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Pride of Place

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the answer of 13 May 2002, Official Report, column 414W, how many copies of "Pride of Place" have been sold. [70869]

Dr. Howells: This figure will not be available until the end of August. I have asked the Arts Council to write to the hon. Member directly once they have it and also to confirm how many projects have taken up their offer of complimentary copies.

Spectrum Scarcity

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on spectrum scarcity in the digital environment; and what implications her policy has for the continuation of a statutory ban on religious organisations holding a wide range of broadcasting licences. [71712]

Dr. Howells: Although digital broadcasting has relieved some pressure on spectrum, scarcity remains an issue. The Government's aim is to ensure that limited spectrum is distributed so as to satisfy as many viewers/listeners as possible, and in terms of religious broadcasting, to avoid giving one religion an unfair advantage over another, so that everyone's beliefs are equally respected. The Government's position is set out in the document "The draft Communications Bill—The

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Policy" which states that, where there is sufficient spectrum availability, restrictions on religious bodies holding licences will be removed (paragraph 9.3.3).

The Radio Authority, which licences all independent radio services in the UK, is currently given discretion under the Broadcasting Act 1990 to award local analogue, satellite and cable licences to religious bodies, subject to compliance with the Authority's codes, and the ITC can also award cable and satellite TV licences to religious organisations.

The draft Bill increases the number of types of licences which religious bodies can hold by giving OFCOM discretion to award local digital sound programme service licences, digital additional service licences, digital programme service licences and TV restricted service licences.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the cost of the 10 hours of programmes provided by the BBC for S4C each week in each of the last five years. [71757]

Dr. Howells: The cost to the BBC of providing programmes to S4C in accordance with section 58 of the Broadcasting Act 1990, in each of the last five years, was:

£ million

Information Campaigns

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much her Department spent on information literature, advertising and campaign material in financial year 2001–02; if she will list the campaigns that spent over £250,000; and if she will make a statement. [70203]

Dr. Howells: The Department's spending on information literature in 2001–02 was £300,591.

No advertising or campaign material was produced during this period.

Creative Partnerships Programme

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the progress of the Creative Partnerships Programme. [68957]

Tessa Jowell: We have established Creative Partnerships in 16 of the most deprived areas of the country. Each partnership will offer children and young people the opportunity for unprecedented access to creative learning, through bringing cultural and educational institutions and practitioners together. The first projects will begin with the new school year in September.

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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes dated 28 June about the number of road and carriageway closures in Royal Parks; and if she will make a statement on the delay in responding. [71191]

Tessa Jowell: I received the hon. Gentleman's letter on 1 July 2002. As the subject of his letter is an operational matter for the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, I asked him to respond on my behalf and I understand that he did so on 17 July 2002.

My Department aims to reply to Members' correspondence within 18 working days of receipt. In this case a reply was issued to the hon. Gentleman in 13 working days.

Sport (Chorley)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her plans to develop sport in the Chorley constituency. [68962]

Mr. Caborn: The Government are committed to increasing opportunities for participation in sport for all people, particularly youngsters, in all parts of the country. My Department is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills to improve access to and quality of PE and school sport in all parts of the country. I am aware that Chorley Council is working with a number of organisations including Lancashire Sport, the Chorley and District Sports Forum and Sport England to improve sporting provision in the Borough.


European Parliament Elections

36. Norman Baker: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what consideration is being given by the Commission to the merits of the method of election used for elections to the European Parliament. [68950]

Mr. Beith: I understand that no such consideration is being given by the Commission. However, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Commission will conduct a review of the next scheduled elections to the European Parliament in June 2004.

Local Government Elections (Wales)

37. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what work the Electoral Commission plans to undertake on electoral arrangements for local government in Wales. [68951]

Mr. Beith: I understand from the Chairman that the Commission has no plans at present for work on local government electoral arrangements in Wales.

