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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give for 4 January, the places visited by him, his travel arrangements and the mileage involved ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements exist to prevent (a) a chair of a parish council and (b) a parish councillor, also holding the post of clerk to the same council ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : By section 80(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972, anyone holding a paid office (other than chairman or vice-chairman) under a local authority is disqualified for membership of that authority. Neither the chairman nor a member of a parish council may therefore be a paid clerk of the council. By section 112(5) of that Act, however, any member of a parish council may be appointed as an unpaid officer of the council. A chairman or member of a parish council may thus be an honorary clerk to the council.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Specific guidance is issued on such matters as the transfer of local authority housing, as appropriate. The Audit Commission report on local authority property management published in February 1988 has already recommended that local authorities regularly review their property portfolio to ensure that it is being put to appropriate use and is not surplus to their requirements. Progress in implementing these recommendations is being monitored by the Department in consultation with the Audit Commission and the local authority associations.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received any representations on the London borough of Redbridge's intention to spend £500,000 on its proposals for voluntary transfer.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what adverse effects have been identified from the use of asbestos pipes for water supplies ; what is the total estimated use of such pipes ; what is the current estimated cost of replacement ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 15 March 1989] : There is no evidence of a risk to health from the levels of asbestos found in drinking water in the United Kingdom, including any derived from the use of asbestos cement pipes.
About 10 per cent. of water mains in the United Kingdom are made of asbestos cement. The cost of replacing them is not known.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Islington, North, Official Report, 14 December 1988, columns 904-5, he will state what exclusive, or near exclusive, arrangement has been made by the Thames water authority concerning disposal of land it deems surplus to operational requirements.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 15 March 1989] : The arrangements made by water authorities for the disposal of surplus land are a matter for those authorities subject to the statutory obligation to achieve the best price reasonably obtainable for the property they sell.
Column 373the design of passenger carriages in new trains proposed for any of London's Underground lines provide for either (a) fewer seats or (b) more people to stand, than the current carriages ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the annual year-on-year estimated cost of repairs and maintenance for the automatic exit barriers installed in London Underground stations following completion of the installation programme ; and what is the estimated life of such barriers.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to what items of information are held on the magnetic strips of the weekly, monthly and season tickets used in London Transport's automatic ticket machines.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to introduce legislation to prevent the installation of automatic ticket machines which can trace or monitor the movements of a particular ticket holder ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the cost of the construction of sound barrier banks on the A3 Milford bypass ; how many residents will benefit from them ; and what compensation is being paid to those where no barrier is proposed.
Mr. Channon : Sound barrier banks will be provided at no additional cost. Some 70 properties will benefit by a noise reduction of 1dBa or more. Compensation will be payable under the relevant legislation. The amounts, which will be subject to negotiation with the district valuer, cannot be estimated at this stage.
Column 374of British Rail's high-speed line proposal will be expected to show, after using a commercial discount rate, a positive net present value in the year in which construction commences to ensure compliance with the provisions of section 42 of the Channel Tunnel Act.
Mr. Portillo : Before this project can proceed, the Government will require any British Rail investment in it to show a positive net present value discounted at the discount rate agreed between the Department and British Rail. For the purpose of such calculations the year to which the costs and revenues are discounted is immaterial.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what he estimates will be the minimum discount rate that will be applied to his Department's financial evaluation of British Rail's high-speed line proposed to ensure compliance with the provisions of section 42 of the Channel Tunnel Act.
Mr. Portillo : If the new line were to be financed by British Rail, the board would need to demonstrate that the project would produce a commercial return. The discount rate used to test this (currently 7 per cent.) will be agreed between BR and the Department. It will need to reflect the Treasury's required rate of return, which is intended to ensure that commercial public sector investment programmes (such as BR's) provide a rate of return which is broadly equivalent to that which could be achieved in the private sector. The required rate of return was set in 1978 and is currently under review.
Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consult motoring and other transport organisations about the European Commission's proposals to harmonise driver licensing in member states ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We are today consulting interested organisations about the Commission's proposals for driver licensing. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Library. Bringing our driver licensing system into line with other European countries makes sense. Drivers who go abroad will benefit from having an internationally recognised licence. There is still a good deal of work to be done on the details of the proposal. Our objectives in the forthcoming negotiations will be to ensure that :
road safety remains the first priority of driver licensing and the transport needs of all United Kingdom citizens are fully recognised in the years ahead ;
licence holders from other member states who come to live in Great Britain are required to obtain a British licence ;
drivers of minibuses used for non commercial purposes and light goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes are not forced to take a second test ;
the degree of detail relating to disabilities required to be shown on the licence is reduced to a level that is compatible with our licensing arrangements.
