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Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage who are the members currently appointed to the board of the Tate gallery.

Mr. Sproat : The members of the board of trustees of the Tate gallery are :

Dennis Stevenson, Esq CBE (Chairman)

The Countess of Airlie, CVO

The Hon. Janet de Botton

Michael Craig-Martin, Esq

Richard Deacon, Esq

Bamber Gascoigne, Esq FRSL

David Gordon, Esq

Christopher Le Brun, Esq

Sir Richard Carew Pole

Mrs. Paula F. Ridley, JP MA

David Verey, Esq

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage who are the members currently appointed to the board of the Sir John Soane's museum.

Mr. Sproat : The members of the board of trustees of the Sir John Soane's museum are :

His Grace the Duke of Grafton (Chairman)

Sir Walter F. Bodmer, Kt FRS FRC Path

Ms Bridget Cherry, FSA

Edward Cullinan, CBE RA

Richard Griffiths, Esq

Ronald W. Lightbown, Esq MA FSA FRAS

Alderman Sir Francis McWilliams, Kt BSc FEng FICE

Sir Philip Powell, KT RA ARA FRIBA

T. Russell-Cobb, Esq

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage who are the members currently appointed to the Museums and Galleries Commission.

Mr. Sproat : The members of the Museums and Galleries Commission are :

Graham Greene, Esq CBE (Chairman)

The Marchioness of Anglesey

Dr. Frank Atkinson, OBE

Jack Baer, Esq

The Baroness Brigstocke

The Viscountess Cobham

Frederick W. Dunning, Esq OBE BSc FGS FMA

Richard Foster, Esq

Professor W. John Last, CBE MA Hon FMA

Professor David Michie, RSA RGI FRSA

Lord (Raymond) O'Neill

Right Hon. Lord Rees, QC

Robert Smith, Esq

Dame Margaret Weston

Royal Parks

Mr. Cormack : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what future plans he has for the royal parks.

Mr. Sproat : The royal parks are one of London's finest assets and give pleasure to millions. The Government are committed to maintaining and improving these important open spaces so that they attain the highest standards of excellence.

I have now considered the second report on the role and management of the royal parks from an independent review group, chaired by Dame Jennifer Jenkins. The group's first report considered Hyde park and Kensington gardens ; this time its attention was focused on the four remaining parks in central London ; St. James's park, Green park, Regent's park and Primrose hill. The group once again examined a wide range of issues and consulted many individuals and organisations. The conclusions of its report were discussed at a one-day conference.

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The group's recommendations highlight the opportunities we now have to enhance the quality of the parks, and to provide for changing demands and pressures, but in doing so we must not lose sight of the fundamental purpose of the parks as places where hundreds of people can enjoy themselves in the open air. We are looking positively at the proposals in the group's report, although it is clear that some of them would involve significant changes and significant expenditure : for example, to landscape, traffic and parking. In this answer I shall describe the action we have already taken, and my proposals for taking matters forward. There will have to be detailed consultations with interested parties, including the royal household, Westminster city council, and the Crown Estate Commission, before some proposals can be implemented ; some will require further study to determine whether practical solutions are possible ; and the availability of financial resources will play a major part in determining the extent and timing and implementation of others.

A central theme of the Jenkins group was that the pedestrian should have priority within the parks and that the impact of traffic on the atmosphere of the parks, particularly St. James's and Green parks, should be significantly reduced.

The group highlighted the area in front of Buckingham palace--which, it should be explained, is part of St. James's park--as a prime example of the conflict between pedestrians and traffic. It recommended the creation of a pedestrian place between the palace and the Queen Victoria memorial. I am pleased to say that during the course of the last year consultants have looked at traffic and pedestrian access throughout the royal parks, and have already produced proposals for achieving this recommendation. Further detailed studies have been commissioned and when these are completed consultation will take place with all concerned.

A programme of other traffic management measures is also being developed, including additional pedestrian crossings and traffic calming methods.

On a related theme, the Jenkins group recommended that car parking should be banned from Horse Guards parade, returning the area to uncluttered open space, thus restoring one of the important vistas of St. James's park. Such a proposal will obviously require consultation with several Government Departments and other bodies. Alternative solutions to providing the necessary car parking, and the other consequential problems, would have to be found. The Royal Parks Agency is examining ways in which these problems might be resolved. For Regent's park, the Jenkins group's main theme was the need to view the park, villas and surrounding terraces as "an integral piece of urban design", reflecting its original conception. Many bodies now have management responsibilities within the area, and I accept the group's recommendation that there should ideally be a co-ordinated management strategy for the area as a whole. In this respect the important planning function of local authorities should not be overlooked. In the first stages I propose to consult colleagues in the Department of the Environment to see how the proposal can be taken forward. I also agree that a consultative mechanism between the park management and local residents and amenity groups, who value and take an interest in the park, should be developed.

