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Ferry Services

16. Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans she has to issue tender documents for the ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle. [10325]

Mrs. Liddell: My Department is in the process of finalising evaluation of the initial expressions of interest received to operate the ferry service. It is also important that other issues including the value for public money in relation to potential benefits are fully investigated before any decision is taken.

A decision whether and, if so, how to proceed with tendering for this ferry service will be taken shortly in conjunction with the Scottish and Northern Irish Executives.

Nuclear Reactors

17. Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action she has taken to ascertain public opinion on the possible siting of new nuclear reactors in Scotland. [10326]

Mr. Foulkes: The performance and innovation unit review will consider how energy policy can contribute to meeting longer-term objectives for the environment and for security of supply. This will include consideration of the future role of nuclear power generation.

Consent is required for new power station developments under the Electricity Act. In Scotland, the power to grant consents is a devolved matter and the procedures are the responsibility of Scottish Ministers.

Rural Employment

18. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she next expects to meet representatives of the Scottish Executive to discuss rural employment. [10327]

Mr. Foulkes: My right hon. Friend and I have regular meetings with the Scottish Executive to discuss a wide range of issues including employment. Employment in Scotland remains high with 2,384 million people in work. There are, however, still some areas of Scotland which suffer from persistently high levels of unemployment. We are addressing this inequality through measures like the

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new deal which has helped over 60,000 people from all areas of Scotland back to work; and the action teams for jobs initiative which is tackling high levels of localised unemployment in the Highlands and Islands, East Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire, Dundee, North Lanarkshire and Glasgow.


19. Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action she has taken since 11 September relating to security against terrorist attacks. [10328]

Mrs. Liddell: Like all Departments, we are currently reviewing our resilience to potential terrorist attacks.

Business Support

21. Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent action she has taken to support business operations in Scotland. [10330]

Mr. Foulkes: Local action to support economic development and business operations is devolved. This Government have put in place macroeconomic policies that are delivering low inflation and sound public finances. As a consequence businesses in Scotland and the rest of the UK are better placed than ever before to cope with changes in the economic environment.

Airport Security

22. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action the Government are taking to improve security at Scottish airports. [10331]

Mr. Foulkes: All UK airports, including those in Scotland, are in receipt of statutory directions from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. These set out the security responsibilities of airport managers.


Energy Efficiency Week

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his office took in recognition of Energy Efficiency Week. [11513]

Mr. Blunkett: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment, on 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 592W.

The Home Office has achieved a reduction of 15 per cent. on the non-Prison estate between 1990–1991 to 1999–2000 in energy consumption (kwh/m 2 ), taking into account weather changes and estate changes. The Home Office (non-Prison estate) has benchmarked all key office buildings, with a view to reducing their individual consumption. The Prison Service has invested £300,000 in energy efficiency schemes. It circulates a regular 'Energy News' bulletin to all prison establishments to encourage energy saving schemes, and the Construction Unit frequently gives presentations to outside organisations to publicise the Prison Service's initiatives in the field of energy reduction.

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Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason his review of section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is not yet complete; and when he will announce the conclusions. [11804]

Angela Eagle: Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prevents the disclosure by Home Office Ministers and officials of information about the use of animals in scientific procedures that has been provided in confidence. Following the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all statutory bars to the disclosure of information are being reviewed, including section 24 of the 1986 Act.

The Government have a clear commitment to freedom of information and are equally committed to the maintenance of necessary protections for individual scientists and their research institutions. I am considering very carefully how these commitments can best be met. A decision on whether to appeal or amend section 24 will not be made until later this year.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the review of the working of ethical review processes in establishments designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; and if he will make a statement. [13248]

Angela Eagle: The Home Office Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate has completed a thorough review, after extensive consultation with stakeholders, including certificate holders and licensees under the 1986 Act, animal welfare organisations and others.

The findings, which the Government accept, are that the ethical review process has generally worked well and as intended since its introduction in April 1999, in the interests of the welfare of animals used in licensed scientific procedures. There are variations between establishments, more related to the efficiency than the effectiveness of the process, but overall the picture to emerge is positive and encouraging, given that the ethical review process is relatively new and still evolving.

There is increased awareness both of compliance issues and, more importantly, of the need for full application of the 3Rs at all stages of a project—replacement of animal use wherever possible, reduction of the number of animals used when there is no alternative, and refinement of procedures to minimise animal suffering.

The main Inspectorate recommendations are that the ethical review process in establishments should continue to develop on the basis on which it was introduced, with account being taken of observations offered in the review report on best practice. We accept these recommendations.

We shall ensure the widest possible circulation of the review report, within both the scientific and animal welfare communities, with the aim of encouraging all research establishments to examine and improve their own ethical review processes. To help achieve those aims we will, making use of additional resources recently provided to the Inspectorate, initiate a number of awareness-raising activities and events. These will ensure that those involved with local ethical review processes, and those with responsibility for the welfare of animals produced

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for and used in laboratories, benefit fully from the advice on best practice that the report contains. We will as part of this activity be urging greater use of lay members in ethical review processes.

A copy of the review report will be placed in the Library.


Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests were made for possession of cannabis; and how many prosecutions followed, in each police force in England, in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [11958]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Arrest data are not collected centrally by individual offence.

Information from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database showing the number of persons proceeded against for the possession of cannabis by police force area in England during the period 1996–2000 is given in the table.

Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for the possession of cannabis by police force area in England 1996–2000

Police force area19961997199819992000
Avon and Somerset180149219283340
Devon and Cornwall330540633555505
Greater Manchester589614783856918
London, City of88751037626
Metropolitan Police3,2334,1125,4525,3554,933
North Yorkshire195256383363165
South Yorkshire326453521622635
Thames Valley576600765712615
West Mercia212286329295222
West Midlands5568711,3251,2131,312
West Yorkshire9081,1491,3351,142947

(6) Estimates made for Staffordshire Police Force, who were only able to submit data for a sample of weeks for year 2000, have been included in the total

(7) Not available


All data are given on a principal offence basis

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