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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 18 June 1992

TRANSPORT

Aircraft Engines

Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been commissioned into the environmental impact and property damage implications of aircraft engines capable of powering 600-seater aircraft.

Mr. Norris : There are no 600-seater aircraft yet in production. The regulatory authorities have not yet been provided with information about any such aircraft which would enable them to undertake environmental assessment. However, all new types of civil aircraft must receive a certificate of airworthiness, covering a wide range of safety and environmental standards, before they are permitted to operate.

A5-M11 Trunk Road

Mr. Heald : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the latest position as regards the consultation study by Acer Consultants Ltd. in connection with its work on the alignment of an east/west trunk route regarding the section between the A5 and the M11.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : We expect to receive a report from our consultant this autumn. This will provide information about route options on which we hope to consult the public in 1993.

Agencies

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what was the first degree obtained by each of the chief executives of DVOIT and the Transport Research Agency ; and from which university or polytechnic it was awarded ;

(2) how much was spent on events and publicity surrounding the launch of DVOIT and the Transport Research Agency as agencies ; and whether the cost in each case was borne by the parent department or the new agency.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The chief executives of the DVOIT agency and the Transport Research Laboratory will be writing to the hon. Member.

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the maximum salary payable, including performance related element, and the length of time of the contract, of each of the chief executives of DVOIT and the Transport Research Agency.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The chief executive of the DVOIT agency has been appointed from 1 April 1992 for five years. The maximum salary that the chief executive DVOIT agency could be paid in 1992-93 on the basis of the


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current scale is £46,671 but a further general increase is expected on 1 August 1992. In addition, the chief executive is eligible for special non pensionable performance related bonus payments of up to 10 per cent. of salary.

The chief executive of the Transport Research Laboratory has been appointed from 11 November 1991 for five years. The maximum salary that the executive could be paid in 1992-93 is currently £63,000. This figure is subject to annual review in the light of the Government's decisions on the recommendations of the top salaries review body for the senior open structure. In addition the chief executive is eligible for non pensionable performance related bonuses up to a maximum of 10 per cent. of salary for the years to which the bonuses relate.

Red Routes

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the additional cost of (a) initiating, (b) administering each year and (c) policing each year the scheme of red routes in London as announced on 11 June.

Mr. Norris : I expect the implementation of the red route network announced on 11 June to cost in the region of £50 million (over the next five years) and the cost of administration to be of the order of £1.5 million a year subject to variation in workload. When the system becomes fully operational the annual cost of the additional police officers and traffic wardens will be about £25 million. However, the final cost will depend on the extent to which the boroughs' future involvement in parking enforcement releases existing traffic warden resources.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements relating to regulated parking, pedestrian crossings, cycle facilities and bus lanes or bus preference traffic schemes are possible under red route legislation and not possible under other provisions for traffic and highway management.

Mr. Norris : The power for the Secretary of State to designate a coherent network across London and to ensure the co-ordinated implementation of effective measures on it.

Orbital Trunk Road, M25

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to build an outer orbital trunk road outside the M25.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : None.

Colne Foulridge Bypass

Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects construction of the Colne Foulridge bypass to begin.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : This is Lancashire county council's scheme. Its timing is a matter for the council, although the council is hoping for exceptional central Government funding.

Selby Bypass

Mr. Michael Alison : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress on the Selby bypass following the conclusion in 1991 of the local public inquiry into the line of the route.


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Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The joint decision of the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment is awaited. I am aware of the need for an early decision, but in view of their statutory position it would be wrong for me to forecast when an announcement can be made. Of course, they have to consider all evidence before them, including the inquiry inspector's report.

Wheel Clamping

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what review is being undertaken of the law relating to wheel clamping of vehicles by private companies in England.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The law on wheel clamping on private land is a matter for the courts. But the recent ruling of the Scottish High Court of Judiciary will be examined carefully by my Department--with other relevant Government Departments--with a view to the position in England.

WALES

Radionuclides

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he has taken in relation to the conclusions on page seven of the report commissioned by his Department from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority on a post-Chernobyl survey of radionuclides in Wales from August to October 1986.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : The report to which the hon. Gentleman refers is one of many dealing with the effects of radioactive deposition from Chernobyl within the United Kingdom as a whole. Since the accident there have been a wide range of laboratory and field studies to improve our understanding of the behaviour of the fallout from Chernobyl in the affected areas, including north Wales.

