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Mr. Grist : The Department has so far received no applications for self-governing status, but has received one formal expression of interest from Pembrokeshire health authority.

Countryside Council for Wales

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to establish the headquarters of the Countryside Council for Wales in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : We have decided that the headquarters of the Countryside Council for Wales will be at Plas Penrhos, Ffordd Penrhos, Bangor, which is currently the Nature Conservancy Council's headquarters for Wales. The present buildings can accommodate most of the new headquarters staff although some additional accommodation may be needed later. It will probably be necessary to relocate the north Wales regional office of the Nature Conservancy Council which at present shares the headquarters buildings ; the precise location will depend on the availability of suitable alternative accommodation but it is envisaged that it will be in, or within daily travelling distance of Bangor.

We have received representations for the headquarters to be situated at a number of other locations in Wales which we have considered very carefully. However, on balance we have chosen Bangor mainly because suitable accommodation requiring the minimum of adaptation is immediately available and it will reduce staff inconvenience and relocation costs to a minimum.

Crown Buildings, Cathays Park

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the Export Credits Guarantee Department insurance services group to vacate the New Crown building, Cathays park, Cardiff.

Mr. David Hunt : I expect the new company which is to be formed from the insurance services group of ECGD to move from the New Crown building, Cathays park as soon as alternative accommodation can be found ; this is not expected to be for some time after incorporation of the company as a new building is likely to be necessary.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the energy efficiency of the Crown buildings, Cathays park.

Mr. David Hunt : A consulting engineer was commissioned by the Property Services Agency to produce an energy survey report on the Crown buildings in Cathays


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park. My Department and Property Holdings-- Department of the Environment--are now considering the consultant's recommendations.

Quarrying

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will call in the application by Pioneer Aggregates to extend Aberduna quarry, Maeshafn, Llanferres, Clwyd ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : No. On present information, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales sees no reason why an application of this nature, which does not appear to raise planning issues of more than local importance, should not be decided by Clwyd county council.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now pursue an appeal against the quashing of an enforcement notice relating to the activities of Messrs. F. G. Whitley and Co. in respect of the quarry Moel Findeg, Maeshafn, Llanferres, Clwyd ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : No. The notice was quashed by my right hon. Friend in accordance with the ruling given by the High Court and he has no present jurisdiction in the matter. He understands however that Clwyd county council is pursuing the case to the Court of Appeal.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the latest figure for the number of confirmed cases of BSE in (a) the east midlands and (b) Nottinghamshire.

Mr. Maclean : Following is the information :


County           |Confirmed          

                 |cases              

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

Warwickshire     |159                

Northamptonshire |115                

Nottinghamshire  |83                 

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of holdings which have had at least one case of BSE in the last two years, by county, in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Maclean : The information for Great Britain for the two years from 30 June 1988 to 29 June 1990 is as follows :


County            |Holdings         

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

Bedfordshire      |15               

Cambridge         |22               

Essex             |32               

Hertfordshire     |40               

Lincolnshire      |58               

Norfolk           |96               

Northamptonshire  |64               

Suffolk           |66               

Cheshire          |208              

Derbyshire        |119              

Hertfordshire and                   

   Worcestershire |161              

Lancashire        |191              

Leicestershire    |156              

Manchester        |8                

Merseyside        |5                

Nottinghamshire   |48               

Shropshire        |199              

Staffordshire     |164              

West Midlands     |11               

Avon              |150              

Cornwall          |569              

Devon             |849              

Dorset            |482              

Gloucestershire   |207              

Somerset          |578              

Wiltshire         |394              

Clwyd             |103              

Dyfed             |362              

Glamorgan Mid     |16               

Glamorgan South   |18               

Glamorgan West    |5                

Gwent             |72               

Warwick           |85               

Cleveland         |11               

Cumbria           |194              

Durham            |43               

Humberside        |46               

Northumberland    |32               

Tyne and Wear     |1                

Yorkshire North   |327              

Yorkshire South   |30               

Yorkshire West    |43               

Berkshire         |43               

Buckinghamshire   |54               

Hampshire         |217              

Isle of Wight     |33               

Kent              |110              

London            |4                

Oxon              |104              

Surrey            |69               

Sussex East       |96               

Sussex West       |145              

Borders           |11               

Central           |17               

Dumfries          |69               

Fife              |19               

Grampian          |82               

Highland          |20               

Lothian           |10               

Orkney            |7                

Shetland          |1                

Strathclyde       |112              

Tayside           |25               

Gwynedd           |38               

Powys             |116              

Silver Foxes

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many silver fox farms there are in the United Kingdom ; and whether there is a feral population of silver foxes.

