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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 20 November 1991

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Jasbir Singh

Mr. Madden : To ask the Attorney-General whether the Department of Public Prosecutions plans to institute any prosecutions arising out of the unlawful killing of Jasbir Singh, following the inquest held by the Bradford coroner.

The Attorney-General : On 1 November 1991 the West Yorkshire police submitted a report which is being considered at CPS headquarters.

Private Office Staff

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General what are the numbers of staff he has in his private office ; and what was the equivalent number in 1981.

The Attorney-General : Three officials staff the private office serving both myself and the Solicitor-General. The private office was set up in September 1989. Previously each Law Officer was served by a senior personal secretary only.

County Courts

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General what is the income received in fees for each county court in England and Wales.

The Attorney-General : The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. There are some 275 county courts in England and Wales and in 1990-91 the total income received in county court fees was £134,852,000.

Immigration Tribunal

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General how many times he has visited the offices of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal since taking office.

The Attorney-General : I have not visited the offices of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal.

Sodigar Hussain

Mr. Madden : To ask the Attorney-General when the appeal by Mr. Sodigar Hussain--TH/4303/90--was heard in Leeds ; when Mr. Hussain or his representatives were informed of the outcome ; what is the current position of this appeal ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : The appeal of Mr. Sodigar Hussain (TH/4303/90) was heard by the adjudicator at Leeds on 21 August 1991. On 4 October 1991 the adjudicator's determination, dismissing the appeal, was dispatched to the parties' representatives in this country, and on 22 October 1991 Mr. Hussain's representatives


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lodged an application for leave to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal against the adjudicator's determination. The current position is that the president of the IAT has adjourned consideration of the application until 12 December 1991, to allow Mr. Hussain's representatives to submit grounds of appeal, if they so wish. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the decision of the adjudicator to dismiss the appeal or that of the President of the IAT to adjourn consideration of the application for leave to appeal until 12 December 1991 as they are both judicial decisions.

TRANSPORT

Cardiff Airport

Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many international flights arrive from overseas destinations each week into Cardiff airport ; how many flights per week arrive from Florida ; and how many flights a week arrive from Amsterdam.

Mr. McLoughlin : In the 1991 summer season, there were about 88 international flights each week into Cardiff airport, of which 45 were scheduled services and 43 were charter services. Of the total number, one flight was from Florida (charter) and 18 were from Amsterdam (scheduled).

For the 1991-92 winter season there will be about 75 international flights into Cardiff airport, of which 57 will be scheduled services and 18 will be charter services. Of the total, none will be from Florida and 19 scheduled flights from Amsterdam.

Merchant Navy

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to publish his review on the strategic role of the Merchant Navy.

Mr. McLoughlin : A statement will be made on the availability of British flag shipping for defence purposes as soon as possible.

Street Lighting

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will commit funds to local authorities to improve street lighting in high crime areas.

Mr. Chope : Local authorities already have the freedom to commit funds to the improvement of street lighting.

Margaret and William II

Mr. Harris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of the investigation into the loss of the Newlyn fishing vessel, Margaret and William II.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Marine Accident Investigation Branch inquiry into this accident is complete and the inspector who carried out the investigation has submitted his findings and recommendations to the chief inspector of marine accidents. A report on the accident will be published.


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White Strobe Lights

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many structures in (a) the Solent area and (b) the United Kingdom are going to be fitted with the new white strobe lights under the International Civil Aviation Organisation requirement.

Mr. McLoughlin : The application of the International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements for the lighting of aeronautical obstructions, is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority, which has the statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of civil aviation within the United Kingdom. I have drawn the hon. Member's question to the attention of the Civil Aviation Authority and have asked it to write to him direct.

War (Shipping Requirements)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to announce what the shipping requirements in times of conflict should be.

Mr. McLoughlin : Shipping requirements in times of conflict will depend on the type of conflict. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is considering the military requirements in the light of the NATO Heads of State and Governments' recent agreement in Rome.

Blind and Partially Sighted People.

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, of 12 November, Official Report, column 429, if he has now received a copy of the report "Blind and Partially Sighted Adults in Britain--The RNIB Needs Survey" ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : I congratulate the RNIB on this comprehensive report. It will be very helpful to the Department of Transport in its continuing programme of work to improve facilities both in public transport and in the pedestrian environment for blind and partially sighted people.