Provided that we can get these important points satisfactorily resolved, the proposed European Community regulations should benefit drivers by ensuring that when they go abroad they have an internationally recognised licence, and do not face complications about their rights or abilities to drive different categories of vehicle.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Our general policy for motorways is to provide service areas at strategic sites roughly 30 miles apart. Motorway service area (MSAs) rank as Crown developments and the general policy is that their siting, planning, design and operation are arranged by the Department to ensure :
(1) The development of an adequate national network of MSAs ; (2) Genuine competition between prospective operators through the competitive tendering of sites ;
(3) Road safety, by restricting access to the motorways ; and by preventing inappropriate activities at MSAs, in particular consumption of alcohol ;
(4) The maintenance of the necessary range of facilities for 24 hours a day, including facilities for the disabled and provision for heavy goods vehicles.
In practice, the Department identifies sites, seeks planning clearance for a proposal and acquires the freehold of a site, either by agreement or by compulsory purchase. Competitive tenders are then sought from the private sector for the development and a long lease of the site in return for a premium payment. The successful tenderer then builds and operates the MSA.
It is sometimes suggested that service areas would be developed more quickly if the Department were to withdraw from MSA provision. There is no reason to believe this would be the case. There would remain a need for careful choice of site subject to the normal planning processes, and delay would be likely to arise from the need to determine competing planning applications, particularly where public inquiries were necessary. There have already in fact been cases where competing applications have delayed provision of the Department's strategic sites.
To ensure the development of a national network and the other objectives of competition, road safety and range of facilities, it is essential for the Government to take the lead in the provision of MSAs.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what initiatives exist for the transport and road research laboratory to market British research in the United States of America ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 16 March 1989] : As part of the United States strategic highway research programme, the Department of Transport has co-financed (with the science and engineering research council) a representative to join the permanent staff in Washington.
This officer's duties include seeking opportunities for British research organisations to tender for contracts within the $150 million SHRP budget. The transport and road research laboratory has submitted a tender within this framework, together with several other United Kingdom organisations.
Column 376registration officers reminding them that any personal data held by them cannot be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless specifically allowed for by legislation or supporting regulations ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : Data protection guidelines for community charges registration officers in Scotland which cover the disclosure of personal data have been prepared by the Scottish Assessors Association following discussion between themselves and the Data Protection Registrar. My right hon. and learned Friend does not propose to issue any additional guidance on this matter.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has as to the frequency of subject access requests to police forces from drivers in connection with applications for taxi driving licences.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in each year for the past five years the number of suicides in each establishment for which he is responsible ; how many of those concerned were known to have had a history of mental disturbance ; and if he will make a statement.
|c|Penal establishment: Number of suicides|c| |1984|1985|1986|1987|1988 ---------------------------------------------------- Barlinnie Prison |2 |3 |3 |3 |5 Cornton Vale Institution |- |- |1 |- |- Dumfries Young Offenders Institution |- |- |- |1 |- Edinburgh Prison |1 |- |1 |1 |1 Glenochil Institution |1 |2 |- |1 |1 Perth Prison |- |1 |2 |- |- State Hospital State Hospital, Carstairs |- |2 |2 |- |-
Of the 34 cases of suicide, 14 of the inmates were known to have had a history of mental disorder.
Wherever inmates are considered to be at risk preventive measures are taken in relation to their accommodation and observation. In the event of a suicide, careful consideration is given to the subsequent findings of the fatal accident inquiry or internal investigation and procedures reviewed. Although the greatest care is taken by staff to identify, protect and treat those who are thought to be at risk, deaths from unpredictable and determined acts of self-destruction do occur.
Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will show 1986-87 outturn expenditure, 1987-88 estimated expenditure and 1988-89 planned expenditure on (i) trunk roads, broken down into (a) new
Column 377construction and improvement, (b) structural maintenance, and (c) routine maintenance and (ii) local authority roads broken down into (a) new contruction and improvements, and (b) maintenance, (iii) public administration and (iv) local authority car parks, broken down into (a) capital and (b) current (net), and (c) road safety in Scotland.
