Accidents At Electricity Generating Installations
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many fatalities and serious injuries have been reported to the Secretary of State for Energy over the last 10 years related to different types of electricity generating installations, indicating the ratio of such occurences to the total amount of energy passed into the national grid.
The total number of deaths and injuries occurring at electricity generating installations in England and Wales which have been reported to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy over the 10 years to 31st March 1980 are 92 and 201 respectively, and the ratios of such occurrences to the Board's total electricity output in the same period are 1 per 23 thousand GW hours and 1 per 10 thousand GW hours respectively. Information on the distribution of such occurrences between different types of generating installations is not readily available.
Electricity Generation: Exhaust Toxicity
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will supply a quantitative comparison of radioactive and other potentially harmful emissions from smoke stacks and other exhausts of currently operational electricity generating installations using different fuels, indicating emissions as a ratio of units to the total amount of energy passed into the national grid, and to state any conclusion that can be drawn from the figures in respect of toxic potential.
The information requested by the noble Duke is not readily available. My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Energy, and the Secretary of State for Scotland, have therefore respectively asked the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board and the Chairman of the South of Scotland Electricity Board to write to the noble Duke on the matter.
Pregnancy: Smoking And Alcohol Consumption
asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps have been taken by the Department of Health and Social Services to evaluate the dangers to the foetus of smoking and alcohol consumption by the mother, especially in the first six weeks to two months of pregnancy.
The dangers to the foetus due to smoking by the mother are now well established and have been widely published by the health departments and the Health Education Council. Any new research on the subject is carefully studied by the DHSS and by the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health, which advises Health Ministers on the scientific aspects of smoking and health. The committee is currently considering this problem with a view to recommending future studies.So far as alcohol consumption is concerned, research studies abroad have pointed to the existence of a foetal alcohol syndrome—a range of mental and physical abnormalities observed in a number of children born to heavy drinking mothers. Others suggest that minor degrees of handicap may also affect the offspring of more moderate drinkers. There is no consensus of clinical opinion in this country. The DHSS has urged the Medical Research Council to consider as a priority the need for fundamental research into the relationship between drinking in pregnancy and foetal harm. The health departments and the Health Education Council currently advise women to keep alcohol intake to a minimum during pregnancy.
Female Radiological Personnel: Protection
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied that it is completely safe, as far as the foetus is concerned, for female radiologists and radiographers to work in
X-ray departments during the first two months of pregnancy.
Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that current recommendations on radiological protection of female radiologists and radiographers provide sufficient protection for the foetus early in pregnancy. These recommendations are set out in the Code of Practice for the Protection of Persons against Ionising Radiations arising from Medical and Dental Use which, in agreement with the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, sets a dose limit of 1·3 rents in a calendar quarter to the abdomens of women of reproductive capacity, and limits total exposure during the term of a pregnancy remaining after diagnosis to 1 rem. Responsibility for ensuring that the Code of Practice is observed lies with the head of department in collaboration with the radiological safety organisation of the controlling authority.
Female Anaesthetists: Protection
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied that it is completely safe, as far as the foetus is concerned, for female anaesthetists to administer inhalation anaesthetics during the first two months of pregnancy.
Her Majesty's Government are aware of reports in the medical press suggesting that there may be an increased risk to the foetus in these circumstances. However, they are advised that there is no consensus of opinion and it must, therefore, be a matter for the clinical judgment of the patient's doctor whether a female anaesthetist should continue to administer inhalation anaesthetics during early pregnancy.
Payment For Debt (Emergency Powers) Act (Ni) 1970
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will amend the Payment for Debt (Emergency Powers) Act (NI) 1971 given that circumstances have totally changed since it was passed and in view of the undesirability of compelling individuals and families to exist for long periods on a less than subsistence income.
The working of the Act is under continuous review and its scope is gradually being reduced. Public debt is still a major problem in Northern Ireland and at present totals more than £31 million. The Government are striving to return to as normal a system for the collection of public debt as is consistent with safeguarding public money and avoiding individual hardship. The need to retain the Payments for Debt Act will be considered when there has been experience of new procedures introduced recently. These procedures were introduced on 24th November 1980 and place the great majority of debtors on supplementary benefit outside the scope of the Payments for Debt (Emergency Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971.Under these procedures debtors who are in receipt of supplementary benefit may have deductions from their benefit paid direct to the creditor bodies to cover current rent, rates and fuel charges together with a maximum of £1·10 per week towards each debt. The "collection charge" of 50p per week formerly levied on debtors towards administrative expenses has been abolished. All of which is a considerable benefit to debtors.Persistent defaulters receiving other social security benefits are still being dealt with under the Payments for Debt Act when normal methods of debt recovery fail. However, deductions from their benefits are also now limited to a maximum of £1·10 per week towards each debt.
