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Mr. Atkins [holding answer 13 July 1990] : According to information supplied by local authorities, whose task it is to administer the scheme, about 930,000 badges were in circulation in England and Wales in March 1988.

Changes currently proposed to the regulations are designed to ensure that badges are issued only to those people who most need them. The scheme is not being modified with any specific target in mind for the number of badge holders.

Bedford (Traffic Flows)

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what are the most recent traffic flow figures for the A428 and the A6 in Bedford and of the number of vehicles passing over the Prebend street, High street and Newnham street bridges ;

(2) what is his Department's estimate of the traffic expected to be taken off the A428 at Bedford following the upgrading of the A45 and the completion of the southern route through Elstow to the M1.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : The most recent traffic flows are shown in the table together with the anticipated reduction at the opening of Bedford southern bypass. These figures allow for a transfer of traffic from Bedford to take account of the improvements along the A45 and the completion of the M1-A1 link route.


16 hour Annual Average Weekday Traffic (all vehicles)               

Location                     |1989        |Predicted                

                                          |reduction<1>             

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

A428 West of Bedford         |21,000      |6,500                    

A428 East of Bedford         |18,000      |11,500                   

Longholme Way/                                                      

   Newnham Avenue Bridge     |29,000      |15,000                   

A6 North of Bedford          |20,000      |-                        

A6 Town Bridge (High Street) |29,000      |-                        

Prebend Street Bridge        |27,000      |-                        

<1>On opening of Bedford southern bypass.                           

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates he has made of the cost to Bedford for failure to tackle the traffic problems in the town.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : The net present value (NPV) of the proposed road improvements,


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using my Department's standard cost-benefit analysis method, gives a guide to the overall cost. The proportions of value/cost accruing to Bedford alone are not calculated. The NPV of Bedford southern bypass has been estimated at between £33 million and £85 million (at 1988 cost and prices), depending on the rate of economic growth assumed over a 30-year period. The NPV of a proposed improvement to the west of Bedford has not yet been estimated.

Benefits may also accrue from the proposed town centre improvements which are the responsibility of Bedfordshire county council as the local highway authority.

Polegate Bypass

Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to make a decision about the route of the proposed Folkington link on the A27/A259 trunk road which is part of the proposed Polegate bypass.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : My right hon. Friend hopes to be able to make an announcement about the A27 Folkington link extension of the proposed Polegate bypass later this year.

Bypasses

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many towns in the south-east of the size of population of about 80, 000 remain to be bypassed.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : The towns in the south-east of the size of population of about 80,000 outside the M25 ring, on trunk roads, that do not have a bypass are :


[TITER]                                                                                                                 

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

Bedford/Kempston                        |At planning stage                                                              

Norwich                                 |Construction of the southern bypass has                                        

                                        |  recently started                                                             

Dunstable                               |At planning stage                                                              

Hastings/Bexhill                        |At planning stage                                                              

Brighton and Hove                       |Bypass under construction                                                      

Worthing                                |At planning stage                                                              

                                                                                                                        

*St. Albans                                                                                                             

*Milton Keynes                                                                                                          

*Luton                                                                                                                  

*Southend                                                                                                               

Although through traffic passes through the towns marked with an asterisk, the Department has no proposals for a bypass.

Road schemes are not planned around the size of populations, but to assist economic growth by reducing transport costs, to improve the environment by removing through traffic from unsuitable roads in towns and villages and to enhance road safety.

A1

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any proposals for linking developments (a) at Thurleigh and (b) at Poddington airfields with the A1.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : No.

Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at how many points the A1 between Newcastle and the


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border is currently reduced to one-way operation during roadworks ; and at how many points it is expected to be restricted to one-way operation during the forthcoming Scottish and English bank holiday weekends.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : There are three points on the A1 between Newcastle upon Tyne and the border which are currently reduced to one-way operation for roadworks. These are at adjacent locations on the Alnwick bypass to allow for road maintenance and the provision of marginal strips, and on the Berwick bypass.

