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The assessments were performed in accordance with a European technical guidance document. Based on this methodology, no risks have been formally identified for use in either polymers or textiles. However, some concerns remain due to its widespread presence in the environment and the possibility that it might degrade under some circumstances to more toxic substances. Consequently, the importers are required to perform further testing under Commission regulation (EC No. 565/2006) of 6 April 2006. Industry has also initiated a voluntary programme to reduce point-source emissions from the plastic and textile industries.

The assessment of human health risks was the responsibility of the French Government. The Health and Safety Executive commented on that report on behalf of HM Government.

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Rooker: In 2003, the Environment Agency commissioned a report on the prioritisation of flame retardants for environmental risk assessment. The aim of the study was to assess the use of, and risks associated with, flame retardants—in particular, to identify substances that might require detailed consideration in terms of their possible impact on the environment.

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It also considered issues concerning substitution of flame retardants. The study noted that little was known about the effects of many of the substances, including those sometimes proposed for use as environmentally friendly substitutes.

The new European regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (known as REACH) places on industry the responsibility to assess and understand the potential human health and environmental impacts of the substances that it produces in accordance with the principle of “no data, no market”. REACH also has the aim of replacing substances of very high concern, as defined by criteria in the regulation, with suitable alternatives. Industry will have to justify their continued use. These provisions will drive substitution of harmful substances and provide the assurance that the substitutes are less harmful than the substances that they replace.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The department is taking the following action:

Proportion of pork and bacon supplied to Defra of British origin

Defra intends to annually update its report on the proportion of domestically produced food used by Whitehall departments. The report is published on the PSFPI website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/policy/sustain/procurement/pdf/govt-food-usaqe.pdf.

Farm assurance, animal welfare, and health and nutrition

Information on Defra’s attention to these issues is given in the BPEX report Is the Government Buying British?, which was launched by the noble Lord in the House of Lords on 8 July.

Defra’s food contracts manager has scheduled meetings with the main catering contractors to review progress in updating Defra’s contract management manual and monitoring progress in delivering PSFPI objectives, including working in partnership to try to ensure that the bacon and pork served meets UK legal requirements on animal welfare. The main contractor has also been in correspondence with BPEX and recently met the National Pig Association to discuss the pork and bacon that they supply to government clients.

We have disseminated advice on animal welfare, health and nutrition across the public sector, including using the PSFPI website for this purpose. Defra will also be involved with the Department of Health on the new healthier food mark proposed by the Prime

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Minister’s Strategy Unit to provide more appetising and nutritional menus and to improve environmental sustainability in the public sector.

Review of purchasing policy

Defra holds regular meetings with its catering contractors which cover purchasing policy.

Government: Inspectors

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The specific information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Government: Regional Offices

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The primary role of regional development agencies (RDAs) is as strategic drivers of regional economic development in their region. The RDAs’ agenda includes regeneration, taking forward regional competitiveness, taking the lead on inward investment and, working with regional partners, ensuring the development of a skills action plan to ensure that skills training matches the needs of the labour market.

The table below sets out the total gross expenditure per RDA, as laid down in the statutory accounts, in each of the past five years.

RDAs2003-04 (£m)2004-05 (£m)2005-06 (£m)2006-07 (£m)2007-08 (£m)

AWM

315

345

320

329

306

EEDA

89

93

153

149

163

EMDA

115

106

141

144

148

LDA

258

244

325

455

386

NWDA

271

359

357

406

395

ONE

266

278

295

290

326

SEEDA

125

164

182

195

194

SWERDA

126

122

173

189

185

YF

298

308

293

339

365

The table below shows the RDAs’ spend on marketing and promotion of tourism in their region. Several RDAs deliver tourism marketing and promotion at

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regional, sub-regional and/or local levels through a third-party organisation(s). In these cases the amount has been included in the figures below.

RDAs2003-04 (£k)2004-05 (£k)2005-06 (£k)2006-07 (£k)2007-08 (£k)

AWM 1

0

700

700

700

1,150

EEDA

569

613

672

1,296

1,723

EMDA

101

266

2,499

2,273

2,016

LDA 2

0

16,217

14,743

14,847

15,241

NWDA

10

2,650

2,584

2,647

2,404

ONE

0

0

1,698

4,817

4,014

SEEDA

0

0

0

374

400

SWRDA

500

500

500

500

500

YF

360

1,300

1,000

2,880

3,100


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