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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government fully support the work of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular its programme to develop a professional, effective, and democratic police force. I am pleased to announce that the Government are making an immediate contribution of up to £3 million to the UN Trust Fund for Police Restructuring, to provide equipment and training for the local police forces in both Entities, under the programme managed by the UN's International Police Task Force.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government fully support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Progress with the exhumations work is of great importance not only for the investigation and prosecution of suspected war criminals, but for the people of the region who have lost friends and relatives during the war. I am pleased to announce that the Government are making an immediate contribution of £1.22 million ($2 million) to the tribunal's trust fund so that the 1998 exhumations programme can begin on schedule on 1 April.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The ICRC does not currently enjoy access to all persons detained in Israel and the Occupied Territories. EU Heads of Mission in Tel Aviv monitor this situation carefully. We continue to urge the Israeli government to co-operate fully with the ICRC.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The ICRC has been denied access to Khiam since September 1997. We continue to urge the Israeli government to allow the ICRC to resume its humanitarian mission there. The Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised our concerns about Khiam when he met his Israeli counterpart in Jerusalem on 9 February.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are taking forward a number of Indonesia-related initiatives in line with our mission statement. As far as the European Union is concerned, during our Presidency we are working to arrange a visit by Troika Ambassadors to East Timor and we are preparing a draft resolution on East Timor at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. We are also considering making other proposals.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Environment Agency, which is responsible for monitoring the aquatic environment in England and Wales, has recorded the following confirmed incidents of pollution by synthetic pyrethroid (SP) sheep dip during the past 18 months:
|North West Region|
|River Irthing||Severe damage to invertebrates for 20 km, fish population unaffected.|
|River Ehen||Severe damage to invertebrates, some impact on juvenile pearl mussels. Marked impact for 1 km, some impact over 7 km.|
|Sgithwen Brook||Total mortality of crayfish and invertebrates for 5 km.|
|Nant Bwich y Pawl||Severe invertebrate mortality and widespread population reductions for 9 km. Significant levels of pesticides found in the river sediment.|
|River Clun||Severe invertebrate mortality for 11 km.|
|Afon Trannon||Decline in biological quality detected for 7 km.|
|Llwydiarth Brook||Poor biological quality found by survey.|
|Afon Erith||Moderate decline in invertebrate life for 3.5 km.|
|Cotterdale Beck||Total mortality of crayfish and invertebrates for 6 km.|
|Additionally, the agency suspects that SPs were responsible for the following pollution incidents:|
|North West Region|
|Helm Beck||Invertebrate mortality for several km.|
|River Caldew||Severe damage to invertebrates for 30 km, fish population unaffected.|
|River Glendermackin||Severe damage to invertebrates for 6 km, fish population unaffected.|
|River Ellen||Invertebrate population reductions for 5 km.|
|Croglin Water||Invertebrate population reductions for over 6 km.|
|Burblethwaithe Beck||Severe damage to invertebrates.|
|River Elan||Extensive fish and invertebrate mortality for 3 km.|
Baroness Hayman: On the matter of the Section 57 statutory guidance, I refer the noble Lord to the reply my honourable friend the Minister for the Environment made in another place on 22 December 1997 to the honourable Member for Liverpool, Riverside, (Mrs. Ellman--(Official Report, col. 439). The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and other bodies, including the Environment Agency, have already published various items of relevant technical advice and guidance on the investigation and remediation of contaminated land. Further documents are currently in preparation, which will be published during the course of this year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): In opposition, we said there should be an independent review of the scientific evidence on noise induced hearing loss and war pensions. We believed that it was important that the decision-making process was medically sound, could command the confidence of war
We set up the independent review in June 1997 under the chairmanship of Sir Kenneth Calman, the Government's Chief Medical Officer. It included experts in hearing loss who had given advice to the Royal British Legion in the past. The review has now been completed. Its conclusions are:
(b) that the existing evidence does not show that the combination of noise induced permanent sensorineural hearing threshold level shift* and subsequent permanent sensorineural hearing threshold level shift* due to age is more than additive.
The independent experts recommend that the matter be looked at again in a year to take account of any new research that may have been done. I have accepted this and asked the war pensions medical policy advisor to report back to me in February 1999.
*"permanent sensorineural hearing threshold level shift" is the permanent sensorineural hearing loss as measured by audiometry. Audiometry is the science of measuring hearing loss.
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