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BSE and New Variant CJD

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay: The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) considered this issue at their meeting on 23 May 1997 and have since produced a statement entitled Research Into The Link Between BSE and nvCJD (SEAC, June 1997). The statement summarises the key research results on the question of whether there is a causal link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) which have emerged since March 1996 when SEAC first concluded that the most likely explanation for the cases of the new variant CJD was exposure to BSE before the introduction of the Spongiform Bovine Offals ban in 1989. The statement concludes that the evidence that has accumulated since the March 1996 announcement is consistent with the hypothesis that nvCJD is caused by exposure to the BSE agent, and that no evidence refuting the hypothesis has yet come to light. However, SEAC regard the evidence to date as insufficient to constitute formal scientific proof of a causative link, and that further data are required before a firm conclusion can be reached. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library.


Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): There are many factors which may have an effect on the rate of inflation. A review of these together with a full forecast of the economy will be published with the Budget on 2 July.

Beaufort's Dyke: Radioactive Waste

Lord Evans of Parkside asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Documents recently discovered in the Public Records Office show that small quantities of laboratory waste and luminous materials which fall within the definition of low or intermediate level radioactive waste were dumped in Beaufort's Dyke during the 1950s. The "Report of the Independent Review of Disposal of

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Radioactive Waste in the North East Atlantic" by Professor F. G. T. Holliday, which was placed in the Library of the House on its publication in 1984 and on which Ministers have relied in making statements on this issue, makes no reference to such activities.

Naturally, it is regretted that the Government have given inaccurate information in the past. Copies of the documents have now been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. Further searches of the archive records are being undertaken as a matter of urgency and if any new information comes to light we will make it public.

Monitoring undertaken regularly since the early 1960s confirms that this dumping had no measurable effect on radioactivity levels in the area, which remain well within internationally agreed safety levels. From 1963 all dumping of radioactive waste was restricted to waters at least 2000 metres deep and from 1982 the UK ceased all dumping of radioactive waste at sea.

Northern Ireland: Unresolved Planning Cases

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many unresolved planning cases there are in Northern Ireland and what were the dates on which the earliest 10 such cases were lodged with the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland).

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Planning Service under its Chief Executive, Mr. T. W. Stewart. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Skelmersdale from the Chief Executive of the Planning Service, Mr. T. W. Stewart.

I have been asked to reply to your recent Question about unresolved planning cases in Northern Ireland.

At any given time there are approximately 5,500-6,000 outstanding planning applications at various stages in the planning development control system. The dates on which the earliest 10 such cases were lodged are as follows.

Application numberDescriptionDate lodged
(1) S/87/0227Storage of sand stones and bricks13/03/87
(2) S/87/0984Extension to landfill site10/09/87
(3) B/88/0381Private car park and relocated entrance08/12/88
(4) B/90/0235Construction of Enterprise Centre26/07/90
(5) B/90/0162Retention of warehouse unit17/05/90
(6) B/90/0162Construction of car park02/07/90
(7) C/90/0465Erection of 33 dwellings16/08/90
(8) S/90/1071Signs and flags04/10/90
(9) S/91/0275Erection of dwelling21/03/91
(10) S/92/0101Factory, small business centres, car parking and road improvements03/02/92

The reasons why these applications remain undetermined are largely similar to those given in my answer to your earlier Question about determination times. A number are awaiting additional information from the applicant/agent while others involve roads abandonment or access issues which by their nature can be prolonged. The quarry application has associated environmental problems and the application for housing development was held in abeyance initially pending compliance with enforcement notices relating to the removal of toxic waste from an adjacent site and subsequently following liquidation of the original applicant, pending negotiations regarding exclusion of amenity/conservation lands from the application site. While the Planning Service could proceed to determine these applications on the basis of the information available to it, which would usually lead to refusals, its normal practice is to hold applications in abeyance in an effort to resolve specific difficulties, particularly when it is likely that they can be overcome. This approach is normally the most acceptable to applicants.

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I do hope you find this helpful.

Northern Ireland: Sunday Shopping

Baroness Denton of Wakefield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to allow the citizens of Northern Ireland to share the facility to shop on Sundays enjoyed by all other citizens of the United Kingdom.

Lord Dubs: Her Majesty's Government are at present considering the way forward on the review of the Northern Ireland shops law begun under the previous administration. A decision will be announced when these considerations are complete.

Defence Diversification Agency

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to establish a defence diversification agency; and if so, which government department will assume responsibility for it.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): I refer the noble Earl to the Answer I gave my noble friend Lord Rea on 18 June (Official Report, WA 120).

Defence Export Services Organisation

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy for the Defence Export Services Organisation.

Lord Gilbert: The Defence Export Services Organisation will continue to provide British defence exporters with the strongest possible government support within the framework of our defence, security and foreign policies.

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Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to maintain unchanged the remit and the independence of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body; and whether they will follow the practice of the previous Government in implementing the recommendations of that body as and when such recommendations are made.

Lord Gilbert: Successive Governments have greatly valued the independent advice given by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, and we expect to continue to make pay decisions in the light of its reports. The Government will follow previous practice in deciding their response to the recommendations given the circumstances at the time.

Armed Forces: 1997 Pay Award

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will implement the second stage of the 1997 pay award for the Armed Services recommended by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and agreed by the last government.

Lord Gilbert: Yes. This is a decision which has already been taken and promulgated and the present Government will adhere to it.

Armed Forces Pay and Allowance Structures

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to maintain unchanged the structure of pay and allowances for the Armed Forces introduced by the last government following consideration of the independent review.

Lord Gilbert: While the last government considered proposals for a new pay and allowances structure for the Armed Forces as a result of the publication of the report of the Independent Review, it is not correct to say that they introduced it. In February 1997, as part of follow-on work to the report, the Ministry of Defence published an Information Document entitled The Armed Forces of the Future--a Personnel Strategy. This contained proposals for new pay and allowances structures. These proposals are now being developed and an announcement will be made in due course.

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