The group has put forward several proposals to improve the image of the parks to the visitor, including the

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introduction of suitably sited display boards, explaining features such as the heritage and wildlife of the parks, and leaflets for self-guided trails. The general signing and maps on the parks also need improvement. I welcome these ideas, together with the suggestion for increasing the parks' role in more formal education by the provision of information centres and facilities for schools. The Royal Parks Agency's design consultant has in fact already designed new map boards, and these will be installed shortly. The first leaflets have already been produced.

The group has recognised the role of royal parks in the image of London for visitors from this country and abroad, and this is reflected in its proposal for a circular walk linking all six central parks--the royal parks promenade. A leaflet showing the route and noting the important features along the way will be produced. I welcome this proposal, as does Westminster city council, which undoubtedly will have an important role to play in taking it forward. Parts of the route, such as the link through Park square and Crescent gardens, and that through Paddington, will need to be considered carefully, and several organisations will need to be consulted, if the proposal is to come to fruition.

The full cost of implementing the recommendations is not yet known as further studies are required, and we will have to consider the position of the royal parks along with other demands on the Department of National Heritage budget. The specific recommendations made in the report, to increase funding to the parks through the retention of all additional income, a special contribution from Government, to cover the cost of policing and staging national celebrations, and a contribution from the Crown Estate, will require further detailed research and discussion within the Government. Until these discussions are complete I cannot say whether the proposals in the report can, or will be, met.

I am pleased to say that considerable progress has been made towards meeting the recommendations in the group's first report on Hyde park and Kensington gardens. For example, the group felt that the Speakers' corner and Marble arch area had deteriorated, and suggested a competition for ideas to improve the area. The competition has been organised and was announced in January. In July a works management contractor was appointed and this contractor has completed a survey of all buildings and structures and drawn up a planned maintenance programme. This is the first step in reversing the deterioration in the fabric of the parks highlighted by the group. Traffic consultants have reported on traffic management within the parks and extensive consultation with local authorities and other interested parties is now taking place. The appointment of landscape architects, the establishment of the royal parks as an executive agency, and the policing of Hyde park by the Royal Parks constabulary, have been successfully completed.

The comprehensive coverage given to every aspect of the parks by the Jenkins group and the general support and constructive comment that its reports have generated have persuaded me that a review of the remaining royal parks should be carried out. I have therefore invited Dame Jennifer Jenkins to chair a group to review Greenwich, Bushey and Richmond parks. The timetable for this review is longer than that for the previous reviews ; starting in March, the group's report is expected in the first half of 1995. This will allow the Royal Parks Agency time to assimilate and take action of the proposals in the first two reports.

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I am most grateful for the contribution and time Dame Jennifer, and her group, have already given, and look forward to the next report.


Export Promoter Initiative

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many staff were seconded to his Department under the export promoter initiative on 1 April 1993, 1 October 1993 and currently ; how many enterprises had been advised by such staff by each date ; and how many export group visits had been organised by such staff by each date.

Mr. Needham : Total number of staff seconded to the Department under the export promoter initiative by April 1 1993 = eight; October 1 1993 = 41 ; currently 68.

Total number of enterprises contacted by export promoters by April 1 1993 = 54 ; October 1 1993 = 2,357 ; currently 5,467.

Export group visits include seminars organised by export promoters, trade fairs or export missions led by export promoters or accompanying Ministers : by April 1 1993 = nil ; October 1 1993 = 120 ; currently = 195.

Approximate total number of enterprises which attended above events = 5,040.

Wind Turbines

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what studies have been conducted since 1984 by his energy technology support unit on public attitudes to wind farm or wind generator cluster development in the United Kingdom ; and what use he has made of any comparative studies conducted abroad.

Mr. Eggar : The following eight studies have been conducted since 1984 by the Energy Technology Support Unit on public attitudes to wind farms or wind generator cluster development. Results of relevant work conducted abroad are also noted.

