Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if the Training Agency has researched the use of the communication support services for deaf trainees ; and if he will make it his policy that the provision of these services will be maintained by the training and enterprise councils.
Mr. Jackson : My Department has conducted no formal research specifically into the use of communication support services for deaf trainees. Training and enterprise councils are required to provide a communication service for deaf trainees, together with other relevant support to trainees with disabilities where appropriate.
Mr. John Patten : Detailed research on which to base a firm estimate is not available. We are presently considering an estimate that RELATE-- formerly the National Marriage Guidance Council--has drawn up based on its own work. It is likely that considerable further research and verification would be necessary before this could be used as a definitive basis for calculation.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : I am placing copies of the strategy statement for 1991, which I fully endorse, in the Library today. I am also sending copies to all right hon. and hon. Members whose constituencies fall wholly or partly within the Metropolitan police district. I am inviting London Members to discuss the statement with me.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he intends to take with regard to circular 13/88 and the matter of charges for the collection of waste from mixed hereditaments.
Column 452Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat- Amory) in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Boscawen) on 4 July 1990.
This guidance recognised that some of the waste from a composite property arises from the residential part of the property. My hon. Friend advised that the most sensible way for local authorities to treat such properties under their existing powers is that, once they have received a request to collect commercial waste from such properties, they should collect or empty free of charge at least one refuse sack or dustbin per week per property. They should also be prepared to consider alternative or additional arrangements on an individual basis.
It is our intention to revise the Collection and Disposal of Waste Regulations 1988 to which circular 13/88 relates. The revision will take account of the changes brought about by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and we shall take the opportunity to clarify the advice to local authorities about the treatment of refuse collection from composite hereditaments. However, no local authority should use our plans to revise the regulations as an excuse for delaying implementation of the policy that I have described.
(2) what information he has on (a) the lowest and (b) the highest United Kingdom refuse collection costs per tonne ; (3) what information he has on the cost of United Kingdom refuse collection to local authorities ;
(4) what information he has on the cost of United Kingdom refuse disposal to local authorities.
Mr. Baldry : The costs of waste collection and disposal vary widely depending on the type of waste, method of collection or disposal, and proximity of disposal facilities. The Department has no information about highest and lowest costs, and the latest published figures for average costs are for 1986-87. These are set out in the table.
|total |per tonne |£ million|£ -------------------------------------------------------------- waste disposal by local authorities in England and Wales |270 |10 waste collection by local authorities in England and Wales |515 |29
The information should be treated with caution both because estimates of waste tonnage are not always reliable, and because the response rate from local authorities was very poor. Figures for later years cannot be produced because the base data are insufficiently reliable. The Department is currently reviewing the availability of waste statistics as a whole.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply of 18 December, Official Report, c. 116, (a) what definition of undue discrimination is to be used in drawing up guidelines on water charges and
Column 453(b) if he will list the various classes of customers and potential customers for whom protection against such discrimination is to be provided.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether there are any covenants or other restrictions on the Crown offices in Crown way, Cathays, Cardiff, which would prevent their use by (a) Government Departments other than the Welsh Office and (b) non-Government users or bodies.
Mr. Yeo : The freehold of the Crown Offices in Crown way, Cathays, Cardiff is vested in the Secretary of State for the Environment. The conveyances contain restrictive covenants limiting the use of the premises for the purpose of Government Offices.
Mr. Trippier : I represented the United Kingdom at this meeting. The Council agreed a new regulation for the control of substances that deplete the ozone layer. This is necessary to implement within the Community the revision of the Montreal protocol which was agreed in London last June, but it also demonstrates our commitment to the protection of the ozone layer by requiring a faster phase-out within the Community. Under the regulation, chlorofluorocarbons will be cut by 85 per cent. by the middle of 1995 and phased out by the middle of 1997--two and a half years in advance of the Montreal protocol requirements. Halons are to be cut by 50 per cent. by the start of 1995, and phased out by the end of the century. Carbon tetrachloride will be phased out by 1998, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane by 2005. In certain cases exemptions for essential uses, such as medical aerosols and some fire-fighting applications, may be permitted, should those prove necessary. I pressed at the Council for an even quicker phase- out of CFCs and halons. Nonetheless, the agreement reached is a major step forward in protecting the ozone layer, and sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that still faster cuts than those agreed in London can be achieved.
