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Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): January 1995. In accordance with normal practice the delegation will comprise officials, but the composition is not yet decided.

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Cumberlege: At this stage the further information requested by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the responses are a matter for the committee and the United Kingdom Government. No decision has therefore been taken as to what, if anything, might be published.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Cumberlege: Information about plague vaccine is given in the vaccine manufacturers' data sheets and in several standard communicable disease

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textbooks, including Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases edited by Mandell, Douglas and Bennett; Infectious Diseases by A. B. Christie: and Control of Communicable Diseases in Man edited by A. S. Benenson.


Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report a table showing: (a) the total number of abortions performed under the terms of the Abortion Act 1967 as amended by Section 34 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, from April 1968 to the latest available date; how many were performed (i) in an emergency to save the life of the mother, and (ii) in cases of rape, and what percentage this represents of all abortions performed; and (b) the total number of abortions according to the grounds of termination in each year since 1990 at 26 weeks and each week thereafter.

Baroness Cumberlege: Up to 31st December 1992, a total of 3,911,680 abortions had been performed in Great Britain under the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended by Section 34 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) since its implementation. Of these, the number performed in emergency and certified by the operating practitioner as immediately necessary to "save the life of the pregnant woman" (Ground 5 prior to April 1991, Ground F subsequently) was 154 (0.004 per cent.).

Annual statistics on abortions are published (a) for England and Wales in Abortion Statistics (Office of Population Censuses and Surveys Series AB), and (b) for Scotland in Scottish Health Statistics, copies are available in the Library.

The information requested about cases of rape is not available in the precise form specified. As rape is not in itself a statutory ground for performing an abortion under the 1967 Act, and is not required to be specified on the notification form by the certifying doctor, the exact number of notifications of abortions associated with rape is not known. However, in some cases the information is volunteered, and arrangements have been made to code separately and analyse all notification forms which mention rape from 1987 in Great Britain. Of the 1,142,419 notifications received for the period 1987 to 31 December 1992 for abortions performed in Great Britain, 227 (0.02 per cent.) mentioned rape. Earlier, but non-comparable, data relating to abortions performed in England and Wales were collected clerically and published for the years 1968–73, in Table 12 of the Registrar General's Statistical Review, Supplement on Abortion, a copy of which is available in the Library. The reliability of these earlier data is uncertain.

A total of 63 abortions were notified in Great Britain in 1991 at 25 weeks or more, 44 of which were at 26 weeks or more; of the 63, eight were in the first quarter before the law on abortion changed on 1 April 1991. A more detailed analysis of these is as follows:

Number of weeks gestation 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 33 36
Number of abortions 19 18 9 6 6 2 1 1 1

Since 1st April 1991, for all terminations performed after the pregnancy had exceeded 24 weeks, the operating surgeon has been required to provide a full statement of the medical condition of the pregnant woman/foetus.

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Of the 55 abortions performed at over 24 weeks between 1st April and 31st December 1991, one was under Ground A (that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman greater than if the pregnancy were terminated) and the remaining 54 were under Ground E (that there was a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped). Information about abortions carried after 24 weeks in England and Wales in 1992 will be published by OPCS in Abortion Statistics early in 1995.


Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether changes are to be made to the scheme of fees and charges for integrated pollution control operated by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): Minor changes to the HMIP Integrated Pollution Control Fees and Charges Scheme 1994–95 take effect from 1st December 1994. They are consequent upon changes in the governing legislation made by Statutory Instruments Nos. 1271 (The Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances Etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 1994) and 1329 (The Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances Etc.) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1994). Copies of the amendment to the scheme are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department of the Environment with its responsibilities for pollution control is monitoring all minewater discharges from old mine workings, from British Coal's coal mines and the privatised coal mines, whether a national survey of the problem is being prepared and whether environmental organisations can be kept informed.

Viscount Ullswater: The National Rivers Authority is responsible for water pollution control, and monitors minewater discharges which have a significant effect on receiving water quality. The NRA's report Abandoned Mines and the Water Environment assesses the number of river stretches in England and Wales significantly affected by minewater discharges. Copies of the report have been placed in the House Libraries and it is available on application from the NRA.

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Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, within the Yorkshire Coalfield, the National Rivers Authority, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Trade and Industry are assessing the likelihood of pollution damage from minewater discharges as a result of pit closures, whether local authorities are being fully informed of the possible pollution problems and whether public reports can be made available to organisations with environmental interests.

Viscount Ullswater: In respect of coal mines currently operational, it is for the mine operator in consultation with the National Rivers Authority to assess the environmental effects of colliery closures and to consider what action may need to be taken to avoid pollution. In respect of coal mines not currently operational, British Coal and the Coal Authority are working with the NRA on these matters. The NRA has said that it will not agree to any reduction in minewater pumping unless it is satisfied that there would be no risk of water pollution. The NRA is always ready to discuss matters of concern with local authorities and regularly provides information to interested parties upon request.

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the responsibilities and liabilities of the Coal Authority for minewater pollution control and in particular to what extent the Authority and the Department of the Environment are co-operating on pollution monitoring and control of minewater discharges and whether any concerns have arisen regarding the pollution of drinking water supplies.

Viscount Ullswater: Under the Water Resources Act 1991, it is an offence for a mine owner to cause pollution of watercourses.

Minewater pollution control in respect of operating mines is a matter for the mine operator, subject to the regulatory responsibilities of the National Rivers Authority in England and Wales, or of the River Purification Boards in Scotland. These are not matters for the Coal Authority.

The Coal Authority is, generally, the owner of abandoned coal mines in Great Britain. Like any mine owner, it would be liable for any pollution caused by a mine in its ownership. The Coal Authority is working with the regulatory bodies in respect of any pollution concerns related to these mines. It is maintaining pumping at a number of sites in the light of concerns expressed by the NRA, and is assisting the regulatory bodies in monitoring minewater at these and other sites.

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I am not aware of any incidents of pollution from minewater discharges affecting drinking water supplies.

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