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Written Question

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): An answer to the Written Question was sent to the noble Countess on 24 July (Official Report, 27 July, WA 173-174). The Question was not answered within the usual 14-day deadline because it required the central collation and verification of relevant data about the anthrax immunisation programme, which was

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obtained from various locations in the UK, Germany and the Gulf region.

In connection with an article which ultimately appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on 7 June, the Ministry of Defence was asked by a journalist what the actual rate of uptake of anthrax immunisation in the Gulf had been. At that time the only available data were an assessment, made in early April, that 27 per cent. of personnel who had been offered an initial dose of anthrax vaccine whilst serving in the Gulf theatre had accepted it. This information was provided to the journalist. It was not used as the basis for the answer to the Written Question as it excluded those individuals who were being offered anthrax immunisation at locations in the UK and Germany prior to moving out to the Gulf region.

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Armed Forces: Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Missions

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the equipment and weapons implications of an increased emphasis on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions by the armed forces.[HL2881]

Lord Gilbert: None. Our experience in Bosnia and elsewhere proves that forces equipped and trained for warfighting are also well suited to conducting peace support and humanitarian operations. Many of the improvements in the capabilities of our forces planned as a result of the Strategic Defence Review, such as enhanced strategic lift and logistics, will have a direct application in peace support and humanitarian deployments.

RAF St. Athan

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the future of RAF St. Athan.[HL3254]

Lord Gilbert: We indicated earlier this year in the context of the Strategic Defence Review that RAF St. Athan will become a part of the new Defence Aviation Repair Agency. This will form in April 1999 and move as soon as practicable thereafter to a Trading Fund. In the light of these recent decisions, we have now considered the outcome of the competition inaugurated in 1994 under the Competing for Quality programme for the management of the off-aircraft engineering and on-site support activities at RAF St. Athan. We have also taken into account that the competition did not meet all our financial objectives. We have therefore decided that the best value for money for defence is most likely to be achieved by not proceeding any further with the competition. Challenging efficiency targets will be given to RAF St. Athan, and these will be carried forward within the context of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency. These decisions mean that RAF St. Athan can look forward to a clear future which builds upon its important contribution to our defence effort.

Ottawa Convention: Implementation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to implement the Government's obligations under the Ottawa Convention.[HL3264]

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Lord Gilbert: As of today, the moratorium we have had in place on the use of anti-personnel landmines has become a total ban, without exception. Instructions to this effect have been issued to all Command Headquarters and training establishments. Other actions the Ministry of Defence is taking to implement the convention, such as the destruction of stockpiles and assistance to humanitarian demining, are well known to noble Lords.

Berkeley Centre Magnox Facility: Nuclear Material Study

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What work for the Ministry of Defence will be undertaken at the BNFL Magnox facility at Berkeley Centre in Gloucestershire.[HL3250]

Lord Gilbert: A programme of work will be carried out at the Berkeley Centre on a small quantity of nuclear material owned by the Ministry of Defence and held outside international safeguards. The term unsafeguarded means that the nuclear material involved is outside the scope of our international agreements under which civil nuclear material in the UK is subject to inspection by Euratom and, if they so choose, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. The Berkeley Centre has previously only worked with safeguarded material, as it has not been involved in military nuclear programmes, which are unsafeguarded. The work is essential to meet a clear requirement to provide assurance of the continued safe operation of submarine nuclear reactors, and it is not connected with the nuclear weapons programme. The facilities to be used are unique to the Berkeley Centre. The work, which is a short study, will take about seven months to complete. Upon completion of the study and the removal of the unsafeguarded material the Berkeley Centre will return to its fully safeguarded status.

Fishing Research Laboratory, Conwy

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the future of the fisheries research laboratory at Conwy.[HL3092]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The laboratory at Conwy is part of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), an Executive Agency of MAFF. Consistent with the agency's obligation to provide an efficient and effective scientific service, CEFAS has been reviewing the future requirements for this laboratory. Conwy is the smallest CEFAS laboratory and currently has spare capacity. The agency has explored whether it is realistic for this to be taken up by new work or whether it would be more efficient to relocate the existing functions to another CEFAS site.

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The review has concluded that, in the interests of adapting CEFAS' structure to the longer term needs of its customers in an increasingly competitive market, the programme of work currently carried out at Conwy should be transferred to other CEFAS sites. As a result, the agency plans to vacate the Conwy laboratory by March 2000. It is intended to move the shellfish and fish cultivation work programme and the majority of staff presently based at Conwy to the CEFAS Weymouth laboratory, and the work on coastal zone management and the environmental effects of fishing to the agency's laboratory at Lowestoft. CEFAS has initiated a resettlement programme that will allow as many as possible of the science specialists at Conwy to continue their work at the new locations. Redundancies will be kept to a minimum. Recognisising local concerns, in disposing of the Conwy site we will be sympathetic to bids that propose to make use of the facilities to support the Welsh fishing industry.

The consolidation of work at CEFAS' laboratories at Weymouth and Lowestoft will improve the utilisation of existing facilities. It will enable the agency to provide a

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more cost effective service to its customers and enhance its position as a world leader in the areas of environment, fisheries and aquaculture science.

Spongiform Encephalopathy Committee

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide updated details of the commercial and non-commercial interests of the members of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee which would potentially conflict with responsibilities incumbent on a member of the Committee.[HL3093]

Lord Donoughue: Members of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Committee (SEAC) are not required by law to declare their commercial and non-commercial interests as this is a scientific advisory committee with no trading or financial objectives. However, in the interests of open government, the members of SEAC provide such information and the interests declared by members are listed in the following table.