The recommendations for further work in this particular report are being followed up. The Welsh Office is currently funding a project examining the dynamics of caesium in soils in upland Wales. As part of its wide ranging research programme the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has also funded work in the migration of radiocaesium in peat, as well as into the presence of strontium 90 in crops before and after the Chernobyl accident.

Following the Chernobyl accident a comprehensive monitoring programme of all foodstuffs likely to be affected was undertaken in Wales. The results indicated that radioactivity levels were generally well below those at which action was necessary to protect the safety of the food chain--with the exception of sheepmeat from certain parts of north Wales. As a result, sheep movement and marketing restrictions remain in force.

Access to Records

Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what conclusions he has reached on the implications of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Graham Gaskin for people seeking access to personal records for which he has responsibility ; and what action he intends to take.

Mr. David Hunt : My Department has consulted relevant agencies in Wales about how existing legislation


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and practice on the subject of access to social work records might need to be modified in the light of the judgment given by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Graham Gaskin. I am considering, together with other Ministers, what action should now be taken.

Dentistry

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if the approval by his Department for the West Glamorgan family health services authority to begin the immediate checking of standards at dental surgeries in the county will include the aim of reducing the rates of cross-infection ; and if this initiative will now be extended to the whole of Wales.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : The inspection of general dental practitioners premises is a matter for individual family health services authorities to decide as part of their management responsibility for general dental services. The composition of the inspection checklist is stipulated in guidance issued to FHSAs and includes consideration of cross-infection control.

Penylag County Primary School

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will review his financial regulations to enable the Penylag county primary school, Deeside to be extended ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : No. In accordance with practices agreed with the local authority associations it is for local authorities to determine the distribution of the resources made available to them between services and projects in the light of their view of local needs and priorities.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will visit Penylag county primary school and meet the governors, staff and the parent-teachers association.

Mr. David Hunt : I have no present plans to do so.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will earmark cash in the Sports Council grant aid to enable the Sports Council to list the current stock of school playing fields land.

Mr. David Hunt : As indicated in the Government's policy statement "Sport and Active Recreation" published last November, I will be considering with the Sports Council for Wales whether the register of all playing fields in England currently being compiled should be extended to Wales.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for what reasons the construction of the alternative feeding grounds for wading birds was omitted from the re-advertisement of the specifications of the tender to construct the proposed Cardiff bay barrage in the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities dated 5 June ; and what difference it made to the total estimated construction cost.


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Mr. David Hunt : The construction of the alternative feeding grounds for wading birds was omitted from Cardiff Bay Development Corporation's re-advertisement since the Select Committee required the provision for the feeding grounds to be removed from the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill. The indicative value of £112 million given in the advertisement should have been reduced by the £5.7 million cost of the feeding ground to £106 million. As I indicated in my answer to the hon. Gentleman on 16 June the estimated value in the advertisement is intended to be purely indicative of the scale of the project.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for what reasons it was decided to increase the volume of dredged material in the specification for the construction of the Cardiff bay barrage from 1,000,000 m to 1,700,000 m , and for sandfill from 1,300,000 m to 1,500,000 m between the original advertisement in the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities dated 14 November 1990 and the most recent re-advertisement dated 5 June 1992.

Mr. David Hunt : Following completion of ground investigations and detailed design of the barrage, allowance has been made for removal of all soft material from beneath the locks, sluices and Penarth Link, and removal of some soft material from beneath the embankment. This is required to avoid problems during construction and to ensure the complete structure integrity of the finished structure. It has resulted in the increases in dredging and sandfill quantities.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the increase since November 1990 in cost and in percentage terms of the proposed Cardiff bay barrage exclusive of the cost of the alternative feeding grounds.

Mr. David Hunt : If the cost of the alternative feeding grounds had been excluded from the November 1990 prequalification notice, the cost of the Cardiff bay barrage would have been £82 million at 1988-89 prices. The equivalent figure for the latest notice is £106 million at 1991-92 prices. Estimated construction costs exclusive of the alternative feeding grounds have therefore risen by £24 million or 29 per cent. over a period of some three years.

Manufacturing

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what special measures he plans to encourage manufacturing industry in Wales.

Mr. David Hunt : Development of manufacturing industry in Wales is a high priority. A wide range of schemes is available to encourage investment, research and development, and job creation. Specific initiatives have been taken to strengthen supplier networks, encourage technology transfer and build on the record levels of inward investment that have been achieved.

