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Mr. Robin Squire : Every household in England is receiving a copy of the updated parents charter. Figures provided by the Royal Mail show that some 459,200 copies
Column 127of the charter are being distributed in Nottinghamshire. The total cost of publication and delivery in that area is approximately £46, 000.
Mr. Couchman : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what were the outcomes of the Council of EC Youth Ministers and the Council of EC Education Ministers held on 6 and 21 June, respectively.
Mr. Boswell : The main item of business for the Council of Youth Ministers was the Commission proposal to extend the "Youth for Europe" programme for a third phase. The programme will continue to support a wide range of exchange-based activities for young people and youth workers in the Community, with an emphasis in the third phase on activities for the disadvantaged. The Council of 6 June reached a common position which the United Kingdom could accept. A budget of 105 million ecu, approximately £82 million, over five years--1995-99--was agreed.
The Council of Education Ministers considered the Commission proposal for an EC education action programme, SOCRATES. Ministers reached a common position on the proposal. A budget of 760 million ecu, approximately £580 million, over five years--1995-99--for the programme was agreed. The programme will amalgamate and expand the existing ERASMUS--European Community action scheme for the mobility of university students--and Lingua programmes and will introduce Community activity at school level for the first time, through support for joint projects undertaken by schools in at least three member states. In addition, the programme will support the education of migrant workers', gipsies' and travellers' children and the dissemination of information about the education systems of member states, as well as trans-national co-operation on the in-service training of teachers, open and distance learning and adult education.
Ministers also agreed conclusions on the cultural and artistic aspects of education and discussed a presidency note on the education of the children of migrant workers.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Prime Minister for what reason Stephan Adolph Kock has special branch protection ; and what other names he uses or has been known by.
The Prime Minister : It is not in the public interest to disclose whether any person has received official protection or not. There is no ministerial responsibility for names by which Mr. Kock is known or has been known.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what representations Her Majesty's Government have received from relatives of those killed in Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie on the need to make inquiries about the statements attributed to Youssef Chaabane, accused of murdering a Jordanian diplomat in a Beirut court ; and what response Her Majesty's Government have made.
The Prime Minister : The Lord Advocate has received one letter from a relative of a Lockerbie victim, inquiring about the Crown Office response to the statement attributed to Chaabane. She has been told that, although it appears that what Chaabane said was very far from being a claim of responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103, the Crown Office will pursue any further investigation which may be necessary.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the landfill sites licensed by local authorities in the United Kingdom that are situated closer than 200 m to human habitations.
Mr. Atkins : The Department of the Environment does not keep records of individual landfill sites. That information can be obtained from the waste regulation authorities. The Department gives guidance, in waste management paper No. 27, on the safeguards required for developments near landfill sites. In addition, planning law requires a local planning authority to consult the relevant waste disposal authority about certain planning applications within 250 m of a waste disposal site.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the P and O Property Group in relation to its participation in Brixton city challenge projects.
Mr. Baldry : There have been no such discussions with the P and O Property Group. Brixton city challenge has kept the Department informed of developments.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to produce a definition of hazardous waste for use in the United Kingdom which is consistent with the definitions in the Basle convention ; and if he will make a statement on progress towards such a definition.
Mr. Atkins : The hazardous waste directive,91/689/EEC, defines hazardous waste, inter alia, as waste featuring on a list to be drawn up by reference to the annexes to the directive. The annexes are similar to annexes included in the Basle convention. The Council is likely to consider the list in the autumn. The probable revised implementation date for the directive is July 1995.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish his proposals for taking action on the replacement of water byelaws by regulations ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : It is intended to issue a consultation paper which considers the scope, format and enforcement of provisions to replace the water byelaws during the summer.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has had from the British Bathroom Council in respect of the retention of byelaws relating to siphons and overflows in lavatory cisterns.
Mr. Atkins : My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for the construction industry was briefed on that matter on 16 June at one of his regular fortnightly meetings with the construction industry.
Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he applies in deciding whether to hold a non-statutory public inquiry when notified by the Church Commissioners that they propose to demolish a listed church where reasoned objections to the proposal are given by English Heritage, the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches, the local planning authority or a national amenity society.
Mr. Baldry : Each case is considered on its merits in the light of the information supplied by the Church Commissioners, the views of the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches and English Heritage, and any representations made by local authorities or other interested parties.
