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|Number ------------------------ 1988 August |82 September |114 October |121 November |208 December |159 1989 January |226 February |224 March |252 April |171
Mr. Luce : It is intended that the museum will be governed by an independent charitable trust following the abolition of the Inner London education authority. The necessary steps are being taken to put in place as quickly as possible an appropriate charitable trust framework for the museum.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how and when he intends to conduct a ballot of the tenants of the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates in Southwark in relation to a housing action trust ;
(2) whether the housing action trust ballot will be on the basis of one vote per tenancy ;
(3) who will be entitled to cast the vote in a housing action trust ballot when the tenancy is in joint names.
Mr. Trippier : I refer the hon. Member to the replies that I gave to her on 30 January ( Official Report, columns 20 and 30 ) and to the hon. Member for Norwood on 24 May ( Official Report, column 592 ).
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants in Southwark, living on the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates proposed for the setting up of housing action trusts, were interviewed by the consultants Peat Marwick McLintock in preparing their report on the suitability of these estates for housing action trusts.
Mr. Trippier : The consultants' report acknowledges that they were unable to interview more than a small proportion of tenants living on the North Peckham and Gloucester grove estates. Nevertheless, they held in- depth interviews with 31 tenants and a similar number of people closely connected with the estates, and they used a variety of published sources to produce a good report of housing conditions in the area, with recommendations for improvements. Tenants and tenants associations on both estates are discussing the reports with the consultants as part of the current consultation exercise.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give an estimate of the amount of Government support necessary for improvements to the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates along the lines of those recommended by the consultants in their report on the suitability of these estates for housing action trusts.
Mr. Trippier : The consultants produced an illustrative scheme for costing purposes which estimated the costs of improving the Southwark housing action trust area at around £112 million. We have allocated substantial resources to the housing action trust programme and are committed to pay for the improvements to be carried out by housing action trusts. The amount of resources for any particular trust will depend on the programme of work, to be decided in consultation with residents.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future of existing and planned estate action schemes for the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : Southwark council has received previous estate action allocations amounting to some £3.75 million for the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates. The council bid unsuccessfully for Estate Action support towards housing and environmental improvements there in 1989-90, but their request for Estate Action support for the conversion of garages into local estate offices is being considered by the Department.
If Southwark submits Estate Action bids for the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates in future years, their applications, like all Estate Action bids, will be assessed on their merits.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has received of the cost of rehabilitation of Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates from his consultants on housing action trusts.
Mr. Trippier : The consultants produced an illustrative scheme for costing purposes which estimated the costs of improving the Southwark Housing Action Trust area at around £112 million--£68 million for North Peckham and £44 million for Gloucester grove. Local residents are now being consulted about the proposals for their estates.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the (a) total cost of monies paid to consultants and (b) the cost to his Department in relation to proposed housing action trusts for the Gloucester grove and North Peckham estates in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : We expect that the costs in relation to the proposed Southwark housing action trust will amount to around £192,000, including VAT, when all bills have been paid. This figure covers consultants' fees and other costs involved in producing reports and leaflets about the proposals, but excludes consultants' fees under the current consultation exercise. The cost of this contract will remain commercially confidential until it has been completed.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to implement the consultants' conclusion that more money needs to be invested in the areas designated for housing action trusts in Southwark.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department of the Environment together with the Welsh and Scottish Offices, have today published a consultation paper on proposals for additional legislation on the intentional release of genetically manipulated organisms. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Existing legislation provides comprehensive protection for the safety of persons against such organisms, but does not provide complete coverage for the environment. The aim is to have a parallel system to protect the environment and so ensure an adequate framework against which biotechnology can be properly developed and its full economic potential realised.