There will be no one-way operation on this section of the A1 during the forthcoming Scottish bank holiday. Maintenance works are to start south of Scremeston in August. Consideration will be given to the possibility of removing one-way operation for the forthcoming English bank holiday weekend.

M20/M2 Improvements

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that major road improvements on the M20, junctions 3 to 5 and 5 to 8, and the M2, junctions 1 to 3, will be completed before the channel tunnel is due to open.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : The proposed widening of the M20 between junctions 3 and 5 was added to the roads programme in the May 1989 review. My Department's consultants are investigating possible options with a view to the announcement of a preferred scheme in autumn 1991.

Proposals to improve the M20 between junctions 5 and 8 were considered at a public inquiry earlier this year. Subject to the completion of the statutory procedures it is hoped to start work next summer for completion by the time the channel tunnel is planned to open in 1993.

The timing for the proposed widening of the M2 between junctions 1 and 3 is being reviewed following the addition to the roads programme earlier this year of a scheme to improve the motorway between junctions 3 and 4.

Trunk Roads

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether proposals for upgrading trunk roads to motorways are subject to public inquiry procedure.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : In all cases we will publish orders under section 16 of the Highways Act 1980. If any statutory objections are received we will undertake a public inquiry.

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in bringing forward proposals for upgrading trunk roads to motorways, he will give consideration to the need to offer alternative road arrangements or compensation to users of agricultural and other vehicles prohibited from using such roads for local journeys.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : In developing proposals to upgrade trunk roads to motorway the Secretary of State is required to consider the requirements of local planning and agriculture before making a scheme under section 16 of the Highways Act


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1980 authorising a motorway. An order cannot be made under section 18 of that Act appropriating an existing road as part of a motorway unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that either another reasonably convenient route is available for prohibited traffic or that no such route is reasonably required for any such traffic. In the case of non-prohibited traffic he would of course also consider making alternative arrangements for persons undertaking local journeys which would formerly have involved the road to be upgraded but which could not in future be made.

Entitlement to compensation is governed by statute and will depend on the circumstances of each case.

Newly Qualified Drivers

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider the introduction of P-plates to indicate that a motor vehicle is driven by a newly qualified driver ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 16 July 1990] : Yes, I am in the process of so doing.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Frans Buitelaar (Farms) Ltd.

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has made an assessment of the animal welfare and human health implications of the intensive husbandry practices associated with the use of feedlots at Frans Buitelaar (Farms) Ltd. premises at Claygate farm in Lincolnshire ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean : The Farm Animal Welfare Council has examined the feedlot system. Its conclusion was that it does not present a welfare risk as long as certain sensible precautions are taken. The state veterinary service has inspected the farm referred to and found no evidence of any unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress in contravention of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. I am not aware of any human health risk associated with the feedlot husbandry system.

Live Animals (Travel)

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's current policy in relation to EEC proposals to restrict the time that live animals may be required to travel without rest ; and if he will make it his policy to support a reduction below 12 hours.

Mr. Maclean : The Government will support proposals to fix maximum intervals for the transport of animals without rest, food and water. These must relate to the welfare requirements of individual types of animal rather than be set at a fixed period to cover all animals.

Live Animals (Export)

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will invoke article 36 of the treaty of Rome to prevent the export of live animals where those animals are likely to suffer transportation and slaughter conditions inferior to those operating in this country ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Maclean : I am advised that article 36 of the treaty cannot be invoked where, as in this case, there are Community measures on the subject in question. The Government however already prohibit the export of live animals for slaughter or for further fattening to countries which do not implement standards equivalent to those laid down in Community directives on the protection of animals during international transport and on the pre- slaughter stunning of animals.

Caribbean Bananas

Mr Andrew Smith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the letter of 25 June to the hon. Member for Oxford, East, concerning banana exports from the Caribbean after 1992, whether price guarantees are included in his assurance of preferential access arrangements for Caribbean banana exporters.