Mr. Maclean : Farmers do not need licences to keep silver foxes and we do not collect this information. There is no evidence of feral silver foxes in the United Kingdom.

Agricultural Dwellings

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what action he takes to ensure the independence of his Department's assessment of the financial viability of proposals for agricultural workers' dwellings ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what action he takes to ensure that his Department's independent advice to local authorities on proposals for


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agricultural dwellings is not compromised by the commercial advice given by the Agricultural Development Advisory Service ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer : Local authorities receive advice on the rehousing of agricultural workers from agricultural dwellings house advisory committees- -ADHACs. These consist of an independent chairman and one representative each of employers and employees. These representatives must be unconnected with the case. The role of the Agricultural Development Advisory Service is confined to the provision to ADHACs of a factual account of the agricultural enterprise in question. ADHACs are entitled to seek alternative sources of information on this point if they so wish.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Marchioness

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Attorney-General (1) if he will bring charges under the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, section 30, in connection with the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989 ;

(2) if he will bring manslaughter charges against any of the parties involved in the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989 ;

(3) if he will bring charges under the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, section 31, in connection with the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989.

The Attorney-General : The Director of Public Prosecutions announced on 26 April 1990 that the master of the Bowbelle was to be prosecuted for an offence contrary to section 27 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 as substituted by section 32 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988. The charge alleges that he failed properly to discharge a duty, namely to ensure that a proper lookout was kept by all available means, to such an extent as to be likely to cause the loss or destruction of, or serious damage to, another ship or the death of, or serious injury to, another person.

Those proceedings are now pending at Bow Street magistrates court. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not envisage any further charges.

PRIME MINISTER

National Health Service

Q6. Mr. Latham : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the progress of preparations on the Government's proposed changes in the financing of the national health service.

The Prime Minister : Royal Assent for the National Health Service and Community Care Act was received on 29 June. Preparations for implementation of the new financial arrangements are proceeding well.

Bootle

Q64. Mr. Carr : To ask the Prime Minister when she next expects to visit Bootle.

The Prime Minister : I have at present no plans to do so.


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European Community Summit

Q71. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the recent European Community summit of Heads of Government held at the conclusion of the Irish presidency ; and if she will list the principal conclusions.

The Prime Minister : I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made to the House on 28 June.

USSR (Financial Aid)

Q105. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister if she has recently held discussions with Chancellor Kohl and other European Community Government leaders concerning the subject of the provision of financial aid to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Aid to the Soviet Union was discussed at the Dublin European Council. I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 28 June.

Metrocentre, Gateshead

Q116. Mr. Cousins : To ask the Prime Minister when she next proposes to make a visit to the Metrocentre at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

The Prime Minister : I have at present no plans to do so.

Retirement Pensions

Q130. Sir David Price : To ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the recent decision by the House of Lords in the case of James v. Eastleigh borough council, she will introduce amending legislation to provide equal age eligibility between men and women for the state retirement pension.

The Prime Minister : The James case was concerned with concessions to people by reference to their age. It has no effect on the law on social security and, therefore, there is no need to amend that law in the light of this judgment.

Film Studio, Rainham

Q134. Mr. Squire : To ask the Prime Minister what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to encourage proposals by MCA to build a film studio complex in Rainham, Essex.

The Prime Minister : I have met Mr. Lew Wasserman, chairman of MCA Inc. A number of Government Departments and agencies have had discussions with the company about its proposals.

IRA

Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Prime Minister whether any representations were made to Her Majesty's Government by the Government of Australia about Irish terrorism following the murder of two Australian tourists by the IRA operating in Holland.

The Prime Minister : No such representations have been made.


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Engagements

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 3 July.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, including one with Chief Anyaoku, the new Secretary General of the Commonwealth. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with the Chinese ambassador. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

Environment and Health

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been taken by the Government to implement the European charter on environment and health ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The European charter on environment and health consists in the main of a broad statement of principles and priorities for the protection of the environment and health. Government policy is already fully consistent with these principles and we are active in all the priority areas listed in the charter. We will be publishing a full statement of our policies for the environment in a White Paper later this year. As to the specific proposals in the charter for further international action, my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, indicated at the Frankfurt conference that the United Kingdom stood ready to discuss these through existing international machinery. A copy of his speech is in the Library.