ENVIRONMENT

Inland Waterways

Mr. Gould : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to alter (a) by statute or (b) in any other way, the membership or function of the Inland Waterways Amenity advisory committee.

Mr. Heseltine : We are currently considering the structure and role of the Council in the light of the citizens charter and other relevant matters in consultation with its chairman and with the chairman of the British Waterways Board. The terms of existing members expire at the end of 1991 and I am consulting both chairmen on future appointments.

House Building

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice has been given by regional controllers to local authorities concerning the treatment of funding required for new build projects, in negotiations on the level of housing investment programmes for the next financial year.


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Mr. Yeo : The Department's housing regional controllers remind local authorities during annual discussions on housing investment programmes of the Government's policy that they should fulfil in the main an enabling role in their area, and should concentrate their efforts on the renovation of their own stock. Scarce resources should be directed to where they will be best employed or where best value for money may be obtained, for example by taking advantage of private finance through sponsoring housing associations' developments.

Planning Appeals

Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many planning appeals have been lodged with his Department in each year since 1985 against refusal by a planning authority to allow the fitting of security shutters or other external security features on shop premises ; and what percentage of these appeals were successful.

Mr. Yeo : The information held by the Department about planning appeals makes it possible to identify appeals affecting shop fronts, but not those concerned specifically with the security of shops.

Hedegerows

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about his Department's proposals to introduce grants for hedgerow maintenance ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : Following announcement of our proposals in July, the Department has received comments from a range of interested parties, including local authorities, landowning and farming bodies, and environmental groups. Our intention to provide new incentives for hedgerow management has been broadly welcomed and we are discussing with the Countryside Commission and others the detailed scope and terms of the proposed scheme. We shall be making a further statement in due course.

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to introduce grants for hedgerow maintenance.

Mr. Baldry : We hope to make our proposed new incentives for hedgerow management available next year.

Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his answer of 11 November, Official Report , column 395-96 , when his discussions with the Countryside Commission and others on the proposed incentive scheme will be completed ; and when the proposals will be implemented.

Mr. Baldry : Our discussions on a scheme to provide new incentives for hedgerow management are making good progress, and we shall make a further statement as soon as possible. We plan to establish the proposed scheme in the coming year.

Retailers (Security)

Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what quality standards are required for security features such as shutters, grilles and glass fitted in


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commercial or retail premises in the United Kingdom ; and what information he has on comparable standards prevailing in other EC countries.

Mr. Yeo : There are no statutory requirements expressly requiring or applying to the fitting of security features in commercial or retail premises in the United Kingdom.

Voluntary guidance relating to the security of buildings against crime is contained in British standard 8220. Part 2 applies to offices and shops and part 3 applies to warehouses and distribution units.

The Department does not keep information on the technical standards and practices applying to security features in commercial and retail premises in other member states. However, information on technical standards is available from BSI's technical help for exporters service based at Milton Keynes. The telephone number is 0908 220022.

Homelessness

Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made since March 1991 on assisting Homeless Emergency for London People to get blankets from Government stocks.

Sir George Young : The Government are providing grants under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 to over 80 voluntary organisations in England for practical projects to prevent and relieve homelessness. Homeless Emergency for London People, whose initiative on behalf of the homeless I welcome, has not asked my Department for direct assistance since March 1991. HELP was invited to bid for funds in February but no formal application was received from it. Enterprise Zones

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to review his policy on enterprise zones following completion of his Department's study by PA-Cambridge Economic Consultants assessing the impact of enterprise zones ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Key : The final evaluation of enterprise zones by PA-CEC will not be completed until 1995. Our policy remains that the creation of new zones will be considered only in exceptional circumstances.

Water (Consultations)

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidelines govern the consultations on water quality, water use and flood prevention strategies to be incorporated in environmental impact assessments to accompany private and hybrid bills ; and if consultations require obligatory reference to the National Rivers Authority.