Sir David Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest information known to his Department as to the likely date for completion of the European standardisation programme as it affects the construction industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Some 2,700 European standards for construction material are currently in preparation by the European Committee for Standardisation. I expect the first harmonised standards to be available early next year and the major part of the current programme to be completed by the end of 1997.
Sir David Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information his Department has in relation to likely increased activity in the construction industry in 1994 as it affects slate products ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Deliveries of slate in the first quarter of 1994 were 11 per cent. higher than in the previous three months and 21 per cent. more than during the same period a year ago. This reflects the recent improvements in the volume of new construction orders. My Department's consultations with the construction industry indicate that a period of modest but sustained growth is expected. The slate industry is well placed to take advantage of that recovery.
Mr. Tyler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, by council tax collection authority area, the number of outstanding banding appeal cases and the proportion that they represent of all liable properties in that area, as at 1 April.
Mr. Curry : I am placing in the Library a list that shows, for each billing authority in England, the number of outstanding council tax banding appeals as at 31 March 1994 and the percentage of dwellings in each area this represents.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration has been given to extending the ban on the use of tributyl tin on small craft to include all vessels.
Mr. Atkins : Tributyl tin use on large vessels is an international concern which is being addressed by the marine environment protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation. Members agreed in 1990 to consider appropriate ways of prohibiting totally, in the future, the use of tributyl tin compounds in anti-fouling paints for ships and the need for this was confirmed at the intermediate ministerial meeting of the North Sea Conference in December 1993. At the March 1994 meeting of the MEPC, however, the Committee recognised that at the present time alternative systems were not available whose cost could be justified by the benefits.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what measures are being taken to protect marine wildlife from the effects of tributyl tin ;
(2) what plans the Government have to restrict the use of tributyl tin.
Mr. Atkins : Controls introduced in the United Kingdom in 1987 preventing the use of anti-foulants containing tributyl tin compounds on small boats and aquaculture equipment have resulted in significant improvements in water quality. Monitoring suggests that even the most sensitive species, the dogwhelk, is beginning to recover in many areas. Dockyard operations involving removal and application of anti-fouling paints containing tributyl tin compounds will become subject to integrated pollution control and require authorisation by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution from 1995.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what research has been carried out on the effects of tributyl tin on shellfish and marine wildlife.
Mr. Atkins : The Government have undertaken a substantial amount of work since 1982 on the effects of tributyl tin compounds used in anti- foulants, both within their own laboratories and through contracts with the Natural Environment Research Council and other organisations. Initially, the research was aimed mainly at establishing the nature and extent of toxic effects in non-target organisms and the results justified the regulation of anti-foulants containing tributyl tin compounds in 1987. Subsequent research has monitored the effectiveness of the regulations by assessing levels of contamination in, and the recovery of, commercially important shellfish and other components of the marine ecosystem including the dogwhelk, the most sensitive species.
Sir David Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures his Department is planning in 1994 to limit imports of inferior quality slate ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : It is not appropriate to limit imports of slate products directly. However, slate used in the United Kingdom should be suitable for our climatic and atmospheric conditions as well as for their specified purpose. The appropriate requirements are set out in a British standard, BS680, satisfaction of which will ensure compliance with building regulations where applicable. My Department is seeking to ensure that the benefits of the British standard are carried over into harmonised European standards.
Sir David Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures of export assistance his Department will undertake in 1994 to help the slate industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : In conjunction with the DTI, my Department maintains building materials exports task forces for France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries and North America. My Ministerial colleagues and I plan to have taken export missions to eight countries this year. All those activities are open to the United Kingdom slate industry. I would be happy for them to discuss any specific needs with my officials.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what considerations underlay the issue of licences for the killing of Canada geese in London parks ; which parks these licences are valid for ; and what methods are permitted.
Mr. Atkins : Section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides that licences to control birds may be issued for reasons which include conserving wild birds, preserving public health or public safety. It was for these reasons that licences have been issued for the control of Canada geese numbers in London parks. Information that would identify the applicant for a licence is normally regarded as confidential. Licences provide that birds may be killed humanely using any method not prohibited by the 1981 Act.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will set out the evidence which led the United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board to arrive at the conclusion that no other EU country considers animal testing should be part of ecolabelling ; and if he will list all those EU members who have taken a public position on this issue ;
(2) what factors led the United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board to conclude that there is no basis for agreement in the United Kingdom about including animal testing in ecolabelling ; what percentage of the organisations consulted by the United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board on this issue were not environmental or animal welfare groups ; and what percentage of the organisations consulted were opposed to inclusion of animal welfare in ecolabelling.