TRANSPORT

London Underground (Bridges)

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bridges which traverse the London underground network have failed the BD21/84 guidelines ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : I understand from London Underground Ltd. that, as of 26 June 1990, 59 structures carrying highways over its network have failed the criteria of BD21/84.

In all these cases it has notified the highway authorities concerned so that necessary measures can be taken to maintain traffic and safeguard the public.

Strengthening work is in hand on six structures and temporary measures are either in force or being investigated for the rest.

Cycle Lanes

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his most up-to-date estimate of the additional cost to public funds of incorporating a cycle lane on the second Severn bridge.

Mr. Atkins : The most recent estimate, provided in 1988, put the cost of incorporating a cycle lane in the second Severn bridge at almost £10 million.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding cycle lanes on the second Severn crossing.


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Mr. Atkins : Representations have been received from cycling organisations, including Cyclebag and the Cyclists Touring Club, requesting that the second Severn crossing include provision for cyclists.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will incorporate a cycle lane in the second Severn road bridge.

Mr. Atkins : No, it is not the intention that a cycle lane should be incorporated in the second Severn road bridge.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the decision to omit a cycle lane from the design of the second Severn bridge was made.

Mr. Atkins : When tenders were invited in spring 1989 for the design and construction of a second Severn crossing, my Department suggested to tenderers that they should consider incorporating cycling facilities, although it was not a firm requirement that such facilities should be provided. None of the tenderers put forward proposals for a cycle lane on the new crossing.

Newbury Bypass

Sir David Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he anticipates he will be in a position to announce jointly with the Secretary of State for the Environment the decision on the route to be adopted for the Newbury bypass on the A34.

Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for the Environment hope to be able to make an announcement soon following the public inquiry into the A34 Newbury bypass.

Railway Services

Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with British Rail about improvements to existing rail links from the south coast to the north and Scotland.

Mr. Freeman : None. This is a commercial matter for British Rail.

East Usk Sidings

Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next expects to respond to the petition by residents of Newport, Gwent, against British Rail's operations at East Usk sidings, presented by the hon. Member for Newport, East on 18 June.

Mr. Freeman : The matters raised in the petition are for British Rail and the local authority to resolve. I understand that BR has had discussions with local residents and Newport borough council and plans to take remedial measures to alleviate the disturbance caused by its operations at East Usk sidings.

MV Derbyshire

Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now make an ex-gratia payment to the families of the people who died when the MV Derbyshire sank.


Column 498

Mr. McLoughlin : I have no plans to make an ex-gratia payment to the dependants of those who were lost in the MV Derbyshire tragedy.

Private Aircraft

Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total number of air hours flown in United Kingdom airspace for the last three years for which figures are available by (a) commercial and (b) private aircraft.

Mr. McLoughlin : The figures are not available in precisely the form requested, but the most likely numbers are given in the table. The commercial aircraft figures relate to aircraft of more than 2, 300 kg mass. The private aircraft figures are for United Kingdom-registered aircraft only, but for all flying including that flown outside United Kingdom airspace.


           |Commercial|Private              

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

1987       |606,000   |800,000              

1988       |655,000   |876,000              

1989       |706,000   |991,000              

Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many private pilots are currently registered in the United Kingdom.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Civil Aviation Authority has issued 55,135 private aeroplane licences and 2,203 private helicopter licences. However, the CAA has no knowledge of how many of these licence holders are currently exercising the privileges of the licences.

Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents for each of the last three years have involved aircraft flown by private pilots.

Mr. Atkins : Not all accident reports indicate the type of licence held by the pilot. A flight which is clearly a private flight may well be flown by the holder of a commercial licence and conversely many private aircraft are registered in the public transport category so that they can be flown on payment by, for example, other club private pilots. Taking these points into consideration, the safety data analysis unit of the CAA believes that the following table represents the accidents involving pilots with private or student licences.