The United Kingdom worked actively to secure agreement in the Council of a common position on the proposal for a consolidated directive on car emissions. The strict new standards it contains would come into effect from the end of 1992. They would require the fitting of three-way catalysts to all new cars, and would reduce pollution from each car to about a quarter of present levels. The Council also agreed to invite the European Commission to produce a proposal for a further round of yet stricter standards which could come into effect from 1996. This is excellent news for Europe's environment and confirms the Community's determination to come to grips with pollution from transport. It is also good news for the motor industry, which will now have a much clearer idea of the standards towards which it should engineer.
The Council agreed a directive on hazardous waste to replace the existing directive on toxic and dangerous waste
Column 454which dates from 1978. The new directive's most important feature is a provision for defining hazardous waste in a clear, practical way. Before the directive comes into force a list of hazardous wastes will be drawn up. Other features of the new directive are controls on the mixing and movement of hazardous waste. The new directive will be implemented by means of the proposed revision of the Control of Pollution (Special Waste) Regulations 1980.
A regulation establishing a programme of action for the protection of the Mediterranean sea was agreed. The programme, known as MEDSPA, will provide pump-priming funds for a range of actions to help deal with the serious environmental problems affecting the Mediterranean. The Council also agreed a resolution welcoming the European Commission's recent green paper on the urban environment. The resolution notes that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the primary responsibility for protecting the urban environment lies with local, regional and national authorities, but recognises that in certain areas there may be a role for the Community to play. The Council has invited the Commission to establish a group of experts to advise on possible further action. Proposed directives on sewage treatment and on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances were both discussed in detail. Very good progress was made in each case on resolving a number of outstanding issues, and Ministers expressed the hope that agreement could be reached on both directives at the next Council meeting.
With support from a number of member states, I was able to secure from the European Commission a commitment to review the operation of certain aspects of the existing directive on the protection of wild birds. In particular, the Commission agreed to look at those provisions in the directive that impede action against certain pest species for which control measures are necessary, and where this would not endanger the conservation of the species. This is a welcome recognition on the Commission's part of the need to address an anomaly which has caused some concern here.
The Council also held brief discussions on climate change, on the use of economic instruments to achieve environmental objectives, and on the site of the European Environment Agency.
Mr. Trippier : The Rural Development Commission and its predecessors have funded a very successful programme of workspace provision over many years. Following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 23 April, I have sought the advice of the Rural Development Commission on the disposal of its portfolio. The RDC portfolio has a number of special characteristics, among them the fact that many of the factory units that have been provided are in small blocks in remote rural areas. I am pleased to announce that having received the Rural Development Commission's advice, I have decided to proceed with the sale of the portfolio. Government policy
Column 455is to encourage suitable premises and sites to be made available through the private sector to new and expanding enterprises in rural areas. The sale of the estate is intended to further this policy by involving the private sector in the ownership and management of property in rural areas. It also builds on the existing policy of selling units to tenants in appropriate circumstances. I propose to introduce a new grants scheme to encourage private developers to make further provision while at the same time withdrawing progressively from direct provision to complement this. The twin objectives of maximising the return to the taxpayer from the sale and encouraging the involvement of a range of private sector interests will best be met through a phased sale, with the intention that this should be spread over a period of about three years with the rate of disposal adjusted to market conditions.
Wherever it is practical to do so, and in line with the above objectives I have asked the Rural Development Commission and English Estates to offer existing tenants an opportunity to bid for their premises.
Mr. Heseltine : I have laid the supplementary report before the House today. The main purpose of the report is to correct the effects of an error in respect of road lengths in the London borough of Croydon used in the calculation of its grant-related expenditure assessments for 1989-90.
