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5 Dec 2002 : Column 980W—continued


Civil Service Review

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Government will implement the recommendations contained in the review of the Civil Service. [84131]

Mr. Pearson : The public consultation period of the recommendations of the independent review of the XAppointment and Promotion Procedures for the Senior Civil Service of the Northern Ireland Civil Service" ended on 31 October 2002.

The detail of the responses received is currently being drawn together for consideration.

Supporting People

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will ensure that (a) charging and (b) means testing are not introduced for those in receipt of housing support services once the new Supporting People arrangements are put into place. [84515]

Mr. Browne: I am aware of the hon. Member's desire that everything should be done to avoid the need to introduce charging and means testing for housing support services. I am therefore currently exploring the potential for achieving this. However, it is clear that such a policy could be funded only by removing scarce resources from other spending priorities within the housing budget aimed specifically at improving the lives and general well-being of the most disadvantaged members of Northern Ireland's community.

University Research Grants

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what grants were given for research to

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(a) Queens University, (b) St. Mary's University College, (c) Stranmillis University College and (d) the University of Ulster in the last 12 months. [84395]

Jane Kennedy: Figures for the last 12 months are not available; however, the recurrent research grant allocation for the financial year 2002–03 to the universities and university colleges was:

£ million
Queen's University16.585
St. Mary's University College-
Stranmillis University College-
University of Ulster11.068

However, the Department for Employment and Learning also fund a number of special initiatives such as the Support Programme for University Research (SPUR) and the Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) and estimated expenditure for the 2002–03 year is:

£ million
Queen's University6.905
St. Mary's University College-
Stranmillis University College-
University of Ulster2.927

Waste Water Treatment Plant

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on future provision of a waste water treatment plant for Larne; and when it will come into operation. [85621]

Angela Smith: There is presently no waste water treatment facility in Larne. Untreated waste water from the town's combined sewerage system is discharged into the estuary of Larne Lough through short outfalls at Blackcave and Sandy Bay. This practice is unacceptable in today's environment and improved facilities need to be provided.

Plans for the provision of treatment facilities for the area are well developed and include the construction of a new works to treat the waste water from Larne and the surrounding communities of Ballygalley, Drains Bay, Glynn and Magheramorne. The new works will be designed to comply with current legislation, including the Bathing Water and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directives. These Directives apply the same standards of treatment in Northern Ireland as are applied in the rest of the UK and throughout the European Union.

The current proposals include a housed compact waste water treatment plant within the town on land reclaimed from Redlands Lagoon. Treatment is to include primary and secondary treatment. Current proposals can accommodate a further stage of treatment should it be necessary to meet the consent standards set. The proposed works will be procured on a design and build basis to a strict performance specification and a short-list of contractors deemed to be competent to undertake this project has been set up. However, the invitation to tender is conditional on full planning approval being given. A planning application

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for the waste water treatment works has been submitted and a decision from Planning Service is awaited. Larne borough council are still considering this planning application, but it is hoped to get their agreement in the near future. Environment and Heritage Service has proposed more stringent effluent quality standards and treatment of a higher proportion of storm flows, in accordance with their proposed new environmental policy for coastal waters, the Northern Ireland Coastal and Estuarine Waters Classification System (NICEWCS). Water Service is currently engaged in discussions with Environment and Heritage Service to agree appropriate discharge consent standards to meet all of the regulatory standards. In order that the planning application may proceed, Planning Service has arranged for agreement between EHS and Water Service on the effluent standards to be a condition on planning approval, and approval on this basis is expected shortly.

Subject to the resolution of these matters, construction of the new waste water treatment works for Larne is scheduled to commence in September 2003. It will take two years to complete at an estimated cost of around £10 million.


Civil Protection

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Prime Minister if there is a Minister designated as having responsibility for civil protection. [85425]

The Prime Minister: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) on 20 November 2002, Official Report, column 636.


Publications (Library)

Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Council if he will make it his policy that in cases where hon. Members request that ministers place publications in the Library, a copy of the material requested is automatically sent to the hon. Member in question. [86166]

Mr. Robin Cook: As Leader of the House, I want to modernise the House and to make sure that practices and procedures make it easy for Members to be fully informed.

I am happy to endorse the practice of sending publications to Members who request copies to be placed in the Library of the House. The position remains that when informationis deposited in the Library for the first time, in response to a Parliamentary question a copy of the information should, wherever practical, be supplied to the Member at the same time. 1

From time to time there may be good reason why information cannot be made public and a request to place it in the Library therefore cannot be accepted.

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Private Members' Bills

Dr. Iddon: To ask the President of the Council if he will review the £200 allocation from public funds under the Resolution of the House of 29 November 1971, to hon. Members who have secured one of the first 10 places in the Private Members' Bill ballot. [84410]

Mr. Robin Cook: I see no need for a review at present. While I accept that the value of a £200 allocation has been greatly eroded over time, I note that only four Members have made claims since April 1999.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the President of the Council what the (a) dates, (b) location and (c) sources were of attributable (i) articles, interviews or contributions for the media, books, newspapers or other journals and (ii) speeches or presentations made in the public domain by departmental special advisers since June 2001; who in his Department authorised the activity; and on what date this activity was recorded with the departmental Head of Information. [85119]

Mr. Robin Cook: My two special advisers joined the Department in July 2001 having both had a background in research. The information requested is set out as follows. The contents of the publications and presentations listed do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government.

Meg Russell

Greg Power

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