Accidents involving United Kingdom      

registered aircraft flown by            

pilots with private or student licences 

          |Fatal    |Total              

          |accidents|accidents          

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

1987      |19       |137                

1988      |11       |165                

1989      |11       |203                

                                        

Accidents to foreign registered aircraft

flown by private licence holders        

1987      |2        |3                  

1988      |1        |2                  

1989      |1        |1                  

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ban the transport of nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel on roll-on, roll-off passenger ferries ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 2 July 1990] : No. I am satisfied with the safety arrangements for such transport, which is permitted within the conditions prescribed in the international maritime dangerous goods code.

Rail Industry (Injuries)

Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway staff have been killed or suffered major injuries for the period 1979-83 and 1984-88 ; and what they represent as a proportion per 1,000 railway staff employed.

Mr. Parkinson [pursuant to his reply, 24 May 1990, c. 294] : In the period 1984-88, 98 staff died and 979 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,077. The average number of staff employed during that period was 181,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1, 000 employed was 5.94.

In the period 1979-83, 153 railway staff died and 1,613 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,766. The average number of staff employed during that period was 228,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 7.74.

In the period 1974-78, 209 railway staff died and 3,023 suffered major injuries, totalling 3,232. The average number of staff employed during that period was 246,400. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 13.1.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

National Physical Laboratory

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made towards the establishment of the National Physical Laboratory as an executive agency.

Mr. Ridley : I am establishing the National Physical

Laboratory--NPL--and an executive agency with effect from 3 July. The NPL is the eighth executive agency to be established within the DTI. Nearly 50 per cent. of the Department's staff are now working in agencies.

Establishing the NPL as an executive agency will assist it to improve further the quality and cost effectiveness of its services. The primary measure of the NPL's performance will be its ability to satisfy its customers in terms of value for money and the quality of its work whilst fully covering its costs. I am also setting the NPL quality of service and efficiency targets as follows :

to improve to 90 per cent. by 1994-95 the percentage of calibrations completed within six weeks ;

to complete at least 95 per cent. of contract research investigations on time over the period 1990-91 to 1994-95 ; to increase by at least 3 per cent. the number of research milestones achieved annually per scientist over the period 1990-91 to 1994-95 ;

to reduce the cost of administrative support so that by 1994-95 it represents no more than 20 per cent. of NPL's full economic cost ; to increase the proportion of staff time attributed to programme-related work by 5 per cent. over the period 1990-91 to 1994-95 ;

to reduce the cost of NPL per member of project staff by 2 per cent. per annum over the period 1990-91 to 1994-95 ; and

to secure a combination of output efficiency and cost reduction measures which, taken together, represent a


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requirement on NPL to improve its overall efficiency by more than 2 per cent. a year over the period 1990-91 to 1994- 95.

DEFENCE

Parachute Training

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South on 9 May, Official Report, column 137, how many of the 97 cases of injury and death of parachute trainees at RAF Brize Norton in 1989 were related to ill health ; how many had seen a medical officer prior to the incident ; and of these, how many were certified unfit to continue with immediate training.

Mr. Neubert : There were no cases of injury or death at No. 1 parachute training school which were related to ill health. It is not known how many had seen a medical officer prior to the incident ; medical records for those attending parachute training at RAF Brize Norton are returned to the trainees unit for regular soldiers and to general practitioners for territorials at the end of the course. If trainees were certified as unfit to continue immediate training they would not parachute again until cleared by the medical officer.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if there was an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea at the RAF Brize Norton parachute training camp during the first two weeks of August 1989.

Mr. Neubert : No. On a station the size of RAF Brize Norton, with upwards of 7,000 personnel, sickness and diarrhoea are endemic.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training is given to parachute instructors so that they will recognise concussion or other forms of illness which could impair the safety of parachute trainees ; and what first aid training is given.

Mr. Neubert : All NCO parachute jumping instructors are required to obtain a first aid certificate during basic training as a physical training instructor ; this includes recognition of some forms of concussion. There is no training given in the recognition of any forms of illness as the trainees have immediate access to fully qualified medical officers the moment they feel unwell. During all forms of parachute training there is a fully qualified medical attendant and ambulance available at all times. There is always an individual responsibility to report sick if the trainee considers he is unfit to continue training. Queen's regulations demand this for all services.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many parachute trainees at RAF Brize Norton reported to a medical officer and were categorised as requiring 48 hours or more withdrawal from the course in 1989.

Mr. Neubert : Fifty-seven.


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