HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc651-2W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2002 to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith),Official Report, column 372W, on CERRIE, what the terms of reference are for the Consultative Exercise on Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters, including the responsibilities of individual members of the Committee, what reports are to be placed in the public domain from the proceedings of CERRIE; and what guidelines individual members of CERRIE have been given on (a) disclosing proceedings and (b) publishing material subsequently that relate to CERRIE. [47527]

Mr. Meacher

The Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE) is a working group of the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). CERRIE has been given the remitTo consider the present risk models for radiation and health that apply to exposure to radiation from internal radionuclides in the light of recent studies and any further research that might be needed". CERRIE will prepare a report for COMARE, which will be published. COMARE will then advise Ministers on the need for changes to the existing risk models and for further work. Each of the members of CERRIE has been appointed because of their knowledge and experience of the issues under discussion. They have joint responsibility to evaluate thoroughly the existing evidence and make recommendations, in line with the Committee's remit.

In order to facilitate the free flow of views during Committee meetings, CERRIE has decided that its work would be best carried out under the "Chatham House Rule". This approach will allow ideas/information raised in meetings to be discussed outside them, but the anonymity of their authors would be retained so that they will not be inhibited from developing and changing their views later on. In order to be transparent about their discussions, CERRIE are preparing their own website which will include, among other things, summary minutes of their meetings. During and after the period of the Committee's deliberations and preparation of its report, members will be free to publish technical papers that they have prepared to inform the Committee, but the views expressed in them should be clearly attributable to the individual and should not imply that they reflect the views of the Committee collectively.