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Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department is giving local authorities in respect of the legality of lollipop people escorting children of pre-school age across busy roads.
Mr. Key : Sections 26 and 28 of the Road Traffic Act 1984 empower school crosssing patrols to stop traffic only at places where "children cross roads on their way to or from school, or from one part of a school to another".
The words "children" and "school" are not defined. The interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts, but it would seem that the legislation would not prevent school crossing patrols from escorting children to or from an educational institution that provides education or instruction to children of no predetermined minimum age. This would include a nursery school or playgroup. It is, however, for appropriate authorities to decide their own policy in this matter, consulting their own legal advisers as necessary.
It is an absolute offence under section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for any person to sell or hire out an unroadworthy vehicle. It is also an offence for any person to use, or cause or permit another person to use a vehicle which is unroadworthy.
There are also safeguards under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
Mr. Key : The Department funds the Community Transport Association's information and advice service which ensures that voluntary groups have a central source of free advice and information about all aspects of minibus operations. The budget for the financial year 1993-94 was £41,000.
A video and information pack about good practice in the transport of elderly and disabled people by minibus is available on free loan from the Department's mobility unit.
The Department issues a free guide on passenger transport provided by voluntary groups, which includes advice on recommended maintenance arrangements and requirements on equipment and use applying to permit minibuses.
Mr. Wilson : to ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the cost to the Exchequer will be of fully writing off the debt of £1.4 billion incurred by European Passenger Services Ltd. in order to incorporate it into a joint venture company with the private sector to build the channel tunnel rail link ;
(2) whether it is his intention to reduce or write off the capital debt of assets belonging to European passenger Services Ltd. before its incorporation as a Government-owned company.
Mr. Freeman : European Passenger Services Ltd. will be established as a Government-owned company, and eventually transferred to the private sector promoter of the new channel tunnel fixed link, free of the long-term debt which it currently owes to the British Railways Board. The liability to repay these loans will remain with BR or Railtrack.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many managerial and clerical staff have been hired to deal with rail privatisation by his Department ; and if he will list their positions and salaries ;
(2) how many managerial and clerical staff have been hired to deal with rail privatisation by British Rail ; and if he will list their positions and salaries ;
(3) if he will list the number of staff that have been recruited by British Rail to deal with the restructuring of BR in preparation for privatisation.
Mr. Freeman : Four staff, filling two full-time posts up to December 1993, and one thereafter, were hired specifically for rail privatisation work. All were administrative assistants in the full-time salary range £7,247 to £9,499 per annum.
At present, approximately 40 full-time equivalent staff work on rail privatisation matters.
BR staff matters are for them.
Mr. Norris : The London regional passengers committee covers all stations on the London underground and the docklands light railway, and all British Rail stations within the area bounded by and including the following stations : Stevenage, Bishops Stortford, Chingford, Harold Wood, Upminster, Ockendon, Purfleet, North Woolwich, Dartford, Swanley, Otford, Sevenoaks, Oxted, Caterham, Gatwick Airport, Dorking, London Road Guildford, Worplesdon, Woking, Virginia Water, Windsor, Slough, Bicester North, Aylesbury, Tring and Harpenden.
Column 122completed by 25 March. However, improvements under an agreement with another developer are expected to start soon and be completed by the end of May. We are also currently evaluating tenders for a major reconstruction of the defective slip road viaducts east of the Marsh Mills roundabout. This work should start this spring and be completed by early 1996.
Mr. Leigh : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when Her Majesty's Government will ratify the 1990 international convention on oil pollution preparedness, response and co-operation to provide a framework for international co-operation for combating major oil pollution incidents ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he will make a statement on the ratification of the 1992 protocol to the international convention on civil liability for oil pollution damage and the international compensation fund for oil pollution damage convention ;
(3) if he will make a statement on the ratification of the 1989 international convention on salvage.
Mr. Norris : Enactment of the Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Pollution) Bill, introduced by my hon. Friend for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) on 16 December 1993, would permit the ratification of these instruments.
Mr. Leigh : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when Her Majesty's Government will ratify the International Maritime Organisation's regulations controlling the discharge of sewage from ships ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris : The Government will consider ratification of annexe IV of MARPOL when the findings of a comprehensive survey of United Kingdom reception facilities, including those for sewage, are available later in the year.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what day staff of the railway inspectorate first visited the channel tunnel to inspect the site of the electrical fire in the channel tunnel on 13 November.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive, including a railway inspector, first visited the site of this incident on 16 November 1993.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received reports on the electrical fire which occurred in the channel tunnel on 13 November 1992 from (a) Eurotunnel or TML and (b) the Health and Safety Executive.
The Employment Department has been briefed on the incident by the Health and Safety Executive. HSE notified the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority of the incident and the investigation.
Eurotunnel also gave a report on the incident to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of women between the ages of 16 and 59 years, and the percentage of those that is economically active, in the regions of Borders and Lothian.
