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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 26 February 1992


Legal Aid

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Attorney-General what proposals he has to secure the continuing availability of criminal legal aid in the magistrates courts of rural areas in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor is committed to ensuring that criminal legal aid services in the magistrates courts continue to be widely available. In 1990-91 the Legal Aid Board paid 440,000 bills in respect of criminal legal aid in the magistrates courts. In addition to this, just under 230,000 defendants were assisted under the magistrates courts duty solicitor scheme. This commitment extends to all areas of the country and there are no separate provisions for rural areas.


British Rail (Investment)

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those investment projects for which British Rail is awaiting his approval ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : On 6 February the British Rail chairman sought authority for investment in 550 fully enclosed car carrying wagons for the import and export of finished cars via the channel tunnel.

A414, Danbury

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 16 January, Official Report, column 610-11, what is the latest progress on approving speed limits on the A414 through the village of Danbury ; and when approval by his Department is expected to be given.

Mr. Chope : We are still waiting to hear from Essex county council concerning various legal issues. I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as I am able to report progress.


River Wear (Pollution)

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the pollution incidents on the River Wear over the last 10 years ; and how many prosecutions were made as a result.

Mr. Baldry : I understand that information on details of reported pollution incidents, or on numbers of prosecutions, is not held centrally by the National Rivers Authority in respect of individual rivers.

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Global Environmental Facility

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting in Geneva on 14 February to review progress made in implementing the global environmental facility ; and what commitment has been made by the United Kingdom in terms of (a) financial resources and (b) expertise to the GEF.

Mr. Baldry : The focus of the global environment

facility--GEF--participants meeting was to discuss the evolution of the GEF and its relationship with the proposed international conventions on climate change and on biodiversity. The meeting was constructive. The GEF chairman has been given a mandate to approach convention negotiations to explain what links could be developed between the GEF and the conventions and to report to the next GEF meeting in April. The United Kingdom has committed £40.3 million to the current three-year pilot phase of the GEF for global environmental activities including related expertise.

House Purchase Discount Schemes

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to ensure that applicants for houses under transferable discount schemes are limited to purchasing private sector property within the areas in which such schemes are operational.

Mr. Yeo : No. Cash incentive schemes are aimed at releasing housing in areas of acute housing pressure. Requiring grant recipients to purchase homes within such areas would add to the housing problems of those areas.

City Challenge

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate the cost of hiring the Queen Elizabeth conference centre for the city challenge press conference held on 18 February.

Mr. Portillo : The cost of hiring the Mountbatten suite in the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre for the press launch of round two of city challenge on 18 February was £3,965.00, inclusive of VAT.

Federation of Associations of Manchester Estates

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations the Minister for Housing and Planning has received from the Federation of Associations of Manchester Estates ; what reply is being sent ; what action is being taken ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to the right hon. Member on 27 January about Manchester city council's housing investment programme allocation, which is also the subject of a letter dated 6 February received from the Federation of Associations of Manchester Estates. The Department's regional controller in the north-west replied to FAME on 25 February in similar terms.

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North Yorkshire County Council

Mr. Rooney : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the standard spending assessment in 1991-92 for North Yorkshire county council for social services ; and what is the figure in 1992-93.

Mr. Key : The standard spending assessment for personal social services for North Yorkshire county council in 1991-92 is £49.89 million and for 1991-92 will be £52.837 million.

Marine Consultation Areas

Mr. Batiste : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to issue a consultation paper on marine consultation areas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier : I am today issuing a joint consultation paper with the Welsh Office on a new scheme to extend the designation of sites of marine conservation interest in England and Wales beyond the existing statutory marine nature reserves. This new designation is "marine consultation area" and I am publishing a first list of 16 proposed sites together with draft Government guidelines, addressed to regulatory agencies, on the procedures to be adopted in relation to them. Comments are being invited from these regulatory agencies and from others with interests in the localities concerned, the conservation of marine fauna and flora, and the operations likely to be affected. These are to be with the Departments concerned by Wednesday 22 April 1992.

The scheme acknowledges the important role that statutory marine nature reserves have played, and will continue to play, in promoting marine nature conservation, while recognising that there is a legitimate conservation interest that extends beyond statutory reserves. The sea itself cannot be fenced off and effective protection of areas marine conservation interest requires voluntary co-operation from a wide range of sea users.

The scheme proposed builds on one already in place in Scotland but goes further by way of a Government circular which gives clear guidelines to promote consultation between all the bodies concerned. A draft of this circular forms the basis of the consultation document.

All bodies taking decisions that might affect the conservation interest of the listed sites are asked to consult English Nature, or the Countryside Council for Wales as appropriate, at the earliest feasible stage. Any advice offered by the conservation agencies as a result of this consultation is to be given due weight by decision-makers and the conservation agencies are to be told of decisions taken in the light of their advice.

The scheme is intended to run on an entirely voluntary basis with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee monitoring results in order to determine its effectiveness. Annual reports, which will be made available to the public on request, will be submitted to the Government Departments concerned.

