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Human Rights

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the President of the Council if she will set out the proposed terms of reference of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. [131597]

Mrs. Beckett: The proposed terms of reference for the Joint Committee on Human Rights will reflect those in the Message brought from the Lords and printed in the Votes and Proceedings for Wednesday 12 July.

Adapted for Commons usage they will be:


Crop Contamination

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Ministry of

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Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, (b) the Department of Health and (c) the Cabinet Office since the discovery of the possible contamination of the Advanta Seed crop. [123921]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 5 June 2000]: Officials and Ministers across Government have been in continuous contact since we were notified of the possible contamination of Advanta Seed crop. A joint memorandum prepared by DETR and MAFF was submitted to the Agriculture Committee on 12 July and a copy has been placed in the House Library. This gives full details about the events leading up to Government's announcement about the Advanta seeds issue on 17 May.

Toxic Waste

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions from which sources the United Kingdom accepts the import of toxic waste for (a) incineration and (b) landfill. [129973]

Mr. Meacher: UK policy on waste imports is set out in the legally binding United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste, which came into effect in June 1996.

The policies in the UK Plan prohibit most waste imports for disposal, and are designed to encourage countries to become as self-sufficient as possible in waste disposal. However, where countries cannot reasonably be expected to deal with specific wastes in an environmentally sound manner, the UK is prepared to accept them given that we have the necessary treatment facilities which meet tough environmental standards.

Consistent with this approach the UK currently accepts imports for disposal by high temperature incineration from Brazil, Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Portugal, South Africa and Thailand. We also have extant agreements to accept waste from Argentina, Chile, Egypt and Pakistan, although there have been no shipments to date from these countries.

We have only accepted waste for landfilling from the British Antarctic Territory, the Falkland Islands and the Isle of Man.

Earlier this year the UK made a bilateral arrangement to accept wastes from the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus for disposal by either option, although there have been no shipments under the arrangement to date.

The position is different for imports for recovery, which under European law includes incineration where the primary purpose is energy recovery. The UK Plan, consistent with the EC Waste Shipments Regulation and OECD Decision C(92)39/Final, permits movements of wastes for recovery between OECD members on the basis that this trade provides a valuable source of raw materials; and that no country is self-sufficient in waste recovery.

However, while any OECD member country may export hazardous wastes to the UK for incineration with energy recovery, to date we have only received hazardous wastes from Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey and the Netherlands.

UK policies and procedures on the acceptance of waste imports are being considered as part of the current review of the UK Plan. I have made it clear that the UK would

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expect developing countries to develop, as quickly as is feasible, appropriate facilities to deal with their own waste, as far as is compatible with environmentally sound and efficient management.

Road Safety

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the implications for road safety of the House of Lords' case of Goodes v. East Sussex County Council. [131640]

Mr. Hill: The judgment of the House of Lords in this case was that the duty of a highway authority to maintain highways for which it is responsible under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 does not include a duty to keep these highways free from ice and snow.

We are considering the full implications of this judgment before deciding whether to propose any changes to existing highway legislation.

Local Government Network

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what occasions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department met the New Local Government Network in the last six months; who was present on each occasion; and what was discussed. [131485]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions has not met the New Local Government Network during the last six months.

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and the Regions and I continue to have contact with the New Local Government Network about aspects of our local government modernisation agenda, including, on occasions, addressing conferences organised by them. My next meeting with them is planned for later this month to discuss best value partnership working.

Sustainable Development

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps have been taken to ensure that the principles contained on pages 22 and 23 of the White Paper, "A Better Quality of Life--a Strategy for Sustainable Development for the UK", are applied to policy-making throughout Government. [131967]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The principles are reflected or being taken forward in a range of Government guidance documents and strategies. In particular, the 1999 "Modernising Government" White Paper committed the Government to:

The first stage of this work has been completed--the production of a comprehensive IT database of existing impact assessments and appraisals, and sources of guidance ( checklist/intro.htm) to be made available on Departments' intranets. Building on this, consideration is currently being given to the development of a more streamlined

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integrated appraisal system to deliver the goal of 'inclusive' policy making set out in the "Modernising Government" White Paper and elaborated in the Cabinet Office report "Professional policy making for the twenty-first century".

Developments in applying the principles in the Strategy will be reported in the Government's first annual review of progress towards sustainable development later this year.

Concessionary Travel

Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions have taken place with the Scottish Executive about the use of the proposed new universal Scottish concessionary travel card in Clwyd. [131893]

Mr. Hill: A range of issues is discussed between my Department and the Scottish Executive from time to time, including concessionary fares. I understand that the Scottish Executive have no plans to extend the availability of the Scottish concessionary travel card beyond the borders of Scotland.

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