks to health and the environment from the use of pesticides.

This consultation is the first of a two-stage consultation process; its purpose is to seek views on the transposition of the directive and two measures relating to the provision of public information on pesticides under the regulation. We are also seeking views on how the UK should use charging arrangements provided by this legislation and another regulation on maximum residue levels of pesticides in food and feed. The second stage will be to consult on the draft legislation transposing the directive.

Sustainable Use Directive 2009/128/EC

This directive will need to be transposed and implemented by member states by November 2011. Its overall objective is to establish "... a framework to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of integrated pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides".

Key features of the directive include: the establishment of national action plans; compulsory testing of application equipment, certification of operators and distributors, and access to certification for advisors; a ban (subject to derogations) on aerial spraying; special measures to protect the aquatic environment, public spaces and conservation areas; minimising the risks to human health and the environment through handling, storage and disposal; and the promotion of low input regimes (including integrated pest management (IPM)).

Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009

The regulation is essentially a revision of Directive 91/414/EEC that currently governs the approvals regime for plant protection products, but with some new elements. The regulation's overall objective is to "... lay down rules for the authorisation of plant protection products in commercial form and for their placing on the market, use and control within the Community [and] ... ensure a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment and to improve the functioning of the internal market through

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the harmonisation of the rules on the placing on the market of plant protection products including active substances, while improving agricultural production".

The regulation updates the existing regime and aims to increase the level of protection for people and the environment as well as speeding up decision-making and providing clearer rules. The majority of the regulation is directly binding and is not therefore included in this consultation. There are, however, two discretionary provisions in the regulation where we have undertaken to consult.

The two provisions are:

Article 31: Authorisations-Notification of Neighbours; andArticle 67: Recording and Disclosing Information on pesticides.

They concern the provision of information in two main categories: advance notification to neighbours who could be exposed to crop spraying activity; and making available records of plant protection products used, on request by the competent authority.

I believe that there should be a high level of transparency and public access to information about the approval system. The regulation provides an opportunity to consider the introduction of measures that would provide greater transparency of pesticides use post-approval. Despite the precautionary nature of the approval system and the high level of protection that it affords people, animals and the environment, people may wish to know about pesticides that they see being used. This section of the consultation explores the costs and benefits of options for providing access to this information.

Charging arrangements

The regulation, the directive and Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels (the MRLs regulation) all provide for member states to recover the costs of work carried out under that legislation. The regulation introduces new requirements to the regulatory regime that will be charged to pesticide authorisation holders. All three pieces of legislation provide for member states to recover certain costs that are not currently recoverable.

The consultation invites views on how charging arrangements in the UK should operate in future, and our top priority will continue to be the protection of human health and the environment.

The Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the delivery body for Defra's responsibilities for pesticides and is undertaking this consultation on behalf of Defra. The consultation covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each administration will consider its own approach to the outcome of the consultation.

I will be holding meetings with key stakeholder groups during the consultation period to listen to their views. A copy of the consultation has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and is available on Defra's website at



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Armed Forces: Science and Technology


The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Quentin Davies) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I announce changes to the internal arrangements for formulating and delivering Science and Technology (S&T) to the UK Armed Forces. From 1 April 2010, the Science Innovation and Technology (SIT) Top Level Budget (TLB) within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will stand down. The task of setting MoD's S&T policy and strategy will move to the Centre TLB under the direct control of the MoD chief scientific adviser. This will ensure that this key aspect of defence is at the heart of future policy and decision making.

The MoD will continue to look to the broadest possible supplier base for the delivery of the majority of its S&T requirements. Delivery will be supported by an enhanced defence science technology laboratory (Dstl) which will continue to be the MoD's in-house focus for S&T knowledge, skills and advice. Under the new structure, Dstl will also be responsible for the planning and delivery of the defence research programme. However, Dstl, as now, will only undertake research activity which by its sensitive, operationally critical or international nature, should only be performed in Government.

These changes will enable a clearer organisational structure for Defence S&T and will reduce overheads within Defence S&T management, to reinvest in research. As a consequence of these changes, around 100 posts will be removed from the current S&T organisational structure.

