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Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs

Baroness Crawley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: We are delighted to announce the appointment of 13 members to the new Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs. This committee will provide valuable independent advice to the future food standards agency and agriculture Ministers. By examining the safety and use of animal feedingstuffs, which are an integral part of the food chain, the committee will play a key role in promoting food safety in the UK. Reviewing the implications of new developments, particularly the use of genetically modified materials, will be especially important.

The 13 members and their main area of expertise are Dr. Ian Brown (occupational health), Mr. John Cheetham (local authority enforcement), Dr. Andrew Chesson (animal nutrition), Mrs. Gilli Davies (consumer), Mr. Paul Foxcroft (animal by-products),

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Dr. John Heritage (novel technology), Mrs. Fiona Hodgson (lay member), Mr. Robert Moore (veterinary practice), Mr. Andrew Peddie (farming), Dr. Helen Raine (feed compounding), Dr. Desmond Rice (feed compounding and veterinary background), Professor Ian Shaw (toxicology) and Dr. Michael Stringer (microbiology), Professor Phillip Thomas was appointed chairman on 12 April.

Tuberculosis in Cattle

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the regular increase in tubercular lesions in cattle between 1995 and 1998, revealed in the Written Answer by Lord Donoughue on 1 July (WA 49), gives them cause for concern; and if so, what action they are taking.[HL3545]

Lord Donoughue: In August 1998, the Government announced a five-point strategy of research and controls to deal with bovine tuberculosis, taking forward the recommendations of Professors Krebs and Bourne. This strategy was recently endorsed by the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee as representing the best way forward. The Government's response to the committee's report was published on 5 July and sets out the steps being taken to control this disease.

Lindane

Viscount Hanworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ban the use of lindane for seed treatment.[HL3581]

Lord Donoughue: We have now banned the use of lindane to treat seeds in England, Scotland and Wales. We have considered carefully the representations received as a result of our announcement of 18 June that we planned to implement in full the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides. We understand that the decision will cause real difficulties to some companies and farmers, but we have not received any further evidence to suggest that the risk to operators from treating seed with lindane was significantly less than that assessed by the committee. We have therefore acted, with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Assembly to revoke the approvals for the use of lindane to treat seed as of 7 July. Similar steps are being taken in Northern Ireland.

The committee has advised that the risk to farmers from using lindane-treated seed is acceptably low. Farmers may also adopt other strategies to combat pests including other cereal seed treatments or crop sprays.

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Consumers may be reassured that other approved uses of lindane, which continue for the present, do not constitute an unacceptable risk to consumers.

Greenwich Millennium Village

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the proposed housing density at the Millennium Village development in Greenwich; and how it compares with the housing density in the Hampstead Garden Suburb or another comparable area.[HL3528]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Greenwich Millennium Village occupies a site of 14.6 hectares. The proposals are for the eventual construction of 1,377 dwellings. This results in a housing density of just over 94 dwellings per hectare. I understand that when Hampstead Garden Suburb was laid out the density ranged from eight to 12 houses per acre, depending on the type of housing involved. This corresponds to approximately 20 to 30 houses per hectare.

Musk: Illegal Imports

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken to prevent the importation of musk into the United Kingdom and the European Union.[HL3565]

Lord Whitty: The United Kingdom strictly implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which prohibits the import of products (including perfume) from the most endangered species of Musk deer (Moschus spp).

There is no recorded United Kingdom trade in wild musk pods during the last five years. Her Majesty's Customs and Excise report 29 seizures (comprising 50,000 items) of illegally imported musk products since 1994. All were ingredients in traditional medicine products.

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Galileo Global Positioning System

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there will be more than one level of precision available for the Galileo global positioning system.[HL3593]

Lord Whitty: The European Commission's communication Galileo--involving Europe in a new generation of satellite navigation services envisages three levels of service but no final decision has been taken on this proposal. The number of levels of service which could be provided for Galileo will be determined during the definition phase of the project, which has recently started.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the basic level of precision for the Galileo global positioning system will be freely available, as is currently the case with the United States global positioning system.[HL3594]

Lord Whitty: The European Commission's communication Galileo--involving Europe in a new generation of satellite navigation services envisages that the basic level of service would be freely available. However, no final decision has been taken on this proposal. Work during the definition phase will help determine how the system might be funded and its costs recovered.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the basic level of precision for the Galileo global positioning system will be of use as part of the guidance system of a missile.[HL3595]

Lord Whitty: The security aspects of the basic level of precision for the Galileo global positioning system are yet to be determined.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements are envisaged for the Galileo global positioning system so that appropriate and immediate action can be taken in the event of a hostile missile or unmanned aircraft attack being detected.[HL3596]

Lord Whitty: Work during the definition phase of Galileo will clarify and help to establish the exact details of the control, management and operation of any system. This work will also clarify what type of security controls might need to be incorporated into the system.

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