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Session 2006 - 07
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
19 January 2007



15th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of the Taunton constituency and others,

Declares that the post office network in Taunton Deane provides a vital service which is now threatened by Government proposals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to save the local network of post offices across Taunton Deane.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



16th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of County Councillor Sally Morgan, residents and users of rural community hospitals and minor injury units in the Teignbridge and South Dartmoor area,

Declares that they are deeply concerned for the future of the minor injury units at Bovey Tracey and Ashburton Hospitals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons and her Majesty's Government consider the pledge laid out in the Government White Paper "Our Health, Our Care, Our Say" that

"community facilities should not be lost in response to short-term budgetary pressures.."

And ensure that rural health services are resourced fairly, allowing the minor injury units to remain open for the future.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



16th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Werrington, Peterborough and others,

Declares the Petitioners' desire for a more visible police presence in the Werrington Centre, Peterborough, to reduce the level of violence, intimidation and vandalism, which Peterborough's otherwise extremely capable and dedicated officers are struggling to prevent due to the minimal resources available to them.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for the Home Department use his powers to provide a more visible Police presence in the aforesaid location, thus helping to make it a safer and more pleasant place to shop and work.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Observations by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the Petition [15th March] from the National Federation of Private Pet Crematoria against the classification of pet crematoria as landfill sites.

    Current legislative framework for pet crematoria:

    The 1999 EU Landfill Directive regulates the deposit of waste onto or into land.

    Pet crematorium operations are not classified, operated or licensed as landfill sites.

    An issue arises of how the disposal on land of ash from pet crematoria should be dealt with under the legislation. The Environment Agency (EA), the competent authority for the regulation of waste activities in England and Wales, has stated that they do not consider it to be in the public interest to seek to regulate the scattering of ash derived from the incineration of individual pet animals by the operator or pet owner upon land set aside for remembrance. The EA considers it inappropriate to regulate genuine examples of such activities. The EA draws a distinction between the disposal of ash in a pit, which does require a landfill permit, and the sprinkling of ash in a designated area or allowing an owner to take their pets' ash remains away with them, which does not.

    Regulation of pet cemeteries

    Pet cemeteries fall within the definition of landfill sites. Landfill sites are currently regulated under the waste management licensing system but in future will be covered by the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regime, in accordance with PPC Regulations 2000.

    The EA has classified pet cemeteries as a low risk activity which attracts lower application fees and subsistence charges. The Government continues to work closely with the EA to ensure that any increase in the cost of regulation is kept to a minimum.

    It is recognised that the costs of applying for a PPC permit and the costs associated with providing the necessary risk assessments and other information in support of the application may prove prohibitive to some pet cemetery operators.

    The Government is committed to applying legislation appropriately and proportionately in accordance with the principles of Better Regulation. Defra has been working with the EA to investigate the scope for taking an alternative approach to the permitting of pet cemeteries. On 9th August 2006 Defra announced a proposal to continue to regulate pet cemeteries under the waste management licensing system thus negating the need for operators to apply for new permits. A copy of the Press Notice making the announcement can be found at

    Officials met with pet cemetery trade associations, including the National Federation of Private Pet Crematoria in September 2006 to consider issues surrounding the proposal. Defra will launch a public consultation by Spring 2007.

11th January 2007


Observations by the Secretary of State for Defence on the Petition [20th November] from residents of North Dorset for the Defence College for Communications and Information Systems to remain at Blandford Camp.

    Petitioners will be aware that the Defence Training Review (DTR) Programme aims to improve, modernise and rationalise specialist training on a Defence rather than single service basis. It will bring modernisation and flexibility to manage future training requirements. The procurement strategy has required Bidders to select sites as part of their training proposals, which seek to rationalise the existing training estate. The Programme comprises six specialist training streams which have been brigaded into two contractual Packages to optimise synergies and economies of scale. Solutions across both Packages broadly seek to rationalise from about 30 sites to about 10.

    As Petitioners know Blandford Camp is home to the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS), the Headquarters of the Signals Officer in Chief (SOinC(A)) and a variety of other smaller organisations including a number devoted to the development of communications doctrine, equipment and support. The DCCIS, which is a major component of Package 1 of the DTR Programme, forms just over half the number of staff at Blandford Camp. From information placed in the public domain by Package 1 Bidders Petitioners will know that both competing proposals move the training away from Blandford reducing occupancy by about 60%. Communications and Information Systems training therefore will not be maintained at Blandford in the longer term.

    Under these circumstances the future of Blandford Camp is being reviewed to ensure that it continues to fit the Department's longer term strategy and remains value for money. Our initial view is that other units on the Blandford site, including the Headquarters of the Signal Officer in Chief may not move, although a decision has not yet been made. There are currently no plans to sell Blandford. Looking to the future, Blandford is well placed as a highly flexible Defence site. The Department is looking at options to continue to make best Defence use of it in the future by moving other units there, but these plans are not firm and subject to studies which will not conclude for some months.

    A Defence presence is therefore currently planned to be maintained at Blandford Camp for the future. This will continue to provide opportunities for local employment and regional income generation.

16th January 2007


Observations by the Secretary of State for Transport on the Petition [11th December] from residents of London and surrounding areas for measures to prevent passengers playing loud music on buses.

    Following the creation of the Greater London Authority, Transport for London (TfL), under the Mayor, is now responsible for the provision of public transport in London (with the exception of National Rail). Therefore, this matter must be pursued and addressed by TfL - London Buses as they are the appropriate authority, and it is important for TfL to work alongside the bus companies in tackling enforcement of the relevant rules.

    Regulations are already in place to prevent the playing of music on board buses. Regulations 6(1)(l) of the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 ("the regulations") states that no passenger shall -

    "play or operate any musical instrument or sound reproducing equipment to the annoyance of any person on the vehicle or in a manner which is likely to cause annoyance to any person on the vehicle".

    Regulation 8(2) provides that any passenger on a vehicle who contravenes this, or any other, provision of the regulations may be removed from the vehicle by the driver, inspector or conductor of the vehicle or, on the request of the driver, inspector or conductor, by a police constable. These powers have been used to both stop the playing of music and to remove passengers who have refused to comply with such a request. Drivers are of course required to use the powers sensitively and in line with their company's policy.

    TfL has raised the issue with the Department for Transport that the regulations do not provide for Police Community Support Officers (PSCOs) and other accredited and authorised persons to also be able to enforce the regulations. The Government is currently considering whether it is necessary, feasible and desirable to amend the enforcement powers in this way.

16th January 2007

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Revised 19 January 2007