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Mrs. Chalker : The treaty of accession of the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland was signed in January 1972 during the Luxembourg presidency, and entered into force on 1 January 1973. The treaty of accession of Greece was signed in May 1979 during the French presidency, and entered into force on 1 January 1981. The treaty of accession of Spain and Portugal was signed in June 1985 during the Italian presidency and entered into force on 1 January 1986.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which member states in their capacity as president have represented the European Community at ministerial level meetings in the general agreement on tariffs and trade, Uruguay round.
Mr. Alan Clark : The United Kingdom spoke as the President of the Council at the meeting in Punta del Este in 1986, Greece at the meeting in Montreal in 1988. The European Commission negotiated on behalf of the Community and its member states.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many shipments and what weight of ivory have been seized by the Hong Kong authorities to date in the current year ; and how many shipments and what weight of ivory have been imported from CITES approved sources in the same period.
Mr. Eggar : The Hong Kong Government have seized 15 consignments of illegal ivory so far this year, weighing a total of 0.5 tonnes. In the same period, 249 shipments of ivory, total weight 55.5 tonnes, have been imported from CITES approved sources.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration has been given to the establishment of a Pan-African animal task force to monitor and protect endangered species ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : We are working to protect endangered species by strengthening the rules of organisations in this field. On 23 May we announced our support for a change in the rules of the convention on international trade in endangered species which would have the effect of banning trade in new ivory. We have not heard so far of a proposal for a Pan-African animal task force, but we are willing to consider new ideas.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what information he has regarding the involvement of Renamo forces in the poaching of elephants in Mozambique ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what information he has regarding the involvement of UNITA forces in the poaching of elephants in Angola ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) what representation he has made to the South African Government regarding their acceptance of ivory from UNITA forces in Angola in exchange for military and other assistance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : There is extensive poaching of elephants for their ivory in Angola and Mozambique, as in other parts of Africa. We have no conclusive proof of the involvement of UNITA or Renamo in poaching. We utterly condemn poaching, whoever perpetrates it. The United Kingdom will be calling for concerted European support for a total ban of trade in new ivory at the next Council meeting of Environment Ministers on 8 June in Luxembourg.
Mr. Benn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to give consideration to applications from non-governmental organisations with a central interest in nuclear proliferation, for funds to support their attendance at the 1990 fourth review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. Waldegrave : The draft rules of procedure for the 1990 non- proliferation treaty review conference adopted at the 1st preparatory committee (held in New York from 1-5 May) will allow representatives of non -governmental organisations to attend plenary sessions and main committees of the review conference, and to receive the documents of the conference. However, it is not our policy to subsidise their attendance.
Mr. Benn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what unilateral disarmament initiatives in nuclear, conventional, or chemical weapons, and in troop deployments have been made by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation since May 1979 ; and what response the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has made to these initiatives.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Soviet Union and its Warsaw pact allies have, since 7 December 1988, announced unilateral conventional force reductions which, if implemented, would reduce their conventional superiority over NATO in tanks and artillery from 3 : 1 to 2.4 : 1 and in aircraft from 2.1 : 1 to 1.8 : 1. Details are set out on page 226 of the first report of 1989 of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. These reductions do not call for any unilateral NATO response : a sizeable conventional imbalance would remain after their implementation. But NATO has made proposals at the conventional arms control talks in Vienna for more far-reaching reductions leading to an outcome of parity between the two sides in key items of equipment.
The Soviet Union has stated that its conventional reductions in Europe will involve the withdrawal of 24 out of its 1,608 short-range nuclear-capable missile launchers. On 11 May it also announced the withdrawal from the countries of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union (but not the elimination) of 500 Soviet theatre nuclear warheads. NATO has 88 short-range nuclear missile launchers. It has reduced its stockpile of nuclear warheads in Europe from 7,000 in 1979 to 4,600 now. The Soviet Union announced a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing on 29 July 1985. This ended on 26 February 1987, when a Soviet nuclear device was exploded.
The Soviet Union has claimed that it ceased chemical weapons production in 1987 but we doubt this. The Soviet Union has stated that it intends to begin destruction of its existing chemical weapon stocks in 1989, but has yet to give details of the quantities and time scale.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the number of Council of Ministers meetings since 1979, and indicate at which the Scottish Office was present in a Civil Service capacity in support of a United Kingdom Minister.
The United Kingdom delegation to all meetings of the Council of Ministers represents the Government of the United Kingdom as a whole.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many privately operated electricity generating turbines are installed on rivers in England and Wales ; if he will list them by location ; and which Government Department has responsibility for permitting and overseeing their operations.
The National Association of Water Power Users has a membership of some 250. The association states that about half its members operate power generating turbines.
