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Ports Police

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on port police forces. [153353]

Mr. Hill: We are setting up a review of the current arrangements for ports police, as proposed in "Modern Ports--A UK Policy", published in November last year. My Department is aiming to review the powers, duties and functions of ports police forces; the advantages or disadvantages of alternative arrangements that have been implemented at those ports that no longer have port police; how the port police forces compare to Home Office police forces in terms of accountability i.e. management, inspection, complaints procedures, disciplinary matters and training; and report on the current situation and make recommendations for future options for the port police. We will be consulting the ports police forces, the ports industry and users and other Government Departments.

Municipal Ports

Mr. Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on his Department's proposed study of municipal ports. [153354]

Mr. Hill: The ports policy paper noted our intention to look at the existing management structures and practices and financial arrangements for municipal ports to make sure that they are playing a full and accountable part in the local and regional economy. We are keen to ensure that municipal ports have an opportunity to benefit from the same changes as are now being made in the trust port sector following our review of trust ports and publication of national standards of accountability and good practice in "Modernising Trust Ports--A Guide to Good Governance" (which we launched last year).

We are now about to commence the study and will be looking at: how effectively the Best Value initiative and the Modern Local Government White Paper are impacting on municipal ports; what, if any, constraints are posed to development, accountability and effective operation by municipal ownership and how these might be addressed; the advantages of municipal ownership for non- commercial municipal ports;

The study will also seek to benchmark performance of the municipal sector against other UK ports and will examine options and opportunities for the future role and status of municipal ports in England and Wales.

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There will be full consultation with the relevant local authorities, the ports sector, and port users. We aim to report the findings of this study and any recommendations by the end of the year.

Ferries

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when more rigorous safety checks for roll on/roll off passenger and high-speed ferries operating in UK waters will be introduced. [153355]

Mr. Hill: Regulations implementing Council Directive 1999/35/EC on a system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular roll on/roll off and high speed passenger craft operating a service to or from the UK came into force on 16 February.

The Regulations require Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyors to:






These new, tougher safety measures will result in greater safety on all roll on/roll off and high speed passenger ferries operating in UK waters, regardless of which flag they might fly.

Local Transport Plans

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to issue guidance to local authorities on local transport plan annual progress reports. [153356]

Mr. Hill: In order to provide the guidance on local transport plan annual reports to local authorities as early as possible, my Department is today arranging for local authorities to receive copies of the guidance by electronic mail. This will be followed shortly with printed copies and the posting of the guidance on my Department's website.

Departmental Policies (Clwyd, South)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Clwyd, South constituency, the effects on Clwyd, South of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [150912]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have been asked to reply because, prior to 1 July 1999, responsibility for most aspects of transport, environmental and local government policy in Wales fell to my Department. Since the impact of departmental policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency, it is not practicable, in most cases, to provide statistical information which is specific to Clwyd, South. However, I can say that, between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2000, central Government grants were

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paid under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme towards the cost of domestic insulation measures for some 4,200 households in my hon. Friend's constituency.

A range of all-Wales policy initiatives and other action taken during this period will also have impacted on Clwyd, South and its residents. Some of the more significant ones are listed and fuller details are contained in the Welsh Office Departmental Reports for 1998 (Cm 3915) and 1999 (Cm 4216), copies of which are in the Library:





In addition, two substantial pieces of primary legislation--the Local Government Acts 1999 and 2000--have implemented the Government's vision of revitalised local government in both Wales and England. The best value provisions in the 1999 Act, and the new political management structures, ethical framework and powers to promote the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of communities in the 2000 Act, have given local authorities the tools they need to be more efficient, transparent and accountable in serving their local communities.

Other developments since 1 July 1999 are matters for the National Assembly for Wales.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Public Relations (Expenditure)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total expenditure and the breakdown of expenditure was in his Department for the financial years (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000, and what the planned expenditure and breakdown of expenditure for 2000-01 is on (i) public opinion research, (ii) television, radio and newspaper advertising and (iii) direct mail. [149259]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 8 February 2001]: (i) Public Opinion Research: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 17 December 1998, Official Report, column 721W. In the present financial year, the FCO has spent £43,000 on preliminary public opinion research on consular matters.

(ii) TV, Radio and Newspaper advertising: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 17 December 1998, Official Report, column 721W, and to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) on 9 January 2001, Official Report, column 504W. There have been no further consular publicity campaigns on TV or Radio or in the newspapers. The FCO has advertised in the region of 200-250 recruitment campaigns since

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1996. It would involve disproportionate costs to establish a breakdown of expenditure. The European Union Command advertised its Europe Day 2000 in Metro at a cost of £8,539.

(iii) Direct mail: Since the answer given to the hon. Member on 17 December 1998, Official Report, column 721W, approximately £200 has been spent on direct mail by the European Union Command.

Minority Ethnic Liaison Officer

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the cost to date of hiring a consultant minority ethnic liaison officer. [152408]

Mr. Wilson: Since 1 December 1999, £43,724, including VAT has been paid to a consultancy company for the services of the FCO's Minority Ethnic Liaison Adviser.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations to the Sri Lankan Government he has made about the possible introduction of capital punishment in Sri Lanka. [152480]

Mr. Wilson: The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and, together with EU partners, calls upon all states to abolish the death penalty. At the World Bank Development Forum in December 2000, the EU expressed their concern about Sri Lanka's plan to bring back the death penalty. The EU Troika in Colombo are currently seeking a meeting with the Sri Lankan Minister for Justice to make a formal demarche on this matter.

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to encourage peace in Sri Lanka. [152479]

Mr. Wilson: The Government remain fully committed to supporting the peace process in Sri Lanka. We will continue to give our wholehearted support to Norway's efforts to facilitate peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. We stand ready to play a role, if asked.

We urge the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to intensify their efforts towards seeking, with the help of the Norwegian Government, a peaceful negotiated settlement to this tragic conflict which has claimed over 65,000 lives.


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