some default text...
  Home Page

Column 791

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 10 November 1989

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Head Teachers

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from head teachers of schools in the Bilborough area of Nottingham ; and what reply has been made.

Mr. Alan Howarth : None.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from the head teacher of Warren Hill school, Nottingham ; and what reply has been made.

Mr. Alan Howarth : None.

Professional Association of Teachers

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received any representations about recognition for the Professional Association of Teachers.

Mrs. Rumbold : The Professioal Association of Teachers has represented to my right hon. Friend that some local education authorities still decline to recognise the association. That is a choice which they can make, but the Government recognise the PAT as one of the six schoolteacher unions with whom they deal. Under delegated budgeting schools governors will acquire more extensive responsibilities for employment matters and will be free to recognise unions not recognised by the local education authority.

Teacher Training

Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will publish the Government's conclusion on future arrangements for the accreditation of courses of initial teacher training.

Mr. MacGregor : My Department and the Welsh Office are publishing today a joint circular on the approval of initial teacher training courses. The circular takes account of the many comments which we received in reply to the consultation document "Future Arrangements for the Accreditation of Courses of Initial Teacher Training" which was published in May of this year.

The circular provides for the reconstitution of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education from 1 January and for a revised system of local committees and sets out new criteria for course approval together with a commentary of guidance.

A separate circular will be issued in Northern Ireland, where the same new arrangements and criteria will apply to initial teacher training courses. Copies have been placed in the Library.


Column 792

I have also today reappointed Professor William Taylor, Vice-Chancellor of Hull university, as chairman of CATE until June 1993.

City Technology Colleges

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in granting leave for notice to be served to discontinue the Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham schools in Deptford, what decision he has taken in principle on whether to fund one city technology college or a pair of city technology colleges to take the place of the two existing schools in 1991.

Mrs. Rumbold : The proposal put forward by the Haberdashers' Company was for one funding agreement to be made with my right hon. Friend. In granting leave to the governors of the existing schools to discontinue them and to establish a CTC in succession, my right hon. Friend has proceeded on the basis that a single institution would be established but that single sex provision would continue. Further discussions are being held with the company to determine the detailed institutional and administrative arrangements necessary to achieve this.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Eye Tests

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether there has been any change in the number of persons seeking eye tests in Northern Ireland since changes were introduced.

Mr. Needham : Reliable information about the effect of the changes introduced from 1 April 1989 on the number of persons seeking eye tests in Northern Ireland is not yet available.

Environmental Research

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on his Department's role in the radioactivity, research and environment monitoring committee since its inception.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Northern Ireland interest on the radioactivity research and environmental monitoring committee has been represented since its inception in 1986 by the chief alkali and radiochemical inspector of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, who has played a full part in the committee's work of reviewing and collating the programmes of research and monitoring undertaken by both Government and industry.

Saintfields Road, Castlereagh

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what complaints he has received from residents at Saintfields road and Ivanhoe avenue in connection with the manhole cover at 590 Saintfields road, Castlereagh, relating to the distress arising from the noise caused by traffic travelling over this cover ; what steps he has taken over this matter in 1989 ; and if he will consider the re-location of the manhole and cover so that it is in the centre of the traffic lane.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : We received one complaint. We acted to solve the problem. We are pleased to have


Column 793

received a further letter which ends : "I am most grateful to you for having this complaint attended to so quickly and efficiently". I have passed the praise to those who do the work. It would not be feasible to relocate the manhole as this would involve the realignment of the sewer.

Sheep

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many non maedi-visna tested sheep were accepted to the Department of Agriculture's sheep improvement scheme, in each year since 1980.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 6 November 1989] : We do not know. I will write to the hon. Member about the testing procedure for accreditation.

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what requirements must be met before sheep will be accepted on to the Department of Agriculture's Northern Ireland sheep improvement scheme in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 6 November 1989] : The sheep improvement scheme has two main parts : on-farm recording of lambs and performance testing of ram lambs.

To be registered as a recording flock a veterinary surgeon must have certified that all sheep in the flock are free from disease and physical defects. The flock must contain at least 20 ewes, in the case of a flock containing sheep of the blackface breed, and in the case of any other flock, five ewes.