We are proposing to augment the existing legislation to provide a comprehensive system for environmental protection with four main elements :
a general duty of care to protect the environment on those releasing GMOs ;
notification to Ministers by those proposing to release GMOs ; authorisation by Ministers of proposed releases ;
appropriate enforcement of the provisions ;
Interested organisations and individuals are invited to send their views to the Department by 25 August 1989.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will publish his best estimates of the numbers of staff involved in (a) the production and distribution of the Minister for Local Government's articles on the community charge, and (b) the direct contact made with local newspapers in connection with these articles ;
(2) if he will publish his best estimates of the total cost of (a) the production and distribution of the Minister for Local Government's articles on the community charge, and (b) the direct contact made with local newspapers in connection with those articles.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 6 June 1989] : As is customary with ministerial articles, several officials made suggestions or contributions. Information officers in London and each of the seven regions helped to contact local newspapers. In all cases, these activities constituted only a small part of the duties of the officials concerned. The precise costs are therefore not readily identifiable.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what are the principal differences between the codes of conduct for computer reservation systems prepared by the European Civil Aviation Conference and the European Commission ;
Column 219(2) what plans he has for extending the scope of the EEC code of conduct for computer reservation systems to cover non-scheduled passenger air services ;
(3) what steps he will be taking to reconcile the two codes of conduct for computer reservation systems prepared by the European Civil Aviation Conference and the European Commission ;
(4) when he expects to see agreement on the EEC code of conduct for computer reservation systems ; and if he will make a statement on the timetable for its introduction.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : A regulation governing the operation of computerised reservation systems (CRSs) within the European Community was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 5 June 1989. It will come into force on 1 August, subject to certain transitional arrangements for CRSs already established in the Community.
This regulation constitutes binding and directly applicable Community law and therefore takes precedence over the ECAC code of conduct within the member states of the Community. The two codes are consistent in all essential respects. The Community code contains enforcement provisions and lays down additional requirements concerning the disclosure of personal information, displays which are not comprehensive and the provision of a display based on arrival times.
The Council of Ministers invited the Commission to examine the need for a regulation governing CRSs used for non-scheduled passenger air services and for air freight and to bring forward any necessary proposals by 31 December 1990 at the latest.
Public exhibitions of approach roads will be held shortly. They will be well publicised and the public will be invited to comment.
The Prime Minister : I have received a number of such representations. Thanks to the policies that we have pursued for the past 10 years, and will continue to pursue, the economy is performing very well.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will make it her policy that Her Majesty's Government will veto any proposals by the European Economic Community in the health, education, housing and social security field except insofar as this is necessary to remove impediments to trade.
The Prime Minister : The Government will continue to examine carefully all proposals for Community legislation to ensure that they are necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Single European Act and that they are appropriate to the Community's competence.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidelines he has issued to regional councils about registration for poll tax purposes of Royal Navy ratings who are stationed outwith Scotland.
Column 221circumstances relating to individual cases where a person, including a Royal Navy rating, is solely or mainly resident in their area and thus liable to be registered there for community charge purposes. I understand that, in the interests of achieving a measure of consistency in the treatment of service personnel, community charges registration officers have agreed with the Ministry of Defence working arrangements for their registration. However, this does not affect any individual's right of appeal against any registration decision.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of reports commissioned by his Department on (i) skill shortages and (ii) skill shortages and the anticipated impact of 1992 on sections of Scottish industry.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 19 May 1989] : My Department is associated with a study commissioned by the SDA which will identify the commercial opportunities and challenges for firms in Scotland arising from the 1992 proposals.
As regards skill shortages, the Department does keep the labour market situation under review. Although no specific studies of skill shortages have been commissioned recently, a report was published last year (December 1988) on new entrants to the labour market in Scotland in the 1990s. In addition the Training Agency in Scotland conducts regular surveys of Scottish industry as part of the routine process of local labour market information gathering which collect, among other things, information on skill shortages. More specifically the Training Agency in Scotland in conjunction with the SDA has recently completed a report (April 1989) on skill shortages on the engineering and oil industries in Tayside.
Mr. Grist [holding answer 25 May 1989] : The 1989-90 health and personal social services research and development budget of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health, which includes projects for England and Wales, has been increased to £19.02 million. Expenditure by my Department in 1989-90 will exceed £1 million and amount to approximately 0.08 per cent. of provision for the National Health Service in Wales.
Column 222possible to help the Hong Kong authorities to cope with the influx. We are working for a successful outcome to the international conference on indo-Chinese refugees in Geneva on 13-14 June and for a comprehensive and durable solution to the problem.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received about measures being taken by the Government of Mexico to combat the illicit drugs problem.
