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16 Dec 2002 : Column 545Wcontinued
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications have been received by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board for financial assistance to construct visitor centres at the Giant's Causeway, County Antrim; and whether the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has made a decision on the number of visitor centres it is prepared to support financially at the Giant's Causeway. 
Mr. Pearson: The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has received one application for financial assistance for the construction of a visitor centre at the Giant's Causeway. The application was received on 2 May 2002 and is currently being processed. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has not made any decision relative to the funding of any visitor centre nor has the board determined the number of visitor centres it is prepared to support.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether it is normal practice to destroy the employment records of staff employed by a hospital; and whose decision it is to destroy such records. 
Mr. Browne: Staff in a hospital are normally employed by the health and social services trust responsible for managing the hospital. My Department has instructed trusts to retain the employment records of staff for not less than six years after the person leaves that employment or reaches the age of 70, whichever is the later.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of the Human Organs Inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the availability to the inquiry of secondary back-up data from 1965 to 1975. 
Mr. Browne: The cost of the Human Organs Inquiry was #405,867.This figure includes all costs incurred by the inquiry, including the printing and launch of its report. The inquiry team had access to all available data, but acknowledged in its report the inadequacy of record keeping in the past. At the Royal Victoria hospital there was a record of each post mortem, but other records, which may have shown what happened to organs that had been removed, were incomplete or missing.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings of (a) the North/South Ministerial Council and (b) the British/Irish Council have taken place in each year since their formation. 
16 Dec 2002 : Column 546W
|North/South Ministerial Council|
Mr. Dodds : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been spent in each year since their formation on the running costs of the (a) North/South Ministerial Council, (b) British/Irish Council, and (c) Northern Ireland Civic Forum. 
|North/South Ministerial Council(1)|
|Northern Ireland Civic Forum(3)|
(1) Expenditure by the Northern Ireland Administration includes salaries, administration and cost of meetings.
(2) Includes cost of ministerial meetings in Northern Ireland and travel and subsistence costs for ministerial meetings outside Northern Ireland.
(3) Includes cost of salaries, administration, meetings, Members expenses, printing of reports and researchers.
David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will honour the commitment made by the former Northern Ireland Minister of the Environment to conduct an environmental assessment into the proposed landfill site at Mallusk. 
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Angela Smith: In July 2002, the previous Minister advised that an addendum updating and reviewing the original environmental statement, received in respect of this planning application would be required before a decision would issue. I can confirm that this remains the current position.
|October 2000 to March 2001||8,033|
|April 2001 to March 2002||34,825|
|April 2002 to October 2002||13,970|
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria were applied when assessing which Northern Ireland legislation would be brought forward by means of Order in Council. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: My main concerns are to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged by the suspension of the devolved institutions and that the good work on legislation started by the Executive and the Assembly is not wasted. If the institutions are not restored in the interim, my ministerial colleagues and I will do our utmost to deliver the bulk of the Executive's legislative programme at Westminster in a timeframe as close as possible to that envisaged by the Assembly.
Angela Smith : Planning Aid for Northern Ireland was established by the local branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and launched at the Millennium Planning Conference in Belfast on 22 June 2000. It has now been in existence for two and a half years. It is independent of Government.
Planning Aid for Northern Ireland has approached the Department of the Environment for financial assistance in further developing the role of the service. The Department's Planning Service and RTPI jointly commissioned a feasibility study in September 2002, the
16 Dec 2002 : Column 548W
Angela Smith: I am aware of Dermot Nesbitt's commitment to publish a consultation paper before the end of 2002. However, I am also conscious of the potential implications which the introduction of a third party appeal right has for the operation of Northern Ireland's planning system and economy. I therefore wish to have a regulatory impact assessment carried out. I will wish to give this matter the most careful consideration, before I make a decision how to best deal with this important issue.
Angela Smith: While the 200203 Programme for Government target for publication of the Implementation Plan was November 2002, prior to suspension of the Assembly, the Planning Service had been awaiting the Environment Committee's response to the Modernising Planning Processes Consultation Paper.
Suspension occurred before any representation was received from the Environment Committee, however over 160 responses were received to the consultation. These responses have been carefully analysed by Planning Service to inform and assist with the drafting of the Implementation Plan, publication of which is expected shortly.
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