Ram lambs accepted for performance testing must be from fully maedi-visna accredited flocks and have been vaccinated for the main clostridial infections and pasturella pneumonia at least four weeks before the commencement of the test. The Department also assesses ram lambs for weight and size for age, quality and soundness to determine suitability for entry to test.

Schools (Promotional Allowances)

Mr. McCusker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the six secondary schools in Northern Ireland which have promotional allowance values which are higher than that appropriate to their group ; and why this is the position.

Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 6 November 1989] : The six schools are the following junior high schools :

Clounagh, Portadown

Killicomaine, Portadown

Lurgan Boys

Lurgan Girls

St. Mary's Lurgan

Tandragee

The reason these schools have a promotion allowance value higher than that appropriate to their group is to ensure that they are at no disadvantage in terms of promotion opportunities when compared with other secondary schools of similar size.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. McCusker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy there have been in Northern Ireland to date.


Column 794

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 7 November 1989] : Twenty -three.

Staff Midwives

Mr. McCusker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff midwives employed in hospitals throughout Northern Ireland have been given an F grade in the recent clinical grading exercise ; and what percentage this represents of the total staff midwives employed.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 7 November 1989] : At the date of regrading (1 April 1988) the number of whole-time equivalent staff midwives in post in Northern Ireland was 779 and of that number 11 posts were given an F grade in the new clinical grading structure. This represents 1.4 per cent. of the total number of staff midwife posts.

In Northern Ireland the health and personal social services are fully integrated and the above figures include those staff midwife posts in a community setting as these cannot be identified separately at this time.

Beef Exports

Mr. McCusker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantity of beef is exported annually to West Germany from Northern Ireland for human consumption.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 7 November 1989] : Exports of beef from Northern Ireland to West Germany were :


                      |Beef Exports (tonnes)                      

------------------------------------------------------------------

1989 (Jan-Sept.)      |853                                        

1988                  |660                                        

1987                  |1,104                                      

1986                  |997                                        

Fixed Penalties, Larne

Mr Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many fixed penalty fines of £12 were levie d by Larne traffic wardens during 1989 in respect of parking in the unmarked, unrestricted car park area of Narrow Guage road, Larne, adjacent to the entrance to the Larne shopping complex and Larne Guardian prior to proper restrictive road markings being put down; and how many fixed penalty tickets have been issued in respect of the same area since proper markings to prohibit parking were laid down in 1989; (2) whether he will seek powers to arrange for the £12 fixed penalty fines paid in respect of parking in this formerly non-restricted area, prior to road markings being put down to prohibit parking, to be refunded.

Mr. Cope : I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

CIVIL SERVICE

Leaded Petrol

Dr. Marek : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if any vehicles belonging to, or used by, the Civil Service run on leaded petrol.


Column 795

Mr. Luce [holding answer 8 November 1989] : I cannot answer for the Civil Service as a whole, but in my Department all vehicles which can be adapted to use unleaded petrol have now been adapted.

Environmentally Beneficial Policies

Dr. Marek : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will give details of any initiatives he has taken in the last year within the Civil Service to adopt environmentally beneficial policies.

Mr. Luce [holding answer 8 November 1989] : It is for each Government Department to decide which environmentally beneficial policies it adopts. In my Department we have initiated the use of unleaded petrol and recycled paper, and adopted a number of energy efficiency measures.

TRANSPORT

Motorways (Lighting)

Mr. Batiste : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents have occurred in the last year on the M1 motorway in the dark on unlit sections that are within one mile of a lit section.

Mr. Atkins : The road accident report form records the light condition at the scene of an accident. The lighting condition of nearby sections of road are not readily available. In 1988, there were 948 accidents on the M1, with 282 occurring during the hours of darkness. For the accidents in darkness, 193 were on lit sections of road, 86 on unlit sections, and three on sections where light conditions were not recorded.

Emergency Transport Plans

Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the main findings of the review of the inland transport organisation conducted by his defence planning and emergencies division.