Mr. Atkins : The United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board was established under the European Communities Act 1972 to administer and promote the EC ecolabelling scheme in the United Kingdom. These questions are
Column 132matters for the United Kingdom Ecolabelling Board and I have, therefore, asked the board to reply to the hon. Member direct.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the total cost of external consultancy fees incurred by his Department in relation to market testing.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 29 June 1994] : As at March 1994, the total cost of external consultancy fees paid by the Department and its agencies in relation to market testing amounted to approximately £1,177,000.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of his Department's (a) press releases and (b) written answers are printed on recycled paper.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 4 July 1994] : My Department is committed by its green housekeeping policy statement to preserve natural resources and so, where possible, press notices are sent to media outlets by electronic mail. Those hard copies which are required and all written answers are printed on recycled paper with the exception of the press release header page which is printed on paper from managed forests.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration has been given to the implications of the publication by the United States Department of Energy on 27 June of details of the use of United Kingdom origin reactor grade plutonium in a nuclear test explosion in 1962, on Her Majesty's Government's policy of not commenting on the details of any nuclear weapons tests which may have been carried out.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 4 July 1994] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Official Report , 4 July, column 82 .
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last consulted with the Association of Professional Fire Consultants.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 4 July 1994] : My Department has become aware only recently of the Association of Professional Fire Consultants. The association made representations to the inter-departmental scrutiny on fire legislation and enforcement. The association will be included in any future consultation on building regulation fire matters.
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department which have a statutory basis.
Sir John Wheeler : A list of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments which have a statutory basis is as follows :
Advisory Committee of the Therapeutic Professions Allied to MedicineBoundary Commission for Northern IrelandCentral Dental Advisory CommitteeCentral Medical Advisory CommitteeCentral Nursing Advisory CommitteeCentral Personal Social Services Advisory CommitteeCentral Pharmaceutical Advisory CommitteeClinical Engineering and Medical Physics Services Advisory CommitteeClinical Imaging Services Advisory CommitteeCommittees for the Employment of Disabled PeopleDisability Living Allowance Advisory Board for Northern IrelandDistinction and Meritorious Service Awards CommitteeDrainage Council for Northern IrelandIndustrial Development Board for Northern IrelandLaboratory Services Advisory
CommitteeNorthern Ireland Water Council (NIWC)Poisons BoardStanding Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR)Statistics Advisory Committee
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those of his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which the Government are required to consult prior to legislation proposals ; and in respect of which bodies the Government must publish their response to advice supplied by them.
Sir John Wheeler : The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights is consulted when legislative proposals affecting human rights are published ; a formal response by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is issued when the Commission's annual report is laid before Parliament.
The Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland is required to consult the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland before its legislation proposals. However, it is not required to publish its response to any advice supplied by the council.
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which are required to produce annual reports ;
(2) if he will list the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department which are required to lay their annual reports before Parliament.
Sir John Wheeler : The information requested can be obtained from the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies 1993", copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which are required to publish their advice to Government.
Sir John Wheeler : The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland is required to publish its final recommendations, which are laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State. The Northern Ireland Higher Education Council and the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights are each required to produce an annual report, which will ensure that the outcome of the advice to Government is made widely available.
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the advisory bodies which he has set up in his Department since the publication of "Public Bodies 1993".
Sir John Wheeler : Only one advisory body has been set up by the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments since the publication of "Public Bodies 1993"--the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland Advisory Panel.
Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what arrangements have been made for the appointment of a new Police Authority for Northern Ireland following the expiry of the term of office of the previous authority on 28 June ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : I have appointed Mr. David Cook as chairman, Mr. Pat Armstrong CBE as vice-chairman and 18 members of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland, for a term of three years from 29 June 1994. In making the appointments I have, as required by statute, consulted organisations and persons representative of the community in Northern Ireland. I welcome the positive response that was made by almost all those consulted. As a result, the authority's members are drawn from a wide cross -section of the community, including the district councils, voluntary organisations, agriculture, industry and commerce. Continuity is provided by the reappointment of many individuals for a second term.
