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Metropolitan Police District: Cost Benefit Analysis of Speed Cameras

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police tells me that those fatal collisions occurring at or near traffic camera sites are not recorded separately. However, the Police Research Group's Cost Benefit Analysis of Traffic Light and Speed Cameras, August 1996, showed that overall collision levels fell by 28 per cent at speed camera sites and 18 per cent at traffic light camera sites.

Persons Convicted of Homicide: Re-offending

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: During the period 1963 to date, a total of 94 persons in England and Wales are known to have been killed by persons who had been previously convicted of homicide in England and Wales.

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As with previous answers, the figure excludes persons who have been killed by those who may have been convicted outside England and Wales (for whom there is incomplete information) and persons who have been killed by those not previously convicted of homicide by reason of their mental state.

NHS Procurement

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for modernising NHS procurement.[HL3243]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has published the report of a Cabinet Office review of NHS procurement, which sets out a range of recommendations to develop NHS procurement. Copies have been placed in the Library. We have accepted the broad thrust of these recommendations and the Department of Health, NHS Trusts and the NHS Supplies Authority will now start to put in place the new arrangements to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of purchasing and supply in the NHS.

A key recommendation was to establish a supplies co-ordination body, drawn from the existing NHS Supplies Authority purchasing and strategy functions, to provide a stronger central focus for procurement work. We are announcing today our intention to establish an NHS purchasing and supply agency from 1 April 2000 to take this work forward in the Department of Health.

Environmental Impact Assessments

Lord Gladwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to institute a public consultation on the implementation of the European Union Directives on Environmental Impact Assessments in the light of evidence of accelerated loss of England's grasslands to the plough.[HL2810]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Council Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended by 97/11/EC, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment has been implemented by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 for projects which are "development" within the meaning in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The regulations came into force on 14 March 1999 following three public consultation papers in July 1997, December 1997 and July 1998. In England, the specific provisions of the directive relating to "uncultivated land or semi-natural areas" which do not constitute "development" fall to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to implement.

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MAFF has been working for some time with the statutory environmental agencies (Countryside Agency, English Nature, Environment Agency and English Heritage) to develop workable proposals which strike the right balance between protecting the environment and avoiding over-regulation. These proposals will be subject to public consultations in due course.

Privatised London Bus Companies: Passenger Communications

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any responsibility to ensure that customers of privatised bus companies in London should be able to communicate with the companies.[HL2844]

Lord Whitty: In London, bus companies that operate services on behalf of London Transport Buses (LTB) are committed to the London Bus Passenger's Charter. They are expected to abide by LTB's own code of practice to deal with passenger inquiries and LTB audit company correspondence to monitor compliance with the code. In London companies are contractually obliged to display, within their buses, their address where passenger comments should be directed in the first instance. If a passenger has reported a grievance and remains dissatisfied with the company's response, he or she can take the matter further with LTB and then ultimately with the London Regional Passengers Committee whose addresses must also be displayed in the same way.

Estonia: Visit by Glenda Jackson MP

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the purpose of the visit to Estonia by the Minister of Transport, Glenda Jackson MP, on 2 and 3 June; and what it achieved.[HL2825]

Lord Whitty: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the honourable Member for Hampstead and Highgate, visited Estonia at the request of the Estonian Government on the 2 and 3 June 1999 to meet with the Estonian Foreign, Environment and Transport Ministers and to promote British business in Estonia.

Fruitful discussions were held over a variety of topics with the three Estonian Ministers, including trade and export promotion dossiers, environment and transport issues and Estonia's preparations for entry into the European Union. The ministerial meetings will be followed up by work at official level on strengthening contacts between the UK and Estonia in the fields of environment and transport and on assisting Estonia with its adoption of the EU acquis communautaire in these areas.

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Slaughterhouses

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a slaughterhouse owner should be prosecuted for an error on the part of one of his staff which gives rise to an alleged offence under the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations or the Specified Risk Materials Regulations if officials of the Meat Hygiene Service are not prosecuted for their errors which also give rise to alleged offences under the same regulations.[HL3013]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): It is the responsibility of the occupier to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 and the Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 within a slaughterhouse. The Meat Hygiene Service has an independent supervisory and enforcement role and therefore cannot be held responsible for any failure to comply with these regulations on the part of the occupier.

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it expects the forthcoming closure of a large number of slaughterhouses, as a result of the costs of financing increased veterinary hours, to be followed by an increase in illegal slaughtering; and what measures are proposed to detect and combat this.[HL3032]

Lord Donoughue: Closure of slaughterhouses takes place for many different reasons. If there is an increase in illegal slaughtering my department will seek to take enforcement action to prevent it.

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any statutory prohibition on the use of knife scabbards in slaughterhouse operations.[HL3042]

Lord Donoughue: No. However, because scabbards can act as dirt traps their use is discouraged, other than for health and safety reasons (eg in carrying knives between work stations). It is considered good practice to sterilise a knife after removal from a scabbard and before use on fresh meat.

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the practice of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to initiate prosecutions of slaughterhouse owners or operators for alleged breaches of Specified Risk Material Regulations when there is no history of any previous offences and the alleged breaches arise from genuine mistakes in circumstances where the incident is unlikely to be repeated.[HL3043]

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Lord Donoughue: It is the Government's policy to bring a prosecution for an offence under the Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 in any case in which it is considered that the evidence is sufficient and that it is in the public interest so to do. Part of that consideration necessarily includes any defences or mitigation that the prospective defendant might advance.

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether public safety is prejudiced if a slaughterhouse operator fails to stain a sheep's head in the prescribed manner, immediately on its removal, when the article is to be destroyed in an incinerator situated on the premises.[HL3044]

Lord Donoughue: Specified risk material (SRM, which includes sheep's heads) is required to be stained in order to ensure that all such material is disposed of properly and cannot be diverted into the human food or animal feed chains. Such a control remains necessary where SRM is removed and incinerated on the same premises because there would still be a risk that SRM could be diverted before incineration actually takes place.


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