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Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library those sections of the report of Her Majesty's Government under section 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 concerning the social economic and environmental goals specified in article 2 of the Treaty on European Union.
Chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" form the report to Parliament for the purposes of section 5 of the European Communities Amendment Act. In order to comply with the requirements of articles 103(3) and 104c of the treaty on European Union, my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor wrote to Mr. de Silguy at the European Commission on 2 March 1995, enclosing copies of the Budget statement, the 1995 96 FSBR, the March 1995 excessive deficits return and the information required under section 4 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993. A copy of this letter with attachments has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the mechanism whereby staff in his Department report approaches from outside employers offering employment; and how these reports of approaches or job offers are differentiated from applications under the business appointment rules.
Mr. Freeman: Staff considering any approach from an outside employer offering employment for which approval would be required under the business appointment rules are required to report the approach to an officer two grades higher in their line management chain. Staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work are required to report any such approach whether or not they are considering taking it up. Applications to accept outside appointments require the completion of a detailed application form and are considered centrally.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff working in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, and at what grades, have left his Department since February 1993 (a) to retire and (b) to take other employment.
Mr. Freeman: Our records do not categorise retirements and resignations by the type of work in which the individuals were last engaged. In any event, staff, other than very senior staff, are not required to advise the Department of their future employment plans except where this involves certain types of employment such as defence-related industries or companies with which they have had official contact during their service with the Department.
Mr. Freeman: No central record is kept of the number of staff in my Department who are wholly or partly employed in the many areas concerned with procurement, and the information could not therefore be provided. The numbers and grades at executive officer level and above in sections, other than those in the separate defence agencies, directly involved with contracts work are as follows:
0 Grade |Number employed ------------------------------------------------ Grade 3 |1 Grade 4 |3 Grade 5 |18 Grade 6 |46 Grade 7 |56 SEO |172 HEO |368 EO |540
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was his response to the communication sent by Colonel James Sullivan of the office of the Secretary of the United States Air Force on 17 November 1994 concerning the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.
Mr. Soames: Although it is not normally our practice to disclose such information, my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence would be happy to look into any matters concerning this individual if the hon. Member were to write to him with the background.
Mr. Freeman: My Department monitors its civilian staff to gather data on those who have a disability, for which they may or may not be registered. The results from the monitoring show that, on 1 October last year, 5.1 per
Column 12cent. of the civilian staff employed by the Ministry of Defence and its agencies has some form of disability. Of these, 1.3 per cent. were registered disabled.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (a) hold open meetings, (b) conduct public consultation exercises, (c) conduct consultation exercises without commercial interests, (d) publish a register of members' interests, (e) publish agendas for meetings and (f) publish the minutes of meetings; and whether, in each of the above categories, this is (i) under statutory requirement or (ii) voluntary.
Mr. Soames: Of the advisory non departmental public bodies sponsored by my Department, the advisory committee on conscientious objectors holds open meetings on a voluntary basis, for which it publishes agendas.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the differentials between levels of compensatory payments made to officers and other ranks for deaths and serious injuries suffered in the Falklands War; and what steps have been taken since to reduce these differentials.
Mr. Soames: The armed forces pension scheme administered by my Department provides occupational pension benefits for the eligible dependants of those killed in war, and to personnel who are invalided from service as a result of injuries sustained in war.
The invaliding and dependants' pension benefits for personnel injured or killed due to service are paid at enhanced levels to provide a guaranteed minimum level of income. The rates of pension are based on representative rates of pay for each rank, since AFPS benefits, like many other occupational pension schemes, are salary-related. The level of award for those attributably invalided also takes into account the degree of disability. There will therefore be differences in the level of awards for all ranks, whether they are officers or other ranks.
Invalidity and death benefits for service personnel are being considered in a general review of the AFPS being undertaken at present as part of the independent review of armed forces' manpower, career and remuneration structures by Mr. Michael Bett.
War disability pensions, which are administered by the Department of Social Security, are not rank related; they are based solely on the degree of disablement.
Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held on the continuing presence of UNPROFOR forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina with General Sir Michael Rose since he relinquished his command there, with particular reference to the implications for the safety of this mission of President Tudjman's call for the withdrawal of UNPROFOR from Croatia on 31 March; and if he will make a statement.
Column 13former Yugoslavia with General Rose when he returned to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the number of appeals for redress of complaint concerning the scale of redundancy entitlement for ex-service personnel which are currently outstanding; what is the average time taken to process such appeals; and when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for East Lothian dated 23rd May 1994 about Mr. Eric Wright.
The length of time being taken to process these appeals reflects the need to ensure consistent treatment for each individual in the light of all the circumstances. I am afraid that consideration of these cases is not yet complete. My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence will send a substantive reply to the hon. Member as soon as the Army board has reached its conclusions.
