HL Deb 13 January 1998 vol 584 cc196-7WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the names and status of the members of the interdepartmental committee established to co-ordinate information on organophosphate chemicals, together with their remit; and whether they will make public the deliberations of their committee.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue):

The interdepartmental committee will be chaired by Mr. Richard Carden, Head of Food Safety and Environment Directorate in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The group will comprise senior officials from: the Department of Health; the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions; the Ministry of Defence; the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Offices; the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the Pesticides Safety Directorate (both executive agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food); the Medicines Control Agency (an executive agency of the Department of Health) and the Health and Safety Executive.

The terms of reference of the interdepartmental group are:

1. To monitor the processes by which information about organophosphates is shared between the Government Departments involved, with the aim of ensuring effective co-ordination; and to advise whether any changes in procedure are needed.

2. To draw together all scientific evidence from UK and international sources relevant to the policy issues to which organophosphates give rise; to advise whether there are any gaps in the current state of scientific knowledge which should be remedied, and if so to propose how the new work might be commissioned.

3. To examine the procedures by which organophosphate products are licensed for different purposes; to identify any variations; to advise whether procedures should be changed.

4. To take stock of such other questions, cutting across departmental boundaries, as Ministers may refer to them from time to time; with the aim of ensuring that all issues relevant to policy are examined by the appropriate experts and the results or conclusions made available to all departments concerned.

The group will make a first report to Ministers in February. This report, with Ministers' conclusions, will be made public.

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