Mr. Byers : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many charges were originally brought against Mr. Asil Nadir ; and how many have been dismissed by the courts or withdrawn by the relevant authority.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Mr. Nadir was indicted on 58 counts of theft and eight counts of false accounting. None have been dismissed or withdrawn. He has yet to be tried.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many joint charges were originally brought against Mr. John Turner and Mr. Asil Nadir ; how many have been dismissed by the courts or withdrawn by the relevant authority ; and to whom and what amount of costs have been awarded.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Mr. Turner and Mr. Nadir were not jointly charged with any of the offences. Mr. Turner pleaded not guilty to the offences with which he was charged, verdicts of not guilty were entered by the court as the prosecution offered no evidence, and he was subsequently discharged. He obtained a defendant's costs order and I understand that his legal representatives have yet to submit their bill of costs for determination.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the Lord Chancellor met the President of the Republic of Northern Cyprus ; and what subjects were discussed.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor met the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community on 6 May 1993. Mr. Denktash set out his views in relation to the political situation in Northern Cyprus. In addition, the position of Asil Nadir was discussed. The Lord Chancellor also met Mr. Denktash, together with the President of Cyprus, on 7 May 1993 at a function organised on the occasion of the Commonwealth law conference.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures are being taken by courts in Cleveland to protect child witnesses with particular reference to the use of screens, television link equipment, and pre-recorded interviews ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Television links and video playback equipment are in place in the Crown court sitting at Teesside combined court centre. Screens are also available if required by both criminal and civil cases heard
Column 236there. All magistrates courts in Cleveland have video playback equipment, and can arrange the provision of screens if necessary. Arrangements can be made for screens to be available for child witnesses at the family hearing centres at Hartlepool and Stockton county courts.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what guidance has been issued to judges relating to wigs and gowns in court during proceedings of cases of alleged child abuse.
Mr. John M. Taylor : There is no specific guidance issued to the judiciary relating to the wearing of wigs and gowns in cases of alleged child abuse. However judges have the discretion to remove wigs and gowns when they consider it appropriate.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which courts in Cleveland have child liaison officers to protect child witnesses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : There is a designated child liaison officer for every Crown court centre, including the one at Teesside combined court centre, in Cleveland.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, further to his answer of 17 March, Official Report, column 759, if he will make it his policy to collate information in the future on the number of cases in which judges have been asked to consider a public interest immunity certificate.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I have no plans to collate information about applications to courts arising out of public interest immunity certificates.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the Acts of Parliament and consolidation Acts that affect local government that have been introduced by his Department since 1990.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor's Department has introduced 33 Acts of Parliament, including consolidation Acts, which have received Royal Assent since 1990. Of those, the following Acts contain specific references to local authorities :
Capital Allowances Act 1990 (c.1)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8)
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (c.9) Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 (c.10)
Planning (Consequential Provisions) Act 1990 (c.11)
Water Industry Act 1991 (c.56)
Water Resources Act 1991 (c.57)
Land Drainage Act 1991 (c.59)
Water Consolidation (Consequential Provisions) Act 1991 (c.60) Social Security Administration Act 1992 (c.5)
Social Security (Consequential Provisions) Act 1992 (c.6) Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 (c.8) Social Security (Consequential Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 (c.9)
Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 (c.12)
Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c.52)
Column 237Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 (c.8)
Charities Act 1993 (c.10)
Clean Air Act 1993 (c.11)
Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (c.12)
Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 (c.46)
Probation Service Act 1993 (c.47)
Pension Schemes Act 1993 (c.48)
Pension Schemes (Northern Ireland) Act 1993 (c.49)
Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1993 (c.50)
Other Acts of Parliament introduced by the Lord Chancellor's Department may affect local government in the same way as other bodies and individuals may be affected.
Sir Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council properties were sold in the Breckland district council area under the right to buy legislation in each year of its operation.
Sir George Young : Tables showing the available information on total right-to-buy sales for each English local authority and every financial year since 1980, with a cumulative total to December 1993, are in the Library.
In addition to some 2,500 dwellings sold under the right-to-buy legislation in Breckland district council since 1980, about 6,700 properties in full ownership were transferred from the authority to the Peddars Way housing association in March 1993, by way of large-scale voluntary transfer. Over the last 15 years, approximately 1,200 other voluntary sales were completed in Breckland ; these are also shown in the tables.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to support emerging environmental industries and clean processes in British business and industry.
Mr. Atkins : The Government already provide considerable support and encouragement to the development of the United Kingdom's emerging environmental industries. For example, my Department and the Department of Trade and Industry established the joint environmental markets unit in December 1992 to assist and encourage United Kingdom firms to exploit the expanding opportunities in the world market for environmental goods and services. A growing number of firms are now taking advantage of the unit's services.