The appropriate local water authority has responsibility for permitting and overseeing the operation of water turbine users. To remain within the existing law, each user has to obtain a water abstraction licence from the relevant local water authority. My Department has commissioned a study by Salford university of all potentially feasible and operating small-scale hydro energy sites in the United Kingdom. The report of this study is expected to be published shortly.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how much coal was imported into the United Kingdom for the latest year for which he has figures ; what strategic planning he has forecast for the next five years by year ; and if he will make a statement on what reviews have been carried out or are planned with respect to the importation of coal and closure of deep-mined pits in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Michael Spicer : In 1988, coal imports into the United Kingdom were 11.993 million tonnes , 7.390 million tonnes of which was coking coal. The Government do not make forecasts of coal imports. Decisions on the future of individual deep-mine pits are a matter for the British Coal Corporation.
Source : Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. This is a provisional rounded figure, which may be subject to marginal adjustments, but is expected to be confirmed later this year.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has obtained any further information from the Electricity Council regarding the number of households not connected to the electricity grid ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Benn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to initiate negotiations with the European Commission, Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency towards the deletion of article 14 of the tripartite safeguards agreement of August 1978 permitting the withdrawal of nuclear materials from safeguards for reasons of national security.
Mr. Benn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish a table in the Official Report giving the amounts of carbon dioxide released in the production of (a) coal for fossil fuel fired power plants and (b) nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants in the present United Kingdom generating plant stock.
Mr. Benn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will set out those areas of information in regard to the civil nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium import, processing, fuel manufacture, fuel load, reactor operation, fuel unload, spent fuel store at reactor, spent fuel transport to Sellafield, and reprocessing and store of plutonium, uranium and radioactive waste products by British Nuclear Fuels plc about which it is his policy for reasons of commercial
confidentiality or national security not to publish full details in the Official Report.
Mr. Parkinson : Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the following changes will be made. The cash limit for class VI, vote 3 will be increased by £2,290,000 from £35,599,000 to £37,889,000. This extra provision is sought to meet an increase of £2,190,000 in the cost of the Piper Alpha technical investigation and public inquiry. It will also include £100,000 to cover the cost of setting up the Office of Electricity Regulation prior to the appointment of the Director General of Electricity Supply as head of the Office of Electricity Regulation, expected to take effect from 1 September 1989. This latter amount will increase the Department of Energy's running costs limit from £38,022,000 to £38,122,000. It will be offset by a corresponding decrease from £30,000,000 to £29,900,000 in the cash limit for class VI, vote 6, where this provision was originally included.
The cash limit for class VI, vote 7, which is a new vote providing for expenditure by the Office of Electricity Regulation, will be £7, 796,000, of which £6,320,000 will be the running costs limit.
Column 635Expenditure on vote 7 and the appointment of the Director General of Electricity Supply are both subject to the passage of the Electricity Bill currently before Parliament.
These increases will be charged to the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
(2) why coroners' officers have to be employed by a police force.
Mr. Hurd : Home Office circular 93 of 1985 drew attention of county councils to a review of the work and methods of coroners' officers carried out by the Home Office organisation and methods branch and recommended that in consultation with coroners and chief officers of police they should review their own arrangements for the provision of coroners' officers. A copy of the circular and of the review are in the Library. The review had studied inter alia areas where, at that time, civilianisation had taken place. There is no requirement that civilian coroners' officers must be employed by a police authority, although that is the option we prefer.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply of 6 March, Official Report, column 383, how information technologies involving the provision of information to the public is being used to combat crime ; if he has any further plans to apply the newest technologies in this field ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : The police service applies information technology extensively in the fight against crime. Many of these applications involve providing information to the public. For example, as part of the process of detecting crime, information technology is used to assist the public to identify suspects and to build up a photographic image of a suspect from witnesses' descriptions.
More generally, work is well advanced in the implementation of a new police national computer system, incorporating the latest software and hardware technology, which will come into operation by the end of 1990. This is the first step in a programme of development of police national information services which the Department is drawing up in collaboration with the Association of Chief Police Officers and which is aimed at applying information technology to police operational needs.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in discussions on the draft directive on the mutual recognition of firearms certificates ; whether the proposals fall to be considered by majority vote or by unanimity ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : No discussions have been held by the European Commission since last June on its proposal for a Council directive on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The Commission has based this proposal on article 100A, which would enable its adoption by majority voting. The United Kingdom has registered the view that the directive should be founded, like other frontier measures, on article 235, which requires unanimity. We have entered a formal reserve about the legal basis and will continue to press the Commission to accept our view.