The report requires the approval of the House. Subject to that, I propose to make the revisions to grant payments to reflect the report early in April. Copies of the report and tables showing revised rate support grant entitlements are being sent today to local authority associations and to each authority.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the comparative reductions and levels of over- the-limit alcohol in dead drivers from 1982 in Great Britain, New South Wales and Sweden.
Specified blood alcohol |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 |1989(p) level mg/100ml |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 80 |33 |28 |26 |26 |24 |23 |21 |19 100 |30 |25 |24 |24 |22 |21 |19 |18 150 |21 |18 |15 |17 |17 |15 |14 |13 200 |12 |11 |8 |11 |9 |9 |8 |8
The following table shows, for all drivers and riders killed whose blood alcohol level was known, the
Column 456proportion who were over the level specified. The figures are for Great Britain only. Comparative data for Sweden and New South Wales are not available.
Column 455Specified blood alcohol level mg/100ml 1982
Per cent. 1983
Per cent. 1984
Per cent. 1985
Per cent. 1986
Per cent. 1987
Per cent. 1988
Per cent. 1989(p)
80 33 28 26 26 24 23 21 19
100 30 25 24 24 22 21 19 18
150 21 18 15 17 17 15 14 13
200 12 11 8 11 9 9 8 8
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list year by year since 1980 the dates and locations and numbers of injuries and fatalities of crew members of fast rescue craft engaged in rescues in the North sea oil fields.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department is aware of two incidents : these were both associated with the Piper Alpha oil platform fire in July 1988. Six personnel on two of the rescue craft were injured, two fatally.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list year by year since 1980 the number of successful rescues carried out by fast rescue craft in the North sea oil fields, indicating from where the craft were launched and the dates and location of where the rescues took place.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department does not collect this data. However, information presented to the public inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster showed that 126 incidents occurred of men falling overboard from an oil
Column 456installation between 1974 and 1986, and the most common means of recovery was by fast rescue craft deployed from standby vessels.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will indicate the existing procedures and logging requirements for the repair and maintenance of fast rescue craft used in the North sea oil fields.
Mr. McLoughlin : The recording of the repair or the maintenance of fast rescue craft is a matter for the owner or operator of the standby vessel, but surveyors from the Department will examine the condition of the craft during surveys and general inspections.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to make changes in respect of fast rescue craft used in the North sea oil fields (a) to power the craft with diesel instead of petrol and (b) to have guarded propellers on such craft ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 457were outboard petrol engines. New developments have made the use of diesel engines more practicable for the larger craft and their use is increasing. The phasing out of petrol engines and the use of guarded propellers will need to be considered in the revision of the present code of practice, but because of the range of duties a fast rescue craft is called upon to perform it is essential that design parameters should be as flexible as possible.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will indicate what training procedures exist for crews of fast rescue craft in the North sea oil field ; and who is responsible for monitoring such training.
Mr. McLoughlin : Under the code of practice published by the Department, crews of fast rescue craft should attend a course in the operation of fast rescue boats which is offered by a number of training institutions. These courses are checked and endorsed by the Department. During annual inspections of standby vessels marine surveyors verify that sufficient numbers of crew members who have attended these courses are on board ; and they often seek a demonstration of how the boats are handled.
Mr. Mudd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents occurred, and how many people were killed or injured in those accidents, on (a) the M1 between junctions 1 and 17, (b) the M6 between junctions 1 and 4, (c) the A34 between Oxford and Stratford and (d) the A423 between Oxford and Coventry over the period 20 December 1990 to 3 January 1991.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Government Departments and associations of statutory or local authorities know the precise position of the principal underground services and utilities and, in particular, the position of sewers, water conduits, cables, pipes and wires belonging to the public utilities and how they relate to one another.
