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Sir Hector Monro : In January 1994 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland launched the United Kingdom sustainable forestry programme, a comprehensive statement of the Government's policies for the sustainable management of the United Kingdom's forests and for helping other countries in the sustainable management of theirs.
The Government have every confidence in the standards that are applied to the production of timber from British forests. Through its approval of plans of operations, the Forestry Commission is able to ensure that timber is grown and harvested in accordance with guidelines that are founded on the principle of sustainable forestry ; The Commission, with the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, has published today a booklet describing the means we use to ensure that the felling and regeneration of woodland and the creation of new woodland is done with proper regard to the environment. The booklet will serve to assure buyers of products made from British timber that they can do so in the knowledge that our forests are managed responsibily. I have arranged for copies of the booklet to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Internationally, the Government will participate fully in efforts to promote sustainable forest management as we indicated in the United Kingdom sustainable forestry programme. Later this month the Government are hosting jointly with India an international workshop to help prepare for the 1995 meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development at which forestry will be a key theme. The main objective of the workshop is to develop possible formats for national reporting to the CSD on forestry issues to allow progress to be assessed on the implementation of the forest principles adopted at the UN conference on environment and development-- UNCED--and the forestry aspects of agenda 21 and other UNCED agreements.
Column 357The Government are also taking forward the action points that were agreed last year at the European Forestry Ministers conference in Helsinki at which I represented the United Kingdom. One of the main aims of the follow-up is to develop standards for sustainable forestry which might form the basis for promoting international agreement.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether a specific guideline has been given in the guidelines issued by his Department to chief constables relating to the issuing of firearms certificates with regard to permission to shoot seals in the vicinity of creels ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 7 July 1994] : No specific guideline relating to the shooting of seals has been given to chief constables in guidance provided on the issuing of firearm certificates. The issuing of firearm certificates and any restrictive conditions imposed on them are operational matters for each chief constable.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 7 July 1994] : The title pages of all news releases from the Scottish Office are of recycled paper. Percentages of recycled paper depend on the length of releases, which vary from day to day.
No written answers to parliamentary questions are printed on recycled paper. The paper used, however, is from renewable timber produced on a full sustained basis and is bleached without the use of chlorine gas.
The ministerial and official headed paper used by my Department is made from recycled paper.
Health Visitors<1><2> per 1000 children aged under 5: (Whole time equivalent as at 30 September 1992<3>) |Numbers -------------------------------------- Scotland |4.3 Argyll and Clyde |4.2 Ayrshire and Arran |3.6 Borders |3.8 Dumfries and Galloway |3.1 Fife |5.0 Forth Valley |5.0 Grampian |4.6 Greater Glasgow |4.4 Highland |3.4 Lanarkshire |4.2 Lothian |4.5 Orkney |3.7 Shetland |4.1 Tayside |4.5 Western Isles |4.2 <1> Excludes combined duty nurses and health visitors in training. Includes field work teachers. <2> Grades G to I. These staff are assumed to be qualified health visitors. <3> Population figures used in the above calculations are based on estimates for 30 June 1992.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the number and value of Government and EC grants for research and technology offered to companies in Fife and Scotland for each year since 1991 ; and what was the actual take-up of grants by companies in (a) Fife and (b) Scotland in each of these years.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 17 June 1994] : The innovation element of the regional enterprise grants scheme is the only company- related research and technology assistance for which my right hon. Friend has responsibility. The information relating to this scheme is as follows :
|Number of |Value |Number of |Actual |offers |offers |expenditure |made |accepted |incurred Financial year |£ thousands |£ thousands ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Scotland 1991-92 |69 |1,578 |51 |1,210 1992-93 |103 |2,401 |95 |1,452 1993-94 |87 |1,969 |72 |1,714 Fife 1991-92 |13 |285 |11 |50 1992-93 |9 |223 |7 |191 1993-94 |9 |223 |8 |121
The European Commission and other Government Departments such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Defence are also actively involved in assisting projects which fall within their particular spheres of responsibility.
Mr. Trimble : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he proposes to publish the reports on cross-border co-operation on public transport and other matters referred to in his statement of 17 June.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : The reports to which the hon. Gentleman refers were prepared to inform discussion at the Anglo-Irish intergovernmental conference held on 17 June rather than for publication. Details of discussions between Governments are confidential and I shall not be publishing the reports.