Mr. Yeo : An environmental statement deposited with a new private or hybrid Bill authorising the carrying out of works will, in accordance with Standing Order 27A (Private Business), generally be expected to contain all the information set out in schedule 3 to the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988. This includes the likely effects of the proposed works on the environment by reference to their


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possible impacts on water. Promoters are advised when preparing their environmental statement to consult those bodies with relevant information in their possession including, where appropriate, the National Rivers Authority.

Flame Retardants

Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current state of negotiations within the EC with regard to the Commission proposal 91/7 on the marketing and use of bromine-based flame retardants ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : The proposal is for an immediate ban on the marketing and use of seven polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBBEs) with three more (pentabromobiphenyl ether, octabromobiphenyl ether, and decabromobiphenyl ether) banned after five years. The Government's position on this proposal was debated in the House of Commons European Standing Committee A on 17 July 1991. The proposal was last discussed in the EC in a Council working group meeting on 1 October. There are two major problems with the current proposal. Firstly, due to a technical oversight in the wording, the three substances which the Commission had intended should remain on the market for a further five years will effectively be banned immediately. Secondly, the efficacy and safety of substitute compounds has not been addressed. The United Kingdom is concerned that, prior to a final ban, substitutes are assessed to ensure that they are effective flame retardants and demonstrably safer to man and the environment. A ban should only follow if the efficacy and safety criteria are met. I understand that the European Parliament Environment Committee has decided to defer consideration of this proposal until a directive on flame retardant materials used in soft furnishings is drafted. This directive will help to inform the debate on the efficacy of substitutes.

Genetically Manipulated Organisms

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to publish the draft regulations on genetically manipulated organisms.

Mr. Baldry : A consultation paper containing draft regulations, "Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) : Proposed New Regulations", was published jointly with the Health and Safety Commission on 22 October 1991.

Drinking Water

Mr. Randall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish the findings of the drinking water inspectorate into the outbreak of cryptosporidia in the Hull area during 1990.

Mr. Baldry : The investigation by the drinking water inspectorate is nearing completion, and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Severance Payments

Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department proposes to take any action to permit the payment of local enhanced severance payments following the judgment in the case of Allsop v. North Tyneside metropolitan borough council.


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Mr. Key : I understand that the metropolitan borough of North Tyneside has appealed against the judgment. The matter is therefore sub judice.

Council House Sales

Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the capital receipts from council house sales in each district in his Department's eastern region for each of the last five years.


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Mr. Yeo : The total discounted values of all sales of houses and flats, based on returns from local authorities, are shown in the table. Actual cash receipts in any year will depend on the extent to which sales were financed by loans from the authorities.


Eastern Region<1>                                                                       

Discounted value of all sales (£'000)                                                   