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40. Kevin Brennan: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what consultations he has had with the Electoral Commission on recommendations relating to local government elections in Wales. [68954]

Mr. Beith: The Speaker's Committee has not had any consultations with the Electoral Commission on this subject.

All-Postal Voting

39. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Committee will ask the Electoral Commission to undertake research on the impact of all-postal voting pilots on the secrecy of the ballot. [68953]

Mr. Beith: The Electoral Commission is currently preparing its evaluation of the all-postal voting and other pilot schemes that took place in May 2002. The evaluation, which will be published on 1 August, will consider the impact of the pilot schemes on the secrecy of the ballot. The Commission is also undertaking a wider review of the law and practice in relation to absent voting, which includes consideration of secrecy and security of the ballot and related issues.


41. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whom he will be consulting on the question of reducing the voting age to 16. [68955]

Mr. Beith: I understand the Commission intends to start work on its formal review of the minimum age for voting in UK elections in January 2003. The Commission intends to include in its review a significant period of open public consultation, giving interested individuals and organisations the opportunity to make their views known.

The Commission will also be approaching a number of groups directly, including young people's representative forums and agencies, Members of Parliament, and the devolved bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


GM Crops

Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what separation distances she recommends should be imposed between GM and non-GM or organic crops of (a) sugar or fodder beet, (b) maize and (c) oilseed rape, to avoid contamination of the non-GM or organic crop above 0.01 per cent. [46621]

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Mr. Meacher: There are insufficient data to determine separation distances between crops that would achieve a cross-pollination threshold of 0.01 per cent. Furthermore, 0.01 per cent. is below the level at which an incidental GM presence can reliably be quantified with current analytical methods.

In 2000 the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) reported on the separation distances required to ensure that cross-pollination is below specified limits. These distances for oilseed rape and maize are shown in Table 1. NIAB did not recommend a distance for beet crops because beet is biennial and generally does not flower in the year of harvest, and any "bolters" can and should be removed before flowering. In addition, incoming pollen would not affect the vegetative parts of the plant (beet root and foliage). In 2001 the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment augmented the NIAB advice in respect of maize (Table 2). The NIAB study took account of work undertaken for the Soil Association by the National Pollen Research Unit (NPRU) which recommended separation distances to achieve an incidental GM presence which was not quantified but described as "very low risk". These distances are shown in Table 3. The NIAB study also reviewed work from a variety of researchers, such as Jones and Brooks—"Effectiveness of distance and border rows in preventing outcrossing in corn"; Oklahoma Agricultural Experimental Station, Technical Bulletin No. T-38, 1950.

Table 1: Summary of separation distances (m) required to maintain cross-pollination of the whole fields at below specified levels for fields of 2ha or more

Threshold levels of cross-pollination
Oilseed rape (B. napus and rapa)
Conventional varieties and restored hybrids1.510100
Varietal associations and partially restored hybrids100(1)(1)
For grain200300(1)
For silage130200420

(1) Insufficient information to produce a recommendation (see report for more detail).


NIAB report "Review of the use of separation distances between genetically modified and other crops", August 2000.

Table 2: Summary of ACRE's advice on cross-pollination in relation to Farm Scale Evaluations of Genetically Modified Maize, 1 May 2001

Separation distances from GM maize(2)
Neighbouring cropAdventitious GM presence in the grain or silage (upper limit)
(organic and non-organic)1%0.5%0.1%
Maize grown for grain (sweetcorn, seed crops)130200420
Maize grown for silage (forage maize)80130290

(2) The table refers to varieties of GM maize, such as that used in the farm scale evaluations, which are heterozygous for the GM trait. For any homozygous varieties the amount of GM presence will be approximately double the above figures at the same separation distances.

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NPRU's recommended "very low risk distances", January 2000

CropVery low risk distance
Sugar beet(3)1,000
Oil seed rape6,000

(3) 3,000 metres were recommended between GM beet and organic seed production.

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