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The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Legislation already provides that it is automatically unfair to dismiss a female employee, regardless of her length of service, for any reason in connection with her pregnancy or for taking statutory maternity leave.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): European law requires draft national legislation to be notified to the European Commission (and through them to other member states) to ensure that it does not
The European Commission has indicated that it considers the Bread and Flour Regulations 1995 to be technically in breach of Community law and the Government have therefore agreed to revoke and remake them in accordance with EU notification procedures.
Draft regulations are now being issued for public consultation. They revoke and re-enact the Bread and Flour Regulations 1995 and incorporate amendments made by the Bread and Flour (Amendment Regulations) 1996.
Lord Donoughue: BSE has been confirmed in a Highland cow born in Wales on 17 January 1994. This animal was two years and 10 months old when clinical signs were first observed. This is the first case of BSE in an animal born in 1994 but is unlikely to be the last as the risk of exposure through feed was not significantly different in the early months of 1994 compared with the closing months of 1993 when cases have already been confirmed. The dam of this particular cow is still alive and shows no signs of BSE.
Whether they have any plans to discuss with the persons in English Nature and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds responsible for editing the report The indirect effects of Pesticides on birds steps which might be taken to alleviate the adverse effects on farmland birds identified in that report; and
Whether they have any plans to provide more advice to farmers, landowners and manufacturers on the impacts of pesticide use in agriculture.
A range of measures are in place which aim to reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment and to support conservation. These include the promotion of integrated crop management by the Pesticides Forum and the provision of grants for conservation measures under agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship. The Government also fund free on-farm conservation advice, which is provided by ADAS and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG). Advice to farmers on measures to protect wildlife is also contained in the Code of Practice on the Safe Use of Pesticides on Farms and Holdings. Additionally, research is being funded on the environmental impact of pesticides and on the effects of agricultural management practices on farmland bird populations. The Government are seeking to improve scientific understanding of the key factors influencing farmland bird populations and to develop policy responses which promote conservation while ensuring a productive and efficient agricultural industry.
Lord Donoughue: The rates of aid paid vary considerably between EC countries. While it is true that rates in the UK are lower than elsewhere, it is also true that they are adequate for a great many more farmers than have so far applied. The Agriculture Select Committee report into agri-environment schemes has made recommendations in respect of the Organic Aid Scheme and the Government are currently considering their response to that report.
What is the membership of the Cabinet Sub- Committee on Women's Issues.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 9 June by my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal to my noble friend Baroness Turner of Camden (Official Report, Monday 9 June, cols. WA 56-66).
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): A copy of Lord Nolan's annual report for 1996 has been laid before the House today in accordance with Section 8(7) of Interception of Communications Act 1985. The confidential annex to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with Section 8(8) of the 1995 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work in reviewing the issue of warrants and in providing assistance to the tribunal as provided for in the Act. I note in particular the commissioner's view that interception of both postal and telecommunications remains both an effective and an essential operation in the interests of national security and the economic well-being of the United Kingdom and the prevention and detection of serious crime.
Lord Richard: A copy of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's annual report, for 1996, has been laid before the House today in accordance with Section 8(6) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994. The confidential annex to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with Section 8(7) of the 1994 Act. I am grateful to the
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