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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Prior to deployment, UK troops undergo cultural awareness training specific to Afghanistan. Once in theatre, all NATO forces follow guidance issued by Commander ISAF in September 2008 on how to conduct themselves when working with the Afghan people. ISAF forces also work closely with their Afghan counterparts and political and tribal leaders to ensure that the planning and conduct of operations fully takes account of local cultural conditions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 17 December (WA 4243), whether the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes has responded to the request for advice from the Food Standards Agency in relation to the safety of genetically modified crops; and, if so, with what results. [HL2031]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The committee considered the scientific reports referred to in the previous Written Answer at its meeting on 20 February 2009 and advised that, although some differences were reported between laboratory animals given diets that contained a genetically modified (GM) crop variety and those given a non-GM variety, no conclusions can be drawn from these reports about the safety of GM crops. The minutes of the meeting will be published in due course on the committee's website at www.acnfp. gov.uk.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The work to replace fuel seals on the Nimrod fleet was delayed by the requirement to manufacture a large number of new seals which the manufacturer did not hold in
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Baroness Taylor of Bolton: Nimrod aircraft will not fly after 31 March 2009 unless the engine bay hot air ducts have been replaced. There will be sufficient Nimrod aircraft available to continue to support all anticipated homeland defence and SAR operations and, on current planning, Nimrod aircraft will return to overseas operations by early summer 2009. During this period we will use other UK and coalition assets to maintain an effective surveillance capability overseas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with United Kingdom airlines operating Boeing 777 aircraft about passenger safety, in particular the accident investigator's conclusion that there is a high probability of further accidents caused by icing on aircraft's fuel-oil heat exchanger (FOHE). [HL2223]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Air Accident Investigation Branch, which is investigating the accident at Heathrow in January 2008, has not concluded that there is a high probability of further accidents caused by fuel icing on the B777. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has also investigated an incident of engine power loss on the B777 which did not result in an accident. NTSB technical reports about this incident did not in fact conclude that there was a high probability of further incidents of power loss cause by fuel icing, although this was suggested in its press statements.
Since the accident at Heathrow in January 2008 Boeing has developed a range of changes to operating procedures to ensure that aircraft crews can minimise and manage any risk associated with potential ice accumulation in the fuel system. These procedures have been approved by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) and have been made mandatory for all US and European airlines. Both EASA and the US FAA are content that, subject to the application of these procedures, B777 aircraft with Rolls-Royce Trent engines are safe to remain in service. The new procedures were shown to be effective in the incident investigated by the NTSB referred to above when thrust control was successfully recovered following an uncommanded power reduction in a single engine on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777 on 26 November 2008.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) within Defra is working closely with bee representatives to improve the availability of authorised medicines for controlling the varroa mite. The VMD has received an application for the authorisation of a new varroa medicine and has identified two veterinary medicines for bees authorised elsewhere in the EU. The VMD is encouraging the manufacturers of these products to apply for an authorisation to market them in the UK and has offered a 50 per cent reduction on application fees for these products.
Veterinary surgeons already have the authority to import and administer veterinary medicines to animals under their care under the prescribing cascade. This can be done using the VMD's special import certificate scheme. As most beekeepers do not consult veterinary surgeons, the VMD is working with bee representatives and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to identify veterinary surgeons who would be able to provide this service.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 4 March (WA 156), how many patients were admitted to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning in each of the past five years. [HL2242]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department does not have data on how many patients were admitted to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning in each of the past five years. However, data are held on finished admission episodes, which are given in the table below. A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider.
|Count of Hospital Admissions for Toxic effect of carbon monoxide for 2003-04 to 2007-08 Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector|
The total admission figures includes cases where the carbon monoxide poisoning was accidental (such as a gas fire that leaked in the home and caused poisoning) and also cases where the poisoning was intentional (such as attempted self-harm by poisoning).
The format of the ethnic group question proposed for the 2011 census in England and Wales is as set out in the White Paper Helping to Shape Tomorrow published on 11 December 2008. This is available on the website at www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-project/legislation/index.html.
The proposals have been determined by the requirements of users of census statistics, identified through a programme of extensive consultation which began in 2005. Users are predominantly from central and local government, the health service, education authorities, the academic community, professional organisations, and commercial businesses, but the views of a wide range of other stakeholders were also taken into consideration in designing the question content for the 2011 census. Detailed information about how decisions were made about tick-box categories in the ethnic group question is available on the website at www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/question-and-content-recommendations-for-2011/index.html.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average legal bill for criminal cases in Northern Ireland in the past three years; and what is the average legal bill for criminal cases in England and Wales in the past three years. [HL2001]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The information requested is not maintained in this format in Northern Ireland. Accordingly, the information has been presented in the format in which it is retained in the two jurisdictions. This point was made to the Assembly Committee. The arrangements for handling very high cost cases are also different in the two jurisdictions. In Northern Ireland the costs for very high cost cases are reported as part of the overall Crown Court costs whereas in England and Wales, with the separate contracting arrangements, colleagues maintain a separate cost line which they wish to report on.
This means that typically the average defence cost for a Crown Court case in Northern Ireland in 2007-08 would be between £9,015 and £13,887 depending on the number of legal representatives assigned to the defendant.
|Financial Year||Category||Average Cost|
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Tunnicliffe on 9 March (WA 200), what changes in forecast spending resulted in £917,000 being transferred back to the Ministry of Defence. [HL2231]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The tri-departmental Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF) seeks to manage numerous projects, across a broad range of strands, in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Money transferred at parliamentary estimates reflects latest forecast expenditure by departments, based on judgments made
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By the Spring Supplementary Estimate (SSE), estimated forecast expenditure indicated an imbalance between DfID, MoD and the FCO, which transfers at SSE sought to correct. Any reduction in forecast DfID project expenditure was matched by a reallocation of funds to other Iraq SAF projects.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 October 2008 (WA 16768), what non-reproductive applications would benefit from nuclear transfer that have not been superseded by the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. [HL2052]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government believe that the question of whether one technique in stem cell research has superseded another is, at this stage, entirely premature. Advances over the past decade in embryonic stem cell research have fed into advances in induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Therefore, it is impossible to predict what the relative contributions of nuclear transfer and PS cell technology might ultimately be to medical needs. That is why the Government continue to support all forms of stem cell research.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which licensed centres and research projects have expressed interest in outgrowing human embryos; what were the purported intentions behind such proposals; and whether the stated objectives were achieved. [HL2054]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many human embryos have been used in research to date; what percentage of those were specifically created for research purposes; and what percentage were cultured for more than 14 days as outgrowing embryos. [HL2055]
Lord Darzi of Denham: I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that information on the number of embryos created from the commencement of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 until 2006 has been published by the HFEA in A long-term analysis of the HFEA Register data (1991-2006) which is available on the HFEA website at www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/HFEA_long_ term_data_91-06_versionl_revision4.pdf.
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