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Road Humps (Ambulances)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what evaluation his Department has made of the medical effects of road humps on patients being transported by ambulance. [42698]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 19 May 1998]: No evaluation of the medical effects has been carried out. However, in developing published advice for the design of road humps, my Department ensured that passenger discomfort was evaluated. My Department has produced a Code of Practice, agreed with the Ambulance Policy Advisory Group, for consulting on proposals to introduce traffic calming measures, and for agreeing the means of implementing those proposals.

Driving Test Centre (Torbay and South Devon)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a

20 May 1998 : Column: 369

statement about the future of the driving test examination centre serving Torbay and South Devon. [42628]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 19 May 1998]: The Driving Standards Agency is required to vacate the driving test centre in Newton Abbott this August. The Agency is searching for suitable alternative premises.

Biotechnology

Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the meetings which he has held to discuss biotechnology with (i) Greenpeace, (ii) Green Alliance, (iii) the Genetics Forum, (iv) Friends of the Earth, (v) Gene Watch, (vi) the Genetic Engineering Network, (vii) the Soil Association, (viii) the Consumers Association, (ix) Monsanto, (x) Zeneca and (xi) AgrEvo. [42774]

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Angela Eagle: The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has not had any meetings to discuss biotechnology with any of the companies or organisations specified. The Minister for the Environment has however had meetings with Greenpeace, Green Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Gene Watch, the Soil Association and the Consumers Association, to discuss biotechnology.

Fly Tipping

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will review the legislation governing fly tipping. [42490]

Angela Eagle: The Environment Agency has made clear its commitment to taking firm enforcement action on fly-tipping and we have no plans to review the already stringent controls. The main controls and the maximum penalties for contravention of those controls are set out in the following table:

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Maximum penalties for offences relating to waste

OffenceMagistrates' courtCrown court
Section 33(1)(a), (b) or (c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
Unlawful deposit, recovery, disposal etc. of non-special wasteImprisonment for 6 months and/or a fine of £20,000Imprisonment for 2 years and/or an unlimited fine
Sections 33(1)(a), (b) or (c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
Unlawful deposit, recovery, disposal etc. of special wasteImprisonment for 6 months and/or a fine of £20,000Imprisonment for 5 years and/or an unlimited fine
Section 34(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990
Breach of the duty of care or Regulations on retention etc. of documentsA fine not exceeding the statutory maximumAn unlimited fine
Section 1(1) Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989
Unlawful transportation of wasteA fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scalen/a
Special Waste Regulations 1996
Unlawful movement or handling of special wasteA fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scaleImprisonment for 2 years and/or an unlimited fine
Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994; Regulation 20(5)
Failure to register as a waste brokerA fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scalen/a
Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994; Paragraph 12 Schedule 4
Failure to register as a collector, transporter, dealer or broker of wasteA fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scalen/a

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LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Legal Aid Board

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his estimate of the total value of legal charges standing to the benefit of the Legal Aid Board, and of the notional or actual interest earned on that total, for the last five years for which figures are available. [41897]

Mr. Hoon: It is not possible to give an estimate of the total value of charges, because in a significant minority of cases the amount is unquantified. Nor is it possible to give notional or actual figures for interest. No records are available of notional interest, and it is not possible to say how much interest will have accrued by the time each debt is paid off.

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All information shown is taken from Note 10 to the annual accounts of the Legal Aid Board for each of the last five years. Interest accrued to the given date is recorded here.

£000

DateTotal value of quantified chargesOf which, interest bearingInterest accrued as at 31/3 of date shown(4)Interest recovered as at 31/3 of date shown(5)
1996-97185,906113,66830,6232,946
1995-96170,51698,79023,9872,124
1994-95146,84678,88217,5871,532
1993-94128,87262,13212,5171,085
1992-93107,26143,6787,573600

(4) Interest received is paid back into the Fund for the benefit of public expenditure

(5) These are voluntary repayments

The following sets out cases where the Legal Aid Board has not yet received all the information necessary to quantify the charge.


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£000

Date Number of casesNumber of unquantified cases
1996-9710116
1995-969917
1994-959217
1993-948617
1992-937816

Serious Fraud Trials

Angela Smith: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will set out his plans for a review of transfer and committal procedures in serious fraud trials. [43178]

Mr. Hoon: The Lord Chancellor has directed his Department to carry out a Review of pre-trial procedures in serious fraud trials. The purpose of this review will be to conduct a detailed examination of trial procedures in these cases, from the decision to commit or transfer a case to the Crown Court right up to the commencement of the jury trial. The review will assess the extent of current compliance with existing rules and procedures, evaluating their effectiveness and considering whether changes to procedure and case management could aid the delivery of justice in serious fraud cases. The review will involve wide consultation with all bodies involved in serious fraud cases.

The Terms of Reference of the review are as follows:



    To determine whether these procedures, when fully complied with, are the optimal mechanism for case management, or if they should be modified in any way:


    To assess whether more fundamental changes to such procedures could provide more effective delivery of justice in serious fraud cases; and


    To outline and consider any such changes".

The review will commence in May 1998. It is intended that provisional conclusions will be reported to the Lord Chancellor by September of this year.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Standing Committees (Hansard)

Mr. Rowlands: To ask the President of the Council if she will list the occasions since 1968 on which Standing Committee proceedings have not been reported by Hansard in their entirety. [42375]

Mrs. Ann Taylor: There have been no occasions.

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MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Millennium Experience

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister without Portfolio if he will make a statement on the role of people aged 16 to 25 years in the millennium experience. [40812]

Mr. Mandelson: The Millennium Experience, incorporating the Dome and the national Challenge programme of events and activities around the country, will appeal to people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. There will be a number of opportunities available to young people. The project will create training and employment opportunities for people aged 16 to 15, both in terms of the Millennium Dome's operation and its central attraction, which will require performers with a range of skills. Education will also be central to the Experience as a whole, but particularly important in the context of the national Challenge initiative. The Company's regional Education Managers are working with local Further Education colleges to design courses linked to the Millennium Experience.


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