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19 Sept 2002 : Column 247Wcontinued
Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Biotech Unit will update its public register on the list of trial sites where GMOs may be released to include the list of sites where winter oil seed rape was planted last autumn for research and development. 
Mr. Meacher: Aventis, the consent holder, notified the Joint Regulatory Authority (Biotech Unit) of the proposed locations of trial sites for planting of winter oil seed rape last autumn on 26, 27 and 31 July 2001. In all cases the location of trial sites was added to the Public Register within 2 working days.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) scientific assessments, (b) peer reviews and (c) field scale evaluations outside the formal regulatory process will be a pre-requisite for investment in new start-up companies carrying out research and development in agricultural biotechnology. 
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the scientific steering committee will next meet to decide locations for the farm scale evaluations of genetically modified crops. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 2 July 2002]: The Scientific Steering Committee considered the proposed locations of the next round of farm-scale evaluations, autumn-sown oil seed rape, by correspondence. The SSC's formal advice has been published on their web-site as previously they deliberated at length the criteria for selection during several early meetings. By the time of this year's selection, however, the process has become efficient enough to be confidently agreed by correspondence without the need for everyone to travel to a meeting.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of GM crops authorised for commercial use in the United States her Department has DNA samples of; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The Department does not hold samples of GM crops authorised for commercial use in the in the United States. GM crops are only permitted to be imported into EU countries if they also have consent under EU directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms to the the environment. Importers must ensure that grain and seed imports have the necessary authorisation. DEFRA's GM inspectorate at the Central Scientific Laboratory (CSL) carry out audits to check compliance. CSL has the capability to perform tests
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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she has established a baseline for policy appraisal against which to measure progress on equal treatment; and what progress has been achieved. 
Guidance on building this approach into all policy development and implementation was issued to all Divisions which now make up DEFRA. Whilst no baseline has been established since the creation of DEFRA, current consultation arrangements aim to ensure that there is no differential impact on different groups of the population such as men or women, ethnic minorities or those from particular age groups.
In addition, the Department's draft Equality Scheme required by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, sets out the proposed actions in respect of its duties to promote equality between different racial groups.
Progress has been made in embedding awareness of the need to take account of diversity and equality not only in employment but also in delivering policies. However, there is more to be done and we are currently considering further ways to ensure that our procedures reflect these aims.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the women's organisations which have been consulted on proposed legislation by her Department since its creation; and whether their responses have been published. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 July 2002]: DEFRA guidance on consultations, and that previously available in the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, stresses the importance of including in consultation exercises all relevant interest groups, including consumer and general public interest groups. Included in the list of relevant bodies in the guidance are the Women's National Commission, the Co-operative Women's Guild, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the National Housewives Association and the Townswomen's Guilds. Other organisations are added to individual consultation exercises according to the subject matter, however no central register of all bodies consulted in a particular period is kept.
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series, separated by (a) gender, (b) race, (c) disability and (d) age have been commissioned by her Department since it was created. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 July 2002]: The June Agricultural Census collects data on employment in agriculture and horticulture broken down by gender, and the Department also runs a survey which collects information on the earnings of these workers by gender. However, no new questions were introduced with the creation of DEFRA. In 2003 a labour survey will be conducted as part of the EC farm structure surveys. This will ask questions broken down by age and gender.
DEFRA's draft Equality Scheme, required under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, sets out the actions required to meet the duty and over time it is possible that this will lead to the commissioning of new data series on ethnicity if this is identified as being necessary.
Internally, data is collected on gender, disability, age and race. Personnel procedures which may have an impact on applicants and staff are monitored, broken down by gender race and disability and sometimes also by age. A new monitoring programme is being finalised which will take account of the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act and, as far as possible, forthcoming legislation on sexual orientation, religion and age.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the subjects of the gender impact assessments drawn up by her Department since its creation, indicating in each case whether the outcome has been (a) put out to consultation and (b) published. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Guidance on ensuring that polices and procedures are inclusive and take full account of the needs and experiences of those affected by them has been issued to all Divisions which now make up DEFRA.
The guidance requires, among other things, the preparation of an impact analysis during policy development in cases where there is a possibility of differential impact on different groups such as men and women. Whilst no formal impact assessments have been drawn up since the creation of DEFRA, current consultation arrangements ensure that a good range of organisations, including those representing women, have been contacted for their views on a wide range of issues proposals.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk to animal health from the import of pig meat and other products from countries where the animals have been fed swill. 
Margaret Beckett: The risk of introduction of serious pig diseases is addressed by the European Community rules governing the import of pig meat and other products. These are designed to ensure that animals carrying disease, however it may have been transmitted, cannot be slaughtered and sent for export to member states.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the EU Committee for the Adaptation to Technical and Scientific Progress and Implementation of the Directive on the Deliberate Release into the Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The European Commission has not set a date for the next meeting of the regulatory committee established under Directive 20012018/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.
The committee comprises representatives from member states, and the UK is usually represented by an official from this department. DEFRA is the UK lead department for international relations on these matters. The devolved administrations are fully involved in the preparation for regulatory committee discussions, and in any relevant follow-up work arising from them.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the EU Committee for the adaptation to technical progress of the Directive on procedures for the surveillance and monitoring of environments concerned by waste from the titanium dioxide industry is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The role of the Committee, which is set out in Article 10 of the Council Directive 82/882/EEC (OJ L 378, 31/12/1982, p. 1), is to give its opinion on any measures proposed by the Commission which are necessary to adapt the Decision's provisions to technical or scientific progress. This Committee has not met for more than 5 years and there are no meetings scheduled. Therefore the most recent meeting predated the establishment of the Scottish Executive in 1999, and potential UK representation has not been addressed. In the event of any meeting being scheduled, officials in this Department would, as a matter of course, liaise with their counterparts in the Scottish Executive.
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