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Control of Goods

Live animals of the porcine species : eradication of African swine fever in Portugal.

Live animals of the porcine species : eradication of African swine fever in Spain.

The removal of technical barriers

Proposals for a Council Recommendation concerning tests relating to the placing on the Market of medical specialties.

Membership of the European Pharmacopeia

Membership of the European Agreement on detergents

Protection of hotels against fire

New technologies and services

Recommendation on a European Code of Conduct relating to electronic payment (relations between financial institutions, traders and service establishments and consumers).

Establishment at Community level of a policy and plan of priority action for the development of an information services market. Fiscal measures

Harmonisation of the structure of excise duties on alcoholic drinks (FOD Rum)

Mr. Redwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those items in the internal market programme which he intends to oppose in the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Maude : I have been asked to reply.

The Government strongly supports the aim of completing the Single Market. We attach priority to many of the proposals made by the European Commission, but have difficulties with some others--as do other Member States. Many measures in the Single Market Programme are complex and all involve detailed negotiation. It would not therefore be possible to present the information in the form requested.


Nuclear Reactors (Decommissioning)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what progress he has made towards the production of safety specification guidelines for the decommissioning and disposal of British nuclear reactors operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in the event that such decommissioning and disposal becomes necessary ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority determines the need for the decommissioning of its reactors as part of its overall technical programme and addresses the safety of such operations within well established procedures for safety management.

Mr. Angelo Casfikis

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list details of the occasions when he, or other Ministers in his Department, met Mr. Angelo Casfikis to discuss the reopening of Central Electricity Generating Board coal-fired power stations.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Mr. Casfikis has met Ministers here on five occasions :

10 February 1987, 19 January 1988, 17 March 1988, 15 April 1988, and 30 September 1988.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list all communications made by his Department to

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the Central Electricity Generating Board concerning the proposal by Mr. Angelo Casfikis and the I.P.E. Company to generate electricity under the terms of the Energy Act 1983.

Mr. Michael Spicer : My Department has been in regular touch with the CEGB, in particular in response to points raised by the hon. Member.

Coal-fired Power Stations

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he has taken to vary the environmental conditions required to operate new or reopened coal-fired power stations and to encourage other responsible bodies to vary these.

Mr. Michael Spicer : None. It is the responsibility of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to determine the level of atmospheric emission control equipment to be fitted to such stations.

Electricity Generation

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the proportion of the future supply of electricity he expects to be generated under the terms of the Energy Act 1983 in (a) 1990, (b) 1995 and (c) 2000.

Mr. Michael Spicer : My Department does not publish such estimates. Experience of the energy market has shown that changes in the future composition of energy production cannot be forecast with any certainty.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will consider amending the Energy Act 1983 to ensure the appropriate firm safeguards are required of future aspirant power generating companies to provide (a) security of the power supply, (b) high standards of pollution control and (c) financial security and propriety.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Clause 15 of the Electricity Bill will impose an obligation to supply on the public electricity suppliers, instead of the generators as now. Privatisation will make no difference to the environmental standards which the electricity industry has to meet. It will be required to meet United Kingdom emissions standards and will be subject to an amenity obligation similar to section 37 of the 1957 Electricity Act. Clause 3 of the Electricity Bill gives the Secretary of State and Director General of Electricity Supply a duty to secure that licence holders are able to finance the carrying on of the activities which they are authorised by their licences to carry on.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the approaches that have been made by his Department in (a) 1986, (b) 1987 and (c) 1988 to the Central Electricity Generating Board to encourage the implementation of competition in electricity generation as envisaged in the Energy Act 1983.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The CEGB is fully aware of its statutory responsibilities under the 1983 Energy Act.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to the number of new electricity generating units that (a) have been introduced or (b) are planned to be introduced as a consequence of the Energy Act 1983.

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Mr. Michael Spicer : The number of private generators selling to area boards has almost doubled from 59 to 103 since the 1983 Energy Act. We are aware of some 16 new proposed private generation projects which would total over 6GW of new capacity ; most of these have come forward since the Government's intention to privatise the industry was announced.

Electricity Transmission

Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has received the Central Electricity Generating Board's second response to the report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the efficiency and costs of transmission of electricity.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The Central Electricity Generating Board has sent me its second response to the report which was published on 26 June 1987. Copies of the response have been placed in the Library. The board's response summarises the action which the board has taken and is continuing to take. Of the five areas identified by the commission requiring priority action, progress has been made as follows :

1) Clear Definition of Board Responsibilities

The board will continue to ensure that the responsibilities of executive board members are clearly defined and understood up to the vesting of the CEGB's successor bodies. The CEGB has also identified the senior management of the successor bodies. It is important, particularly in view of the period of change that the industry is presently undergoing, that board members' responsibilities remain clearly defined.

2) Future Management of the Five Centre Grid Control Project The board announced in June 1988 that it had awarded the contract for its five centre grid control project to Control Data Corporation. The CDC system will provide a single fully integrated computer system to support the operation and control of the high voltage grid transmission system. When operational the system will continuously collect, display and calculate information about power flowing through the network and the state of the network itself. The system will provide an effective mechanism with which to manage the grid. 3) Year to Year Changes in Transmission Plans, and

4) Fluctuations in estimated Plant and Equipment Requirements Initial work on reviewing the board's last five transmission plans is expected to be complete by the end of this year. My Department will keep in touch with the progress of the review.

