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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Howe: The designation of the Royal Naval College buildings for C2 use, covering residential schools, colleges, hospitals and convalescent and nursing homes, was included in the Knight, Frank and Rutley brochure for the site as an indicative planning guide for potential bidders. The local planning authority and other statutory bodies were consulted prior to the publication of this guidance. Other planning uses are not ruled out at this stage as indicated in the brochure; but any bid submitted will be scrutinised for its suitability, in planning terms, prior to acceptance.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Howe: The Government are seeking to find an appropriate enduring use for the Royal Naval College buildings. The MoD intends to introduce a clause in the forthcoming Armed Forces Bill which would enable the Secretary of State to grant a lease to a non-government body should he decide that is the most appropriate course of action. Negotiations with any interested party will not be concluded until the necessary legislation has been enacted.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Howe: Planning restrictions for the Grade 1 listed buildings that comprise the Royal Naval College will largely be a matter for the London Borough of Greenwich, as the local planning authority, and other interested statutory bodies. The Secretary of State, as sole trustee and, in effect landlord, may also impose further restrictions in any lease to safeguard the integrity of the site.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

6 Nov 1995 : Column WA186

Earl Howe: The Government have reserved their position on the question of fitments and fittings at the Royal Naval College, pending the selection of a suitable occupant for the site. However, in the event that a lease is granted to a non-government body, all of the architectural fitments embodied in the construction of the buildings between 1694 and 1789 will remain in situ. Some fittings and works of art belonging to the Navy may be removed, while the future of others belonging to Greenwich Hospital and which are loaned to the college, will have to be considered with the Greenwich Hospital Trust. No definitive statement on which of these items will remain at the college is possible until the status of any new occupants is known. The architectural integrity of the site will, however, be fully respected.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What restrictions the Act To Make Better Provision Respecting Greenwich Hospital, of 1869, places on the uses that may be made of the Royal Naval College Greenwich, and whether such uses are required under Section 7 to be at all times "temporary", and to be restricted to the "Naval service or another Government Department" or to "persons engaged or who have been engaged in seafaring pursuits".

Earl Howe: The Greenwich Hospital Act of 1869 enables Greenwich Hospital, or any part thereof, to be used for the Naval service, any Government Department or for the benefit of persons engaged, or who have been engaged, in seafaring pursuits. The Act requires that the buildings 'be at all times available' for their original use as a hospital.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the restrictions of the 1869 Act affect their decision to offer a 150–year lease on the Royal Naval College at auction through the estate agents, Messrs. Knight, Frank & Rutley.

Earl Howe: The MoD does not intend to auction the lease for the site but will if appropriate offer it by tender. There are doubts whether the terms of Section 7 of the Greenwich Hospital Act 1869 would permit the granting of a long term lease to a non–government body. It is intended to introduce a clause amending the 1869 Act in the forthcoming Armed Forces Bill, to ensure that the Secretary of State for Defence, in whom the freehold of the buildings is vested, has the power to grant such a lease, if he decides that is an appropriate course of action.

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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, given the reported discrepancies in the cost/benefit analyses carried out about the intended move of the staff college away from Greenwich to Camberley, coupled with the failure either to abide by the Act of 1869 or to deal with the nuclear reactor at the Royal Naval College, they will now withdraw their plans, and examine all the lawful options for the Greenwich Hospital estate (including the Dreadnought Hospital and the "Nurses Home"), and particularly the possibility of inviting the World Maritime University to move in, and designating the whole world heritage site, as recommended in Dame Jennifer Jenkins' recent Report.

Earl Howe: The Government have no reason to believe that the investment appraisal for the creation of the Joint Service Command and Staff College is flawed or to re-examine the decision not to base the new staff college at Greenwich. Apart from cost, the principal reason for rejecting Greenwich lies in its inability to accept an enlarged college due to the constraints of the Royal Naval College being a Grade 1 listed building and scheduled ancient monument. There has been no failure to abide by the 1869 Act. The options for the future of the JASON training reactor are being considered. The World Maritime University is welcome to submit proposals for its occupancy of the site if it so wishes. Local views have yet to be considered but the Government are in favour of Greenwich being designated as a world heritage site.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their intentions regarding the nuclear reactor in the Royal Naval College; what information about it and about their intentions is being offered to potential tenants; what is the estimated cost of removing it; and what, meanwhile, is the situation about insurance and liability.

Earl Howe: The future of the small nuclear training reactor, known as JASON, which is located in the Royal Naval College, is under active consideration within MoD. One of the options being considered is its possible decommissioning and removal in the event of the MoD withdrawing entirely from Greenwich. This information is available to interested parties. In the meantime, insurance and liability of JASON remains a government responsibility.

Organophosphates: Health Effects

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What explicit level of proof of chronic health effects on humans of low-level exposure to organophosphates they require before they will take preventative action, and how they expect this proof to be obtained.

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Lord Lucas: This is a matter of scientific judgment. Any new scientific evidence would be considered by the independent Veterinary Products Committee, who are responsible for advising Ministers on such matters. On the basis of the evidence currently available, the Committee reaffirmed in July 1995 that the marketing of organophosphorus (OP) sheep dips should continue. A contract has now been awarded to the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh to carry out an epidemiological study designed to detect well defined, predetermined chronic effects in humans of dipping sheep with OP products. This research, which is expected to be completed by April 1999 at a cost of half a million pounds, will contribute considerably to existing scientific information. In addition, a review of the current rules restricting the sale of organophosphorus sheep dips, including the certificate of competence scheme, is being undertaken by the Veterinary Products Committee at the end of this year.

Top Clip Gold Shield Sheep Dip: CS Disinfectant

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why Ciba Agriculture were required by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to withdraw C S disinfectant from their Top Clip Gold Shield dipping pack in 1994.

Lord Lucas: Ciba Agriculture was not required by the Ministry to withdraw CS disinfectant from their Top Clip Gold Shield dipping pack in 1994. As part of the review of OP sheep dips, being carried out as part of a general review of all pharmaceutical veterinary medicines by the Veterinary Products Committee, Ciba Agriculture were asked to provide additional scientific data to support the inclusion of this disinfectant with their Top Clip Gold Shield sheep dip. For commercial reasons the company decided instead to voluntarily withdraw the disinfectant.


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