Mr. Tim Smith : Planning permission for the extraction of peat Ballynahone bog was granted in 1988 on the recommendation of the Planning Appeals Commission following a local public inquiry. The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland is reviewing the conservation status of certain habitats which come within the ambit of the EC directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. These include lowland raised bogs of which Ballynahone bog is an example.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he now has to review the decision to provide inward investment aid to encourage the Hualon Corporation to develop new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : The Hualon project has been the subject of a detailed appraisal and scrutiny process not only by Her Majesty's Government but by the European Commission. I have no plans to review our decision to offer assistance in respect of the project.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent representations he has received concerning the proposals to provide inward investment aid to encourage the Hualon Corporation to develop new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultations his Department had with trade associations and individual companies in the textile and clothing sector prior to the decision to provide inward investment aid to encourage the Hualon Corporation to develop new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : The Department responsible did not consult with either any individual company or trade association before reaching its decision. It did, however, seek the advice of leading independent internationally recognised consultants in the textile and clothing sector.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration he gave to the implications for existing textile producers prior to taking the decision to provide inward investment aid to encourage the Hualon Corporation to develop new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : In deciding to offer selective financial assistance to this, or any other project, the Industrial Development Board is required to consider potential job displacement not only in Northern Ireland but in Great Britain. In this case the conclusion was that Hualon's products would compete principally with imported fabrics and therefore not cause any significant job displacement. This was also the conclusion of the European Commission which examined the project from a European perspective.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration he gave to the recent conviction in Taiwan of senior officials of the company prior to deciding to provide inward investment aid to encourage the Hualon Corporation to develop new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : I have been fully aware for some time of the allegations against certain shareholders in Hualon Corporation in Taiwan but concluded that the allegations against certain individuals, which are currently unproven should not preclude IDB from offering assistance to a publicly quoted corporation with a long and successful commercial track record.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Bangladesh about the sentencing of a 13-year-old Brahmbanbaria girl for illicit sex ; and what further steps he will take to persuade the Bangladesh Government that the sentence should not be carried out.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We and our European partners regularly discuss with the Bangladesh authorities a wide range of human rights issues, including the freedom of expression and the treatment of minorities.
Mr. Hurd : The British and Hong Kong Governments supported the renewal by the United States of most favoured nation status for China. Non- renewal could have severely damaged Hong Kong's economy. The best way to advance rights in China is through a policy of economic engagement, not isolation.
Column 361(2) what information he has received on human rights in Tibetan prison camps ;
(3) what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government to restore the rights and freedoms of Tibetans in Tibet.
Mr. Hurd : We continue to receive reports from non-governmental organisations and other sources about human rights abuses in Tibet and threats to Tibetan identity, including population transfer. We and our European Union partners have repeatedly expressed our concern to the Chinese authorities, including at this year's session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In the Government's response of 1 July to the Foreign Affairs Committee's report on relations with China we again publicly expressed our concern on all these matters.
Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on the Chinese Government's adherence to the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment ;
(2) what information he has in respect of reports of torture in detention centres and prisons in China.
Mr. Hurd : There continue to be disturbing reports of torture and other abuses in Chinese detention centres and prisons. As is made clear in the Government's response to the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee on relations with China, we urge the Chinese Government to implement fully their obligations under the convention against torture and the other conventions to which China is signatory.
Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government have taken to encourage the Chinese Government to review its policy on freedom of religion.
Mr. Hurd : We and our European Union partners have repeatedly raised this and other human rights issues. The European Union, for example, expressed its concern in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights about the regulations concerning religious practice which had been promulgated in January.
Mr. Hurd : We wish to develop a wide-ranging relationship with China. The future of Hong Kong is a central issue ; as permanent members of the UN Security Council, we are in close touch on international issues ; we conduct a dialogue on human rights ; and we week actively to increase Britain's economic links with the fast-growing Chinese market.
Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he is taking to ensure that any product exported from China does not come from prison camp labour.
Mr. Hurd : The import of prison made goods is banned by the 1897 Foreign Prison Made Goods Act (amended 1988). HM Customs and Excise is responsible for enforcing the Act's provisions, in response to evidence supplied by others.
Mr. Hurd : This issue was stressed in the report by Lord Howe's delegation which was published last year. The European Union has urged the Chinese authorities to restrict the use and the arbitrary application of the death penalty.