£ million cash |1986-87 Outturn |1987-88 Outturn<1>|1988-89 Estimate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Motorways and Trunk Roads (a) New construction and improvement |79.2 |94.6 |88.6 (b) Structural maintenance |15.9 |18.2 |22.9 (c) Routine and winter maintenance |19.3 |17.8 |18.7 2. Local Authority Roads (a) New construction and improvement<2> |130.5 |115.5 |130.8 (b) Maintenance |156.2 |172.4 |192.7 3. Public Transport Administration<3> |25.2 |27.8 |29.0 4. Road Safety in Scotland<4> |1.5 |1.7 |1.7 <1> Local authority outturn figures are provisional only. <2> Includes local authority expenditure on car parks which is no longer separately identified. <3> Local authority expenditure on administration of roads and transport services. <4> Excludes expenditure by the Department of Transport on national road safety publicity. Expenditure on new construction and improvements and on maintenance also contributes to road safety.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received a letter from Mr. Hugh Hagen, convenor shop-stewards' committee, Appledore-Ferguson Ltd., Newark Shipyard, Port Glasgow on the negotiation on the disposal of the yard ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : My right hon. and learned Friend received a letter on 7 March from Mr. Hagen requesting a meeting with him to discuss the future of the Ferguson yard. In view of the statement made to the House on 24 February by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, when he announced that British Shipbuilders were inviting new bids for Fergusons by 31 March, it would be premature for my right hon. and learned Friend or me to meet representatives of the work force at this stage. My right hon. and learned Friend has written to Mr. Hagen accordingly.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all inquiries which have been undertaken into the status and development of Lurcher's Gully since 1979, giving in each case the cost to public funds.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The inquiry held in 1982 is the only inquiry under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Acts which has been held into possible development at Lurcher's Gully. The cost of that inquiry to public funds could not now be established except at
Column 378disproportionate cost. The Select Committee on Scottish Affairs made recommendations about future skiing development at Cairngorm in the report of its inquiry into the Highlands and Islands Development Board in 1985, but the cost of that inquiry is not a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend.
I understand, however, that between 1985 and 1987 the museum mounted a major exhibition entitled "The Hidden Peoples of the Amazon", which included two thirds of the Amazonian collections of featherwork, costumes, pottery and other everyday artifacts, many of which show a strong artistic inspiration. The exhibition was supported by a series of films and lectures at which contemporary environmental and cultural problems were discussed.
In 1978 the museum hosted a smaller exhibition on the art of the Brazilian Indians and it continues to provide many schools, specialists and general inquiries with information about the native peoples of Amazonia.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what studies his Department has undertaken to determine the effects of electromagnetic radiation at extremely low frequencies on human health ;
(2) what studies his Department has undertaken to determine the effects of electromagnetic radiation at extremely low frequencies on plant life ;
(3) what studies his Department has undertaken to determine the effects of electromagnetic radiation at extremely low frequencies on animal life ;
(4) what information he has regarding the effects of extremely low frequency electric and magnetic radiation on plant, animal and human life.
Mr. Sainsbury : Long-term studies of the effects of ELF and power line frequencies have produced no evidence to suggest that there are adverse public health effects or adverse effects on plants and animals. The fields that would be produced by the proposed system are several orders of magnitude less than the National Radiological Protection Board's reference level figures for the protection of persons.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the antennae for the planned trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland will be mounted above ground or buried below ground ;
Column 379(2) to which local authority application will be made in regard to planning permission for the planned trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ;
(3) when planning permission will be applied for in regard to the planned trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ;
(4) what is the proposed maximum power requirement for the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ; and what will be its maximum power output ;
(5) what areas of the United Kingdom have been identified as potential sites for operational extremely low frequency transmitters ;
(6) if the exact site characteristics and possible cable routes for the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland have now been identified ;
(7) if he will state the conductivity, in mho per metre, of the underlying bedrock of the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ;
(8) what will be the maximum range of the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ; (9) what area, in hectares, the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland will cover.
Mr. Neubert : The present plan for the proposed trial ELF transmitter at Glengarry forest is that a notice of proposed development (NOPD) is to be produced with a view to submission to the Highland regional council later this year. The NOPD will be a comprehensive formal document containing information about the purpose of the ELF aerial, its proposed course, the unique features of the site, positioning of related facilities, technical and civil engineering concepts, design proposals and methods of construction.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the total cost to date of the proposed trial extremely low frequency transmitter at Glengarry forest in Scotland ; what is the latest estimated construction cost of the project in the years 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 ; and what is the current total estimated cost of the project ;
(2) how much has been spent, to date, by his Department on the area of extremely low frequency communications ; and how much it is planned to spend by the end of 1993.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement regarding the progress of the upgrading programme for the Royal Navy very low frequency communications system.