The President of the Board of Trade announced on7 December that the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Environment would jointly run a new environmental technology best practice programme. This will find and present to industry examples of how firms can reduce costs and pollution at one and the same time. The programme's main objective will be to encourage user companies to adopt environmentally favourable technology and best practice in environmental management. It will also encourage suppliers to develop such technology and techniques.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment for what reasons funding for the
Column 238environmental technology innovation scheme and the environmental management options scheme has been reduced.
Mr. Atkins : Both the environmental technology innovation scheme and the DTI's environmental management options scheme were three-year programmes which were open to grant applications between October 1990 and September 1993. Funding continues to be paid to on-going projects under the schemes and for disseminating their results.
The 1993 White Paper "Realising our potential : a Strategy for Science, Engineering and Technology" highlighted the importance of the spread of best practice and the transfer and diffusion of technology. The new £16 million environmental technology best practice programme, which was announced by the President of the Board of Trade on 7 December, has been set up to take this forward and will build on the earlier two schemes.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment to what extent he considers that more stringent environmental regulations are necessary if British exports are to pass the environmental standards of other countries.
Mr. Atkins : A recent report commissioned by my Department and the Department of Trade and Industry concluded that United Kingdom firms are in a good position to exploit the rapidly expanding world market for environmental goods and services. The United Kingdom environmental industry is very competitive internationally and a highly successful exporter for the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to encourage environmental technology in British industries that would produce less waste and use fewer natural resources.
Mr. Atkins : A new environmental technology best practice programme, run jointly by my Department and the Department of Trade and Industry, was announced by the President of the Board of Trade on 7 December. It will make the best environmental technology and techniques more widely known to potential users and suppliers. The programme will have a strong emphasis on reducing waste at source, thereby making better use of natural resources.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to favour contractors with good environmental practices in its own purchases.
Mr. Atkins : The Department's procurement officers have already been provided with clear guidelines to integrate environmental factors into their buying requirements. This is in accordance with the Department's green housekeeping policy statement which was updated in March 1993 and the recently published green guide for suppliers of goods and services to the Department entitled : "Selling to DOE".
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that products purchased by the Government should be tested for energy and non-renewable resource implications.
Mr. Atkins : Decisions on purchasing are a matter for individual Departments. However, recent Treasury
Column 239guidance states that specifications for goods and services should reflect the Department's environmental strategies while using competition and seeking best value for money.
My own Department has recently published a guide entitled "Selling to DOE" which, among, other things, informs suppliers of goods and services of our requirement for products which are energy efficient and made from recycled or renewable materials. The Department has also instructed its procurement officers to give preference to such products in accordance with our green housekeeping policy statement which was first published in 1992 and updated last spring. My Department's energy efficiency office encourages Departments to improve all aspects of their energy efficiency, including purchasing, to assist them in achieving their target of improving their energy efficiency by 15 per cent. over five years.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to impose mandatory minimum standards on matters such as energy efficiency.
Mr. Atkins : Standards for the energy efficiency of new buildings already exist in the building regulations. The Government are in the process of revising the regulations which should lead to an improvement in energy efficiency of between 25 and 35 per cent. compared with the current provisions.
The Government also support the EC proposals for energy labelling and minimum standards of appliances, provided that they can be achieved without excessive costs to consumers and manufacturers. Regulations to implement a directive setting minimum standards for the efficiency of new boilers came into force on 1 January 1994. Minimum standards requirements for the efficiency of other heating appliances await the formulation of appropriate European standards under the construction products directive.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the extent to which environmental regulations on industry could improve their competitiveness while protecting natural resources.
Mr. Atkins : We keep under constant review both the effectiveness and the effects of existing and possible new environmental regulations, as well as alternatives to regulations.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total amount of unallocated funds available under the single regeneration budget and the areas for which these funds are being considered.
Mr. Baldry : In the current financial year--1994-95--the funds available under the single regeneration budget will be taken up in meeting existing commitments from the programmes which have been brought together in the Budget.
In 1995-96, on current estimates, it is expected that about £100 million will be available to support new bids from local partnerships. The budget will be available throughout England. Guidance on bidding for these funds has been published by my Department today, 14 April. Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will announce his decision on the Dartmoor national park boundary variation order submitted to him by the Countryside Commission.
Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend has today confirmed, with modifications, the order to vary the boundary of the Dartmoor national park. The Commission proposed 16 additions and 11 deletions, aimed at aligning the boundary with new trunk roads--the A30(T)--and the A38(T)--and adding small areas of common land which are subject to the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985. The modifications made to the order by my right hon. Friend retain two small areas proposed for deletion at Whistley Cottage and Cheriton Bishop. In the china clay area, land at Lee Moor will be deleted and at Shaugh Moor added, thereby retaining within the park those areas subject to the order which are presently unworked and whose landscape remains of national importance.