Implementation of these changes will be undertaken by a project team, reporting to the chief scientific adviser, which will work with the MoD trade unions to ensure delivery of defence S&T, particularly for operations, is unaffected.

Broadcasting: Product Placement


Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Ben Bradshaw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I should like to set out the Government's plans for product placement on television.

I announced on 9 November 2009 that the Government had decided to consult again on this issue, and we did so between that date and 8 January this year. We had approximately 1,480 responses to this consultation. I am publishing these on my department's website today and we will make a summary report of them available shortly.

As a result of this consultation the Government have concluded that we will be able to allow television product placement in a way which will provide meaningful

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commercial benefits to commercial television companies and programme makers while taking account of the legitimate concerns that have been expressed.

We have therefore decided to legislate to allow UK television companies to include product placement in programmes which they make or commission to appear in their schedules.

Adherence to our current position in which UK TV programme-making cannot benefit at all from the income potentially to be generated by product placement would lead to continuing damage to its finances at a time when this crucial part of our creative industries needs all the support we can give it.

It has become the more important to make this move now that every other EU member state, with the sole current exception of Denmark, has either allowed television product placement already or has expressed a firm intention to do so. Not to do so would jeopardise the competitiveness of UK programme makers as against the rest of the EU, and this is something which we cannot afford to do.

UK audiences have been used to product placement in films and, subject to them not being unduly prominent, imported television programmes, especially from the United States, for many years. However, allowing television product placement in domestic UK programming will be an important departure. It is right for us to proceed with caution and in particular to be very careful about the types of product for which it is permitted.

Our legislation will therefore specify some important exceptions, in particular the prohibition of the placement of alcohol and foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS foods). The Government also fully share the concerns that have been expressed about the potential impact of product placement on the editorial independence of broadcasters and viewers' trust in what they see on television. We believe that our proposals will safeguard these.


The Government will lay regulations under Section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972, giving legal effect to the requirements of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive on TV product placement. However, TV product placement will not become permissible immediately the regulations come into effect.

Their effect will be to allow Ofcom to permit product placement under its code regulating the content of TV programmes, and Ofcom will need to run a public consultation on the detailed changes to this code before these can come into effect.

Only after that has happened, and Ofcom has amended its code, will it be possible for TV companies to show programmes which they have made or commissioned and which include product placement. We envisage that this stage would be reached later this year.

The EU directive requires that member states prohibit product placement but permits them to derogate from that in the four separate genres of "cinematographic works, films and series made for television or on-demand services, sports programmes, and light entertainment programmes". Our legislation would therefore follow this pattern of imposing an overall ban on product placement except in these four genres.

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The legislation will not provide more precise definitions of these terms. Instead, it will allow Ofcom to intervene in the event that broadcasters unacceptably stretch the envelope and include product placement in programming which cannot properly be seen as falling into any of these permitted categories. The existing powers, including the code-making powers, which Ofcom has allow it to do that in an appropriate and effective way.

The responses to our consultation have confirmed that there is concern about the possibility of product placement in current affairs, consumer and religious programming. The Government share these concerns, since some programmes in these categories could be seen as falling into the "series" genre specified by the directive, and we have concluded that it is important that our legislation ensures that product placement is not allowed in them. It will therefore contain specific prohibitions to that effect.

News programmes and bulletins are not covered by the four genres of programme which the EU directive permits to contain product placement. Our legislation will therefore have the effect of preventing product placement in any TV news programming, as the directive requires.

Our legislation will not permit product placement in the BBC's licence fee-funded services. This will continue to be prevented by the BBC's charter and its agreement with the Government.


The directive prohibits the placement of two specific types of product; that, is tobacco products (as well as any other placement by or on behalf of a company whose principal activity is the manufacture or sale of tobacco products) and prescription medicines. The Government have decided to move significantly beyond this. Our legislation will specifically prohibit the placement of products and services in the following categories:

alcoholic drinks;foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar;gambling;smoking accessories;over-the-counter medicines; andinfant formula and follow-on formula.

