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Road Charges (Disabled People)

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will announce the exemptions or concessions he will prescribe for disabled people from road user charges and the workplace parking levy in England. [154902]

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Mr. Hill: The Government are at present reviewing the operation of the Blue Badge scheme for parking concessions for disabled people. As part of the review we will be seeking views on whether there should be a link between that scheme and the exemption or concession arrangements for disabled motorists from road user charges and workplace parking levies. We expect to complete this review by the end of this year, and we then plan to consult on the scope of England-wide exemptions or concessions from road user charges and workplace parking levies.

The aim will be to provide a uniform minimum standard of exemptions and/or concessions throughout England including Greater London, subject to considering whether an exception should be made for the unique circumstances of central London. It will be open to individual charging authorities to give exemptions and/or concessions above the minimum if they wish.

If in due course the Government decide on an England-wide exemption or concession which is greater than one included by a charging authority in a charging scheme, we will give the authority adequate time to bring its scheme into line with the national requirements.

Barford Bypass

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what date construction work on the Barford bypass in Warwickshire is expected to start. [154723]

Mr. Hill: The Barford bypass was provisionally accepted for funding in the Local Transport Settlement announced on 14 December 2000. Warwickshire county council are now progressing the £6.9 million scheme with the aim of starting construction in 2003.

Sellafield

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much high activity liquid waste is projected to arise from reprocessing at the Thorp plant at Sellafield; and what plans there are to condition this radioactive waste for long-term management. [154198]

Mr. Hain: I have been asked to reply.

The 1998 United Kingdom Radioactive Waste Inventory indicates total arisings of 2,350 m 3 of high level liquid radioactive waste from Thorp.

BNFL currently plans to vitrify these wastes for long-term management, as described in the report the storage of liquid high level waste at BNFL, Sellafield, published by the Health and Safety Executive in February 2000.

HEALTH

Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce routine checks for spongiform encephalopathy in all animals slaughtered for human consumption. [141645]

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Ms Stuart: Following discussion by the European Union Council of Ministers, member states agreed to introduce the testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) of animals slaughtered at over-30-months old, both those dying on the farm or in transport and those subject to normal slaughter, so that only meat from those animals with a negative test result may enter the human chain. All member states have been required to carry out this testing since 1 January 2001. In the United Kingdom, since we prohibit the sale for human consumption of beef from cattle aged over-30-months at slaughter, this testing requirement only applies to cattle slaughtered aged up to 42 months under the Beef Assurance Scheme, which covers registered herds with very low risk of BSE. Fallen stock is also being tested as required, although these do not go into the food chain. There are no plans routinely to test animals slaughtered at 30 months of age or younger.

Beef Imports

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Government have made of the threat to human health posed by the illegal sale of imported over-30-month beef; and when that assessment was made. [144250]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 8 January 2001]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it assessed, in December 2000, that any illegal sale of imported over-30-month (OTM) old beef from countries where there have been cases of BSE would pose a slightly higher risk than legally sold carcase meat imported from those countries. It should be borne in mind that the OTM rule is only the first defence against BSE and that the most risky parts of the animal, the specified risk material, such as the brain and spinal cord, are removed at slaughter. This greatly reduces the amount of infective material from older cattle.

In addition, from 1 January 2001 cattle aged over-30-months that are slaughtered in the European Union must test negative for BSE before being allowed into the food chain. This provides consumers with some additional protection, though the tests are limited in their sensitivity to pre-clinical infection.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies the Government have conducted of the impact on health of eating French beef products. [144389]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 8 January 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 30 January 2001, Official Report, columns 149-50W.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to inform consumers about the inclusion of processed meat products in the ban on sales of imported over-30-months meat. [144492]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 8 January 2001]: The Food Standards Agency issued a statement advising on imported beef and beef products on 22 December 2000. This is available on the Agency's BSE controls review website, and a copy has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which Ministry has responsibility for preparations to enforce a ban on the import of beef. [146403]

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Ms Stuart [holding answer 22 January 2001]: No such ban is envisaged, for the reasons given in the reply to the hon. Member on 8 January 2001, Official Report, column 436W.

Children's Rights Director

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish the draft regulations covering the work of the Children's Rights Director; and if he will list the organisations and individuals he intends to consult about them. [146515]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 January 2001]: We plan to publish the draft regulations covering the work of the Children's Rights Director later this year. There will then be a full public consultation.

Food Safety

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prosecutions there have been in respect of imported food that has been repacked or processed in the UK and sold as British. [150987]

Ms Stuart: Information is not collected in the form requested.

Local authority enforcement data for 1999, collected under Article 14 of the Official Controls of Foodstuffs Directive 89/397/EEC, does not distinguish prosecutions taken in respect of imported food repacked or processed in the UK.

A copy of the full return for 1999, the most recent year for which figures are available, is in the Library.

MMR Vaccine

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those countries in Europe and North America which license the MMR and those which license single vaccinations for mumps, measles and rubella. [149345]

Yvette Cooper: All European Union member states and the United States of America recommend a two dose vaccination schedule with MMR vaccine.

There is no comprehensive list available of measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccines, two-component vaccines or single component vaccines that are currently licensed in Europe and North America. The Medicines Control Agency has obtained the following information from The European Drug Index (1997 edition), from national compendia of licensed medicinal products in France, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden (1998 to 2000 editions), from the 2001 edition of the USA Physician's Desk Reference, and from two companies. While these references indicate that such products are currently licensed as listed in the named countries, it is not known whether or not they are on the market at the present time.

In the EU and Switzerland


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There is one combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine listed in the 2001 edition of the USA Physician's Desk Reference.

Also licensed are a measles plus rubella vaccine, a measles plus mumps vaccine and single component vaccines for each of measles, mumps and rubella.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 22 January 2001, Official Report, column 430W, on MMR vaccine, which measles and mumps vaccines meet the specifications of the extant licences for those vaccines; and under what circumstances those vaccines can be imported. [149362]

Yvette Cooper: None of the single measles and mumps vaccines licensed in the United Kingdom is manufactured for, or marketed in the UK, and the licence holders advise that the products they manufacture outside the UK for other countries do not fully comply with their UK licences. None of the single measles and mumps vaccines imported into the UK are licensed for use in the UK, or in full compliance with an extant UK product licence. Consequently, as unlicensed vaccines, they may only be imported and supplied to fulfil special needs, in response to the prescription of a doctor, and for use by his/her individual patients on his/her direct personal responsibility.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the unit cost of an injection of (a) MMR and (b) each of its constituent vaccines if given separately. [150096]

Yvette Cooper: The United Kingdom is supplied by two manufacturers of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and by one supplier of rubella vaccine. The cost to the Department of purchasing MMR and rubella vaccines is commercially confidential. However, the price of a single dose of MMR vaccine as listed in the British National

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Formulary is £6.23 for that manufactured by SmithKline Beecham and £10.17 for that manufactured by Aventis Pasteur. The list price for rubella vaccine, manufactured by SmithKline Beecham, is £2.53 per vial.

Children are recommended to receive two doses of MMR vaccine. Rubella vaccine is recommended for non- immune women. No licensed single component mumps or measles vaccines are manufactured for or marketed in the UK.

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of children aged between 12 and 15 months who have not received their MMR vaccination in each of the last six months. [150383]

Yvette Cooper: This information is not available in the format requested. At 31 March 2000, the latest date for which figures are available, 87.6 per cent. of children in England aged two had received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. 12.4 per cent. of children aged two had, therefore, not received the MMR vaccine. This means that approximately 75,000 children aged two at 31 March 2000 had not been immunised with the MMR vaccine by their 2nd birthday.


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