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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
2 November 2006



30th October 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of the constituency of Taunton and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are deeply concerned about the proposals to move the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office from its current location in Taunton.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Ministry of Defence to scrap any plans to move the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office away from Taunton.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



1st November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Brighton and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are gravely concerned about reports that Coalition Forces and the Iraqi authorities are failing to take action to investigate attacks on and killing of gay people in Iraq by the Badr Death Squads.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon HM Government to take a lead by doing all in its power to persuade the Coalition and Iraqi authorities to investigate these crimes and bring to justice those responsible.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Observations by the Secretary of State for Transport on the Petition [25th July] from villagers from Leysdown, Warden Bay, Bayview, Eastchurch, Minster, Brambledown and Sheerness in the constituency of Sittingbourne and Sheppey for traffic safety measures on Jenkins Hill.

    This road is the responsibility of Kent County Council.

    Local residents on the Isle of Sheppey have voiced safety concerns over the Jenkins Hill stretch of road. Between 1979 and 2004 (the earliest and latest years for which figures are available) there were two fatalities resulting from personal injury road accidents on the Leysdown Road (B2231) between Rowetts Way roundabout and the entrance to Old Rides Farm; known locally as Jenkins Hill, Sheppey. There were 16 fatalities in total on B2231 east of the Rowetts Way roundabout during the period.

    On 17th February 2006 a meeting was hosted by Leysdown Parish Council to discuss the record of accidents on the stretch of road between Eastchurch and Leysdown. This meeting was attended by Mr. Derek Wyatt, MP, Borough Councillors, Deputy Mayor of Swale, Kent Police, local Parish Councillors, Kent County Council Highways Officers, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (Eastchurch) and several local residents. Prior to the meeting members were taken by coach along the stretch of the B2231 causing most concern.

    Two written Parliamentary Questions on this issue (ref; 4005, 4056) tabled by Derek Wyatt MP, were answered by Dr Stephen Ladyman MP on 2nd and 3rd March 2006. Dr Ladyman also wrote to Derek Wyatt at that time, regarding Mr Wyatt's concerns.

    In May 2006 Kent County Council commissioned Jacobs consultants to carry out a study of the B2231 to identify the crash 'hot spots' and propose remedial measures. This report was completed in August 2006 and presented to the Swale Transportation Board in September. Members were informed that the next stage would be to bid to the County Council's Countywide Crash Remedial Scheme programme to gain funding of 227,000 for the works to be carried out. The success of this would be known in March 2007, following ratification of the Integrated Transport Programme by the Highways Advisory Board, the policy making board of Kent County Council.

26th October 2006


Observations by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the Petition [13th July] from Respect for Animals and citizens opposed to the brutal slaughter of seal pups by Canada for legislation to prohibit the import of all seal products.

    HMG has consistently made it clear to the Canadian Government that we would prefer it if seal hunting for commercial purposes were banned. However, we recognise that the seal hunt does not break any international agreement, so it is for the Canadian authorities to regulate.

    The 1983 European Seals Directive (Council Directive 83/129/EEC, - as amended) requires Member States to prohibit the commercial importation of skins and other listed products from whitecoat harp and blueback hooded seal pups. The UK implements this Directive through the Import of Seal Skins Regulations 1996. These regulations prohibit the commercial importation of raw, tanned or dressed furskins, and other products from whitecoat harp pups and blueback hooded seal pups.

    The hunt is regulated by means of quotas set by the Canadian Government. On 15th March 2006, the Canadian Government announced Canada's 2006-2010 Atlantic Seal Management Plan, which increased the 2006 total allowable catch (TAC) for harp seals to 325,000 (from 2005's TAC quota of 320,000) with an additional 10,000 for aboriginal initiatives. The 2006 TAC quotas for hooded seals has remained at 10,000. The hunting of blueback hooded seal pups and whitecoat harp seal pups is prohibited.

    On 14th February, my Rt. Hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian Pearson, led an Adjournment debate on the seal hunt. The debate considered issues around conservation, sustainability, animal welfare and control of the trade in seal products, including a UK ban on the import of seal products. Following the debate, DTI were asked to review the policy, including exploring options for banning the import of all hooded and seal products. This review is ongoing.

30th October 2006


Observations by the Secretary of State for Transport on the Petition [25th July] from residents of Hemel Hempstead constituency against the Operator's 'Master Plan' for Luton Airport.

    The Future of Air Transport White Paper supported development of Luton Airport up to the maximum capacity of a single runway. Consultation on Luton's draft master plan concluded in January 2006. The airport operator is considering the responses received with a view to publishing a final master plan outlining the airport's proposals for growth later this year.

    The master plan Core Strategy outlines Luton's proposal to construct a 3,000 metre replacement runway 950 metres to the south of the existing runway, on the same alignment. This will include the construction of a second terminal and associated satellites in between the existing and replacement runway, in addition to further aircraft stands. It is proposed that the existing runway would be maintained for emergencies and during periods of maintenance. This operational capability would enable Luton to handle 30 million passengers per annum (in the period up to 2030) in line with White Paper conclusions.

    Master plans, supported in the White Paper, provide a mechanism for airports to explain their development proposals to a wide range of stakeholders and can help in informing the regional and local planning processes, but they have no statutory basis within the planning system and Government has no means to compel airports to prepare them or to determine their scope or content. My Department published non-statutory guidance on the preparation of master plans in July 2004, which makes clear that they do not have development plan status. We have no role in formally assessing or approving airport master plans.

    It is for airport operators to bring forward development proposals for consideration through the planning system in the normal way. Given that we expect fully worked-up master plans to play a useful role in informing the local planning process, they should as far as possible reflect the Government's policies as set out in the White Paper. However, any divergences from those policies can be examined and assessed during consideration of any related planning application.

30th October 2006


Observations by the Secretary of State for Transport on the Petition [18th October] from the people of Irlam and Cadishead, Manchester, for the licensing of all off road bikes.

    The misuse of off-road bikes and other 'nuisance vehicles' is a concern and there have been several proposals in the past that these vehicles should be registered with DVLA and carry a visible licence plate (number plate).

    Any mandatory registration scheme would require additional enforcement, and associated resource, to make it effective. This would redirect resource that could otherwise be used to target those known to be causing problems.

    The Association of Chief Police Officers believe that existing powers are sufficiently wide-ranging to enable effective enforcement and action is being taken to ensure that enforcement authorities have better information on the use of their powers. On 2nd August this year, the Respect Task Force (based in the Home Office) launched a guide for police and local authorities: "Tackling Mini-Moto Misuse". The guide includes a section on the powers to seize offending vehicles. These powers are not restricted to mini-motos but can be used in connection with other off-road vehicles too.

    The findings of a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the problems of off-road vehicle use confirmed the view that instead of regulation, it would be better to encourage the provision of safe and well-managed off-road sites and facilities.

31st October 2006

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Revised 3 November 2006