40. Mrs. Roche: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to review research allocations to reduce the development gap which he identified to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.
Mr. Horam: In the past 12 months, 12 next steps agencies have been created and one civil service body has been privatised. In the 12 months to September 1994, over 400 activities worth a total of £1 billion were reviewed under the "Competing for Quality" programme resulting in savings worth about £275 million a year. All this is indicative of the Government's continued determination to strive for ever greater efficiency and effectiveness within the civil service.
Mr. Horam: The charter already applies to all public services, but we continually seek to extend charter principles to raise all those services to the quality of the best. For example, this year we are seeking user nominations for the charter mark awards. This should
Column 14make users more conscious of the standards of services they receive, and increase customer pressure for improvements in poorer quality organisations.
43. Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the annual budget for the development unit set up by his Department to promote women into science, engineering and technology.
Mr. David Hunt: The unit is an integral part of the Office of Science and Technology. We need to attract the best people into science, engineering and technology--men and women. The unit has an important role to play in this and will have the funding it needs.
Mr. David Hunt: The Government take very seriously indeed the need to maintain high morale in the civil service. In the Command Paper on the civil service, published in January, the Government set out policies which they believe will maintain and improve morale by providing a framework within which civil servants can give of their best.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has in respect of research which has been carried out to date in the United Kingdom in respect of isolating human genes; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt: The Medical Research Council, which receives its funding from my Department, supports an extensive programme of work on the isolation and characterisation of human genes under the human genome mapping project initiative. Research is being carried out at the HGMP research centre in Cambridge, at MRC funded units--for example, the human genetics unit in Edinburgh--and through grant support to researchers in universities. In 1993 94, the council's expenditure on this research was £5.6 million, and work to exploit the fruits of this activity is being carried out under the council's "Genetic Approach to Human Health Initiative".
Considerable progress has been, and continues to be made in this area. A number of genes have already been isolated by
council-supported scientist, including, for example, the gene for polycystic kidney disease.
Officials from the MRC are always willing to discuss and consider scientifically based, sound proposals. The prospects for funding of research into the isolation of
Column 15human genes will therefore depend on the nature and quality of any applications received.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, further to the information provided in paragraph 4.23 of his Department's 1995 report and expenditure plans, when he expects to publish the draft legislation on access to personal records and health and safety information.
Mr. Horam: Ministers are accountable for all the work of their Departments, including agencies. The Government's position was set out fully in Command Paper 2748, including the response to the TCSC conclusions.
Mr. Atkins [pursuant to his reply, 24 February 1995, c. 350]: I regret that one of the locations given was incorrect. The two plants which use Cemfuel are Castle Cement at Clitheroe and Ketton. Limited trials have taken place at these sites. There has been no other formal application to burn Cemfuel.
Mr. Atkins [pursuant to his reply, 14 February 1995, c. 350]: I regret that the figures given were incorrect. The total estimated quantity of Cemfuel used in England in 1994 was 37,000 tonnes, of which 34,000 was used in Lancashire.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has made to the DRI/McGraw-Hill report on carbon emissions across Europe, a copy of which has been sent to him.
Sir Paul Beresford: English Nature produces a list of sites of special scientific interest by county. I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library. Matters relating to Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. However, I understand that the Countryside Council for Wales produces similar information on request.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) men and (b) women applied for career breaks in his Department or its agencies; and how many have had their employment terminated in the last five years.
Sir Paul Beresford: The number of people who have applied for career breaks is not available, but the number of such breaks, by gender, in the period January 1990 to December 1994 were four men and one hundred and thirty one women, none of whom have had their employment terminated.
Mr. Atkins: The Government have endorsed the target to ensure that the whole network of footpaths, bridleways and byways open to all traffic is properly maintained and recorded on definitive maps by the year 2000. The Secretary of State was also pleased recently to approve the Countryside Commission's proposals for the Pennine bridleway national trial.
Local authorities have powers to create bridleways by agreement or order. While the provision of facilities for specific recreational activities is a matter for local authorities to consider, planning policy guidance note 17 encourages them to include in local plans policies and proposals on the availability of rights of way.
Sir Paul Beresford: In 1994, the combined percentage of registered and non-registered disabled people employed in my Department was equivalent to 2 per cent. of total non-industrial staff, excluding PSAS.
Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to amend the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 in respect of development requiring environmental assessment.