Mr. Eggar : During my recent visit to Mexico I was impressed with the commitment of the new Government of President Salinas to the fight against drugs. Despite economic constraints, the Mexican Government are devoting increasing resources to drug interdiction and eradication. The recent arrest of an alleged major drug trafficker and the government drive to root out corruption are indications of their resolve.
Mr. Kirkhope : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect British nationals in China in the light of recent events ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : Our paramount concern at the present time is the safety and well-being of British nationals. Everything that can be done is being done and these efforts will continue until we know that all British nationals who wish to leave China have done so. Her Majesty's embassy in Peking and Consulate-General in Shanghai are, however, working under extremely difficult conditions. The embassy has assisted in arrangements for the evacuation by commercial means of several hundred students, businessmen and others with whom they have been in contact. It is important to emphasise that all airports are open and international commercial flights are operating normally. We understand the deep anxiety of relatives of Britons in China. Firm information may not always be available or indeed possible to obtain. We are in touch with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) about group tours that may still be in China. Inquiries should be made to the consular emergency unit in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office--Telephone No.: 01-270 2700--which opened on 7 June 1989.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, during the Downing street seminar on 26 April on the greenhouse effect and energy policy options, any representations were made on the contribution to CO pollution made in the processing cycle for nuclear fuel.
Mr. Parkinson : No ; the contribution to CO pollution from the processing cycle of nuclear fuel is very small and depends on the sources of energy supply used to run the individual processes involved.
Column 223Clwyd, South-West (Mr. Jones), Official Report, 15 May, column 105, what assessment the Government have made of the possibility of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the use of oil and gas.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Carbon dioxide emissions are an inevitable consequence of the use of any particular fuel containing carbon, although the CO release per unit of useful energy varies according to the fuel and the design of the installation. Studies are planned to investigate the possibilities of removing CO from flue gas, but these are aimed more at large coal-firing plant which produce more CO per unit generated than do gas and oil fired plant.
Cost-effective energy efficiency measures which lead to fuel saving, rather than substitution, can of course reduce CO emissions from any fuel source.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if the Central Electricity Generating Board still retains the original construction plans for each individual magnox- type nuclear power station ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Fuels derived from agricultural crops are covered by the Biofuels programme, the broad aim of which was described in Energy Paper No. 55 "Renewable Energy in the UK : The Way Forward".
This programme is intended to encourage the widespread commecial exploitation of biofuels by first identifying and then demonstrating where they can be both economically competitive and environmentally acceptable.
Specific agricultural crops which have been investigated within the biofuels research, development and demonstration programme include : Straw. The development and evaluation of low cost systems for processing and burning baled straw, followed by demonstration of the best systems ;
Energy forestry plantations, both coppice and single stem crops. The assessment of likely yields, costs and returns resulting from the establishment of short rotation energy forestry plantation ; the investigation of mechanical energy forestry ; studies of its environmental impact.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps the Government are taking to investigate and promote the use of oscillating water columns for electricity generation, and how much money has been spent on this area to date.
Mr. Michael Spicer : A major element of the Department of Energy's programme of research and development into small scale wave energy is the development of an oscillating water column--Wells turbine shoreline rock gully device invented by Queen's
Column 224University, Belfast. At a cost of £308,000 my Department has funded research and construction of an experimental prototype on the island of Islay. I announced to the House on 23 March that the next phase of the project, to install an air driven power turbine and generator, will now proceed, subject to contract, on the basis of the data acquired so far.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give an estimate of the number of dolphins around Britain's coasts and their estimated numbers for any year from 1959 onwards for which figures are available.
It is not at present possible to give reliable estimates of the numbers of small cetacean species, including dolphins, even for relatively small areas of coastal waters. Useful information has been derived from records of strandings and from the voluntary sightings scheme run by the United Kingdom cetacean group of the Mammals Society. Further projects are being considered by the relevant Departments and agencies.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place a copy of his working party's report into control framework and safeguards for food irradiation in the Library.