In reaching this decision the Government have had particularly in mind the issue of potential effects on health and welfare, and especially children's health and welfare. The directive contains a ban on product placement in children's programmes, and our legislation will enact that. However, children's viewing is not confined to children's programmes.

An alternative to a ban on placement of HFSS foods and alcohol might have been restrictions of some kind on their placement in shows which have a large child audience, or which are shown before the watershed. But this would be complex to administer and would not provide the certainty which the Government seek.

In the circumstances we intend to legislate for a complete bar on placing these products. This as an important aspect of the cautious approach that we need to take.

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Other safeguards

Our legislation will also, as required by the directive, specify that product placement should not affect editorial independence, be unduly prominent, or directly encourage purchase. Ofcom will have the task of policing adherence to these requirements.

Ofcom will also be able to set further conditions for ensuring editorial integrity, including in relation to the prominence of products which have been placed in a television programme. The directive requires that audiences are alerted to the presence of product placement in a programme by signalling at the beginning and end and after advertising breaks. The legislation will contain this requirement and it will be for Ofcom to determine, after its own consultation, how it is met.

The legislation will not affect requirements in respect of the presence of product placement in imported, non-EU, programmes which are transmitted by UK television broadcasters. This will continue to be permissible within the boundaries set by the directive, provided that it meets Ofcom's overall requirements about, in particular, the avoidance of undue prominence.

Corporation Tax Bill


The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a Statement, before Second Reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the convention rights (as defined in Section 1 of that Act).

I am the Minister in charge of the Corporation Tax Bill in the House of Lords.

I have made the following Statement under Section 19(1) (a) of the Human Rights Act 1998:

In my view the provisions of the Corporation Tax Bill are compatible with the convention rights.



The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My honourable friend the Solicitor-General (Vera Baird) has made the following Statement.

The Government's aim is to build a fair and family-friendly labour market where everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and experience.

The action we have taken to improve the position of women in the workplace has provided sound foundations. Women now make up almost 46 per cent of the economically active population and the difference in average hourly pay between men and women has narrowed significantly from 27.5 per cent in 1997 to 22 per cent in 2009. However, as the National Equality Panel reported last month, our labour market is still failing to make the best use of women's talents. The norm remains "full-time" work for an adult lifetime, which does not reflect the life experiences of women, who still have the majority of caring responsibilities, nor, increasingly, of men who wish to do more.

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The document we are publishing today-Working Towards Equality: A Framework for Action-explains why a fair and family-friendly labour market is necessary to boost economic growth, support families and reduce child poverty. It responds to both the substance and specific recommendations of the 2009 Women and Work Commission report, and sets out an action plan to ensure our labour market offers women genuine choices, equal opportunities and career structures which enable them to progress and to fulfil their potential. This includes commitments to challenge gender stereotyping in education, to investigate the barriers to sustainability in the childcare sector and to stimulate the supply of quality part-time work.

We are placing copies of the document in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies will also be available on the Government Equalities Office website at

Olympic Games 2012: Government Olympic Executive


Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Minister for the Olympics and Paymaster General (Tessa Jowell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today published the Government Olympic Executive's annual report-London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Annual Report February 2010.

The document fulfils the commitment to report to Parliament biannually on details of progress across the Olympic programme and the funding for the Games.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain on time and within budget. The current anticipated final cost (AFC) is £7.262 billion, compared to £7.241 billion at the end of the last quarter. This represents an increase since the last quarter of 0.3 per cent. The majority of contingency-well over £1 billion-remains unreleased and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) continues to make strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure in the Olympic Park.

With more than two-and-half years to go, all the milestones for the Olympic build have been hit, the construction programme is nearly 50 per cent completed, the transformation of east London is well under way, and legacy plans are more advanced than for any previous Games.

London 2012 is continuing to provide economic and social benefits. More than 1,000 companies- 98 per cent of which are UK-based-have won £5 billion worth of direct contracts from the ODA, opening up thousands more business opportunities along the supply chain and helping to support employment around the country. During 2010, the workforce on the Olympic Park and the Olympic Village will peak at 11,000. Of the 6,277 people currently working on the Olympic Park, 20 per cent are resident in the five host boroughs and 11 per cent were previously unemployed.

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