The 16 sites have been selected on the basis of advice from English Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales and include existing and proposed statutory marine nature reserves. A full list indicating area and position is set out as an annex to the circular. Copies of the consultation paper have today been placed in the Library. In addition, detailed descriptions of 16 sites, together with maps, are to be published separately in a

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free-standing document entitled "Marine Consultation Areas--A Description". Copies of the latest draft are available from my Department.

The issue of the consultation paper fulfils the commitment in the White Paper anniversary report "This Common Inheritance--The First Year Report", Cm 1655--paragraph 5.28, that the Government would publish, on a consultative basis, by early 1992, a first list of proposed marine consultation areas in England and Wales, and draft Government guidelines addressed to regulatory agencies.

Housing Action Trusts

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the timetable and implementation date of the housing action trusts in Liverpool.

Sir George Young : Liverpool city council and tenants of its 71 high -rise blocks have recently pressed us to reach an early decision on whether to proceed to ballot tenants on the proposal for a housing action trust.

Following careful consideration of the feasibility study prepared by the council, my right hon. Friend has decided that a ballot should be undertaken as soon as practicable and convenient for tenants. I would be content for this to begin on 25 March.

Liverpool city council's 71 tower blocks currently suffer a range of severe physical, security and managerial problems. Nevertheless, with appropriate investment and management, I believe they can provide an important resource for meeting housing needs and for the foreseeable future. I am fully satisfied that the housing action trust proposal represents the best means of protecting this resource, and improving the housing, environmental and social conditions of tenants.


Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements are in hand to take into consideration the combined, cumulative effects of emissions from projects in the south-east Thames corridor including the Deptford incinerator, the Bexley incinerator and the Greenwich power station when approval for each specific project is being sought separately.

Sir George Young [holding answer 24 February 1992] : All current applications for power stations and incinerators in the east Thamesside London boroughs are supported by environmental assessment statements. We are satisfied that existing arrangements for considering such applications can provide for appropriate account to be taken of the environmental effects of other developments in the vicinity of the one that is under consideration.

Mobile Homes

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to complete the current review of legislation affecting mobile home owners.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 25 February 1992] : I shall be announcing proposals in the very near future.

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Charitable Appeals

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by region the location of computer-assisted tomography scanners and magnetic resonance machines that were funded by charitable appeals.

Mr. Dorrell : The source of funding is not always known centrally. The available information on cases when all or part of the purchase is said to have come from appeals or donations is as follows : 1. Magnetic resonance machines

Region and Location--

North-West Thames

Royal Postgraduate Medical School

National Heart and Chest Hospital

Mount Vernon Hospital

Royal Marsden Hospital

St. Mary's Hospital

North-East Thames

National Hospital for Nervous Diseases

The Hospitals for Sick Children

Royal Free Hospital

Middlesex Hospital

South Western

Frenchay Hospital

East Anglia

Addenbrooke's Hospital


Stoke Mandeville Hospital

John Radcliffe Hospital

Royal Berkshire Hospital

South West Thames

Royal Surrey County Hospital


Royal Hallamshire Hospital

2. Computer-assisted Tomography Scanners

Region and Location--


Cumberland Infirmary

Newcastle General

Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle

South Cleveland Hospital, Middlesbrough

Bishop Auckland General Hospital

Sunderland District General Hospital


Bradford Royal Infirmary

Royal Halifax Infirmary

Staincliffe Hospital, Dewsbury

Harrogate District Hospital

The Royal Infirmary, Huddersfield

York District Hospital


Kings Mill Hospital, Mansfield

Leicester Royal Infirmary

Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital

Lincoln County Hospital

Nottingham City

Royal Hallamshire Hospital

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston

Derby Royal Infirmary

East Anglia

James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon

Peterborough Hospitals

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn

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West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds

North West Thames

Mount Vernon

St. Mary's Hospital, London

Westminster Hospital

Watford District General Hospital, Hertfordshire

The Royal Marsden Hospital, Riverside

North East Thames

Essex County Hospital

Princess Alexandra Hospital

The National Hospitals, Queens Square

Great Ormond Street Hospital, Bloomsbury

South East Thames

Royal Sussex, Brighton

Farnborough Hospital

Guy's Hospital

The Maudsley Hospital (Lewisham District)

South West Thames

Worthing Hospital

The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton


Basingstoke District Hospital

Bournemouth General Hospital

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham


Kettering General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital

Royal Berkshire Hospital

South Western

Bristol Radiology and Oncology Centre

Cheltenham General Hospital

Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

Yeovil District Hospital

Southmead Hospital, Bristol

West Midlands

The Corbett Hospital, Stourbridge

Good Hope Hospital

North Staffordshire R. I., Stoke-On-Trent

Midland Centre for Neuro, Smethwick

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury

Children's Hospital

Burton District Hospital Centre

Worcester R. I., Ronkswood Branch


Whiston Hospital

Clatterbridge Hospital

North Western

Blackburn R. I.

Victoria Hospital, Blackpool

Bury General Hospital

Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Booth Hall Child Hospital, Blackley

Christie Hospital

Tameside General Hospital

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