Mr. Atkins : The inland transport organisation is maintained by the Department to provide a control structure for the surface transport industries, should it be necessary, in a time of international crisis or war. The main changes recommended by the review were : (

(a) all levels of the organisation should be activated relatively early in crisis to avoid a change in control arrangements during a war ;

(b) requests for transport which could not be obtained, during a crisis or war, by normal commercial means, should be fed into the organisation at the district or equivalent level ;

(c) the arrangements for the earmarking of road vehicles in peacetime should be improved ;

(d) the initial training in civil defence for members of the organisation should be provided by county (or equivalent) emergency planning officers as part of the training they provide to volunteers generally ;

(e) regional seminars should no longer be linked with those of the regional port and shipping organisation, and should last no more than half a day.

These recommendations are now being implemented.

Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which option has been chosen from those arising out of the DVIOT division feasibility study into location of road vehicles in an emergency ; when he expects


Column 796

arrangements for the location of vehicles in an emergency to be in operation ; how much the implementation of these proposals will cost ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : The preferred option would allow on-line inquiries of the goods operator licensing database within each traffic area office. It is estimated that development of this option would cost £22,600, with an annual support cost of £14,300 thereafter. No decision has been taken about development.

Air Traffic Controllers

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the number of air traffic controllers (a) recruited in each of the last three years, and (b) who have left the service in the last three years ; what are the estimated figures for recruitment and wastage for each of the next three years ; and if he will give all these figures for each air traffic control centre in Great Britain.

Mr. McLoughlin : This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority and the management of the national air traffic services. I will draw the hon. Member's question to the attention of the authority's chairman.

SS Derbyshire

Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make available to the bereaved families of the crew of the SS Derbyshire the draft report on the sinking of this vessel.

Mr. McLoughlin : In January 1989 copies of the typescript report of court were distributed to the solicitors to the parties to the formal investigation into the loss of MV Derbyshire. Copies of the supplemental report and order as to costs were distributed to the solicitors last month. At the formal investigation two firms of solicitors acted for dependants of those lost in the Derbyshire tragedy.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the cost to date and the estimated final cost of British Rail's publicity consultation process both to those along the rail link route and those in the vicinity of Waterloo and King's Cross main line stations.

Mr. Portillo : I do not have this information. This is a matter for British Rail.

Roads (Chelmsford)

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a further announcement on the implementation of those proposals in the White Paper, "Roads to Prosperity", which apply to roads in the Chelmsford area ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend expects to publish a roads report later this year, setting out in a little more detail the schemes in the expanded road programme.

We are pressing ahead with the appointment of design agents for our new schemes and studies. We recently announced details of the appointments made so far of


Column 797

consultants and agent authorities to prepare 53 new road schemes and seven new studies. Further announcements on the remaining schemes, including the new motorway scheme from M25 to Chelmsford and the A12 Chelmsford bypass widening, will be made over the next few months.

DEFENCE

Aircraft (Fluid)

Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, further to his answer on 6 November, Official Report, column 486, he will make a further statement on the circumstances which led to the discharge of fluid from an aircraft operated by A and AEE Boscombe Down on 25 October.

Mr. Neubert : The aircraft was involved in a routine training exercise during which it was intended to release chemical agent training mixture over troops exercising on the Porton battle run. The agent used was polyethylene glycol 300, which is harmless to humans, plants and animals. The purpose of the exercise was to provide the troops with as realistic as possible a simulation of a chemical attack. Because of technical problems with the aircraft's communications equipment, the pilot was unable to complete the release of the liquid as planned and had to jettison the remaining contents in order to bring the aircraft below the safe maximum landing weight. It was this discharge of liquid which probably caused damage to paintwork on a number of cars in the area.

An investigation is under way into this incident. It will include a review of existing procedures.

As I have already indicated, the Ministry of Defence will consider claims for compensation from those whose property has been damaged.

ENVIRONMENT

Local Authority Dwellings

Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what was (a) the number of dwellings let by local authorities between 1 April 1988 and 31 March 1989, (b) the number of local authority dwellings taken out of management during that period and not available for letting, (c) the number of local authority dwellings vacant and available for letting on 31 March 1989 in (i) Greater London, (ii) metropolitan areas outside London, (iii) non-metropolitan areas in the south-east, (iv) all non-metropolitan areas and (v) England as a whole ;