Commercial interests Non-commercial interests
SEAC MemberName of organisationNature of interestsName of organisationNature of interests
Professor Sir John R. Pattison (Chairman)NoneNoneMedical Research CouncilSenior Medical Adviser to the Chief Executive
Dr. R. G. Will (Deputy Chairman)UnileverShare holdingDepartment of HealthGrant Holder
SmithKline BeechamShare holdingScottish Home and Health Dept.Grant Holder
Marks and SpencerShare holdingMedical Research CouncilGrant Holder
European Commissioned BIOMEDProgramme Grant Holder
Office International des Epizooties Expert Group on BSE and Related diseases (1990-present)Adviser
World Health OrganisationAdviser
European UnionMember of the Multi-disciplinary Scientific Committee
Professor Dr. A. AguzziBoehringer IngelheimConsultancies on an occasional basisSwiss National Foundation No: 31-36059.92 3100-040827.94Principal investigator
Abbott Laboratories (Chicago)Support of some laboratory costs e.g. care of mice, instrumentationCancer League of the Kanton ZurichPrincipal investigator
Immuno A G (Vienna)Support of some laboratory costs e.g., care of mice, instrumentationEuropean Union No. BMHI-CT93-1142Co-investigator
National Institutes of Health USA No 1-ROI-NS33377-01Co-investigator
Swiss National Research Program NFP38 & NFP38+Principal investigator
Professor J. W. AlmondMedevaConsultantSociety for General MicrobiologyMember of Council
Cobra TherapeuticsConsultantBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research CouncilChairman of the Working Group of the Biology of the Spongiform Encephalopathies Programme
Arpex Biosciences Ltd.Consultant
Professor R. M. AndersonScientific Advisory Boards:The Wellcome TrustGovernor
--DecodeMember of Board
--IMSMember of Board
IBHSC Ltd.Director
Dr. C. J. Bostock (Appointed as an expert from the Institute for Animal Health (IAH), a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council sponsored institute)Marks and Spencer plcShare holdingThe UK and some overseas GovernmentResearch contracts with the IAH
J Sainsbury plcShare holdingNon-governmental organisations and companies, spanning a wide range of interests including food, agriculture, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Further details of the customers of IAH can be found on the Institute's Web Site ( contracts with the IAH
Mr. R. BradleyTaylor By-ProductsAdviserMinistry of Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodAdviser
European Natural Sausage Casings AssociationAdviserVeterinary Laboratories AgencyAdviser
Meat and Livestock CommissionAdviserWorld Health OrganisationAdviser
National Dairy CouncilAdviserOffice International des EpizootiesAdviser
Jackson and Walker (Attorneys, Counsellors)AdviserEuropean Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal ProductsAdviser
Kraft, Jacobs, SuchardAdviserFood and Agriculture Organisation (UN)Adviser
National Renderers Association Inc.AdviserEuropean CommissionAdviser
Fats and Proteins Research Foundation Inc.AdviserNational Governments and individuals; especially in Africa, Europe and the AmericasAdviser
Dr. R. OberthurAdviser
F. D. Bisplinghof and Associates Inc.Adviser
Profesor F. BrownNoneNoneNoneNone
Professor J. CollingeNoneNoneWellcome TrustResearch Grant Holder
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research CouncilResearch Grant Holder
Department of HealthResearch Grant Holder
European Commission BIOMED programmeResearch Grant Holder
Medical Research CouncilResearch Grant holder
Motor Neurone Disease AssociationChairman, Research Advisory Panel
World Health OrganisationAdviser
Professor A. FergusonNoneNoneMedical Research CouncilGrant Holder
Scottish Home and Health DepartmentGrant Holder
Wellcome TrustGrant Holder
Marlow FoodsGrant Holder re. clinical research
NorgineAdviser, collaborations re. clinical research
Astra PharmaceuticalsAdviser, collaborations re. clinical research
NutriciaAdviser, collaboraitons re. clinical research
Shering PloughCollaborations re. clinical research
Dr. P. N. GoodfellowSmithKline Beecham PharmaceuticalsSenior Vice President, Discovery Worldwide. (Head of research worldwide)
SmithKline BeechamShare holding
Axys (an American Biotechnology Company)Share holding
Hexagene (a UK Biotechnology Company)Major share holding
Professor W. HuestonMullin, Hoard and Brown (Solicitors)ConsultantFood & Drug Administration (USA)Adviser
Professor H. KimbellBass plcSmall share holding
Tesco's plcSmall share holding
Dr. R. H. KimberlinPharmaceutical Industry (world-wide)ConsultantNational Governments in Europe, the Americas and AustralasiaAdviser
Meat and Livestock CommissionConsultant
Dr. M. J. PainterNoneNoneNoneNone
Mr. D. B. PepperThe Veterinary Defence Society Ltd.Director and Claims ConsultantNoneNone
Pfizer Animal Health (Pfizer Ltd.)Adviser
Intervet International BV (Netherlands)Adviser
Intervet UK Ltd.Adviser
Professor P. G. SmithNoneNoneDepartment of HealthGrant Holder
Dr. W. A. WatsonFarmerNoneNone
Pan LivestockAdviser
Huntings plcAdviser
Landell Mills plcAdviser

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