Public Attitude Survey at Delabole (two studies)

Mynddy Cemmaes Windfarm Impact Assessment

Cemmaes Wind Farm Impact Study

The Visual Impact of Windfarms ; Lessons from the United Kingdom NFFO

Evaluation of Local Community Reaction to a Single Wind Turbine Public reaction to a 1 MW Wind Turbine Generator

Survey of Public Attitudes towards Three Wind Turbines.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, what safety arrangements are made for the long-term storage of liquid high level radioactive waste in tanks at Sellafield.

Mr. Eggar : This is a matter for British Nuclear Fuels plc subject to the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate's views as to safety.

Colombian Coal

Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what steps he has taken to verify that coal imported into the United Kingdom from Colombia has not been mined by child labour ;

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(2) if he will deposit in the Library the documentation he has received certifying that coal imported into the United Kingdom from Colombia is not produced with child labour ;

(3) what assurances he has received directly or via PowerGen or National Power on the safety conditions in coal mines in Colombia exporting coal to the United Kingdom and on whether child labour is employed ;

(4) what reports of inspections of coal mines in Colombia exporting coal to the United Kingdom have been published ; and if he will give the details of publication ;

(5) when was the last occasion on which he discussed the issue of Colombian coal and child labour with (a) officials of PowerGen and (b) officials of National Power ;

(6) what checks have been made by his Department to confirm that no coal being mined by child labour in Colombia is being delivered to stores in that country that are used for exports of coal to the United Kingdom ;

(7) if he will deposit in the Library the correspondence which has taken place between his Department and PowerGen and National Power on the issue of the importation of coal from mines in Colombia using child labour ;

(8) if he will list the dates and locations of inspections which have been carried out by or on behalf of his Department of coal mines in Colombia exporting coal to the United Kingdom.

Mr. Eggar : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) on 9 February, Official Report, column 314. Since then, I have met Dr. Pretelt, the president of Carbocol, who assured me that Colombian labour law, and mining law, prohibits women and under-18s from going underground, and that no Colombian coal for export is mined by children.


Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the results of the research on the development and demonstration of energy technologies, undertaken by the energy technology support unit, will be published ; and whether that appraisal will cover both the energy supply and the efficient use of energy.

Mr. Eggar : The Energy Technology Support Unit expects to publish its appraisal report, which will cover both energy supply and energy efficiency, within the next few weeks. My Department will publish a summary of the appraisal as an energy paper. This will not discuss energy efficiency technologies, since they are now a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Small Companies (Audit)

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the effective date for commencement of the abolition of the small companies audit requirement has been fixed.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : I shall be making a statement shortly on this and other details of the relaxation of the audit requirement for small companies.

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Mr. Cryer : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has made to the Korean Government regarding the increase in the tariff on textile imports ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham : I have written to the Korean Ministers for Finance, and for Trade, Industry and Energy expressing the dismay of the United Kingdom Government regarding this action and pointing out that this is not the action we expect of a major trading nation. We are discussing options for action with our European partners and the Commission. Member states agree that robust and early action is necessary and at the request of member states the Commission is evaluating ways of responding.


Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what he now expects to be the future of Ferranti ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : The receivers are discussing with a number of companies the possibility of selling the businesses which make up Ferranti International plc.

The Independent

Mr. Robert Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the possible transfer of The Independent newspaper.

Mr. Heseltine : I have received an application for my consent to acquire a controllong interest in Newspaper Publishing, owner of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. The application relates to an offer made by a consortium consisting of Mirror Group Newspapers, the Espresso group and Promotora de Informaciones, in agreement with Mr. Andreas Whittam Smith, Mr. Adrian O'Neil and Mr. Matthew Symonds. It seeks my consent without an inquiry by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under section 58(3)(a) of the Fair Trading Act 1973. This section gives me discretion to consent to a newspaper transfer without a Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry where I am satisfied that the newspaper concerned is not economic as a going concern and as a separate newspaper and that, if the paper is to continue, the case is one of urgency. I am inviting comments from interested parties by 3 March on whether I should give my consent without a Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry. I have placed in the Libraries of both Houses a note describing the main features of the proposed transaction and explaining how the newspaper merger provisions of the Act apply to this case. I expect to make a further statement to the House announcing my decision following the period of public consultation.

Atomic Energy Authority

Mr. Robert Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what decisions he has made about the future of the Atomic Energy Authority.