Mr. Chope : The requirements on persons with underground services to maintain records of their position vary according to the statutory powers or licence under which it was placed. The Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950 and utilities' enabling legislation require undertakers executing works to consult other undertakers whose apparatus is likely to be affected and the street authority before starting major works. There is a need to improve the consistency and availability of records of underground services and the New Roads and Street Works Bill currently before Parliament contains provision for this.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the start date of the construction of a new entrance to the Deeside industrial park ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy on apportioning the British total allowable catch for 1991 to the individual ports ; and how he negotiates a Scottish allocation.
Mr. Curry : As agreed with the industry, the United Kingdom 1991 white fish quota will continue to be distributed among the United Kingdom fleet in proportion to the track record of individual fishing vessels. Most pelagic quota is also distributed in the same way, although currently some vessels have a fixed share of certain pelagic fisheries and the non-sector, because of its small size, has received an allocation rather greater than its track record would warrant. Departments will shortly be consulting the industry over the methodology to be applied in distributing pelagic quotas in future. The industry will also be consulted as necessary on the distribution of Hague preference fish obtained by the United Kingdom at the December Council.
Mr. Carttiss : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will publish the code of good agricultural practice on water protection as foreshadowed in the Environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance".
Mr. Gummer : Last autumn's environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" stated that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food would be preparing a revised free advisory package of codes of good agricultural practice for farmers. I am pleased to announce that the first of these codes, which relates to the protection of water, has now been prepared in draft form for consultation in England and Wales. It contains practical and detailed guidance to farmers on how to avoid water pollution from farm wastes, fertilisers, nitrate, fuel oil, sheep dip, carcase disposal and pesticides. This draft code has been placed in the Libraries of the House, and is also available from the Vote Office.
Mr. Maclean : Orders have been made under the Animal Health Act 1981, to come into force on 1 March 1991, which will lay down detailed welfare safeguards for farm livestock and horses in markets. This important legislation will create a new offence of causing injury or unnecessary suffering to animals in markets. Horses at markets and other places of sale will now be protected by specific controls for the first time. The new orders will introduce minimum ages at which calves and foals can be put through markets without their mothers. There will be a ban on selling calves more than twice in any 28-day period, and practices such as the use of electric goads on calves, young pigs, sheep and horses and the tying of poultry and calves will be prohibited. Among other new provisions are controls on handling, penning, feeding and watering animals.
Column 459This legislation has been discussed with market operators and other interested parties, and follows closely recommendations from the Farm Animal Welfare Council, to which I am very grateful. We are also issuing codes of practice which give further guidance to all those involved in markets on how best to safeguard the welfare of animals.
In recent years, concern for animal welfare has become increasingly important in the design and running of today's markets. Everyone should realise that transport to and from market and the time spent there, can be potentially stressful for animals. The overriding principle behind the new orders and codes of practice is the need for particular care and consideration for all animals in these different environments.
Column 460have been made to 21 grade 2s and 53 grade 3s. The total number of staff currently granted awards following four rounds of the scheme is 41 grade 2s and 157 grade 3s, respectively 29 per cent. and 32 per cent. of each grade. This is within the ceiling of 35 per cent. of each grade recommended by the Top Salaries Review Body.
The full-year cost of these awards is approximately £565,000 or about 1.9 per cent. of the annual pay bill for the grades concerned. The scheme is due to be replaced by new arrangements in April 1991.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give sterling's range of variation against (a) the franc, (b) the deutschmark, (c) the lira and (d) within the 6 per cent. bands for each month since Britain joined the exchange rate mechanism and for (a), (b) and (c) for the three months before joining.