Banking Jobs

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement concerning the loss of banking and finance jobs in Wales.

Mr. David Hunt : Employment Department figures show that between 1989 and 1991 employment in the banking, insurance and finance sector in Wales increased by almost one third to 90,000.


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ATTORNEY-GENERAL

War Crimes

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Attorney-General how much money has been spent on investigations under the War Crimes Act 1991 ; and how many individual cases have been investigated.

The Attorney-General : The War Crimes Act 1991 came into effect on 9 May 1991. Costs associated with investigations in England and Wales in 1991 -92 were £1,003,072. This includes running costs and direct expenditure by the CPS in providing advice and other support to the investigators. The corresponding figure for Scotland is £300,000. No individual investigations have been completed. The inquiry is focusing on the case identified in the Hetherington/Chalmers report which appear most susceptible to criminal investigation.

No figures are yet available for the expenditure in the current year.

Sunday Trading

Mr. Ray Powell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will now indicate when the opinion of the Advocate General and the judgments of the court will be available on the case relating to Sunday trading.

The Attorney-General : The Advocate-General will give his opinion on 8 July. The court will give public notice in due course after 8 July of the date when it will give judgment.

European Court of Justice

Mr. Ray Powell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on his attendance at the European Court of Justice on 2 June.

The Attorney-General : On 2 June the European Court of Justice heard references by English courts concerning the compatibility of the Shops Act 1950 and Community law. I addressed the court on behalf of the United Kingdom and argued that the Act was compatible with Community law.

Final Exit"

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Attorney-General what consideration the Director of Public Prosecutions is giving to instituting proceedings under section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 against the publishers or distributors of "Final Exit"; and what criteria the Director of Public Prosecutions applies to such cases.

The Attorney-General : In December 1991 the acting director of Public Prosecutions considered a complaint relating to the distribution of "Final Exit" by Derek Humphrey. He concluded that there were no grounds for proceeding against either the publishers or distributors for an offence contrary to section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961. In reaching this decision the acting director took into account the High Court's consideration in Attorney General v. Able and Others [1984] 1 ALL ER p. 277 of the circumstances in which supply of a publication may contravene section 2. It is for the police to investigate any particular supply of "Final Exit" which might constitute an offence.


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LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the number of cases heard by each magistrates court in Greater London and Essex for each week during the past 12 months.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The information is not available centrally in the form requested. However, the Home Office collects and publishes the numbers of people proceeded against annually by petty sessional division and commission of the peace area in "Criminal statistics England and Wales". The 1990 publication, the latest available, is in the Library of the House.

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the number of court sittings for each magistrates court in Greater London and Essex for each week during the past 12 months.

Mr. John M. Taylor : This information is not available centrally in the form requested. The annual number of bench sittings for north-east London is 10,220 in 1990 (the latest year available) and for Essex is 10,217 in 1991. It is possible to provide the numbers of individual bench sittings only at disproportionate cost.

Small Claims Courts

Mr. Madden : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if small claims courts are required to issue documents to plaintiffs and defendants by recorded or registered post ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The county court rules 1981 require that any document which is to be served on a person should be served personally or by first class post. There is no requirement for documents to be sent by recorded or registered post.

Children

Mr. Olner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many children have been taken abroad by one parent against the wishes of the other parent in the last year of record.

Mr. John M. Taylor : No statistics are kept of the total number of children taken abroad unlawfully by one parent against the wishes of the other. However, in the year 1991, the child abduction unit of the Lord Chancellor's Department, which acts as the central authority for applications in England and Wales under the Hague convention of 1980 and the European convention of 1980, processed 108 applications involving 149 children who were said to have been wrongfully removed to other contracting states under those conventions.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Wildlife Management

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much is allocated by the Overseas Development Administration to special training


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programmes in wildlife management techniques and if he will break these figures down into the amounts spent on (a) annual capture and translocation, (b) management of crop-raiding animals, (c) veterinary diagnosis and management of diseases, (d) operation of culling programmes, (e) the development of village-level use of wild species, (f) management of sports hunting and other associated activities, (g) implementation of reintroduction programmes for both plants and animals and (h) programmes to exterminate damaging introduced and invasive species.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Information is not readily available in the form requested by the hon. Member. However, many of the projects ODA supports in wildlife management include elements for training for developing country personnel. Some examples include :

(i) £12 million for Kenya's protected areas Wildlife Services project to protect rare and endangered species ;

(ii) £474,000 for the Zoological Society of London to protect black rhinos and other flora and fauna and prevent damage to crops and livestock by predators in the Aberdares, Kenya ;

(iii) £91,000 in support of community education programme to promote conservation and sustainable resource use in Zimbabwe ; (iv) £30,000 for training and equipment for the Ecological Research Institute at Etosha, Namibia to develop remote sensing techniques for effective environment monitoring and management of wildlife parks.

