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Human Rights Report

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the FCO concerning the publication of the Annual Human Rights Report 2000. [137223]

Clare Short: FCO's Human Rights Report 2000 makes clear the close interaction between FCO, DFID and other departments in making and implementing the Government's human rights policy.

This year's report is not a joint publication as it was in the past. We published in October 2000 a paper, "Realising Human Rights for Poor People", describing the Human Rights strategy of DFID and how we will integrate reporting on human rights into our annual departmental report.

Contraception Advice

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what advice she gives to people in the Third World about contraception; and if she will make a statement. [136991]

Clare Short: The Government are committed to the principles of freedom and choice in reproductive health services as agreed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, and to the International Development to attain universal access to reproductive health services before 2015.

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Concessionary Travel

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he has taken to ensure that concessionary travel for pensioners is available on an equal basis between men and women. [135854]

Mr. Hill: The Government have a strong commitment to concessionary travel for elderly people. In the Transport Bill, we are introducing a statutory minimum for local authority concessionary travel schemes, which will provide pensioners and disabled people with half-fare travel or better on local buses with a free pass. In total about 6.5 million people will benefit from the new minimum standard. Under the terms of the Pensions Act 1995, the age of entitlement for concessionary travel for both men and women will be equalised at 65 by 2020.

Aircraft Noise

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what response the Government have made to the proposed EU directive introducing common measurements of aircraft noise across the European Union. [136543]

Mr. Mullin: The European Commission's proposal for a Directive on the Assessment and Management of Environmental Noise is concerned with noise from transport and industrial sources generally, not only noise from aircraft. The Government have undertaken a consultation on the proposed Directive and prepared an initial regulatory impact assessment. Copies of the results were placed in the House Library on 19 October.

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with airports and aircraft companies regarding the fitting of mufflers to aircraft; and if he will make a statement. [136997]

Mr. Mullin: Officials regularly discuss with stakeholders our strategy on new noise standards, including modification of aircraft to meet those standards. Studies have shown that fitting mufflers can impair an aircraft's performance and handling. Safety is, of course, paramount. Certifying the airworthiness of aircraft is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority.

Bus Lanes

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many miles of bus lanes there are in England; what steps are taken to enforce the regulations which apply to them; and if he will make a statement. [136669]

Mr. Hill: Allocation of road space is a matter for the local highway authority and information about the length of bus lanes in England is not kept centrally.

Enforcement of bus lanes is shared by the police and local highway authorities. Stationary offences can be enforced by local authorities in London, and outside where authorities have taken on decriminalised parking enforcement. In London also, following trials in four

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boroughs, authorities will be taking on the enforcement of moving offences in bus lanes, using cameras. The Transport Bill contains powers which, when enacted, would allow authorities outside London to do the same.

The Metropolitan police are currently responsible for all enforcement on the Greater London Authority road network, some of which uses cameras provided by Transport for London. Outside London the police are responsible for all bus lane enforcement except where the local authorities have taken on the relevant powers to do it themselves.

Road Lighting

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce lighting standards for all classes of road in urban areas; and if he will make a statement. [136425]

Mr. Hill: Standards for road lighting for all classes of roads can be found in the British Standard Code of Practice for Road Lighting, BS 5489. It is for the lighting authority concerned, normally the highway authority, to decide if a road should be lit and how to apply the standard.

Sheep Dips

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent studies the Health and Safety Executive has carried out into the safety of organophosphorus sheep dips in relation to (a) humans and (b) sheep. [136205]

Mr. Meacher: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has completed studies on the following subjects since 1993:

Studies are ongoing on the following:

All the studies in the list relate to effects in human beings. HSE does not conduct studies into the safety of dips on sheep. Such work is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

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Asphalt Production Plants

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the compatibility of operating asphalt production plants with the proposed European Union directive on assessment and management of environmental noise, COM (2000) 468 Final, of 26 July. [136295]

Mr. Meacher: The proposed directive does not contain provisions for controlling noise at source. The proposals are for harmonisation of noise indicators and assessment methods for noise from transport sources and from industry in urban areas. They would require use of the common indicators and assessment measures to gather information about exposure of individuals to these sources in the form of noise maps. Information would be made available to the public, and would form the basis for action plans at the local level.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list each of the asphalt production plants licensed to operate in England, indicating the owners, operators, output capacity and date opened in each case; [136705]

Mr. Meacher: I understand that the asphalt production referred to is roadstone coating. These plants are a prescribed process under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and as a result must be authorised by the relevant local authority. Authorisations must include conditions aimed at ensuring the use of Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Cost (BATNEEC) to prevent and minimise air emissions. Statutory guidance is issued by the Secretary of State on what constitutes BATNEEC for various sectors, including roadstone coating plant. This guidance has been recently revised and published for consultation. A copy of this can be found on the Internet at epns/laucons.html

My Department does not collect the specific data requested for each of the 17,000 processes regulated by authorities in England and Wales. However, data taken from our annual Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) statistical survey for 1998-99 allow us to prepare good estimates of the number of roadstone coating and mineral drying processes in England and Wales and which authority authorises them. This information is given in the table. The precise numbers cannot be produced without disproportionate cost. But under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorities have a duty to maintain a public register containing all particulars of any application for an authorisation made to an authority and the authorisation itself, and it would therefore be feasible to examine authority registers individually.

The Environment Agency is reviewing the LAPC guidance, referred to above, on roadstone coating and mineral drying processes for the Department has

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examined air pollution impacts. In addition the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, which is produced under a departmental contract, estimates that in 1998 emissions from roadstone coating plant contributed 0.4 per cent. of UK particulate matter under 10 microns (PM 1 0 ) and 0.3 per cent. of UK dioxin emissions. Copies of the latest National Air Emissions Inventory are available at and will be available in the Library of the House shortly. These plant are included in the national PM 1 0 mapping project which in turn forms the basis of the national scale assessment of health effects of PM 1 0 .

Some operators of roadstone coating plant use waste oil to fuel the process. The proposed EU Waste Incineration directive will apply to the burning of waste oil in such plant, and a copy of the Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment relating to the proposal was submitted to the House under cover of Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum EM 12791/98.

The Health and Safety Executive has also made no assessment, though research into the health hazards at such plant, has been carried out in recent years. However, during their routine inspections of quarries where asphalt is produced, Health and Safety Executive inspectors would check that the employer has taken appropriate precautions in line with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999. This would include checking the employer's risk assessment, which should detail how potentially hazardous substances are controlled in the asphalt production process, e. g. through extraction ventilation of dust/vapour/fumes, cleanliness of plant, protection clothing of plant operators etc.

Authorities which have processes authorised under PG 3/15(96)--mineral drying and roadstone coating processes

Derbyshire Dales10
Barking and Dagenham5
East Hertfordshire4
North Somerset2
Taunton Deane2
South Kesteven2
Forest Heath2
Suffolk Coastal2
Staffordshire Moorlands2
Forest of Dean2
East Cambridgeshire2
Vale of Glamorgan2
Luton BC1
St. Albans1
North East Lincolnshire1
East Staffordshire1
Falmouth and Truro PHA1
Telford and Wrekin1
Reading D. C.1
Vale Royal4
South Bedfordshire4
King's Lynn and West Norfolk4
North Lincolnshire3
Mid Bedfordshire1
South Shropshire1
Reigate and Banstead1
South Bucks1
Isle of Wight and Medina1
Newcastle under Lyme1
Vale of White Horse1
South Cambridgeshire1
Milton Keynes1

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