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BSE-infected Carcases

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many BSE-infected carcases are awaiting destruction; what studies have taken place to assess the risk represented by incineration and airborne prions; and if he will make a statement. [150429]

Ms Quin: I have been asked to reply.

The carcases of BSE suspect cattle are sent directly for incineration.

A formal risk assessment to gauge the risk from disposing of BSE-infected cattle in animal carcase incinerators was carried out for the Environment Agency by DNV consulting in 1997 as part of a general consideration of risks from BSE via environmental pathways. The risk calculation showed that the likelihood of the most exposed individual ingesting, in one year, sufficient material to cause infection as a result of burning cattle in specially designated incinerators is less than one in 1 billion. As in other cases, the real risk to the general public will be well below the level assigned to the most exposed person. The broad conclusion that the Agency has drawn from its assessments is that, for all of the disposal options considered, the risk of human infection by the BSE agent is extremely small. In all cases, the results show that in one year the most exposed individual would be unlikely to consume, from environmental sources, more than a minute fraction--significantly less than 1 millionth part--of the dose of BSE infectivity needed to cause infection in humans. More information is available on the Environment Agency's website.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Appointments (Age Limits)

Tony Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department for what reason the advertisements for part-time lay members of the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal restricted applications to persons aged between 35 and 62 years. [158739]

Mr. Lock: A normal lower age limit of 35 for applicants to part-time judicial posts is principally set to ensure that those appointed have the length of experience and maturity necessary to fulfil their judicial functions in a way that will both ensure public confidence, and that

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they can meet the demanding burdens of judicial office. A normal upper age limit of 62 is principally set to take account of the retirement age for judicial offices, which for part-time judicial office holders is 65. In setting the upper age limit at 62 the Lord Chancellor has taken into account the expectation that office holders should be able to complete a reasonable period of service before reaching the compulsory retirement age.

In exceptional circumstances these age limits may be relaxed at the Lord Chancellor's discretion. The Lord Chancellor's discretion may be invoked, for example, where an otherwise well-qualified candidate has had a career break or started his or her career later than usual.

Magistrates (Political Affiliation)

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many justices of the peace there are in (a) Barnsley and (b) Doncaster broken down by party political affiliation. [158797]

Jane Kennedy: There are currently 129 magistrates on the Barnsley bench and 168 magistrates on the Doncaster bench. The figures currently held on party political affiliation are out of date. The database of records held on all 26,000 magistrates for which my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor is responsible is being validated at present. As soon as figures for Barnsley and Doncaster are available I will write to my hon. Friend. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor intends to publish a breakdown of the lay magistracy in England and Wales by Commission Area for each balancing criterion (gender, ethnic origin, geographical spread, occupation and political affiliation) in his next Judicial Appointments Annual Report which is due in October this year. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House.

TREASURY

Census (Disabled People)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about access to the census by disabled people; and what action he is taking in conjunction with ministerial colleagues to improve access. [159409]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Tim Boswell, dated 30 April 2001:




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Census (Foot and Mouth)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what precautions have been taken to ensure that the delivery of census forms does not contribute to the spread of foot and mouth disease from farm to farm; [158955]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 26 April 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Miss Anne McIntosh, dated 30 April 2001:










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