Town name                   |1986-87  |1987-88  |1988-89  |1989-90  |1990-91            

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

Luton                       |6,510    |9,714    |16,503   |10,790   |n/a                

Mid Bedfordshire            |4,767    |6,031    |7,743    |3,711    |3,198              

North Bedfordshire          |6,510    |n/a      |n/a      |7,373    |65,104             

South Bedfordshire          |4,486    |6,823    |8,601    |5,465    |3,203              

Aylesbury Vale              |8,415    |10,028   |11,791   |7,090    |4,987              

Chiltern                    |3,810    |n/a      |31,264   |0        |0                  

Milton Keynes               |1,812    |n/a      |8,542    |5,277    |1,782              

South Bucks                 |2,195    |3,180    |2,931    |3,624    |37,213             

Wycombe                     |n/a      |10,663   |11,042   |n/a      |n/a                

Cambridge                   |6,021    |6,536    |9,344    |n/a      |4,002              

East Cambridgeshire         |2,181    |2,744    |3,303    |1,597    |1,092              

Fenland                     |1,528    |2,494    |3,845    |1,585    |507                

Huntingdonshire             |5,446    |7,726    |9,603    |5,531    |3,802              

Peterborough                |n/a      |3,740    |6,272    |n/a      |2,056              

South Cambridgeshire        |4,406    |4,718    |6,585    |4,139    |4,112              

Basildon                    |n/a      |n/a      |7,326    |n/a      |n/a                

Braintree                   |5,896    |8,242    |9,136    |6,507    |2,740              

Brentwood                   |2,125    |2,830    |3,778    |3,229    |2,127              

Castle Point                |1,557    |2,050    |n/a      |n/a      |n/a                

Chelmsford                  |3,834    |6,521    |10,203   |8,866    |3,509              

Colchester                  |2,375    |4,697    |8,880    |n/a      |1,935              

Epping Forest               |n/a      |6,359    |6,498    |4,793    |3,373              

Harlow                      |n/a      |n/a      |18,346   |22,445   |9,217              

Maldon                      |1,337    |1,713    |2,092    |1,226    |970                

Rochford                    |1,919    |2,182    |3,888    |n/a      |831                

Southend-on-Sea             |3,335    |3,082    |6,755    |n/a      |2,424              

Tendring                    |1,843    |2,281    |3,462    |2,791    |1,395              

Thurrock                    |6,943    |11,418   |13,748   |11,726   |6,418              

Uttlesford                  |2,255    |3,528    |4,073    |1,660    |1,261              

Broxbourne                  |6,536    |4,632    |7,212    |3,414    |4,947              

Dacorum                     |12,014   |15,391   |21,420   |13,179   |7,769              

East Hertfordshire          |5,433    |5,419    |8,039    |6,188    |4,127              

Hertsmere                   |8,546    |9,505    |11,138   |7,537    |4,008              

North Hertfordshire         |4,584    |6,310    |n/a      |7,729    |4,774              

St. Albans                  |4,329    |5,490    |9,026    |9,144    |8,464              

Stevenage                   |9,516    |n/a      |16,832   |12,735   |7,310              

Three Rivers                |2,645    |4,148    |6,372    |n/a      |3,148              

Watford                     |4,459    |5,814    |8,257    |4,537    |2,572              

Welwyn Hatfield             |14,318   |18,162   |19,878   |14,810   |7,330              

Breckland                   |3,273    |4,140    |6,539    |4,060    |2,069              

Broadland                   |795      |n/a      |n/a      |n/a      |25,042             

Great Yarmouth              |1,247    |1,716    |2,794    |2,348    |1,388              

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk |2,351    |3,252    |7,049    |2,221    |1,350              

North Norfolk               |1,380    |1,887    |4,140    |3,231    |1,168              

Norwich                     |4,245    |n/a      |16,369   |10,562   |4,619              

South Norfolk               |2,239    |2,782    |4,533    |2,805    |1,672              

Babergh                     |2,282    |2,618    |4,305    |2.016    |1,685              

Forest Heath                |2,318    |3,565    |3,707    |2,444    |1,737              

Ipswich                     |3,436    |6,073    |11,219   |5,730    |2,336              

Mid Suffolk                 |1,599    |2,304    |3,607    |3,478    |1,207              

St. Edmundsbury             |3,373    |5,360    |7,173    |4,805    |1,679              

Suffolk Coastal             |2,113    |3,602    |4,900    |2,705    |2,630              

Waveney                     |1,582    |2,720    |4,252    |1,844    |1,668              

<1>Figures shown are as reported by individual authorities.                             

n/a indicates that no data is available.                                                

Oil Pollution (Kuwait)

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the International Council for Bird Preservation on the subject of assistance for Kuwait in tackling the problems caused to bird populations by remaining pools of oil.


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Mr. Baldry : I had an exchange of correspondence on this matter with the International Council for Bird Preservation in June and July of this year.


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Lead

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what standards exist for the presence of lead and derivatives of lead in (a) soil and (b) air ;

(2) what agency is responsible for the implementation of standards on the presence of lead and derivatives of lead in (a) soil and (b) air ; and what guidance he has given to such agencies to report their findings and activities to his Department.

Mr. Baldry : (a) The Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989 set down a lead in soil standard of 300 milligrams per kilogram of dry matter. This only applies to those agricultural soils which receive sewage sludge. The regulations are enforced by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. (b) A maximum concentration of 2 micrograms of lead per cubic metre (expressed as an annual mean concentration) is set down in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 1989 which are enforced by the Secretary of State. Compliance is checked at air quality monitoring stations and results reported to the Secretary of State.

Waste (Burning)

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what regulations exist for the control of the burning of chlorine or PVC-based waste ; and what agency is responsible for the implementation of such controls.