(2) what was (a) the number of local authority dwellings let to new non- secure tenants, (b) the number of local authority dwellings let to new non- secure tenants who were homeless households between 1 April 1988 and 31 March 1989 in (i) Greater London, (ii) metropolitan areas outside London, (iii) non-metropolitan areas in the south-east, (iv) all non-metropolitan areas and (v) England as a whole ; (3) what was (a) the total number of households and (b) the number of homeless households housed by local authorities (i) through NMS or LAMS, (ii) through HALO, (iii) through other mobility schemes, between 1 April 1988 and 31 March 1989 in (i) Greater London, (ii)


Column 798

metropolitan areas outside London, (iii) non -metropolitan areas in the south-east, (iv) all non-metropolitan areas and (v) England as a whole ;

(4) what was (a) the total number of households and (b) the number of homeless households housed by local authorities through nomination to housing associations between 1 April 1988 and 31 March 1989 in (i) Greater London, (ii) metropolitan areas outside London, (iii) non-metropolitan areas in the south-east, (iv) all non-metropolitan areas and (v) England as a whole ;

(5) what was the number of dwellings let by local authorities to homeless households referred by other authorities under the Housing Act 1985, section 68, between 1 April 1988 and 31 March 1989 in (a) Greater London, (b) metropolitan areas outside London, (c) non-metropolitan areas in the south-east, (d) all non-metropolitan areas and (e) England as a whole.

Mr. Chope : The information for April 1989 is not yet available. I will write to the hon. Member when it becomes available.

House of Commons Terrace (Guano)

Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the annual budget for the cost of removal of guano from the Commons Terrace ; and what was the actual cost of this operation in the last complete financial year.

Mr. Chope : There is no separate annual budget for this task, which is carried out as part of the cleansing contract. The actual cost in 1988- 89 for removing guano from the entire Terrace was £4,000.

Asylum Seekers (Turkey)

Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate the outcome of the meeting held at his Department on 9 November with representatives of the Association of London Authorities and certain London boroughs and with hon. Members in response to their requests for financial assistance in respect of the extra expenditure incurred by authorities in 1989-90 as a result of the recent influx of asylum seekers from Turkey.

Mr. David Hunt : At the meeting at which my hon. Friends the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Home Affairs were also present, I announced a scheme of Government grants to help local authorities with substantial unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure incurred this year directly as a result of the influx. Grant will be payable towards eligible expenditure on the basis of claims submitted by local authorities. The scheme will be administered by the Department of the Environment. Proposals for detailed rules will be discussed with the local authority associations.

I also said that that we would look at the boroughs' case for meeting extra housing needs in the context of this year's and future housing investment programme rounds, and that the Housing Corporation had indicated that it would take account of bids from housing associations for schemes for housing asylum seekers when making allocations to associations.

The association was also told that the Government were reviewing current arrangements for receiving unplanned arrivals and would consult the local authority associations as appropriate.


Column 799

Water Authorities (Criminal Proceedings)

Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his Department intends to finance expenditure incurred by the residuary water authorities in relation to any criminal proceedings brought against them.

Mr. Howard : Substantive provision for this new service will be sought in a winter Supplementary Estimate for class x, vote 9. Pending parliamentary approval of the Estimate, urgent expenditure will be met by repayable advances from the Contingency Fund.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Palace of Westminster (Health and Safety)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Lord President of the Council on which dates environmental health officers from Westminster City council have carried out health and safety inspections at the Palace of Westminster over the last five years ; which areas were inspected ; and if he will place copies of each report in the Library.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : At the invitation of the authorities of the House, an environmental health officer from Westminster city council carried out inspections in the House on 12 March, 23 April, 5 and 13 June 1986, 29 January 1987 and June 1988. All inspections were of the Refreshment Department kitchens. A further series of such visits is planned for the end of the year. The reports of environmental health officers are internal management documents but are available to the Catering Sub- Committee.

Library (Public Information Desk)

Mr. Onslow : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make arrangements for the public information desk in the Library to be manned from 9 am on working days.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : I will ask the Library Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) to consider the opening time of the Library's public information office at its next meeting.

Creche Facilities

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Lord President of the Council whether he will consider equipping and staffing hospitality rooms A and B for use as a cre che for parliamentary staff and members.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : No. Planning for a day nursery is being considered in the context of the new parliamentary buildings.

Hospitality Rooms

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Lord President of the Council whether he will list the number of occasions on which the hospitality rooms A and B have been booked by (a) Labour and (b) Conservative Members during the past two years.


Next Section

  Home Page