Women aged between 16 and 59 years, 1991 |Number |Percentage |(Thousands) |who are |economically |active ---------------------------------------------------- Borders |29.7 |72.4 Lothian |225.1 |71.8 Source: 1991 Census of Employment.
Mr. Stewart : Under regulations, emergency dental services consist of treatment provided out of hours, at weekends and on public holidays. Health boards may set up such formal emergency dental services where necessary using general dental practitioners and/or community dental staff. General dental practitioners are responsible for providing emergency dental treatment for their own registered patients. In some areas, dental emergencies may also be treated in hospital or on an ad hoc basis. The table shows which Scottish health boards operate formal emergency dental services and when these services were established.
Provision of emergency dental services by health boards in Scotland |Emergency |When services |dental services|established |available ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Argyll and Clyde |- |- Ayrshire and Arran |1982 Borders |<1>1990 Dumfries and Galloway |- |- Fife |1989 Forth Valley |1986 Grampian |1982 Greater Glasgow |1982 Highland |- |- Lanarkshire |- |- Lothian |1977 Orkney |<2>1990 Shetland |<2>1990 Tayside |1982 Western Isles |- |- <1> October. <2> Pre-October.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many outstanding management agreements for Scottish Natural Heritage for sites of special scientific interest protection there have been in 1993-94 ; what is the estimate of their cost ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : At present there are 523 management agreements for sites of special scientific interest in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage estimates that the cost of these in 1993-94 will be £2,666,000.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions have been taken under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in Scotland in each year since 1982 for (a) carrying out a potentially damaging operation to a site of special scientific interest and (b) contravening a nature conservation order under section 29 ; how many of these were successful ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the impact on the prevalence of dampness and condensation in the public sector housing stock in Scotland of the imposition of VAT on fuel.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The results of the first Scottish house condition survey were published last year and show that 122,000 houses are affected by dampness in the public sector stock and 202, 000 affected by condensation. There is an overlap between the two groups and the severity of the problem varies. There is no reason to suppose that the introduction of VAT on domestic fuels will have a direct bearing on the incidence of either condition.
Benefits have been uprated to take account of the introduction of VAT on domestic fuels. Additional resources have been allocated to the home energy efficiency scheme in 1994-95 which provides assistance for works of insulation and also advice on other energy conservation measures that can be applied.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will undertake a survey of statutory housing authority areas to determine the prevalence of dampness and condensation in the public sector housing stock in Scotland ;
(2) if he will consult with statutory housing authorities in Scotland in order to agree an action plan to eliminate dampness and condensation in the public sector housing stock in Scotland ;
Column 125(3) what research his Department is currently undertaking to eliminate the prevalence of dampness and condensation in the public sector housing stock in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The report of the 1991 Scottish house condition survey published in July 1993 provides an assessment of dampness and condensation in the public sector housing stock. A copy of the report is available in the Library.
Condensation and dampness are identified as national priorities for the use of resources and are being addressed by local authorities under the housing plan system. Authorities have been asked to prepare strategies for dealing with these problems. Research on dampness and condensation is carried out on a United Kingdom basis by the Building Research Establishment and provides the basis for regulatory standards.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what extra resources he proposes to allow local authority housing departments to spend in order to eradicate dampness and condensation in public sector housing in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Substantial resources totalling almost £426 million were announced on 24 February for investment in public sector housing in 1994-95. Under the housing plan system introduced on 30 April last year local authorities were asked to give priority to tackling condensation and dampness, as well as below tolerable standard housing and homelessness, within their capital programmes. It is for authorities to determine how to utilise the resources made available to them.
Ms Rachel Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made by the Scottish Enterprise national defence initiative, established on the instructions of the Secretary of State for Scotland, to alleviate the negative impact of defence expenditure reductions on the Scottish economy and to explore defence diversification issues.
Mr. Stewart : The Scottish defence initiative was established by Scottish Enterprise in November 1991, at the request of my right hon. Friend, as a strategy to deal with the effects on businesses and employment of contraction in defence-related industries. A number of programmes and activities have been implemented as a result of the initiative. Since these are essentially operational matters, Scottish Enterprise is best placed to provide details of progress so far. I have therefore asked the chairman of Scottish Enterprise to write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the additional non-departmental public bodies to which he will make appointments as a result of the implementation of his proposals set out in "Scotland in the Union : a Partnership for Good".
Mr. Lang [holding answer 4 February 1994] : I will be responsible for appointments to the Scottish Arts Council as from 1 April 1994 and to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. when ownership transfers to me from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what funding has been made available in each of the past five years to health boards for screening of osteoporosis ; how many women in Scotland have been screened for osteoporosis in each of the past five years : how many clinics in health board and trust board areas exist for the specific purpose of screening for osteoporosis ; and how many women have been diagnosed as suffering from osteoporosis in each of the past five years.
