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Fluoridated Water

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The conclusion that this was the optimal level was reached in the 1950s at the start of the fluoridation programme in the United Kingdom. No research findings or advice since then have altered that conclusion. Reliance was not placed on a single or small group of studies. However, The Fluoridation of Domestic Water Supplies in North America as a means of controlling Dental Caries: Report of the United Kingdom Mission (1953), Ministry of Health, Department of Health for Scotland, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (HMSO London), provides a useful summary. Other relevant studies, of which we have placed copies in the Library, are Domestic Water and Dental Caries: Dean HT, Jay P, Arnold FA and

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Elvove E (1941) Public Health Reports (Wash) 56 pp 761-792 and Caries Incidence and Enamel Defects in Areas with Different Levels of Fluoride in the Drinking Water: Forrest JR. (1956). Brit Dent J. 100 No 8 pp 195-200.

Tebuthiuron

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention of Environmental Modification for the herbicide Tebuthiuron to be used to eradicate illegal drug crops, in the course of military action in the "War on Drugs", when the chemical may leave the ground permanently unusable for agriculture and may permanently contaminate groundwater.[HL438]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The use of herbicides to eradicate illegal drug crops is not addressed by the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques.

Sheik al-Jamri

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether on 20 January, the third anniversary of the detention without charge or trial of Sheikh Abdul Amir al-Jamri in Bahrain, they will comply with the request by his family that the British Embassy in Manama should ask to visit him in prison.[HL431]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer given on 19 May 1998 (WA 156). The situation has not changed. The Bahraini authorities have again assured our Ambassador in Bahrain that Sheikh al-Jamri has been visited regularly by the International Committee for the Red Cross and members of his family. He has access to medical treatment whenever he wishes, and also when the authorities think it is prudent.

Nedzad Hasic, Ahmo Harbasa and Behudin Husic

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps, with other member states of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, to secure the release of Nedzad Hasic, Ahmo Harbasa and Behudin Husic, survivors from Srebrenica who are now serving long jail sentences in the Republic of Serbia following their conviction by the court in Bijeljina in a process regarded as unjust by the High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[HL433]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government fully support the efforts of the High Representative and the OSCE in upholding the civil

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rights of these three prisoners. The Republic of Serbia Government is well aware of the international community's concerns. Robert Barry (OSCE Head of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina) has pressed the President of the Republic of Serbia Supreme Court to conduct appeal hearings at the earliest opportunity. We continue to monitor the situation.

Infectious Salmon Anaemia

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Sewel on 3 September 1998 (WA 54-55), how many fish farming sites have notified an outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anaemia since then.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): My Answer of 3 September indicated that there were eight sites in which Infectious Salmon Anaemia had been confirmed. This should have read nine, the ninth site being in Loch Nevis. Since then, the disease has been confirmed on one further site, in Shetland, (on 18 September 1998) and suspected on four others (the most recent cases announced on 18 December 1998). This brings the total of confirmed sites to 10 and the total of suspected sites to 15.

Scotland: Human Rights Act 1998

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to discuss with public authorities involved in the criminal justice system in Scotland the implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the statutory duties that will rest on members of the Scottish Executive, when they take up office, to act in a manner compatible with Convention rights.[HL510]

Lord Sewel: We intend to table this issue for discussion at the next meeting of the Criminal Justice Forum, which is due to take place on 19 March.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish details of any advice being given to members of the public authorities involved in the criminal justice system in Scotland about the implications for their work of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the statutory duties that will rest upon members of the Scottish Executive to act in a manner compatible with Convention rights.[HL511]

Lord Sewel: We are preparing guidance which will be made available to public authorities and other interested parties on the European Convention on Human Rights implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 1998.

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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps to arrange that the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland publishes the report it is preparing into the implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 for policing Scotland.[HL512]

Lord Sewel: That is a matter for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.

Scotland: Access Policy

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are developing a national strategy for countryside access in Scotland; and if so, when it will be published.[HL550]

Lord Sewel: Proposals to improve access to the countryside in Scotland have been received from Scottish Natural Heritage and an announcement will be made shortly.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether increased informal public access to the countryside in Scotland will lead to benefits in terms of:


    (a) increasing the use of non-motorised transport;


    (b) improving physical and psychological health through participation;


    (c) increasing awareness of countryside issues;


    (d) diversifying land use;

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    (e) increasing social inclusion and self-esteem; and


    (f) increasing income generation through tourism.[HL552]

Lord Sewel: There will be many benefits accruing from increased access to Scotland's countryside, including those listed by the noble Earl.

Cycling and Horse Riding: Integration with Walking

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they expect to integrate cycling and horse-riding with walking.[HL551]

Lord Sewel: The Government will look to integrating cycling and horse riding with walking where appropriate.

Scotland: Footpath Maintenance

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will have any plans to introduce a scheme of funding for public footpath maintenance in Scotland, to complement the existing funding for footpath creation.[HL567]

Lord Sewel: I understand that Scottish Natural Heritage is currently considering various options for securing the funds needed for the long-term maintenance of path networks established under its Paths for All initiative. Recipients of capital grant from SNH towards footpath creation, however, have a responsibility for maintaining that investment.

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