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Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review Group: Report

Lord Evans of Watford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: We are pleased to announce that the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review Group's report was published on 9 March 2000. The group has carried out a very thorough and wide ranging examination of salmon and freshwater fisheries policy and legislation in England and Wales. We now intend to seek the views of interested parties; the consultation period will run until 31 July 2000. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House.

Epichlorohydrin: Stabiliser Use in Sheep Dips

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: Epichlorohydrin was used by the manufacturer of diazinon to stabilise this chemical, which was then incorporated as the active ingredient in various sheep dips by a number of different sheep dip manufacturers. Epichlorohydrin was withdrawn from the formulation of diazinon by the manufacturer in 1981. It was used by some individual sheep dip manufacturers subsequent to 1981 but records show that epichlorohydrin has not been used in any formulation of currently-authorised diazinon sheep dips since 1992. Records of products removed from the market subsequent to 1981 are incomplete and it is not possible to establish whether or when epichlorohydrin was withdrawn from those products.

Road Building Schemes: Cost-benefit Analysis

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): In the cost-benefit analysis of new road building schemes, leisure time is valued at £3.98 an hour in 1999 prices and values. Work time

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values are based on the cost of work time to employers. For car drivers, an average value of £16.28 an hour in 1999 prices and values is used. Decisions on road maintenance take account of the expected delays to traffic, valuing them at the same rates as are used for the analysis of new road building.

Public utilities and other undertakers have statutory rights to carry out street works to access their apparatus. Decisions about when and where to carry out street works are usually determined by commercial factors or customer service obligations. Undertakers do not normally need permission, except in certain protected streets. There is no requirement for them to assess the cost of delays to traffic caused by their work. However they must co-operate with street authorities (normally the highway or roads authorities) and other undertakers; and street authorities may give directions as to the timing of street works if they are likely to cause serious disruption to traffic which could be avoided or reduced if the works are carried out only at certain times (such as nights or weekends).

River Don

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in cleaning up the River Don in South Yorkshire from the effects of polluted minewater; whether any fresh breakouts of minewater are causing the Environment Agency concern; and in particular what steps are being taken by the agency to tackle the recurring pollution in Cranberry Holes Brook and its threat to the fish in the River Don.[HL1303]

Lord Whitty: Since the Bullhouse Minewater Treatment Plant came into operation in September 1998 there have been significant improvements in the downstream chemical and biological quality of the River Don, and in the number of fish in the river. Around the time the plant was commissioned, a number of ochre-coloured seepages appeared in the Cranberry Holes Dyke, most likely caused by groundwater movements resulting from the presence of the minewater treatment lagoon. The agency is monitoring these seepages and, if necessary, the dyke will be assessed for treatment. The agency does not currently consider the seepage a significant threat to fish in the River Don.

Hedgerows: Revised Draft Regulations

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reached any conclusions regarding the publication of revised draft regulations relating to hedgerows or whether the evaluation of the review group's recommendations which was under way in October 1999 is still continuing.[HL1377]

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Lord Whitty: We are currently evaluating the results of research by ADAS, published in November last year, into the Hedgerows Review Group's proposals. In the light of that, we expect to publish revised draft regulations for statutory consultation later this year.

Teenage Mothers: Supported Accommodation

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have invited organisations to apply for funding to provide care and support homes for teenage mothers; what guidelines have been issued to these organisations; and how many applications have been received and from whom.[HL1291]

Lord Whitty: The Housing Corporation invited registered social landlords (RSLs) in England to bid for funding to develop around 15 pilot schemes whose aim would be to test alternative approaches for providing supported accommodation for 16-18 year-old lone parents. The following RSLs submitted bids:


    Circle 33


    Croydon Churches


    Metropolitan Housing Trust


    Patchwork Community


    Hastings Community


    Sovereign


    Christian Alliance


    Girls Friendly


    Nottingham Community


    Tuntum


    Cygnet Housing


    Luton Churches


    Beth Johnson


    Accord


    Bromford


    Caldmore Area


    West Pennine


    St. Vincent's


    Manchester Methodists

The Housing Corporation is now working with the Department of Health's Teenage Pregnancy Unit to select from the bids a number of schemes as pilots.

GM Maize: Evaluation Programme

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in considering allowing the commercial planting of genetically modified maize, they intend to observe the criterion laid down last year (H.L. Deb., 27 May 1999, col. 1129) of limiting such planting of 20 fields for each crop per year.[HL1243]

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Lord Whitty: Genetically modified maize has received Europe wide consent for general cultivation, but the Government reached an agreement with the biotechnology industry, through the industry body SCIMAC, in November 1999, that no commercial planting of GM crops will take place outside the Farm Scale Evaluations programme until at least 2003.

The agreement with industry does not set specific limits for the number of GM fields that can be grown in any year, but SCIMAC have agreed to limit planting to the number of fields recommended by the independent Scientific Steering Committee overseeing the evaluations. This is expected to be about 20-25 fields of each crop each year and giving a total of around 60 to 75 fields of each crop over a three-year period.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to ascertain that planting of genetically modified crops is limited to 20 fields once the commercial release of seed has taken place.[HL1245]

Lord Whitty: The Government reached an agreement with the biotechnology industry, through the industry body SCIMAC, in November 1999, that no commercial planting of GM crops will take place outside the Farm Scale Evaluations programme until at least 2003.

The agreement with industry does not set specific limits for the number of GM fields that can be grown in any year, but SCIMAC have agreed to limit planting to the number of fields recommended by the independent Scientific Steering Committee overseeing the evaluations. This is expected to be about 20-25 fields of each crop each year and giving a total of around 60 to 75 fields of each crop over a three year period.

GM and Non-GM Crops: Distinction

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What training inspectors can receive to allow them to distinguish genetically modified from non-genetically modified crops; and whether suspected genetically modified crops exceeding the 20-field limit would be destroyed.[HL1246]

Lord Whitty: The current range of herbicide tolerant GM crops are only distinguishable from non-GM crops by their reaction to a particular herbicide or by analysis of their genetic content. At present this

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involves taking samples back to the laboratory. However, analytical methods for use in the field are being developed. Inspectors receive appropriate training.

GM crops may only be grown if an appropriate consent has been given in accordance with European Directive 90/220. Where applicable, enforcement action could be taken against a farmer growing a crop without a valid consent.


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