Mr. Hurd : We have made clear that we regret the test carried out by China at its Lop Nor site on 10 June. The Chinese Government have however repeatedly stated their commitment to the comprehensive test ban treaty negotiations in Geneva. We welcome their contribution to these negotiations.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees meeting in Geneva on 22 June at which Sri Lankan repatriation programmes were discussed.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The meeting focused on the bilateral agreement signed in January between Switzerland and Sri Lanka on the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers. The main purpose was to enable non-governmental organisations to discuss how they might best monitor the cases of those returning to Sri Lanka under the agreement.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the setting up of the Palestinian administration in the former occupied territories ; and what consequent communications he has made to the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We welcome the appointment of members of the Palestinian authority, and the good start made by the Palestinian police. We have told Arafat that we will continue to provide practical support to the new Administration.
Mr. Ottaway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further assistance Her Majesty's Government are providing to the new Palestinian Administration in Gaza and Jericho.
Column 363decided to provide an extra £5 million of bilateral assistance this year. some £3 million will be for immediate running costs, and £2 million for increased technical cooperation. Part of these funds will be for the Palestinian police. This will help meet the urgent requirements in the key area of maintaining law and order. The success of the new Palestinian Administration in Gaza and Jericho is critical for the future of the peace process. Provision of start -up costs is an immediate need.
Her Majesty's Government have previously announced their intention to contribute £70 million of assistance to the Palestinians and the peace process during 1994-95 and 1996-97, through bilateral and multilateral channels. Many programmes are already underway. Their focus is support for the structures of Palestinian Administration : the police, for whom we are already providing training and equipment ; the Palestinian Monetary Authority ; legal structures and the judiciary ; water management and health care. We are also providing assistance for the planned Palestinian elections.
Ms Glenda Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what procedure for consultation with non-governmental organisations he intends to follow with respect to the preparations for United Kingdom participation in the inter-sessional Antarctic treaty consultative meeting on liability scheduled to take place in The Hague in October.
We have not yet had an opportunity to consider what consultations may be appropriate before that meeting.
Ms Glenda Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to promote the guidelines for visitors and expedition organisers to the Antarctic, agreed at the 18 Antarctic treaty consultative meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, in April.
We shall discuss with others, including the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, how best to promote these guidelines more widely.
Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will indicate the mechanism by which regional representatives are nominated to the European Committee of the Regions ; and if he will also publish the names of
representatives currently nominated by United Kingdom region and the term of office they have yet to serve.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Each member state nominates the number of members allocated to it in article 198a of the treaty, and an equal number of alternate members. Members and alternate members are appointed for four years by the Council, acting unanimously on these
Column 364nominations. The term of office for United Kingdom members and alternate members runs until 25 January 1998. United Kingdom members and alternate members are as follows :
United Kingdom Members of the COR England
Councillor Simon Day
Lady Elizabeth Anson, DL, JP
Sir Peter Bowness, CBE, DL
Councillor Colin Warbrick, CBE
Councillor Christopher Penn
Councillor Toby Harris
Councillor Albert Bore
Councillor Josie Farrington
Councillor George Gill
Councillor Dennis Pettitt
Councillor Janet Silett
Councillor Graham Tope
Councillor David Belottie
Councillor Roy Cross
Councillor Charles Gray
Councillor Rosemary McKenna
Councillor Brian Meek
Councillor Duncan McPherson
Councillor Daniel Coffey, JP
Councillor John Evans
Lord Lloyd Kenyon (Councillor)
Councillor Eurig Wyn
Councillor Reg Empey
Councillor Dennis Haughey
United Kingdom Alternate Members of the COR England
Councillor John Morgan, OBE
Councillor Doreen Fleming, OBE
Councillor Fraser Mitchell
Councillor Elgar Jenkins, OBE
Councillor Paul White
Councillor John Battye
Councillor Hedley Salt
Councillor Kenneth Bodfish
Councillor Ian Swithinbank
Councillor Sally Powell
Councillor Peter Soulsby
Councillor Peter Cocks, CBE
Councillor Tony Prior
Councillor Milner Whiteman
Councillor Keith Geddes
Councillor Jean McFadden
Councillor Marcus Humphrey
Councillor Peter Peacock
Councillor Clive Sneddon
Councillor Keith Griffiths
Councillor Bill Hughes
Councillor Jill Evans
Councillor Simpson Gibson
Alderman Sean Neeson