Mr. Maples : Sterling's variation against the franc, deutschmark and lira before and after its entry to the ERM, and the greatest percentage dievations from sterling's central rates against all the other ERM currencies since entry are as follows :
|July |August |September |<1>October|November |December |<2>January ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ff/£ |high |10.06 |10.18 |9.96 |10.15 |9.90 |9.83 |9.97 |low |9.56 |9.88 |9.75 |9.82 |9.74 |9.72 |9.80 DM/£ |high |3.006 |3.034 |2.981 |3.025 |2.936 |2.903 |2.926 |low |2.929 |2.946 |2.904 |2.929 |2.887 |2.852 |2.888 Lira/£ |high |2195 |2255 |2225 |2267 |2205 |2180 |2200 |low |2150 |2155 |2170 |2200 |2175 |2155 |2180 Maximum £ deviation from central rate per cent. |above |- |- |- |+2.70 |- |- |+1.05 |below |- |- |- |-4.15 |-4.25 |-4.67 |-4.04 <1> From 8 October 1990. <2> To 13 January 1991.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the inflow and outflow to and from and the net gain or loss to the reserves from the date of joining the exchange rate mechanism to the latest available date and for the equivalent period before joining.
$ million |Total change |Level of |reserves at end |of month ---------------------------------------------------------------- July |-172 |38,842 August |+455 |39,297 September |-237 |39,060 October<1> |-488 |38,572 November |-102 |38,470 December |-6 |38,464 <1> Sterling entered the ERM on 8 October 1990.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the top and bottom of the pound's bands within the exchange rate mechanism and the highest and lowest points within them reached by sterling in each month since membership.
October<1> November December January<2> Currency |Upper limit |Lower limit |High |Low |High |Low |High |Low |High |Low Belgian/Luxembourg Franc<3> |64.6 |57.3 |62.3 |60.2 |60.6 |59.7 |60.0 |59.0 |60.3 |59.6 French Franc |10.51 |9.32 |10.15 |9.82 |9.90 |9.74 |9.83 |9.72 |9.97 |9.80 Italian Lira |2,344 |2,079 |2,267 |2,200 |2,205 |2,175 |2,180 |2,155 |2,200 |2,180 Dutch Florin |3.53 |3.13 |3.41 |3.30 |3.31 |3.26 |3.27 |3.22 |3.30 |3.26 Deutschemark |3.132 |2.778 |3.025 |2.929 |2.936 |2.887 |2.903 |2.852 |2.926 |2.888 Danish Krone |11.95 |10.60 |11.54 |11.19 |11.24 |11.07 |11.14 |11.20 |11.27 |11.14 Irish Punt |1.169 |1.037 |1.131 |1.089 |1.100 |1.077 |1.098 |1.068 |1.080 |1.076 Spanish Peseta |203.6 |180.6 |190.0 |183.8 |186.2 |183.6 |185.0 |182.8 |184.8 |184.0 <1> From 8 October. <2> To 13 January 1991. <3> The exchange rate between the Belgian franc and the Luxembourg franc is fixed, with no margin of fluctuation.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide figures for VAT returns for the Gordon constituency, or the Gordon district and Aberdeen district, for the last five years for which data are complete.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The figures for VAT returns are not available in the form requested except at disproportionate cost. It has been possible to provide details for the last two financial years for traders currently registered at the Aberdeen local VAT office which covers the north-east of Scotland from Montrose to Nairn and the Shetland islands. The figures are as follows :
Year ending |Payments by |Repayments |Net Payments Traders |to Traders |to Traders |£ million |£ million |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------ 31 March 1989 |129.3 |165.2 |35.9 31 March 1990 |167.1 |204.5 |37.4
Mr. Maples : My right hon. Friend the then Economic Secretary to the Treasury announced in a written answer on 15 February 1990, at column 340, that negotiations would be opened with Racal Data Networks Ltd. (RDNL) to determine whether the company could satisfactorily supply an integrated voice and data telecommunications service for use by Government Departments, to be known as the Government Telecommunications Service--GTS.
The Government and the company have now reluctantly concluded that it would not be possible to achieve agreement on the terms for the provision of such a service. The two parties have therefore agreed that the GTS negotiations should be discontinued. The decision was announced on 7 January 1991. The Departments concerned in the GTS negotiation will now be considering with the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency how best to meet future telecommunications requirements. This decision does not affect the existing service contracts held by RDNL which the company is continuing to implement --the Government data network--GDN--which serves 18 Departments and includes the NHS family health service network, and the voice network which RDNL is developing for the Department of Social Security.