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13 Oct 2000 : Column WA57

Written Answers

Friday, 13th October 2000.

Consular Representation

Lord Roper asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In which of those member states of the Council of Europe whose citizens require a British visa there is no British embassy or consular representative; and what plans they have to establish embassies in such countries.[HL4036]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The only country which falls into this category is Moldova. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is considering in its annual budgeting round how best to use the resources obtained in the 2000 spending review to enhance its network of posts to deliver its objectives and public service agreement. The case for a post in Moldova will be considered in this context.


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish an updated table showing the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain each week in the current year to date, together with the moving annual total of cases reported in each 52-week period.[HL4068]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The following table shows the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain during each week of 2000 to date, together with the moving total of cases reported for each 52-week period.

Week endingNo. confirmed each week52 week total reported

It should be noted that the rate of confirmation may not closely reflect the progress of the epidemic. This is because there may be a variable and sometimes long delay between slaughter and confirmation as a result of delays in laboratory diagnosis and administrative procedures. The delay between slaughter and confirmation is on average six to eight weeks but may on occasion be considerably longer.


Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to control the spread of ragwort.[HL4071]

Baroness Hayman: Ragwort is specified as an injurious weed under the Weeds Act 1959. Under the Act, MAFF is empowered to serve notice on any occupier of land requiring that person to control the spread of ragwort. For many years MAFF's priority has been to investigate complaints where ragwort threatens agriculturally based businesses.

However, in view of the lead responsibility MAFF now has for most issues relating to horses, careful thought is being given, in conjunction with equine interests, to how best to operate the Weeds Act in future while recognising that there may be considerable resource implications in any extension of the current policy.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they stated in a Written Answer by Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton on 26 July (WA 66) that "because the Wales Office only uses two cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency the provision of the level of detail requested may allow the identification of a ministerial vehicle while it is in use" when they were able to provide similar details about the two cars supplied by the agency to the Scottish Office in a Written Answer by Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale on 6 July (WA 149).[HL4004)

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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The information that had been requested was given by Lord Falconer on 24 July 2000 (vol. 616, col. WA 15).

Millbank House: Smoking Policy

Viscount Simon asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What will be the smoking policy in the Millbank building in both private offices and in public rooms.[HL4040]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The policy agreed for Millbank House by the Offices Committee in its 6th Report (HL Paper 97) and subsequently approved by the House on 27 July is that smoking will be permitted in private offices only if all of the occupants of a room agree; and that smoking will not be permitted in any of the communal areas of the building (including the entrance lobby, the library, the refreshment facility, the conference rooms, corridors, staircases and lifts). There will be a rest room in which smoking will be permitted for the use of both staff and Members.

House of Lords: Smoking Policy

Viscount Simon asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the Health and Safety Commission's approved code of practice on smoking in the workplace will be implemented in the House of Lords.[HL4041]

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The Chairman of Committees: The Health and Safety Commission has recently announced that it favours the introduction of an approved code of practice on passive smoking at work but no such code has yet been issued. Responsibility for smoking policy in the House other than in staff offices rests, in the first instance, with the sub-committees of the Offices Committee. It will be for those sub-committees to consider any code if and when it is issued.

House of Lords Shop: Modern British Design

Baroness Whitaker asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What scope there is for using the House of Lords shop as a showcase for modern British design.[HL4089]

The Chairman of Committees: The merchandise on sale at the House of Lords gift shop is selected by the Refreshment Department, taking account of quality, price and appropriateness. I understand that the Refreshment Department keeps the product lines under constant review and any suggestions about the merchandise should be made to it. However, constraints of space mean that there are severe limits on the range of products which can be offered and any new lines would necessarily be at the expense of those currently stocked.

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