We also support training in the United Kingdom on environmental subjects ; of the 485 broad-based environment awards in 1990-91, 12 were for specific wildlife management training courses at a cost of approximately £140,000.

Bahrain

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much aid Her Majesty's Government provides for Bahrain (a) in real terms and (b) as a percentage of gross national product.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : None.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Seal Pups

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Russian Government concerning slaughter of baby seal pups ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Russian authorities are well aware of public concern in the United Kingdom about seal culling. The EC banned the import of harp and hooded seal pup skins in 1983. The United Kingdom persuaded the Community to make the ban indefinite in 1989.

Public Record Office

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many papers have been withdrawn from the Public Record Office by his Department in each of the last five years.


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Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In each of the past five years the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has temporarily recalled the following numbers of files from the Public Record Office.


       |Number       

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

1991   |2,425        

1990   |2,113        

1989   |3,316        

1988   |3,324        

1987   |2,851        

All Foreign and Commonwealth Office files temporarily recalled from the Public Record Office are held for the minimum period of time necessary for official business, and are returned to the Public Record Office thereafter.

Bosnia-Herzogovina

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken towards protection of the chemical plant in Tuzla, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, against the risks of war damage leading to environmental damage.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The best protection for all sites in Bosnia- Herzegovina would be a durable ceasefire. We therefore wholeheartedly support Lord Carrington's and the United Nations efforts to bring this about.

Slovenia

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that United Nations sanctions against Serbia do not harm the economy or the people of Slovenia.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : As a United Nations member state, Slovenia has a legal obligation to implement the sanctions imposed on Serbia and Montenegro by Security Council Resolution 757. It is for the Slovenian authorities to take steps, consistent with this resolution, to protect the interests of their economy and people should they be affected by Slovenian implementation of the sanctions.

Patricia Cahill

Mr. Burden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to secure the release of Patricia Cahill from prison in Thailand.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The British embassy in Bangkok submitted Patricia Cahill's petition for a pardon from His Majesty the King of Thailand to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 4 May 1992. The embassy strongly supported the petition on the grounds of Miss Cahill's youth and immaturity at the time the offence was committed.

Entry Applications

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications for entry clearance at the deputy high commission in Karachi have been outstanding for more than one month.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 12 June 1992] : There are 745 applications which have been outstanding


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for more than one month. Of these, 528 are non-settlement cases where the post requires further information or the applicants have failed to attend for interview. Of the remaining 217 settlement cases, 50 have been referred to the Home Office for decision, 82 applicants are waiting first interview, and 85 are applicants who have been interviewed but from whom further documents are required.

EDUCATION

School Toilets

Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will update the 1977 survey conducted by his Department and the Welsh Office on how many schools in England and Wales have outside toilets in use by pupils.

Mr. Forth : I have no plans at present to update the information contained in the 1977 "A Study of School Building" which gave the number of schools with outside toilets on a sample basis.

School Governing Bodies

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to strengthen the representative base of school governing bodies by opening up all places on every body to election by parents ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : We have no plans to alter the carefully constructed balance of membership of school governing bodies established by the Education (No. 2) Act 1986.

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will review the procedure for appointment of school governors by minor authorities to prevent such authorities from removing well-established school governors and replacing them with political appointees ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : We have no plans to review the procedure for the appointment of school governors by minor authorities.

The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 allows those appointing governors to remove them at any time. The courts have, however, taken the view that in doing so they must act reasonably. There is therefore a remedy in law for a governor who considers that he has been unreasonably removed.

Surplus School Places

Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the latest figure for the cost of surplus school places for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

Mr. Forth : The average premises-related cost of maintaining a school place is estimated to be £150 a year for a primary school and £250 a year for a secondary school at 1991-92 prices. The amount that can be saved by removing surplus places will, however, vary considerably according to the particular circumstances.


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