Mr. Curry : Our objective is an effective preferential arrangement after 1992, which will enable a continuing flow of bananas from the Caribbean into the Community market, in line with our commitments under the Lome convention. Current preferential access to the United Kingdom for Caribbean bananas does not guarantee prices. Commission proposals for post- 1992 banana trade have not yet emerged. We cannot predict the mechanism by which preferential access will be protected.

Food from Devon

Mr. Speller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to food from Devon to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

Mr. Curry : Yes. I understand the exhibition will be on display for one week from 5 November.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey, Official Report, 10 July, column 109, when he expects to be content that welfare-related problems will have been eliminated from the emerging alternative systems and that these systems are commercially viable.

Mr. Maclean : Some alternative systems are already being installed successfully. The proposals now under discussion in the Council of Ministers provide for the Commission to report by 1 January 1993 on the welfare of sows kept in different degrees of confinement or in groups, and to submit appropriate proposals. I am hopeful that any remaining problems with alternatives to stall and tether systems will have been resolved by that time.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey, Official Report, 10 July, column 109, whether he will phase out the existing stall and tether systems if the alternatives prove not to be commercially viable.

Mr. Maclean : I have made it clear that legislation requiring major changes to husbandry systems should be adopted on a Community basis. The action to be taken, should the Community not agree to the phasing out of stall and tether systems, would need to be considered at the time.


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Fur Farms

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he intends to take regarding the recommendations made by the Farm Animal Welfare Council on 4 April 1989 concerning mink and fox farming.

Mr. Maclean : The Farm Animal Welfare Council recommended that Agriculture Ministers should require that the state veterinary service carry out effective monitoring of standards of management on these farms. This is being done.

Farm Woodland Scheme

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will amend the rules of the farm woodland scheme to permit farmers to make more than one application per holding.

Mr. Gummer : Existing participants in the farm woodland scheme have shown interest in increasing their plantings under the scheme. The rule limiting them to one application per holding is preventing that. Agriculture Ministers have therefore decided from today to abolish the rule and to permit additional applications to be made up to the limit of 40 hectares per agricultural unit. I am pleased with the continuing interest in this innovative scheme which should bring environmental benefits for future generations.

PRIME MINISTER

Official Visits

Q52. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister if she has any plans to pay an official visit to Scotland in the near future.

The Prime Minister : I hope to visit Scotland later this year.

Q78. Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister when she next expects to make an official visit to the Channel tunnel site.

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

Defence Review

Q65. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister what consideration has been given to the role of the security services in her Government's present options for change review ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The options for change studies are concerned with the future structure and deployment of our armed forces.

Bed-and-Breakfast Hotels

Q70. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Prime Minister what action she is taking to ensure that children in bed-and-breakfast hotels are living in safety and in receipt of full-time education when of school age.

The Prime Minister : Local authorities have considerable powers to control safety standards of houses in


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multiple occupation, which include bed-and- breakfast hotels. These powers have recently been strengthened. Responsibility for ensuring that all children of compulsory school age receive a proper education, including those in bed-and-breakfast accommodation, rests, under the Education Acts, with parents, schools and local education authorities. The Government are concerned to reduce the need for local authorities to use unsatisfactory bed-and-breakfast hotels and are making available, over the next two years, £250 million to local authorities and housing associations in London and the south-east, specifically to get homeless families out of such accommodation and into permanent homes.

Afghanistan

Q198. Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Prime Minister if she will meet the President of Afghanistan to discuss renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have no plans to meet General Najibullah. Diplomatic relations between Britain and Afghanistan have not been broken.

Data Protection

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister how many subject access requests under the terms of the Data Protection Act her office has received ; what was her estimate of the number of requests that would be received ; what consideration she is giving to the subject access fee charged by her office as a result ; and whether she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The total number of subject access requests received by my office is one. No specific estimate on the number of requests expected was made at the time as the amount of information held on computers in my office was small. The subject access fee charged was minimal to cover the cost of the work involved. The fee is set by the Cabinet Office, which has the responsibility for Data Protection Act matters for my office.