Mr. Eggar : The consultation study I announced on 1 April was completed in the summer of 1993. Since then

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I have held discussions with my colleagues and with AEA management and staff representatives about the way ahead. I have concluded that the business activities in the AEA's new commercial division are capable of privatisation and that privatisation represents the logical next step in the AEA's on-going commercial development. Decisions on the form of privatisation will be taken in due course, but there is no presumption that this should follow the present structure. The decisions taken will be based on performance in the market place and the extent to which the various options would meet customer requirements, enhance competition, help to improve United Kingdom competitiveness and maximise the return to the taxpayer. Legislation for privatisation will be brought forward in due course. Ownership of, and responsibility for, the safe management of the AEA's nuclear liabilities, as well as certain other functions more appropriate to government,

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will remain in the public sector but contracts for decommissioning and radioactive waste management work will increasingly be put out to competition. I will be exploring how best to organise these activities in the longer term and will make further announcements when I am in a position to do so.

Public Bodies

Dr. Wright : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing, in 1992-93 prices, the gross public spending for each year since 1990-91 and the projected expenditure for each year to 1995 -96 for each executive non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department, as listed in "Public Bodies 1993".

Mr. Eggar [holding answer 15 February 1994] : The following table shows the amount of grant or grant-in-aid received by executive non- departmental public bodies sponsored by my Department :

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£ thousands, 1992-93 prices                                                                                                                                                                     

Executive                                               |1990-91         |1991-92         |1992-93                          |1993-94         |<1>1994-95      |<1>1995-96                       


public bodies                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                        |outturn         |outturn         |outturn                          |estimates       |plans           |plans                            


British Hallmarking Council                             |0               |0               |0                                |0               |0               |0                                


Advisory Committees on Telecommunications for Scotland,                                                                                                                                         

Wales and Northern Ireland                              |211             |221             |112                              |129             |129             |129                              


Area Transport Users' Consultative Committees           |645             |620             |582             |\                                                                                   

                                                                                                           | |              |1,052           ||2|Not known<2>                                   

Central Transport Consultative Committee                |274             |555             |506             |/                                                                                   


Domestic Coal Consumers' Council                        |127             |158             |121                              |121             |75              |62                               


Gas Consumers' Council                                  |2,562           |2,527           |2,767                            |2,828           |2,525           |2,517                            


London Regional Passengers' Committee                   |301             |436             |280                              |316             |-(2)            |-(2)                             


National Consumer Council                               |2,457           |2,657           |2,930                            |2,818           |2,303           |2,123                            


Post Office Users' National Council                     |455             |458             |448             |\                                                                                   

                                                                                                           | |                                                                                  

Post Office Users' Councils for Scotland, Wales and                                                        | |              |694             |576             |599                              

Northern Ireland                                        |120             |122             |275             |/                                                                                   


Design Council                                          |7,245           |7,732           |7,287                            |7,446           |6,705           |3,590                            


English Industrial Estates Corporation (EIEC)            18,550           0                6,000                             19,370           Not known<3>                                      


Hearing Aid Council                                     |-               |-               |-                                |-               |-               |-                                


Monopolies and Mergers Commission                       |6,330           |6,400           |5,540                            |7,070           |6,870           |7,290                            


National Enterprise Board (NEB)<4>                      |0               |0               |0                                |0               |0               |0                                


National Research Development Corporation (NRDC)<4>     |0               |0               |0                                |0               |0               |0                                


Policyholders' Protection Board                         |0               |0               |0                                |0               |0               |0                                


The Simpler Trade Procedures Board                      |734             |876             |869                              |848             |845             |930                              


United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority                  |0               |0               |0                                |0               |0               |0                                

<1>Planned figures are subject to change in annual PES negotiations.                                                                                                                            

<2>After 31 March 1994 the Central Transport Consultative Committee and the area Transport Users' Consultative Committees sponsorship will be the responsibility of the Office of the Rail      

Regulator. Sponsorship of the London Regional Passengers' Committee passes similarly to the Department of Transport.                                                                            

<3>English Partnerships will take over the work of English Industrial Estates Corporation on 1 April 1994.                                                                                      

<4>Following the privatisation in 1992, the National Enterprise Board and National Research Development Corporation Boards' continue to carry out certain residuary functions.                  

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Hospital Beds

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many acute beds, intensive therapy unit beds and private beds there were by region in each of the last five years ;

(2) if she will give the number of intensive therapy unit beds by region in each of the last five years.

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