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Beef

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from Mr. Hugh Leman concerning the entry of imported over-30-month meat into the British food chain. [144318]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 8 January 2001]: None that I am aware of.

Environmental Health Regulations

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many prosecutions there were for breaches of (a) meat hygiene regulations and (b) pesticide safety regulations in each year from 1992 to 2000. [145246]

Ms Quin: In the year 1992 there were no prosecutions for breaches of meat hygiene regulations and four for breaches of pesticide safety regulations for which my Department was responsible. Other authorities will have had responsibility, especially up to 1 April 1995 when the Meat Hygiene Service was established and after 1 April 2000 when the Food Standards Agency was established. The relevant figures for subsequent years are:

YearMeatPesticides
1993011
199408
1995010
199670
199774
1998284
1999289
2000211

Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reports his Department has received on the death of a 12-year-old lion at Newquay Zoo from feline spongiform encephalopathy; what estimate he has made of the number of animals which have died from FSE; and if he will make a statement. [145351]

Ms Quin: The lion, which was born on 25 July 1987, and acquired by Newquay zoo in October 1997, had been suffering from lameness and increasing inco-ordination of the hind limbs from May 2000. It was euthanased in

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August 2000 and the carcase examined at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), Truro. Tissues were sent to pathologists at VLA Lasswade where the diagnosis of feline spongiform encephalopathy was made. This diagnosis was supported by further examinations carried out at VLA Weybridge.

Post mortem examinations of domestic and exotic cats are routinely carried out by the VLA on behalf of MAFF, as part of the surveillance for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

Cases confirmed to date are as follows:

Domestic catCheetahLionOcelotPumaTiger
199012----------
199112----------
1992101----1--
1993111--------
199416----1----
19958----121
199661--------
199761--------
1998411----1
19992--11--1
20001--1------

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the non-departmental public bodies responsible to him which have duties relating to Scotland, indicating their budget and staffing levels. [145892]

Ms Quin: A list of the non-departmental public bodies that are sponsored by my Department and which have a remit covering Great Britain or the United Kingdom is set out in the annex.

The remaining information is not held centrally in the form requested, but generally information on expenditure and staffing is published annually in the Cabinet Office publication, "Public Bodies". Copies of "Public Bodies 2000" have recently been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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DEFENCE

Defence Diversification Agency

Ms Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Defence Diversification Agency. [145997]

Dr. Moonie: We remain fully committed to defence diversification--the "spin-out" of defence technology to the civil sector for wider benefit. The Defence Diversification Agency (DDA) has made a very successful start in delivering that policy objective since its establishment in 1999. The implementation of our Public Private Partnership proposals for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) will make a further and very substantial contribution to defence diversification. It will be in the interest of "NewDERA" to exploit opportunities for the "spin-out" of defence technology to the civil sector. At the same time we shall want to ensure that the Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratory (DSIL), the part of DERA to be retained in the MOD, also contributes fully to defence diversification activity.

Since the DDA currently operates as part of DERA, some reorganisation over the next few months is inevitable. Responsibility for the agency, we propose, will be transferred from DERA to MOD headquarters, from where it would continue to facilitate the achievement of our defence diversification objectives. It would ensure that opportunities for "spin-out", and also the "spin-in" of civil technology to the MOD, are disseminated and exploited, and that industry is assisted with its own diversification planning. A major part of diversification activities would in future be undertaken from within NewDERA and DSTL, by existing DDA staff operating from their current locations, continuing the work that they do now, and transferred to NewDERA and DSTL for that purpose.

We shall work closely with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the DDA continues to secure our policy objectives. Detailed new arrangements will now be worked out and we shall consult about the staffing

16 Jan 2001 : Column: 144W

implications in the normal way. In the light of experience of the new organisation, we shall consider further the establishment of a Defence Diversification Council.

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what depleted uranium rounds were discharged for training purposes in Saudi Arabia on the Devil Dog Dragoon ranges in 1990-91; and if the ranges were cleared after firing. [145128]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 15 January 2001]: According to records held by my Department, a small number of DU rounds were fired at Devil Dog Dragoon Ranges in Saudi Arabia during January 1991. These munitions were fired for commissioning purposes, that is, firing at a soft canvas target in order to form a Mean Point of Impact, from which data could be obtained on the accuracy of the tank's main armament when firing this type of ammunition. The rounds fired were L26 120 mm Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) Challenger tank DU rounds, which were first deployed operationally during the Gulf Conflict.

We do not have details of the numbers of rounds which may have been fired, or the precise dates of any such firings but contemporary authoritative records show that two areas within Devil Dog Dragoon Ranges were designated for the firing of tank main armaments, as well as for other large calibre rounds which contained no DU material. These ranges were designated T1 and T2. Contemporary records indicate that the clearance of any UK Unexploded Ordnance from these ranges was completed during March 1991.

Thermobaric Weapons

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if animals will be used in the development of thermobaric weapons. [145370]

Dr. Moonie: I have nothing to add to the answer provided by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces on 5 June 2000, Official Report, columns 17-18W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Mr. Wyatt).

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his policy towards the (a) development and (b) use by British armed forces of thermobaric weapons. [145371]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not have any weapons based on 'thermobaric' munitions in its inventory. However, such weapons exist and it would therefore be irresponsible not to keep developments in this field under review, not least to develop protective measures for our personnel.

We have asked industry to consider how best to provide an anti-structure capability for use by the infantry in the urban environment. It is possible that this solution may involve using blast rather than fragmentation effects.

Should we decide to acquire such a weapon, we would ensure that this was fully in accordance with international law and our treaty obligations.

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