5) Approach to Budget Setting

The board has introduced a new project appraisal system which ensures that all projects are carefully analysed and re-examined. To ensure compliance with tight financial disciplines the board has increased the size of its audit function.

The board has responded positively to the recommendations made by the MMC and has made good progress in the fields of system operation and planning. I welcome the board's response and the progress it is making towards meeting the recommendations of the commission. Since the board's first response the Government have announced their proposals to privatise the electricity supply industry, under which the board's transmission system will be managed by a new transmission company.

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These proposals represent major changes in the organisational structure of the industry, including the management of the transmission system, and the board's second response takes account of these proposed changes. In view of these impending changes it is unlikely that the board will be called upon to produce a third response although my Department will keep in touch with the board on progress towards meeting the MMC recommendations.


Plastic Bullets

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many plastic bullets have been fired each year since they first came into use in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ian Stewart : Since the introduction of plastic baton rounds in 1973, the security forces have fired 54,234 (to 31 October 1988). The annual figures are :

Numbers of plastic    

baton rounds fired    

Year    |Number       


1973    |42           

1974    |216          

1975    |3,556        

1976    |3,464        

1977    |1,490        

1979    |1,271        

1980    |1,231        

1981    |29,695       

1982    |500          

1983    |661          

1984    |1,768        

1985    |1,172        

1986    |1,785        

1987    |2,575        

1988<1> |3,065        



<1> to 31 October     


Rathlin Island

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to provide mains electricity to Rathlin Island ; whether the survey report prepared by Northern Ireland Electricity is available ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Viggers : Northern Ireland Electricity has been evaluating methods of supply for Rathlin and is presently studying the results of a hydrographic survey, the implications of which, when known, will be discussed with representatives of the islanders.


Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what staff and medical care facilities would be required for an industrial or commercial business of comparable size and work force to that of each of Northern Ireland's prisons ; and how far short of that level are the staffing and facilities of each of those prisons.

Mr. Ian Stewart : Regulations made under the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978, require employers to provide certain minimum levels of first aid facilities for

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employees who are injured or become ill at work. The first aid facilities provided in each of Northern Ireland's prisons exceed the minimum requirements.

Business Plans

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the names of accountancy firms in Northern Ireland which have submitted business plans or proposals in each of the last three years to the Local Employment Development Unit and the Industrial Development Board on behalf of clients.

Mr. Viggers : Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Peter Clifford

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what explosive substances were found in the car in which Peter Clifford was a passenger on 8 November ; and what checks were made on his clothes ;

(2) why Peter Clifford was arrested near Long Kesh on 8 November ; what charges were made against him ; and for how many hours he was detained ;

(3) what happened to the finger-prints taken from Peter Clifford in Gough barracks on 8 November ; and what records are kept of his arrest and interrogation ;

(4) what questions were asked of Peter Clifford during interrogation at Gough barracks ; and what documents he signed.

Mr. Ian Stewart [holding answers 25 November 1988] : A routine Army patrol operating close to Her Majesty's prison Maze near Lisburn, on 8 November stopped and searched a vehicle in which Mr. Clifford was a passenger. Traces of what was thought to be an explosive substance were found in the vehicle. The vehicle's occupants were subsequently arrested and the vehicle was taken for further examination. Following forensic examination of the vehicle and Mr. Clifford's clothing, it was established that the material discovered was not an explosive substance.

Mr. Clifford was initially detained under section 14 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 for a period of four hours and subsequently arrested under section 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984.

He was detained at 1409 hours on 8 November and released at 1300 hours on 9 November and therefore remained in custody for just under 24 hours. He was released without charge.

Whilst he was in custody, Mr. Clifford's fingerprints were taken and in accordance with normal procedure these have now been destroyed. Procedural records of his arrest and detention have been retained. During police interview Mr. Clifford was asked a number of questions about the substance found, his identity and the reasons for this presence in that particular area. Before his release Mr. Clifford signed a number of official forms relating to his detention. I now understand that Mr. Clifford has lodged a formal complaint in relation to his detention and this is being investigated by the police.

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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many households in Yorkshire have been recorded as being over the recommended safety limit in respect of radon ; and if he will list their locations ;

(2) if he will list any sites in Yorkshire that have been identified as being over the safety limit in respect of radon ; and what radiation levels were recorded.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The National Radiological Protection Board surveys in the three Yorkshire counties have led to the discovery of one house, in west Yorkshire, with a radon concentration at the action level at 400 bequerels per cubic metre. In the county as a whole, concentrations are almost exactly the national average.

Pollution Control (Self-Regulation)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to allow private industry to self regulate pollution control methods ; how he would monitor such voluntary actions ; and whether he will consider the application of stricter legislative controls on environmentally hazardous emissions.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Legislative controls over hazardous emissions already exist. Where monitoring is undertaken by industry as part of the control system, it is policed by the pollution control authority. Proposals currently being developed on an integrated system for controlling industrial pollution will make this framework more efficient and effective.


Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the premises in Nottingham which are authorised under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960.

Mrs. Bottomley : A list of all premises in England and Wales authorised under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 was published by the Department in April 1988 and a copy was placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the function of the RIMNET station at Watnall, Nottingham.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The function of the RIMNET station of Watnall is to measure gamma dose rate.

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether RIMNET stations can detect (a) particulate radioactivity, (b) gaseous radionuclides and (c) radionuclides with short half-lives.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The RIMNET monitors detect particulate and gaseous radionuclides which emit gamma radiation. They are able to detect both short and long-life radionuclides.

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the monitoring equipment used by RIMNET ; and if he will make a statement on the future of RIMNET.

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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : RIMNET sites are currently equipped with Geiger-Muller gamma dose rate monitors. The proposals for the development of RIMNET are set out in the DOE booklet "Nuclear Accidents Overseas--The National Response Plan and Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (RIMNET). A Statement of Proposals", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the sites where his Department conducts random monitoring for radioactivity in Nottingham other than at premises authorised under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Nottingham's drinking water is monitored regularly by HM inspectorate of pollution under the national environmental radioactivity monitoring programme. The effects of all liquid discharges in the Nottingham area are monitored by sampling the river Trent. No other monitoring for radioactivity is warranted.


Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what new proposals he has developed to tackle homelessness.

Mr. Trippier : A review of the current homelessness legislation is under way. As yet, it is too early to say whether this will result in any new, national initiatives.

Single Market

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans his Department has to give advice and guidelines to local authorities on the implications for them of the introduction of the single European market in 1992 ; and if he would make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department will shortly be discussing this matter with representatives of the local authority associations.

Global Developments

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish an annual progress report on how his Department's policies, programmes and spending are directed towards global sustainable developments.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Southport (Mr. Fearn) on 30 November 1988 at column 283.

Planning Appeals (Hampshire)

Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many planning appeals relating to Hampshire were made to his Department in 1987 ; how many were determined ; how many were allowed ; and what has happened to those not determined.

Mr. Howard : A total of 1,124 planning appeals relating to Hampshire were lodged in 1987, but 186 of these have been withdrawn. Of the remainder, 351 were allowed, 570

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were dismissed and 17 are still to be determined. Those appeals still to be decided are either in abeyance (at the request of the parties) or are in the final stages of processing.

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Sir Nicholas Bonsor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will annul the General Development Order 1988 to ration permitted days use of land for clay pigeon shooting to 28.

Mr. Chope : The General Development Order 1988 came into operation on 5 December. We intend to consult shortly on whether to amend it so as to increase from 14 to 28 the maximum number of days in a year on which land may be used for clay pigeon shooting without planning permission.

Rating Reform

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on progress on his consultations regarding the draft poll tax regulations.

Mr. Gummer : We are currently consulting the local authority associations and other bodies on draft regulations covering the administration and enforcement of community charges. Consultation on further regulations will follow shortly.

Housing Statistics

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the most recent figures he has for the number of dwellings owned by (a) the London residuary body, (b) the Inner London education authority, (c) central Government Departments and (d) housing associations, which are unlawfully occupied in each London borough.

Mr. Trippier : This information is not held by the Department.

Sewage Works

Mr. Hanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is yet in a position to make a further statement on his policies for improving the performance of sewage treatment works in England and Wales.

Mr. Howard : Yes. There will be capital programmes involving expenditure of £900 million to £1,000 million designed to bring substandard works into compliance with their legal limits by March 1992. But in some cases, because of the scale of the design and construction work which is necessary, it will not be possible to complete the work by this date. In those cases, completion will be achieved as soon as practically possible thereafter. The Government will be discussing with water authorities the detailed timetables for their programmes.

Applications for temporary variations in consent conditions will be considered in cases where improvement works are programmed for completion by March 1992. This is the best way of securing rapid completion of major investment programmes while protecting river quality.

Upper tier conditions in time-limited consents will also be introduced as a new maximum limit for effluent

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standards. These will be set at levels which ensure the protection of the receiving waters against excessive discharges. Water authorities exceeding their limits will be at risk of prosecution.

Direct Labour Organisations

Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what amendments he will be seeking to make to the regulations made under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 relating to direct labour organisations, in the light of consultation.

Mr. Gummer : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Wales have now decided, in the light of a consultation exercise carried out earlier this year, that all building and maintenance work other than highways and sewerage work should be subject to competition from October of next year and that the present exemption for direct labour organisations with not more than 30 employees should be reduced to 15 employees.

We are also prohibiting authorities from renewing maintenance contracts with their direct labour organisations without first going out to tender. We are examining the scope for restricting the kinds of emergency work which can be carried out by direct labour organisations without open competition.

The present regulations, made under part III of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980, have been in force since 1983 and the Government feel that there is no longer a case for any competition-free allowance for this work. Some authorities already expose all their maintenance and minor construction work to competition.

We estimate that an extra £400 million of work would be exposed to compulsory competition each year. A 30-employee de minimis threshold no longer seems justified. This could allow an authority to carry out work worth £600,000 a year without competition.

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