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Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): There are 13 pesticide products that hold current approval under the Control of Pesticides

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Regulations for use by the general public specifically to protect clothes from moths. Information on these products is given in the table below.

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Product Name Marketing Company Pesticidal Active SubstanceHSE Registration Number
Dragon Brand Moth BallsRA Davies and Partners LtdNaphthalene5385
Jertox Moth BallsThornton and Ross LtdNaphthalene5057
MothaksSara Lee Household and Body Care UKNaphthalene 1,4-dichlorobenzene5124
Phernal Brand Moth BallsHarrow Drug CompanyNaphthalene5740
STV Traditional Moth BallsSTV International LtdNaphthalene7432
Traditional Moth BallsRentokil Initial UK LtdNaphthalene7383
Vapona MothaksAshe Consumer Products LtdNaphthalene 1,4-dichlorobenzene5682
Bouchard Anti Moth Proofer PouchesIBA UK Ltd1,4-dichlorobenzene6403
Active Moth DefenceGlobol AircarePermethrin7609
Baygon Moth PaperBayer plcTransfluthrin6228
Raid Lavender MothprooferJohnson Wax LtdPermethrin5646
Rentokil Moth ControlRentokil Initial UK LtdPermethrin7610
Bouchard Hanging MothprooferIBA UK LtdPermethrin7643

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Depleted Uranium

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

    What guidance is given by the Government to the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities with regard to sites where depleted uranium is used in the manufacture of ordnance or for any other purpose in the United Kingdom; and when that guidance was last updated and how.[HL3215]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Depleted uranium is no longer used in the manufacture of ordnance. The regulators are fully aware of the issues that need to be addressed in the regulation of the storage or disposal of depleted uranium. The Government do not presently see a need for guidance on this issue.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the event of approval being given for the importation and growing in the United Kingdom of genetically modified foods, whether they will ensure that full product liability lies with the biotechnology companies.[HL3575]

Lord Whitty: Decisions on the commercial importation or cultivation of GM crops are taken at EU-level. Approval will not be given unless the relevant authorities are satisfied that all appropriate measures are being taken to avoid adverse effects on human health and the environment.

In relation to liability for environmental damage, there are specific provisions in Part VI of the Environmental Protection Act giving powers to the courts and the Secretary of State to remedy harm that results from the commission of an offence. Further

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to this, EU member states have recently reached political agreement on an environmental liability directive that will cover the deliberate release of GMOs and contained use of microbiological GMOs in respect of damage to European protected species and natural habitat types. In this context, the relevant biotechnology company may be held liable for damage caused by one of its products. We will consider how the directive is to be implemented in the UK when the details have been finalised.

For liability in respect of economic loss, currently there are no specific provisions under UK law in relation to GMO releases. Depending on the circumstances, however, a claim for redress could be made through the courts under existing general legal principles. In addition, the Government are awaiting a report from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission on co-existence and liability issues in respect of GM crops. We will consider our policy further in the light of that report.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether in their opinion, genetic modification of plants and animals is a procedure radically different from traditional and conventional plant and animal breeding; and, if so, whether they will say so.[HL3580]

Lord Whitty: The ultimate goal of genetic modification and conventional/traditional breeding is fundamentally the same in that they aim to produce more desirable genetic traits in plants and animals. Conventional plant and animal breeding harnesses the natural variation in organisms by crossing sexually compatible relatives. The varieties produced will contain a random mixture of genes from the two parents from which offspring with the desired characteristic are selected. Genetic modification differs in that gene manipulation can be achieved across species boundaries in a specific and targeted approach and as a result can introduce new traits into

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a plant or animal which in some cases could not be achieved through conventional breeding.

Both genetic modification and conventional breeding can result in varieties which exhibit beneficial and/or non-beneficial effects. Therefore, all products undergo extensive testing at the early stages of development to select those which have desirable traits and reject those that do not. It is recognised that genetic modification presents a novel method of introducing new genes and traits into plants and animals which has the potential to introduce valuable traits but may conversely present new risks. It is for this reason that legislation is in place to ensure that all GM plants and animals must undergo a thorough risk assessment for human health and the environment before any approval for use is given.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is evidence of increased lignin and coarse fibre in genetically modified maize, or an increase in malformed bolls in genetically modified cotton.[HL3628]

Lord Whitty: I understand there is evidence that some varieties of maize genetically modified for insect resistance may contain more lignin in their stems than non-GM counterparts. Similarly studies carried out in America have identified an increase in deformed and lost cotton bolls in herbicide-tolerant cotton when grown under certain environmental conditions.

Potential effects of lignin content and cotton boll formation in GM maize and cotton are taken into account in consideration of the risk assessment carried out by advisory committees and regulatory authorities in the approval of genetically modified plants. Variations in lignin content and cotton bolls may not necessarily present a safety issue but may affect the agronomic performance of the plant and consequently have an affect on crop yield.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether viruses or bacteria have been introduced into genetically modified plants for the purpose of increasing their resistance to herbicides.[HL3629]

Lord Whitty: Whole viruses and bacteria have not been introduced into genetically modified plants for the purpose of increasing their resistance to herbicides.

A soil bacterium (agrobacterium) is, in some instances, used as part of the process of producing genetically modified plants, but the bacteria are removed at the very earliest stage of the process. This means that genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant plants are not likely to contain any additional bacteria. All plants, including crops, naturally contain large and diverse bacterial populations.

Regarding the genetic material that is inserted into crops to make them more tolerant to particular herbicides, some of these sequences are obtained from bacteria and viruses. Genes conferring herbicide tolerance are sometimes obtained from bacteria, while sequences from plant viruses are used to ensure that these genes function correctly within the plant.

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Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What effect genetically modified crops have on the supply of food to wildlife.[HL3710]

Lord Whitty: The effect of any crop, including GM crops, on the supply of food to wildlife will vary according to the characteristics of the particular crop, its management, such as weed and other pest control measures, and how much the crop itself is utilised as a source of food by wildlife.

The effects on the supply of food to wildlife from the cultivation of each particular GM crop would be carefully assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the criteria set in European Directive 2001/18 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.

In the specific case of GM herbicide-tolerant oil seed rape, beet and maize, the effect of the management of these crops on the supply of food to wildlife is being studied in the GM crop farm-scale evaluations. We expect the results of this government-funded research study for spring-sown crops to be published in September 2003.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they fund activities of GM Nation; and, if so, by how much per year.[HL3724]

Lord Whitty: The GM public debate ("GM Nation?") is one strand of the GM dialogue announced by government in July 2002. The debate is being managed by an independent steering board at arm's length from government. The Government have provided funding of £500,000 for the debate, which includes contributions from the devolved Administrations. The public debate steering board is due to submit its report to the Government in September, and no further funding is anticipated.

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