Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Illegally Operated Goods Vehicles

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The provisions of the Transport Act 2000 that introduced the impounding of illegally operated goods vehicles apply only to British registered vehicles. Foreign registered vehicles entering the UK must carry a certified copy of a Community authorisation as evidence that they comply with their own domestic operator licensing legislation of the state in which they are based. Vehicles without the required documentation can be prohibited and directed out of the country. The driver can also be prosecuted. Such offences are normally reported to the licensing authorities in the country of origin.


Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: In common with the majority of other European Union member states, the UK Government do not support the European Commission's proposals for mandatory targets applied uniformly to every state, as originally proposed by the European Commission in the Biofuels directive. In order to maintain the UK's ability to set national policy on the basis of the UK's own domestic circumstances, the Government favour the adoption of flexible, indicative targets; an approach endorsed by the European Scrutiny Committee of both Houses of Parliament.

The Government actively support the use of transport biofuels, in particular through the 20 pence per litre reduction in fuel duty on biodiesel—due to come into effect shortly—and through the further round of the Green Fuels Challenge, offering zero duty for pilots demonstrating innovative technologies for environmentally beneficial fuels.

Reaction Force Proposal

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We envisage that the Territorial Army would provide the command, control and administrative framework for the proposed reaction forces. But members from all the

18 Jul 2002 : Column WA176

volunteer reserve forces may elect to serve in them. The contribution from each of the reserve forces will not be known until the consultation process now under way is complete and individuals from each of the volunteer reserve forces have elected to be members of the reaction force. Those individuals would remain members of their parent units and train as normal for their current roles but would be earmarked as being available for the reaction force if required.

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what extent there was consultation between the Ministry of Defence and the Territorial Army in formulating proposals for a reaction force as outlined in the recent discussion document The Role of the Reserves in Home Defence and Security.[HL5122]

Lord Bach: Officers from the volunteer reserves, some of whom have permanent posts within the Ministry of Defence in London, were closely involved in the production of the reaction force proposal, as set out in the discussion document we published in June. The consultation process now under way with the reserves, their employers and other interested parties seeks to gain the views of the wider reserves community.


Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they are giving to the resolution approved on 24 May by the General Assembly of the World Federation of Haemophilia calling on all governments to provide financial recompense for the suffering caused to people with haemophilia by iatrogenic infection by the hepatitis C virus; and what information they have on the schemes for recompense already adopted or proposed by Ministers in other states in the European Union.[HL4917]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We deeply regret that so many people with haemophilia were infected with hepatitis C through blood products. As soon as a technology became available to make blood products free from hepatitis C the National Health Service introduced it.

This Government and their predecessor have held that compensation is paid to patients only when the National Health Service has been at fault and that an exception to this rule is not justified in the case of haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C.

We have asked member states to provide information on any relevant scheme that they may have. I will write to my noble friend when this information is available and will place a copy of my letter in the Library.

18 Jul 2002 : Column WA177

Laming Report

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Laming report has not yet been published; when it will be published; and when a response to the report will be issued.[HL5143]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Lord Laming continues to receive evidence and to consider it, and intends to complete his report later this year. It will be published, following its receipt by the Secretaries of State for Health and for the Home Department, and will be made widely available. They will respond to the report when they have considered its findings and recommendations.

Disability Equipment

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there has been any significant improvement in disability equipment since the National Audit Commission's report.[HL5144]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Plan set targets to integrate health and social care community equipment services and to increase by 50 per cent the number of people who can benefit from such services by 2004. A National Implementation Support Team has been established to help local National Health Service and social services organisations through the transition from separate to integrated services, encouraging and supporting them to make appropriate investment in equipment services to meet the NHS Plan targets. Team members report that good progress is being made in some areas; £30.75 million has been invested in modernisation of hearing aid services. Almost one-third of the country will be covered by digital sites by March 2003. Initial evaluation of the pilot study showed significant benefits for people provided with digital hearing aids as part of a modernised service.

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What machinery has been established to monitor the quality of disability equipment.[HL5148]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: the Medical Devices Agency (MDA) has specific responsibility on behalf of the Secretary of State to safeguard public health where medical devices are involved. Disability equipment comes within this oveall remit.

All incidents reported to the MDA concerning the quality or safety of equipment are considered, and if the investigtion highlights a need for an improvement in design, usage or servicing information for a piece of equipment, appropriate action is taken with the manufacturer/supplier concerned.

The MDA has also issued comprehensive guidance to health services relating to the management of medical devices including the provision of appropriate

18 Jul 2002 : Column WA178

reporting procedures. This guidance has now been incorporated into the new NHS controls assurance standards for medical devices to give all health services basic standards in this area.

Framework agreements facilitated by National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA) are undetaken in line with public procurement regulations and incorporate clauses requiring adherence to the Medical Devices Regulations in relation to CE marking and the relevant European (where available) or British standards.

NHS PASA has procedures in place in various commodity areas requesting NHS trusts etc to provide feedback information on the quality of suppliers performance and goods/services which can then be utilised to identify recurring issues. These are then discussed with the supplier or details are passed on to MDA where appropirate, to overcome the issues wherever possible.

Medical Devices Agency

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the 2001-02 annual report and accounts of the Medical Devices Agency.[HL5386]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The report and accounts of the Medical Devices Agency have today been laid before the House of Commons pursuant to Section 7 of the Governemnt Resources and Accounts Act 2000. Copies have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Compulsory Vaccination Powers

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether at the time of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 their officials had the powers of entry necessary to carry out a compulsory programme of vaccination against foot and mouth disease; and, if not, when this was first disclosed to Parliament.[HL4997]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Enviroment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Officials had the necessary powers of entry to carry out a compulsory vaccination programme during the 2001 outbreak under Section 16 of the Animal Health Act 1981. This section gives powers to vaccinate and enter a premises for the purpose of vaccination with respect of animals which (a) have been in contact with a diseased animal (b) appear to Ministers to be or to have been in any way exposed to the infection of disease or (c) are in an infected area. For this purpose the whole of Great Britain was considered an infected area as it had been declared a controlled area.

18 Jul 2002 : Column WA179

The Government have sought to enhance these powers of entry to premises through provisions in the Animal Health Bill. Currently, if a farmer refused to allow his animals to be vaccinated he could be subject to a court injunction which would potentially delay vaccination to the point of rendering the vaccination programme ineffective. The new powers in the Bill would enable inspectors to seek a magistrate's warrant granting entry to premises for vaccination purposes. This more rapid procedure would be subject to certain conditions provided in the Bill being met.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page