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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government's strategy for making the broadband market more extensive and competitive was set out in the UK Online Annual Report in December 2001. There are already a number of companies providing Ethernet services in the UK.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government's aim of building a broadband Britain means making services available to as many people as possible. A key part of that strategy involves making various bands within the radio spectrum available to enable the market to develop a portfolio of technical solutions. Licences were awarded in the 28GHz band that provide coverage of over 60 per cent of the country. Industry has asked for additional spectrum at 3.4GHz to be made available. They can then choose the most appropriate method of delivering broadband to the business and residential markets.
Licences will be awarded through an auction process, as an auction process provides a fast, transparent, fair and economically efficient way of allocating the spectrum and allows the spectrum to be assigned to the operator who values it most.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: I have received a letter from the Manchester Evening News which highlights recent enforcement activity in respect of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 in the Greater Manchester area. I understand that my honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Competition, Consumers and Markets expects to reply to that letter shortly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): An overview and summary of responses to the consultation is available in the Library of the House. The full responses from the consultees are available on request from the Defra Library. With regard to a government response, we have to await the outcome of the National Audit Office and the Royal Society inquiries following the House of Lords vote on the Animal Health Bill on March 26.
Why they were unable to enter certain premises during the foot and mouth outbreak; and what was "the legal position" which made the contiguous cull "ineffective", as stated by Lord Whitty on 17 April (HL Deb, col. 984). [HL3918]
Lord Whitty: The Animal Health Act 1981 provides for the slaughter of animals which are affected with foot and mouth disease (FMD) or suspected of being so affected and of animals which have been in contact with affected animals or which appear to the Minister to have been in any way exposed to the infection of foot and mouth disease. This is the legal basis for the contiguous cull.
The Act does not provide for the slaughter of animals outside these categories. The contiguous cull was inhibited to some extent by disputes over whether particular animals had been exposed to FMD infection or not and was therefore not as effective as it might have been in some cases. The Government's Animal Health Bill would have provided additional powers, namely to slaughter animals in order to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease. This would enable preventive or firebreak culls to be carried out without the animals being affected by FMD or having been exposed to it, thereby speeding up eradication and reducing the overall number of animals that have to be culled.
The Animal Health Bill also provides for powers of entry which could facilitate a more effective and rapid cull both in circumstances that are in principle already covered by the 1981 Act and in the circumstances covered in the proposed amendment to the Act in the Bill. John B
Lord Whitty: There are currently no dogs being trained for the purpose of detecting illegal meats as we are still in the stage of identifying a provider and the training needs. We aim to have begun training for a pilot exercise by the end of this summer.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: University members of strategic health authorities will be appointed by the National Health Service Appointments Commission and will be full members of the board on which they serve with the same corporate responsibilities as other non-officer board members.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There is no defined period after the end of the financial year before which an annual report has to be published. The annual report for 200001 will be published during May.
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