Natural History Museum

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report her response to the letter of 15 June from Dr. Peter Jung and expert colleagues in minerals, molluscs and entomology of the natur- historisches museum in Basel, about whether major collections can be actively cared for under proposals such as those for the natural history museum in respect of expert staff ; and what action she proposes to take to discharge obligations in respect of scientists' work in building up collections to the benefit of smaller museums throughout the world.

The Prime Minister : I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts will shortly be placing a copy of the Government's response to Dr. Peter Jung's correspondence in the Library of the House.

The Minister for the Arts has asked the Government's chief scientific adviser, who is in discussion with the natural history museum, to keep him informed of the museum's position in relation to the United Kingdom science base. The Minister for the Arts will also be meeting the chairman and director of the museum to discuss the corporate plan and the wider issues.


Column 481

British Airways

Sir Richard Body : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will raise at her next meeting with the President of the Commission of the European Community his officials' search of the private offices of the chairman and chief executive of British Airways and examining of their private papers and personal bank statements.

The Prime Minister : I am advised that the visit was made by prior arrangement with the company and a legal representative of British Airways vetted documents (for relevance to the investigation and for possible legal privilege) before the Commission officials read them.

Engagements

Mr. Pike : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 17 July.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement concerning the use by the Crown prosecution service of lawyer agents in magistrates courts.

The Attorney-General : In the long term, as and when lawyer strength permits, it would be the aim of the Crown prosecution service (CPS) to employ agents to cover only 5 to 10 per cent. of court sessions.

The number of sessions (half days) in magistrates courts undertaken by counsel and solicitors in private practice on behalf of the CPS in 1989-90 was 138,000. This represented 38 per cent. of all sessions undertaken by the CPS in the magistrates courts. The information given in annex 9 of the CPS evidence to the Home Affairs Committee was incorrect : the data had been wrongly interpreted. The percentage of court sessions covered by agents has remained at 38 per cent. for both 1988-89 and 1989-90. The revised figures are :


(c) Expenditure on agents fees   

           |£                    

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

1988-89    |14,793,896           

1989-90    |16,473,527           


(c) Expenditure on agents fees   

           |£                    

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

1988-89    |14,793,896           

1989-90    |16,473,527           


(c) Expenditure on agents fees   

           |£                    

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

1988-89    |14,793,896           

1989-90    |16,473,527           


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LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Order Paper

Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council what proposals he is considering to review the format of the Order Paper.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : It is understood that, once the decisions have been taken on the recommendations contained in the Procedure Committee's report on oral questions, the Accommodation and Administration Sub- Committee will be prepared to consider a review of the format of the Order Paper. The hon. Member and any others with a contribution to make on this issue should send their comments to the Sub-Committee Chairman.

Procedure Committee

Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list the reports of the Procedure Committee, published since 1983-84, which have yet to be dealt with on the Floor of the House ; and when he expects them to be brought forward for decision.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : The following are the reports from the Procedure Committee, published since 1983-84, which have neither been debated on a substantive motion nor "tagged" as relevant to a general debate on procedure : First Report (1988-89) HC 290 ("Conduct of Members in the Chamber and the Alleged Abuse of Parliamentary Privilege") ; First Report (1989-90) HC 379 ("Oral Questions"). I hope to be able to give the House an opportunity in the near future to reach a decision on the report on oral questions. There are no immediate plans for a debate on a substantive motion on any of the reports from the Procedure Committee on which the House has not yet reached a specific conclusion.

NORTHERN IRELAND

North Eastern Education and Library Board

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary were assigned to investigate allegations of irregularities in North Eastern education and library board contracting from June 1986 until August 1987 ; what was the level of qualification and experience within the Royal Ulster Constabulary of each officer involved in this investigation ; how many man-hours were spent by each investigating officer on the assignment ; how many witnesses were interviewed by Royal Ulster Constabulary officers ; how many miles were travelled by Royal Ulster Constabulary officers investigating the allegations from June 1986 until 31 March 1987 ; and whether, in the period 1 April 1987 until August 1987, the investigating officers completed reports on hours worked, miles travelled and so on, throughout the period of the investigation.