The police authority has a vital task to perform in securing the maintenance of an adequate and efficient police force. It also has a very important role to play in enhancing the relationship between the police and the public whom it serves. The authority has the additional challenge of helping to develop new structures for policing in Northern Ireland. I believe it will make a significant contribution in all those sectors.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what approaches have been made to him by the Swiss authorities in relation to Mr. Wernher Rey and the affairs of Omni Corporation, Inspectorate AG and related companies.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I understand that the Swiss authorities contacted our embassy in Berne in 1991, to inquire about Mr. Rey's nationality. I am not aware of any other approaches.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy in respect of the inauguration by the Nigerian authorities of a National Constitutional Conference ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Following the inauguration of the National Constitutional Conference in Nigeria on 27 June,
Column 135proceedings were adjourned until 11 July. We look forward to expressions of intent by the Nigerian authorities being translated into real progress towards civilian rule.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's response to the recommendations of the Commissioner for Social Affairs as contained in his communication on immigration and asylum to the European Parliament and the Council 1994 that the member states ratify the international convention for the protection of rights of all migrant workers and members of their families, adopted by the United Nations on 18 December 1990.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I have been asked to reply.
The Government deposited their explanatory memorandum on the communication on 25 March. We have considered this convention carefully, but are unable to sign it, as it goes beyond our existing international commitments on access to labour markets and measures necessary to secure the interests of migrants working here.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 28 June, Official Report, column 523, which foreign states the Sudanese Government have accused of being behind the plot in which the former President Sadiq al-Mahdi is alleged to have been involved.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The officially controlled Sudanese media have referred to foreign states and intelligence agencies, but have not provided more specific details.
Sir Dudley Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he gives to United Kingdom business men, travellers and tourists who are considering flying internally in China.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : British nationals are advised of those internal Chinese airlines which are believed to meet international standards of maintenance. It is for the traveller to decide which air carrier to use.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what commitments of (a) troops and (b) logistical support have been made by countries supporting the French-led United Nations initiative in Rwanda.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : By 30 June, Senegal had contributed 40 troops to the French-led intervention force in Rwanda. A medical team from Mauritania, 20 observers from Egypt, 100 troops from Guinea Bissau and a Belgian military liaison officer are also expected to arrive shortly.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Western European Union role in supporting Operation Turquoise in Rwanda ; and what has been achieved so far.
Mr. Heathcoat Amory : A number of WEU member states, including the United Kingdom, have expressed their
Column 136readiness to assist and support the French humanitarian operation in Rwanda, primarily through the provision of logistic resources, which might be co-ordinated through the WEU, and humanitarian assistance. The operation is proceeding on the ground, with French troops evacuating civilians from both ethnic communities caught up in the fighting and offering protection to Tutsi refugees near the Zaire border.
Sir Dudley Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom's relationship with the Netherlands ; what ministerial visits have taken place to Holland in the past 12 months ; what bilateral trade initiatives and contracts the United Kingdom has with that country ; and how many official Dutch visits have been made to the United Kingdom in the past year.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The United Kingdom enjoys excellent relations with the Netherlands. In the past 12 months, the following ministerial visits have taken place to the Netherlands : the Secretary of State for Defence, the Secretary of State for Employment, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and the Under-Secretary of State for Health. Trade between the two countries last year totalled over £15.8 billion. The Netherlands is the United Kingdom's fourth largest market. There have been a number of visits by Dutch Ministers over this period.
Mr. Hanson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Colombian authorities with regard to political disappearances and killings in Colombia.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We are in regular touch with the Colombian Government on human rights. I raised our concerns with President Gaviria during the President's visit to London in July last year. They were also discussed when the Prime Minister met the President. I repeated our concerns during my visit to Colombia in January.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government of Iraq is co-operating with the Red Cross over Kuwaiti and other prisoners held in Iraqi prisons ; and what representations he has made on this matter.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The International Committee of the Red Cross chaired a meeting of the tripartite commission--coalition countries, Iraq and the ICRC--in Geneva on 1 July during which the Iraqi delegation gave its initial response to 71 out of the 609 inquiry files passed to Iraq by the ICRC over 18 months ago. We are demanding that Iraq offer information on the other files very soon. If substantive progress is not made, this matter may have to be referred to the Security Council for further action. A further meeting will be held in two months' time to review progress. We raise the plight of Kuwaiti and other missing
Column 137persons at the United Nations at every possible opportunity, for example when the Security Council last reviewed sanctions against Iraq on 17 May.