We understand that the Commission intends to issue shortly a revised version of the draft directive. When this has been received we will consider it carefully.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what communications it has received from Malcolm Booth, alias Ian Ross, who originally traded as M. B. Locksmiths and is now trading as Westway Locksmiths, about the keys he claims will open 95 per cent. of British and foreign cars ; what discussions his Department has had with Tameside trading standards departments about these keys ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he anticipates making a decision on the applications for transfer to a gaol in Northern Ireland from prisoners (a) 851715, John McComb, (b) 463799, Ronald McCartney, (c) 119034, Paul Holmes and (d) 3369204, Thomas Quigley.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current average length of time taken to issue a full passport from the time of application at each of the main issuing offices ; and what was the average time taken in 1979, 1983 and in the last five years.
Mr. Renton : Passport applications are processed according to the applicant's travel requirements, with priority being given to urgent cases. As a result, processing times in a given period vary considerably, and averages are not recorded.
The current maximum processing times for straightforward non-urgent postal applications at the six United Kingdom passport offices are shown in the table, together with those of the corresponding periods of the last four years. I regret that information for earlier years is not available.
Passport officeTime between receipt of application and issue of passport |21 May 1989 |22 May 1988 |22 May 1987 |23 April 1986|24 May1985 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- London |25 |55 |62 |24 |10 Liverpool |68 |15 |22 |15 |6 Peterborough |38 |32 |19 |14 |11.5 Newport |45 |20 |44 |25 |12 Glasgow |50 |33 |33 |30 |10 Belfast |4 |4 |7 |5 |4
Most applications are processed well within these maximum periods.
A sharp increase in demand early this year has led to a general increase in processing times. Staff at Glasgow and Liverpool are having to adapt to a new computerised system of passport issuing, and accommodation changes at other offices have also affected output. Additional staff have been employed to help deal with the backlog, and a system of free two-year extensions to the life of expired passports submitted for replacement has been introduced at Liverpool to help relieve the immediate problem there.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state for the Liverpool passport office the average length of time it takes to process a correctly completed passport application form for the most recent convenient period for which figures are available, and the comparable figure for the previous year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : Passport applications are processed according to the applicant's travel requirements, with priority being given to urgent cases. As a result, processing times in a given period vary considerably, and averages are not recorded. Straightforward non-urgent postal applications are at present being processed at the Liverpool passport office within a maximum 63 working days, compared with 18 last year. Most applications are processed well within this period.
A sharp increase in demand early this year has increased processing times at Liverpool, where staff are also having to adapt to a new computerised system of passport issuing. Additional staff have been employed to help deal with the backlog, and, as I announced to the House on 11 May, at column 978, a system of free two-year extensions to the life of expired passports is being introduced to help relieve the immediate problem.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement summarising the proposals made by the European Parliament for the control and restriction of the hunting of foxes and deer ; and whether the EEC Commission has plans to present proposals on the implementation of these proposals.
Column 638Society, has been appointed chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee. The names of the other members of the committee will be announced shortly.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many remand prisoners from the Doncaster area were being held at Her Majesty's prison, Hull, on the latest date for which he has figures ; if he will show in his answer the ages of these inmates ; and if he will list the figures for one year ; five years and 10 years ago.
Age |Number of prisoners ------------------------------------------------------------ 17 |4 18 |3 19 |2 20 |2 21 |3 22 |2 23 |2 24 |1 25 |1 26 |1 27 |2 28 |1 29 |1 30 |1 31 |1 44 |1 Total |28
Comparable figures for one year ago are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Comparable figures for five and 10 years ago do not exist, as unsentenced prisoners were not held at Hull prior to February 1986.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visitors to the United Kingdom in the last five years have been refused entry because of (a) homosexuality and/or (b) being HIV seropositive.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions have been given to immigration officials to question visitors to the United Kingdom about the sexual orientation or their HIV antibody status.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to ensure that immigration officials do not discriminate against (a) homosexual visitors and (b) HIV seropositive visitors to the United Kingdom.
Mr. John Patten : The Government keep the operation of the criminal justice system under regular review, and will bring forward proposals for legislative changes where these appear necessary, and when parliamentary time permits.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his present estimate of the cost of the Hillsborough inquiry which will be borne by the police authority of South Yorkshire ; and what is his estimate of the amount per head which this will involve.
Mr. Hurd : It is not clear at this stage what the total additional costs of the Hillsborough police inquiry will be. South Yorkshire police authority has made representations which my noble Friend Earl Ferrers, the Minister of State, will be discussing with the authority shortly.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy not to implement the Law Commission proposal to lower the age of consent for buggery between men.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in the light of the draft criminal code Bill published by the Law Commission, he has any plans to introduce legislation on the age of consent for homosexual acts between males ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the projects that are currently being undertaken to reduce the destruction of the tropical rain forests.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent in aid payments to countries in the African subcontinent, in total, in the last five years.
Mr. Chris Patten : Over the last five years for which firm figures are available--1983 to 1987--gross bilateral aid to Africa totalled £1.39 billion. Including the estimated United Kingdom share of multilateral aid this figure rises to some £2.5 billion.