Prisons: Adjudication Procedures
asked Her Majesty's Government:What investigations have been or are being carried out into possible improvements in the system of adjudicators before prison boards of visitors; when they expect the results to be published; and whether they will make a statement.
The report of a working party on adjudication procedures in prisons was published in 1975 and in 1977 standard procedures for the conduct of adjudications were issued. An experiment has been conducted at one prison by the Home Office Research Unit in which a member of the board of visitors explained the procedures to prisoners awaiting adjudication. It is not yet possible to say when the report of this experiment will be published.
Prison Visitors: Revised Booklet Of Guidance
asked Her Majesty's Government:What changes have been made in the revised booklet of guidance for voluntary prison visitors, in the section relating to communication with other people on the subject of prisons, and why.
A revised handbook to replace the 1964 edition was prepared during 1979, in consultation with the National Association of Prison Visitors. The wording now adopted is particularly intended to be helpful to the less experienced visitor who may need specific guidance about casual discussion of, for example, the geography or the manning of the prison, which might prejudice its security, or of the case history of an individual prisoner, who is entitled to privacy. The new handbook provides that
"A visitor will not discuss with persons outside the prison service information he acquires about the prison or about individual prisoners, and will neither publish nor broadcast material about prison visiting without the consent of the Prison Department".
Social Service Institutions: Closures
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many local authority social service institutions, and of what type, have been closed since May 1979; whether such closures have led to overall financial savings and if so of what size; and how many more institutions are expected to be closed without replacement in the next two years.
Comprehensive information on social services authorities' institutions is not held centrally. I, therefore, regret that the information sought is not available.
Training Centres For The Handicapped: Closures
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many Adult Training Centres for mentally and physically handicapped people are expected to be closed in the coming two years, and whether this will lead to a loss of training places for the handicapped at a time when the emphasis is strongly on providing jobs or training for all school-leavers.
I regret this information is not available.
Soviet River Reversal Programme
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have discussed with the Soviet Government, with other Northern Hemisphere Governments, or in relevant international organisations, the possible environmental effects outside the Soviet Union of the partial reversal of north-flowing rivers towards the Caspian Sea, which was announced in the recently published 11th Five-Year Plan, and if not, whether they intend to do so and, if so, when.
As I informed the noble Lord on 19th July 1979, Her Majesty's Government have already discussed this matter with the Soviet authorities. When a suitable opportunity arises we will continue to make clear to the Soviet Union our concern at the possibility of the river reversal programme having environmental implications.
India: Special Quota Voucher Applications
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many applications for special quota vouchers made in India during 1975 remained outstanding at 31st December 1980.
Precise figures are not available. It is estimated that on 31st December 1980 approximately 650 of those who had applied in India for special vouchers in 1975 had yet to be offered them.
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many applications for special quota vouchers made in India were outstanding at 31st December 1980.
Precise figures are not available. It is estimated that on 31st December 1980 approximately 5,000 applicants for special vouchers in India had yet to be offered them.
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many applications for special quota vouchers were made in India in 1980.
Four hundred and eighty.
asked Her Majesty's Government:On what dates had applications for special quota vouchers been made by those who received them in December 1980, and those notified that they would receive them in June 1981, respectively.
Special vouchers were taken up in India in December 1980 by those United Kingdom passport holders who had applied for them in September or October 1975, and will be offered in June 1981 to those who applied in November 1975.
India: Non-Patrial Uk Passport Holders
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the latest estimate of non-patrial United Kingdom passport holders in India:
No estimates are made of those non-patrial United Kingdom passport holders (UKPH) resident in India who are eligible or ineligible for re-entry here; nor for those ineligible for special vouchers. It is estimated that some 39,000 UKPH heads of household and dependants are eligible to come here under the special voucher scheme.
India: X-Rays Of Children For Assessment
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many
X-rays of children have been conducted at each of the posts in the Indian Sub-continent during the last nine months of 1980, and whether they will publish an analysis of the parts of the body X-rayed at each of those posts.
Precise figures and a detailed analysis are not available. It is estimated that the following number of X-rays of children under 21 for age assessment purposes have been conducted at posts in the sub-continent during the period in question.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Ministry of Defence is contemplating opening Farnborough for general aviation use.
The possibility of rationalising the Ministry of Defence airfields currently used for R and D work, including the one at Farnborough, is under consideration. I cannot therefore comment at this stage on the possibility of opening Farnborough for general aviation use.House adjourned at nine o'clock.