Mr. Bendall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to issue guidance to English Partnerships, following his consultation last August ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry : I am pleased to announce that, following careful consideration of over 200 responses to the consultation draft, my right hon. Friend has today issued guidance to English Partnerships. Copies are available in the Library of the House. English Partnerships is required to have regard to this guidance in deciding which land is suitable for regeneration or development ; which function it is to exercise for securing the regeneration or development of any particular land ; and how it is to exercise those functions. The guidance will be kept under review and can be amended later if necessary.
Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which local authorities are considering the large-scale voluntary transfer of housing stock.
Sir George Young [holding answer 12 April 1994] : The following 12 authorities are included in the 1994-95 programme for large- scale voluntary transfers--LSVTs : Basingstoke and Deane borough council Castle Point borough council Cherwell district council Maldon district council Malvern Hills district council Mid Bedfordshire district council North Dorset district council Penwith district council Thanet district council Vale of White Horse district council Walsall metropolitan borough council and Wychavon district council. We encourage all authorities to consider the possibility of transfer, but it is for individual councils together with their tenants to decide whether to pursue this option. I understand that a number of authorities are considering applying for places on the 1995-96 programme. We are likely to invite applications in the autumn and I hope to announce the names of successful applicants by the end of the year.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidelines he has issued as to the minimum sleep requirements within 24- hour and seven-day periods for (a) airline pilots, (b) train drivers, (c) lorry drivers and (d) coach drivers.
Mr. Key : The Air Navigation Order 1989 requires that no member of an aircraft crew shall fly, nor shall an operator require him to fly, if either has reason to believe that he is suffering, or likely to suffer while flying, from fatigue which may endanger the safety of the aircraft or its occupants. Aircraft operators are also required to establish a scheme for the regulation of flight times for aircrews. Such schemes need to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The CAA's civil aviation publication 317 "The Avoidance of Fatigue in Aircrews" gives guidance on requirements for operator's flight time limitation schemes. Flight time limitation schemes do not set out minimum sleep requirements but specify maximum duty periods and minimum rests periods. The actual working of the schemes are complex but, in general, the maximum duty hours for aircrew should not exceed 55 hours in one week.
The Railways (Safety Critical Work) Regulation 1994 places a duty on all railway employers to prevent employees with key safety responsibilities from working excessive hours. The Health and Safety Executive's non- statutory guidance recommends that train drivers should under normal circumstances have a minimum rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours per 24-hour period. Further guidance will be given in a statutory approved code of practice to be produced by the Health and Safety Executive by March 1995.
For most heavy goods vehicle drivers and about half bus and coach drivers Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3820/85 on drivers' hours limits driving hours --nine hours a day which may be increased to 10 hours twice a week--breaks- -a break or breaks totalling 45 minutes must be taken during or after 4.5 hours of driving--and rest periods--11 consecutive hours daily rest, reducible to nine hours three times a week, and 45 consecutive hours weekly rest, reducible to 36 hours or 24 hours away from base.
The remainder, which include drivers of vehicles used for the carriage of passengers on a regular service of not more than 50 km are exempt from EC regulations and are subject to domestic drivers' hours rules.
The domestic rules for heavy goods vehicles limit the daily driving period of 10 hours and a maximum working day/duty time to 11 hours. The domestic rules for public service vehicles differ from those for HGVs. The daily driving period of 10 hours per day is the same, but the maximum working day/duty time is 16 hours. There is also a 5.5 hour limit on continuous driving and a 10 hour daily rest requirement.
Booklets providing guidance on the regulations for both lorry and coach drivers are available from local traffic area offices.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the contracts currently being worked on for his Department by Coopers and Lybrand,
Column 242Ernst and Young, Price Waterhouse, KPMG Peat Marwick, Grant Thornton, Binder Hamlyn, Robson Rhodes, Levy Gee, Hacker Young, Pannell Kerr Forster and Stoy Hayward.
Mr. Norris : The following of the firms referred to are carrying out contracts for the Department.
Coopers and Lybrand
Birmingham Northern Relief Road--financial advice.
Advice on possible sale of vehicle records database.
Review of Department's motorway communication maintenance contracts.
Ernst and Young
Advice on the use of project management systems in connection with the privatisation of British Rail.
Development of a commercial accounting system for the Coast Guard Agency.
Advice on Design Build Finance and Operate contracts and longer term private finance options associated with motorway charging (jointly with Hambros Bank).
Sale of London Buses Limited subsidiaries.
Sale of the Trust Ports.
Royal train audit.
KPMG Peat Marwick
Commission to examine the business case for establishing a database of lighting on trunk roads and motorways.
Scoping study to determine availability of time-cost systems on the market for highways and project management.
Accountancy and taxation advice in connection with Rail privatisation.
Grant audit of London Transport.
Development of software--Routine Maintenance Management system (RMMS).
Development of software--UK Pavement Management System (UKPMS).