Sir Paul Beresford: My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have today laid before Parliament the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. These two instruments consolidate the General Development Order 1988 and its numerous amending orders. Following public consultation in 1993, the Permitted Development Order also introduces provisions whereby permitted development rights granted by article 3 of the order are withdrawn for development that should be subject to environmental assessment. It is proposed that the measures will come into force on 3 June 1995. From that date, permitted development rights will no longer apply to the types of projects listed in schedule 1 to the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988, the EA regulations, or to developments within any of the categories in schedule 2 to the EA Regulations if they would be likely to have significant environmental effects unless, for example, other procedures associated with those developments provide for environmental assessment. We anticipate that only a small number of developments will be affected by these changes, since most projects carried out under permitted development rights are minor and would not be expected to have significant environmental effects. My right hon. Friends have also today laid before Parliament the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Assessment and Permitted Development) Regulations 1995. These, too, are proposed to come into force on 3 June 1995. Under the regulations a developer may apply to the local planning authority for an opinion on whether a particular development, which would otherwise benefit from permitted development rights, will require environmental assessment, and consequently a planning application.
A developer receiving an opinion from the planning authority that environmental assessment is required may appeal to the Secretary of State for a direction. Where the local authority is both the developer and planning authority, or where someone proposes a joint development with a local authority, an opinion on the need for EA may be sought from the Secretary of State.
Guidance to local planning authorities and developers on the effect and operation of the new measures is to be issued in the next few days.
Copies of the 67 non-confidential responses to the consultation paper have been placed in the Department of the Environment and Welsh Office libraries, and a summary and list of the responses have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses together with a compliance cost assessment.
Mr. Atkins: Landfill is the predominant method of waste disposal in this country, and will remain of major importance as far into the future as we can see. Landfills, unless they are properly designed, built and operated, can have a major impact on the atmosphere, the soil and the water supply. Unless we ensure that landfill uses the best possible techniques, we shall have failed the test of sustainability.
We are therefore publishing today a consultation draft of waste management paper 26B, "Landfill design, construction and operational practice". The draft paper has been prepared by consultants. They have drawn extensively on the waste management industry's experience of landfill techniques, on the waste regulators' particular skills, and on their own specialised knowledge of landfill engineering as a technical discipline.
The consultation period will be until 10 May 1995. Subject to the results of the consultation, waste management paper 26B should be published in late summer 1995.
Mr. Curry: The Government are determined to remove all unnecessary bureaucratic regulation of local government. As part of this commitment my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have today published a paper for consultation, "Deregulating Local Government".
The paper makes proposals for further specific measures in the following areas of local authority activity: enforcement action, finance and administration, housing, personal social services, and traffic and highways. It also reviews progress to date on freeing up local government from unnecessary bureaucratic requirements, Finally, it invites consultees to put forward their own proposals for further streamlining and reducing the regulation of local government. Regulatory regimes for local government should be kept to the minimum necessary to safeguard our national policies for services and the management of the economy. This will help local authorities to be responsive to the needs and wishes of their local businesses and citizens, and to provide them with quality services which they want and can afford.
I have arranged for copies of the paper to be placed in the Library. Copies are also being sent to the local authority associations, individual local authorities, and to other interested bodies, all of whom are being invited to respond by 1 May 1995.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the financial benefits to the Exchequer of the privatisation of the water industry; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 2 March]: Privatisation allowed the water industry access to private sector funds, removing its dependence on the Exchequer. This has enabled a much increased investment programme of around £3 billion each year since 1989 to improve drinking water quality and the water environment as well as allowing the necessary maintenance of infrastructure. For example, in England and Wales in 1993, 99 per cent. of 3.5 million tests met the drinking water quality and between 1990 and 1993 there was a net upgrading in quality of nearly 16 per cent. of river length--the proportion of rivers in the highest quality class increased and the proportion in the lower classes reduced.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the cost of removing phosphates from water in England and Wales (a) in total and (b) by water authority to stop the formation of algal blooms in reservoirs in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
Mr. Atkins: My Department has today issued for public consultation a draft of the management plan or imports and exports of waste, copies of which have been placed in the Library. This sets out in detail the Government's policies on waste imports and exports, which were outlined in a statement on 15 June last year.
The waste management plan will be an important component in the system of controls over transfrontier movements of waste. It gives guidance to regulators and to industry as to the types of shipment which will in future be allowed into and out of the United Kingdom, and those which will not. In particular, it helps towards achieving the Government's aim of self- sufficiency in waste disposal, both at national and European Community levels. The plan is separate from, but consistent with, the waste strategy for England and Wales, a draft of which was yesterday issued for consultation.
The key proposals of the management plan for imports and exports are:
to ban exports from the UK for disposal to all countries; to allow exports for recovery to OECD countries, but, in line with decision II/12 taken by the parties to the Basel convention in March 1994, to ban exports of hazardous waste for recovery to non-OECD countries, other than in exceptional cases allowed under that decision;
to ban most imports for disposal, other than exceptionally in the case of hazardous wastes from developing countries which cannot reasonably deal with the wastes themselves, or for small quantities from developed countries where the provision of specialised facilities would be uneconomic. For wastes destined for high temperature incineration, the draft plan incorporates a three-year transitional