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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are aware of only one case in the past 15 months where literature mentioning anti-personnel mines was allegedly displayed. This case involved a Romanian company allegedly listing for sale an anti-personnel mine at the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition at Chertsey on 14 to 17 September 1999. Romanian authorities have since contacted my department and admitted that, in error, the company had on its stand literature which mentioned an anti-personnel mine. They have informed us that they stopped manufacturing this item in 1990 but the company had not updated its equipment lists. We have received an apology from the Romanian authorities, but the Ministry of Defence Police is still investigating the matter and will submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in due course.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Professor Peter Lachmann, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, has agreed to lead an independent review of British trials which used zinc cadmium sulphide as an air movement tracer to assess the vulnerability of the UK to attack by biological weapons. It will concentrate on the question of whether these trials might have had harmful effects on public health. Professor Lachmann is being supported by a small team of experts to assist him. It is intended that this independent review will be completed within the next few months, and that a report will be published and a copy placed in the Library of the House.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The order was not published. Orders in Council are only published in The London Gazette if their related Acts of Parliament specifically require it or if they have the status of statutory instruments. Neither applied in the case of the Osborne Estate Order 1998. Copies of the order are available from the Privy Council office on request.
The order widens eligibility to men and women of all ranks, serving or who have served in the Armed Services, to enjoy the facilities of the convalescent home at Osborne House, until such time as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport receives Parliament's approval to end his responsibility to maintain the convalescent home. Wider eligibility will also help to maintain the home's income for the period that it remains open.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the Tourism Forum now rests with the English Tourism Council (ETC). Invitations to the first meeting of the reconstituted forum, to be chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in December, have been sent to the following organisations:
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is envisaged that the new Stonehenge visitor centre at Countess East will provide catering outlets and retail facilities of the highest quality. The planning brief for the site makes provision for fast food outlets, more traditional restaurants and beverage outlets. There will also be areas for English Heritage and the National Trust to sell their memberships.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The current visitor facilities at Stonehenge, which receive nearly 1 million visitors a year, were described by the National Audit Office in 1991 as "poor" with cramped and squalid facilities which were too small and frequently overcrowded. The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons in 1993 said that Stonehenge was a "national disgrace". The creation of a new visitor centre, located outside the boundaries of the World Heritage Site, is a direct response to those criticisms. It will be developed on the Countess East site within guidelines set out in the 1999 planning brief recently adopted by Salisbury District Council as supplementary planning guidance following full public consultation.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The preferred commercial operator will be chosen by the selection panel which is made up of commissioners and senior staff of English Heritage, council members and senior staff of the National Trust and a senior member of staff of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Short-listing of bidders has taken place and final bids are due back on 15 November, with selection taking place in January 2000.
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