It is for health boards as purchasers of care to secure from provider units or trusts an appropriate level of osteoporosis services based on assessment of local need.
The table identifies the number of females discharged from hospital over the last five years with a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Number of females discharged from NHS hospitals in Scotland with a diagnosis of "Osteoporosis" for the years 1988 to 1993 Year |Discharges |(Females) --------------------------------- 1988 |1,056 1989 |1,215 1990 |1,478 1991 |1,793 1992 |1,960 <1>1993 |2,283 <1>1993 data are provisional.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now put back the public local inquiry into the Sheilton Peatlands Nature Conservation Order, scheduled to commence on Wednesday 16 March, to the week commencing 21 March.
It is likely that any delay now would preclude adequate consideration of the report of the inquiry within the statutory timetable.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the regeneration of Scotland's economy ; when he next plans to meet them to discuss this topic ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 10 February 1994] : My right hon. Friend last discussed the Scottish economy with the Scottish Trades Union Congress on 14 December 1992. He will consider sympathetically any requests from the STUC for further discussions.
Mr. Ray Powell : As part of a continuing programme of energy-saving measures in the Palace of Westminster and the parliamentary estate, low- energy light fittings have been installed in many areas. Where these have been installed they have contributed over the past three years to savings of some 65 per cent. in the consumption of electricity. During the same period, over 300 "occupancy sensors" have been installed, which automatically switch off lights when areas are vacated.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what plans there are to upgrade communal areas of the Norman Shaw South building ; and for how long it is estimated the building will continue in parliamentary use.
Mr. Ray Powell : There are no plans for an immediate upgrade of the communal areas of Norman Shaw South building. Following the completion of the phase II building in about six years' time, a major upgrade of the whole of Norman Shaw South will be undertaken. It is envisaged that the building will continue in parliamentary use for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : The regulations which prohibit filming in Members' rooms were agreed in order to address potential problems of access, intrusion, and possible disturbance to the fellow occupants of Members' rooms. They are to be considered again in the near future by the Administration Committee in the context of a comprehensive review of the rules governing filming and photography in the House.
Mr. Don Foster : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to initiate an independent public inquiry into the case of Dr. Bill Mallinson following the report by Sir Michael Davies.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list, for each of the 12 schools listed in his announcement of 28 February, (a) the date when it will become a technology college, (b) its current pupil roll and character, (c) whether he has received an application for approval to a change in its admissions arrangements, (d) how many sponsor governors are being appointed, (e) what is the term of office of each sponsor governor and (f) which of the sponsors are represented by a sponsor governor.
Mr. Robin Squire : The 12 schools announced on 28 February each plan to operate as technology colleges from 1 September 1994. A statutory proposal to increase the capacity of St. George's grant-maintained technology school is currently under consideration. None of the other schools has applied to make a change in its admission arrangements constituting a change of character within the meaning of the Education Act 1993. Each school has confirmed its intention formally to apply to take on between one and four sponsor governors before September 1994. Which of the sponsors are represented by sponsor governors will be determined at that stage. The term of office for sponsor governors is required under the Education Act 1993 to be between five and seven years, with the exact term being specified in the instrument of government. The current pupil roll and character of each school is summarised in the table.
School |<1>Pupil |Age range and |character |number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chalvedon grant-maintained school |1,397 |11 to 19 non-selective mixed Chatham grant-maintained grammar school for girls |669 |11 to 19 selective girls Collingwood grant-maintained school |1,675 |12 to 18 non-selective mixed Deacon's grant-maintained school |835 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed George Spencer grant-maintained school |958 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed Glyn grant-maintained school |956 |11 to 18 non-selective boys Harraby grant-maintained school |560 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed Kemnal Manor grant-maintained school |749 |11 to 18 non-selective boys Saffron Walden grant-maintained county high school |1,539 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed St. George's grant-maintained technology school |1,017 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed St. Peter's Collegiate Church of England voluntary- aided school |981 |11 to 18 non-selective mixed Saintbridge grant-maintained technology school |720 |11 to 18 non-selective boys <1>Provisional at January 1994 as returned to the Department for Education and subject to validation.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what bids were submitted for initial capital grant for each of the 12 schools listed in his announcement of 28 February ; what allocations have been made ; and what level and nature of additional annual funding has been agreed.
Mr. Robin Squire : The self-governing schools listed in the announcement have each been invited to submit a bid for a capital project which involves a capital grant of up to £100,000. The voluntary-aided school has been invited to submit a bid for a capital project which involves
Column 130expenditure of up to £117,500 on which capital grant may be claimed at a rate of 85 per cent. of expenditure. Accordingly, no allocations have yet been made. Additional annual funding for each of the schools in financial year 1994-95 is expected to be at the rate of £60 per pupil, for the purposes of support, equipment and training for the teaching of technology, science and mathematics.