Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes: Membership

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The names and qualifications of the members of the

19 Oct 1998 : Column WA131

Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes are published in the Annual Report. A list of the current membership is also attached to the press releases announcing meetings of the committee. Copies of all these documents are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Salmon Fishing

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of the recommendations of the Environment Agency that a 10-year ban on fishing for salmon with rod and line be imposed on rivers in England and Wales, they will take immediate steps to close down the North East coast drift net fisheries.[HL3344]

Lord Donoughue: The Environment Agency has not recommended a 10-year ban on fishing for salmon by rod in England and Wales. The agency is however considering a range of measures to reduce exploitation of spring salmon: these include postponing the start of the salmon netting season and requiring the release of all salmon caught by rod in the first half of the year. It is currently consulting its statutory advisory committees, and, in the light of the advice it receives, will decide whether to proceed with formal proposals.

Sand Eel Population: Protection

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to protect the sand eel population around the coasts of the United Kingdom.[HL3345]

Lord Donoughue: The Government set annual restrictions on sand eel fishing in the inshore fisheries around the Shetland Islands and Western Isles. In addition, they have proposed to the European Commission the introduction of a seasonal ban on sand eel fishing off the North Sea coast from the Orkneys to Humberside. This would be an international closure introduced through European Community rules.

Unidentified Flying Objects

Lord Hill-Norton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Gilbert on 3 September (WA 60), whether airports, observatories, RAF bases and police stations are still required to forward details of any report they receive of an unidentified flying object to the Ministry of Defence, or whether such action is now only discretionary, following the April 1997 review of procedures.[HL3313]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): There is no requirement for anyone to submit 'UFO' sighting reports to the MoD, other than for

19 Oct 1998 : Column WA132

military air defence purposes. However, any reports sent to the department will be given the attention they deserve, commensurate with the quality of information provided.

Defence Diversification

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the paper by Ian S. Goudie on Defence Diversification published by the International Security Information Service; what conclusions they have drawn; and what action they are proposing to take.[HL3319]

Lord Gilbert: The Government have considered the paper submitted by Mr. Goudie as part of the consultation process following publication of the Green Paper "Defence Diversification: Getting the most out of defence technology", Cm 3861.

A wide range of comments were received and the Government are grateful to all those who commented. The views received have, as far as possible, been taken into account in reaching conclusions. These will be published in the form of a White Paper later in the autumn.

Military Attachments: Estonia and Latvia

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to attach, as military advisers, an officer of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to the Ministries of Defence of Estonia and Latvia as they have done to the Ministry of Defence of Lithuania.[HL3334]

Lord Gilbert: We attach great importance to defence co-operation with the Baltic States and continue to provide military-related assistance to them in accordance with their priorities. The attachment of a military officer to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MoD) was to meet a specific Lithuanian requirement for advice on military training. Although we have no specific plans for military attachments elsewhere in the region at the moment, we keep our defence assistance programmes under review, considering all requests for assistance as they arise.

Northern Ireland: Abortion Laws

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the answer made by Lord Dubs on 5 October (H.L. Deb., Col. 228), whether government time will be made available in the House of Commons for a Private Member's Bill seeking to extend the abortion laws to Northern Ireland; and whether they accept the principle established by John Major MP that the existing laws will not be changed either by a government initiative or by the

19 Oct 1998 : Column WA133

    provision of government time, until a majority of Northern Ireland's elected representatives request such a change.[HL3377]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): It is not normal practice to give assurance about whether government time will be found for a Private Member's Bill on any issue. In Northern Ireland terms abortion law is a criminal justice matter and therefore "reserved" to Westminster. This means that any change to existing legislation might be brought about either by legislation at Westminster or, with the consent of the Secretary of State and Parliament, by the devolved administration in Northern Ireland. However, the Government would expect any proposals for change be brought forward on this sensitive issue to reflect extensive consultation with local opinion and with the elected representatives of Northern Ireland.

19 Oct 1998 : Column WA134

Minister for the Disabled

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a single Minister has been designated "Minister for the Disabled" or whether there are still several Ministers with such responsibilities in different Government departments.[HL3335]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Equal Opportunities, Mrs. Margaret Hodge, has a cross-Whitehall interest in disability issues and has been designated Minister for Disabled People. However, given the important responsibilities of other departments in this area, other Ministers continue to have responsibility for specific policies and programmes in relation to disabled people. Ministers and officials work together across departments to ensure close co-ordination on these policies and programmes.

19 Oct 1998 : Column WA133

   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page