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Millennium Dome

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister without Portfolio if he will list the steps being taken to minimise release to the atmosphere of the gas HFC 134a from the proposed air-conditioning system within the Millennium Dome; and what weight of gas he expects will be released for each year of operation of the Dome. [40553]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 7 May 1998]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 17 March 1998, Official Report, column 602. The chiller units procured by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) are hermetically sealed and have been designed to be leak-free in operation.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what assessment was made of the air-conditioning systems used by (a) the National Portrait Gallery and (b) the National Trust before deciding which system to use in the Millennium Dome. [40548]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 7 May 1998]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) took advice from its professional consultants about the design of cooling systems and a wide variety of solutions were considered. The Company put this contract out to tender according to European public procurement requirements, and did not specify in the advertisement either the type of chiller unit or the choice of refrigerant. The Company concluded in the light of tenders received that, given the unique requirements of the Dome, which have no existing direct equivalent, the chiller units selected offer the safest and most flexible solution in the time available.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what instructions he has given to the New Millennium Experience Company regarding the type of air- conditioning to be used in the Millennium Dome. [40547]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 7 May 1998]: I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave him on 26 March 1998, Official Report, column 247 and 6 April 1998, Official Report, column 77.

20 May 1998 : Column: 373

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister without Portfolio if the Living Island within the Millennium Dome will provide information in respect of climate change. [40544]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 7 May 1998]: Yes. The Living Island zone will explore the nature of mankind's relationship with the natural environment and examine the environmental challenges that face the world locally, nationally and globally. The New Millennium Experience Company is working with environmental non-governmental organisations in developing the zone's content.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Civil Service Pensions

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the arrangements for providing information about changes in Civil Service pensions to the pensioners concerned; what representations he has received on this matter; and what plans he has to change these procedures. [42278]

Dr. David Clark: Information provided to Civil Service pensioners is compliant with the requirements of The Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 1996. I am aware that a number of pensioners were regrettably notified late of their increased rate of pension payable from April following the annual uprating exercise. Difficulties encountered by a contractor to Paymaster (1836) Ltd, the paying agent, resulted in a failure to ensure timely notification in all cases. Payment of the pension at the revised rate was, however, made to all pensioners on the due date.

Public Appointments

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when his Department's action plan for increasing the number of women holding public appointments will be published; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [42822]

Dr. David Clark: My Department's action plan will be published shortly. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Public Appointments List

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what is the number of staff (whole time equivalent) working on the Public Appointments List; [42623]

Dr. David Clark: The Public Appointments Unit has one part-time and six full-time members of staff, whose duties include the maintenance of the Central List, and the provision of names from that List in response to specific requests from departments. In 1997-98, the cost of the Unit was £142,200.

20 May 1998 : Column: 374

Public Bodies

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what is the average attendance fee of (a) male and (b) female members of boards of non-departmental public bodies responsible to his Department; [42821]

Dr. David Clark: The majority of board members of non-departmental public bodies give their time and services voluntarily and receive no payment other than normal travel and subsistence expenses. Where members do receive remuneration, this can vary between an annual salary, an honorarium or an attendance fee (which itself can be a daily rate or a half-daily rate, calculated on a per meeting basis). Individuals' remuneration therefore is not directly comparable. Full details of all payments to board members of non-departmental public bodies by gender, are given in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies". Copies of "Public Bodies 1997" are available in the libraries of the House.

Crown Copyright

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what response he has received to the consultation exercise he held on the Government's green paper, Crown Copyright in the Information Age. [43280]

Dr. David Clark: I am pleased to say that the consultation exercise on the Government's Green Paper Crown Copyright in the Information Age, received a good response with 70 replies drawn from a wide range of individuals and organisations. Many of the respondents praised the Green Paper for the clear and comprehensive way in which it covered the issues and options.

I am today placing in the Libraries of the House a list of those who responded together with copies of their responses received (except where the authors requested anonymity). A paper copy of the set of responses is available from HMSO, within the Cabinet Office.

The consultation exercise has been extremely valuable in identifying the requirements of the public and the information industry regarding access to government information. It also raised a number of issues which are linked to the Government's Freedom of Information initiative. I am now considering the main points arising from the consultation and how we will need to take account of them in developing an appropriate framework for accessing and disseminating official information.

The breakdown of responses by user type is as follows:

User typeQuantityPercentage of total
A. Private individuals57
B. Business users1623
C. Media34
D. Academic and library community913
E. Legal811
F. Public bodies710
G. Trade and professional bodies1725
H. Private individuals with specialist knowledge57

20 May 1998 : Column: 375

PRIME MINISTER

OSCE (UK Delegation)

Mr. Hutton: To ask the Prime Minister what changes he has made to the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. [43181]

The Prime Minister: Due to her Ministerial appointment Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale has resigned as a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE.

I have appointed Baroness Hilton of Eggardon as a replacement representative from the Government benches.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons he has not yet replied to the question from the hon. Member for Gordon on No. 10 Downing Street staff costs, tabled on 27 April (40221); and if he will make a statement. [42891]

The Prime Minister: A reply will be issued shortly.

Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 20 May. [42395]

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall have further such meetings later today. And later today I will be visiting Northern Ireland to assist efforts in bringing about a decisive "yes" vote in Friday's referendum, which I believe to be the only result that can offer peace and stability in the future.


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