HL Deb 24 January 2005 vol 668 cc140-1WA
Lord Vinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements the Health and Safety Executive has made for members of the public to challenge its regulations if they consider them to be detrimental to the wider public wellbeing. [HL668]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a statutory duty to consult on all proposals for health and safety law. It has a well developed consultation system which provides an opportunity for all interested parties, including members of the public, to challenge proposals at an early stage of policy development. The consultation process takes place before formal proposals are submitted to Ministers.

A formal challenge procedure for regulations that have come into force is not considered necessary. The HSE keeps its regulations under review and representations from members of the public contribute to the review process. The HSE operates a policy of openness and effective communication with the public.

The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, when the Health and Safety Executive's Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel makes decisions in the absence of biochemical data, it is operating with adequate information and cost effectively. [HL705]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham

The Pesticides Incident Appraisal Panel's objective is "to provide an overview of alleged ill health attributed to pesticide exposure so that new issues and trends can be identified, and to inform the pesticides approval process". It operates with the information available from HSE investigations, once they have been completed, and will be dependent on the availability and relevance of this information.

Biochemical data are one of a range of factors taken into consideration by the panel and can sometimes be useful in linking pesticide exposure to symptoms. However, it is often not available and not always appropriate—the strength of evidence is made clear in the panel's assessments. The absence of biochemical data does not necessarily prevent the assessment contributing to the purposes of the scheme.

The panel continues to provide useful information. It currently costs in the order of £30,000 per annum and is considered to be cost-effective.