Mr. Cope : The Chief Constable has informed me that two officers from the RUC's serious crime squad were assigned to this investigation assisted as necessary by other officers and that all the officers involved were appropriately qualified for their work. I regret that the other particulars requested are not readily available.


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OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

UNESCO

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of expenditure of funds saved by United Kingdom withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organisation and figures of how these funds were used in the main area of United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organisation activity for the financial years 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90 ; and if he will ensure that the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organisation's savings will continue to be spent in the same manner until Her Majesty's Government decide to return to membership of the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organisation.

Mrs. Chalker : Figures for expenditure of funds saved by United Kingdom's withdrawal from UNESCO for 1987-88 and 1988-89 are :


                                      |1987-88  |1988-89            

                                      |£        |£                  

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

Overseas Development Administration                                 

   (ODA) technical co-operation                                     

  training programme                  |1,772,848|1,773,033          

English language training courses     |600,300  |593,920            

ODA shared scholarship schemes        |320,000  |320,000            

Foreign and Commonwealth Office                                     

   (FCO) scholarships and awards                                    

   schemes                            |640,000  |640,000            

ODA cultural projects                 |100,000  |92,000             

Public expenditure survey transfer to                               

   FCO for cultural projects          |100,000  |100,000            

Chinese student scholarships in the                                 

   United Kingdom                     |950,000  |950,000            

Distance learning project in                                        

   Commonwealth countries             |100,000                      

Nassau fellowships                    |650,131  |743,368            

Commonwealth media development                                      

   fund                               |150,000  |150,000            

Royal Society                         |112,000  |116,000            

Research in arid Commonwealth                                       

   Africa                             |300,000  |300,000            

Inter-governmental Oceanographic                                    

   Commission                         |80,864   |78,000             

Man and the Biosphere/International                                 

   Hydrological Programme/                                          

   International Association of                                     

   Hydrological Sciences              |200,000  |200,000            

Dissemination of results of research  |200,000  |200,000            

                                      |-------- |--------           

Total                                 |6,276,143|6,256,321          

Figures for 1989-90 are not yet available.

My hon. Friend may rest assured that in planning our aid programme priorities we will continue to take full account of the appropriate allocation of the funds saved by our withdrawal from UNESCO.

Epidemics

Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the Overseas Development Administration has given to setting up a global early warning system for new epidemics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Mrs. Chalker : None ; responsibility for global monitoring of notifiable diseases rests with the World Health Organisation. The London School of Hygiene and


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Tropical Medicine is an international centre for epidemiology and public health, and works closely with the WHO. The ODA has recently agreed a package of assistance (£11 million over the next five years) for nine new research and training programmes in public health and tropical medicine at the school. These programmes will strengthen the school's (and the ODA's) capacity to provide practical advice to international agencies and Governments in developing countries on all aspects of international health policy.

Nicaragua

Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will be in a position to make a decision in respect of further bilateral technical aid to Nicaragua.

Mrs. Chalker : No further decisions are needed. The modest technical co-operation programme which I announced on 2 April in a reply to the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) at column 415 will be a continuing one.

Rain Forests

Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to link British aid packages to agreements with the recipient Governments to limit the destruction of the rain forests.

Mrs. Chalker : While specific environmental conditions will often be appropriate at the project level, we do not favour conditionality based on a country's overall environmental record. We believe institution building and strengthening capacity to care for the environment and support for activities which help recipient countries limit rain forest destruction are more likely to be effective.

Women

Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in ranked order the top 10 countries making financial contributions to the United Nations development fund for women.

Mrs. Chalker : The 10 highest Government pledges of financial contributions to UNIFEM in 1990 were :

1. Finland

2. United States of America

3. Netherlands

4. Federal Republic of Germany

5. Sweden

6. Italy

7. Australia

8. United Kingdom

9. Denmark

10. Belgium

Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the work of the Overseas Development Administration towards achieving the aims of the Nairobi "Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women" declaration.


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