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Vitamin B6

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: No decision has yet been taken on the precise form of the consultation exercise.

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: No systematic analysis has been carried out of the representations received in relation to the proposed restrictions on the retail sale of Vitamin B6, nor any summary prepared. The regulations required to implement the controls will be subject of a formal consultation process and, subject to the views of respondents, the responses received will be made publicly available.

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

4 Feb 1998 : Column WA118

Lord Donoughue: We have no plans to compensate manufacturers or retailers of Vitamin B6 supplements for the loss of business arising from the proposed restrictions on the retail sale of such supplements.

Vitamin B6: Safety Data

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Vitamins and Minerals will be asked to review all the literature on the safety of Vitamin B6, including the 10,000 papers mentioned by Professor Arnold Beckett in the annex to his recent letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Toxicity, prior to the implementation of their proposed restrictions on the retail sale of Vitamin B6 supplements; and if not why not.[HL232]

Lord Donoughue: Data on the safety of Vitamin B6 have been reviewed on two occasions by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT). The Government have no plans to ask the new ad hoc Expert Group to review the data.

New Air Traffic Control Centre

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they now expect the new air traffic control centre to become operational; and whether and with what result any assessment has been made of the effect on safety of delays in opening the centre.[HL312]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Government still expect the New En Route Centre at Swanwick in Hampshire to become operational in the winter of 1999-2000. The primary consideration of National Air Traffic Services Ltd. (NATS), which controls en route air traffic, is safety. For example, if NATS considers that air traffic controllers are in danger of being exposed to excessive workloads, it will limit the number of aircraft coming into the UK's airspace. Therefore no assessment of the effect on safety of delays to the centre has been made.

Duty Free Sales

Lord Stallard asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimates have been made of the effect of abolishing the sale of duty free goods on employment and the cost of air and ferry travel.[HL327]

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Baroness Hayman: We are currently in the process of examining the possible effects of abolition of duty free sales, including the implications for air and ferry travel.

Classic and Historic Vehicles: Fuel

Lord Steel of Aikwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What future provision they intend to make for the supply of leaded petrol for classic, vintage and veteran vehicles unable to operate on unleaded petrol.[HL378]

Baroness Hayman: Despite the concerns raised by owners of classic, veteran and vintage vehicles, in practice there are very few that are unable to operate on unleaded petrol. Leaded petrol only became widely available after the second world war and is not, therefore, a prerequisite for earlier vehicles. But, for these and later vehicles, the British Standards Institution is developing a specification for a special grade of petrol which does not have the disadvantages to health that are attributable to lead. This is expected to be widely available after 1 January 2000, when the proposed EU ban comes into effect. To supplement this, the Government have negotiated a derogation, subject to ratification by the European Parliament, for an ongoing supply of leaded petrol, to a limit of 0.5 per cent. of total petrol sales, to be distributed through specialist interest groups. In due course the Government will be liaising with organisations representing the interests of classic/historic vehicle owners to ensure a smooth implementation.

Sustainable Development Strategy: Consultation

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to consult on a new United Kingdom sustainable development strategy.[HL482]

Baroness Hayman: We have today launched consultation on a new UK sustainable development strategy in a document titled Opportunities for Change. The consultation will run to the end of May 1998. Copies of the document, and of an accompanying leaflet prepared for the general public, have been placed in the Library.

Sustainable development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. The consultation is designed to stimulate a national debate on priorities for the forthcoming strategy, which will set objectives for sustainable development and targets and timescales for achieving them. The consultation is about finding common ground and building consensus.

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions will be launching a series of regional consultative events in Scarborough on 6 February. Consultation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be promoted by their respective Secretaries of State.

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Radioactive Material: Transport by Road

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hayman of 10 December (WA 29-30), whether they are satisfied that the regulations covering the transport of radioactive material by road are being properly observed; what methods are used to ensure that the requirements of those regulations are adequately fulfilled; on how many occasions breaches of the regulations have occurred; and whether they will specify these breaches.[HL381]

Baroness Hayman: The Government are satisfied that the Radioactive Material (Road Transport) (Great Britain) Regulations 1996 are properly observed. DETR staff ensure that the requirements are adequately fulfilled by carrying out technical assessment and approval of package designs against established international standards, audits of industry's quality assurance programmes, inspections during transport operations, including inspection visits to premises where radioactive material is received or dispatched, and investigation and enforcement action related to incidents.

The department, together with the Health and Safety Executive, commissions annual reports of the radiological consequences arising from accidents and incidents involving the transport of radioactive material, which include details of alleged breaches of the Road Transport Regulations. Copies of these reports are placed in the Library. The latest such report, Radiological Consequences resulting from Accidents and Incidents involving the Transport of Radioactive Materials in the UK--1996 Review, by J. S. Hughes and K. B. Shaw, National Radiological Protection Board report NRPB-M862, gives details for calendar year 1996. None of the events reported led to any significant radiological consequences. There were no prosecutions under the regulations, though enforcement action was considered and advice offered.

Highways Agency: Business Plan

Lord Kirkhill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to amend the Highways Agency's 1997-98 Key Business Plan Targets.[HL483]

Baroness Hayman: We have reviewed the Highways Agency's key targets and have decided that, in the light of the Government Roads Review, the business plan should be amended.

The following 1997-98 targets will not now be appropriate and should therefore be deleted from Annex D to the plan: "Roads Programme Completions, Starts and other Milestones":

    A564 Derby Southern Bypass Contract C: (Order Publication)

    A249 Iwade-Queenborough Improvement: (Public Inquiry)

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    Weald and Downland DBFO scheme (Select Preferred Bidder and Award Contract)

    Cumbria to Bradford DBFO scheme (Select Preferred Bidder and Award Contract)

    South Midlands Network DBFO scheme (Select Preferred Bidder and Award Contract)

    A40 DBFO scheme (Invite Tenders)

    A13 DBFO scheme (Invite Tenders--Delayed until 1998-99)

    A303 Winterbourne Stoke Bypass (Preferred Route Announcement)

In their place the following targets have been added to the business plan:

    M41 Trunk Road Access Improvements (White City Development): (Publication of Orders)

    Manchester Outer Ring Road Re-signing: (Award of Contract)

    A102(M) Trunk Road Access Improvement: (Public Inquiry)

A copy of the Highways Agency business plan 1997-98 is in the Library.

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