Mr. Baldry : The control of existing plant burning chlorine or PVC- based waste is presently subject to the following regulations : The Collection and Disposal of Waste Regulations 1988.

The Control of Industrial Air Pollution (Registration of Works) Regulations 1989.

The Collection and Disposal of Waste Regulations are enforced by waste disposal authorities. The Control of Industrial Air Pollution Regulations are enforced by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. Since 1 April 1991, new incinerator plant for these wastes has been subject to the Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1991, enforced by either HMIP or local authorities depending on the exact nature of the waste and the capacity of the incinerator. Existing incinerators will progressively be brought under these controls.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many sites of special scientific interest are within 100 m of proposed local road routes.

Mr. Baldry : This information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Hook Island

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if a reservoir appraisal, as outlined in appendix B of the planning circular 2/85, has been carried out in the case of the proposed Hook island, Poole harbour, development ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if the procedure outlined in appendix A of planning circular 2/85 has been invoked in the case of the proposed Hook island, Poole harbour, development ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 14 November 1991] : Appendix B of DOE circular 2/85 explains the three stages


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of onshore hydrocarbon development : exploration, appraisal and production. Appendix A of DOE circular 2/85 explains the Department of Energy's licensing procedures which apply to all oil and gas development. BP carried out offshore appraisal drilling in Poole bay in 1988-89 following consultations with local interests and the completion of an environmental assessment.

Following successful appraisal drilling to determine the extent of the Wytch Farm oilfield, BP consulted widely on various development concepts. Its preferred option is the construction of an artificial island large enough to accommodate a well site and drilling facilities on which a conventional land-type drilling rig could be operated. Because the island would be in navigable waters, it is necessary for the construction of the island and the works associated with it to have the authority of Parliament. However, the Bill provides that the area of the sea bed on which BP proposes to construct the island will becone part of Dorset for planning purposes. This means that, if the Bill is granted consent, no development will take place unless planning approval is obtained from Dorset county council, or the Secretary of State on appeal.

Sea Pollution

Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has made to the Public Accounts Committee report on oil and chemical pollution at sea.

Mr. McLoughlin : I have been asked to reply.

The Treasury minute in response to the 40th report by the Public Accounts Committee on oil and chemical pollution at sea is currently being drafted and will be published shortly.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Crime Prevention

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which cities are eligible to apply for specific crime prevention projects funding under (a) the safer cities programme and (b) urban programme schemes ; and if he will list those cities in the last 18 months which have made successful bids for specific crime prevention projects.

Mr. John Patten : The 19 areas where the Home Office has established safer cities projects, listed in the table, are eligible for Home Office grants for specific crime prevention schemes. All have received funding in the last 18 months except Derby, Leicester and Middlesbrough, where projects began operation only this autumn. Fifty-seven designated districts, also listed in the table, are eligible to apply for Department of the Environment funding under the urban programme. Those marked with an asterisk have included crime prevention projects in their programme for 1991-92, the only period for which I understand this information is available.

Safer Cities projects

Birmingham

Bradford

Bristol

Coventry

Derby

Hartlepool

Hull

Islington

Leicester


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Lewisham

Middlesbrough

Nottingham

Rochdale

Salford

Sunderland

Tower Hamlets

Wandsworth

Wirral

Wolverhampton

Urban Programme Local Authorities

Newcastle/Gateshead

Hartlepool

Langbaurgh

Middlesbrough

North Tyneside

South Tyneside

Stockton-on-Tees

Sunderland

Manchester/Salford

Blackburn

Bolton

Burnley

Oldham

Preston

Rochdale

Wigan

Liverpool

Halton

Knowsley

St Helens

Sefton

Wirral

Barnsley

Bradford

Doncaster

Kingston Upon Hull

Leeds

Rotherham

Sheffield

Kirklees

Birmingham

Coventry

Dudley

Sandwell

Walsall

Wolverhampton

Wrekin

Derby

Leicester

Nottingham

Bristol

Plymouth

Hackney

Islington

Lambeth

Brent

Greenwich

Hammersmith and Fulham

Haringey

Kensington and Chelsea

Lewisham

Newham

Southwark

Tower Hamlets

Wandsworth

Authorities which included crime prevention projects in their 1991-92 programmes.


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