HC Deb 25 June 1986 vol 100 cc201-3W
Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) pursuant to the answer of 30 October 1985, Official Report, column 546, he will give an up-to-date report on the further actions he is pursuing in the furtherance of the recommendations arising out of the Lenihan report;

(2) pursuant to the answer of 24 October 1985, Official Report, column 230, when he expects to receive advice on toxicology from the independent committee; and if he will publish the results of the committee's findings in a form accessible and intelligible to the non-scientific public;

(3) when the committee on eye defects commenced its work; how many meetings it has held; what progress has been made; what results it can report; and if those results will be made available to the public in a form accessible and intelligible to the non-scientific public;

(4) pursuant to the answer of 24 October 1985, Official Report, column 230, concerning toxicological assessment, if he will (a) advise when the expert committees will be publishing their assessments and (b) publish the results of their assessments.

Mr. John MacKay

Work is in hand to implement those recommendations of the Lenihan report which require further action.

With regard to toxicological assessment no reports from the relevant committees are yet available. When they have finished their work, the Government will examine their advice and consider what further action is required, bearing in mind the need for well-presented information on this subject.

A working group on microphthalmos first met on 26 April 1985 and three meetings have been held. A study under the direction of the Working Group is currently being carried out by an epidemiologist from the University of Edinburgh to examine the incidence of microphthalmos in the Forth Valley health board area. This study involves careful examination of a wide variety of records such as neo-natal morbidity registers, school health records and health records and is unlikely to be completed before the end of the year. When the working group have received the results of the study they will consider how to make them available in a form understandable to the non-scientific public.

Further soil samples have been taken in the Bonnybridge area, and from a number of other locations in the central belt of Scotland. The results obtained from the analysis of these samples will in due course be considered along with the results of soil sampling being undertaken over many areas of the United Kingdom for anyalysis by techniques developed as a result of current research.

Waste disposal practices in Scotland are being examined to ascertain if any improvements need be introduced in the light of experience gained by the Hazardous Waste Inspectorate and in the light of a review being undertaken by the special waste regulations. A paper has been issued seeking views on the operation of the general nuisance provisions of the Public Health (Scotland) Act 1897.

Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer of 23 October 1985, Official Report, columns 176–77, if he will give the details of the hours his officials have spent between 1980 and 1985, inclusive, interviewing (a) farmers in central Scotland who had reported suspicions that their livestock had been affected by environmental pollution and (b) farmers whom his officials considered to be at risk from or affected by environmental pollution.

Mr. John MacKay

Throughout the period, members of the state veterinary service have carried out a number of welfare visits. Interviews relating to environmental pullution were, however, entirely confined to the period 1982–84 covered by my previous answer.

Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer of 24 October 1985, Official Report, column 236, about unexplained animal deaths (a) if he will list by postal code within the Central region the areas where the 511 unexplained deaths occurred and (b) if he will also provide an up-to-date report by the same method.

Mr. John MacKay

The 511 sudden unexplained deaths given in my previous answer occurred in the period commencing 1 January 1982 and ending on 30 June 1985. A breakdown of these figures (updated to December 1985) on a parish basis is as set out in the table:

Parish 1982 1983 1984 1985
Aberfoyle 3
Airth 4 1 2
Alloa 1 5 1 2
Alva 2 1
Balfron 5 5 4 8
Balquhidder 4 2 2 4
Bo'ness 4 2 1 3
Buchanan 2 5 5 3
Callander 6 1 6 8
Clackmannan 2 3 5 5
Comrie 2 2 1

Parish 1982 1983 1984 1985
Denny 9 5 4 3
Dollar 4 1 2 2
Drymen 12 15 12 8
Dunblane 14 5 7 6
Dunipace 1 3 9 12
Falkirk 4 9 5 5
Fintry 1 2 2
Gargunnock 4 4
Grangemouth 3 2 2 6
Kenmore 1
Killearn 3 5 8 5
Killin 1 2 5 2
Kilmadock 9 7 13 6
Kincardine 7 3 3 4
Kippen 12 16 13 13
Larbert 1 1
Logie 3 2 3
Muckhart 2 2 3
Muiravonside 3 5 8 9
Port of Menteith 4 9 10 6
St. Ninians 20 13 22 31
Stirling 1 2
Slamannan 8 3 3 2
Strathbane 2 3
Tillicoultry 3 1 2 5
Totals 152 143 162 178