Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Jan 2004 : Column 93W—continued

Disabled Civil Servants

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many senior civil servants in her Department are disabled, expressed in (a) numbers and (b) as a percentage of whole-time equivalents. [144977]

Alun Michael: Statistical information about senior civil servants with disabilities is available on the civil service website at:

5 Jan 2004 : Column 94W

The data show that 1 per cent. of senior civil servants in the Department have a disability. As there are fewer than five members of the senior civil service in my Department with a disability, the actual number is not published in order to protect the privacy of the individual in line with exemption 12 of the "Code Of Practice on access to Government Information".

Energy Production

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much energy was produced per person in (a) the UK and (b) other EU countries in 2002. [143760]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

Data on EU and worldwide energy production are collated annually by the International Energy Agency. The latest available data for all EU countries relates to 2001, and is shown in the following table.


CountryEnergy production per person, in tonnes of oil equivalent
Average for all EU countries1.57

Flood Prevention

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities wishing to take part in trials of demountable flood barriers; [143167]

Margaret Beckett: Demountable defences have been used in numerous places and include for example gated openings and the demountable wall at Bewdley. Where tested these have all generally performed well as flood defence structures.

In addition we have funded the Environment Agency to trial movable temporary defences including the pallet barrier system. These are at Shrewsbury, Worcester and Ironbridge Gorge. The trials are designed to test the

5 Jan 2004 : Column 95W

security of the defence that might be achieved by such systems. The results of these trials will be made publicly available once they have been completed.

We will then make an assessment of the potential impact of temporary flood barriers on flood alleviation and will issue guidance to operating authorities accordingly. However it should be noted that these temporary systems are only likely to be suitable for particular locations and where there is adequate notice of rising river levels such as on the River Severn.

Nuclear Sites

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which United Kingdom nuclear sites are being considered for complementary access by safeguards inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. [142921]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

The protocol additional to the UK/Euratom/IAEA safeguards agreement will allow the IAEA to request complementary access to nuclear sites and other locations in the UK under the terms set out in the protocol. Although the protocol is not yet in force, we are willing to allow complementary access visits on a voluntary basis. The IAEA has not requested any such access.

Quality Council Status

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advantages to parish councils and their communities will follow from an award of quality council status to that council. [145137]

Alun Michael: Achieving quality parish status demonstrates that a council has met certain minimum standards expected from an effective, representative and active parish council. The Council will then be in a position to do more for it's communities on behalf of the principal local authorities thus making services more responsive to local needs. The main beneficiary of Quality status will be the local community as the Council takes on an enhanced role:

This enhanced role will be achieved through the negotiation of charters with principal local authorities. We shall be monitoring the development of these charters and the impact of the Quality Town and Parish Scheme to ensure it achieves real benefits, but at the level of anecdote there is evidence of real engagements and enthusiasm among parish Councils up and down the country. This is very encouraging.

Racing Greyhounds

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make

5 Jan 2004 : Column 96W

it her policy to use the proposed Animal Welfare Bill to improve the statutory protection for the welfare of racing greyhounds. [143370]

Mr. Bradshaw: Yes.

Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 16 December 2003, ref. 143598, if she will list the public objectives of Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd. [145223]

Alun Michael: The organisation describes its purpose on its website as:

I have asked Great Western Enterprise and Business Link for Berkshire and Wiltshire to write to the hon. Member with details of the technical objectives put forward by Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd. in their applications for grant support.

Small Businesses

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department uses a database of individual small businesses for consultation purposes. [142480]

Alun Michael: The Department has lists that it uses to identify and consult with interested bodies and organisations as appropriate and these lists include small businesses which have expressed an interest in the particular subject. The Department also makes use of the database established by the Small Business Service (SBS) in undertaking such consultations.

The Department recognises the importance of communicating effectively and is developing a centrally controlled database. This, in addition to professional tools and guidance, will continue to enhance our communications with all of our key stakeholders.


Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether the epidemiological evidence available supports the existence of Gulf War Syndrome. [145404]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 December 2003, Official Report, column 135WH, to the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) during a debate about Gulf veterans.

5 Jan 2004 : Column 97W


Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the composition of United Kingdom land forces in Iraq. [143727]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 20 November 2003, Official Report, column 1253W, to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames). In addition, the 1st Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders will deploy to Iraq in January 2004, along with additional RMP elements.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what access is being given to Iraqi (a) civilians and (b) former military personnel to the type of biological monitoring for depleted uranium contamination that is afforded to United Kingdom personnel who served in Iraq. [145182]

Mr. Ingram: This is an issue for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) rather than for my Department. However, the planned United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment of post-conflict environmental and human health issues in Iraq will include those relating to depleted uranium (DU). We continue to liaise with UNEP and to share information as part of our contribution to efforts to ensure that the Iraqi people and others are protected against ionizing radiation and hazards from whatever source. Although we have not received any request for information or support in relation to biological monitoring, full details of our biological monitoring policy are available to all at uranium/du biomonitoring.htm; we would be happy to provide advice to the CPA or UNEP if required.

Phil Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which British companies are known to have supplied (a) weapons and (b) weapons technology to Iraq in the 10 years prior to the Gulf war in 1991. [145295]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

The issue of the export of defence equipment and dual-use goods from the United Kingdom to Iraq in the period 1984–1990 was the subject of the Inquiry by Sir Richard Scott (now Lord Scott of Foscote), copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. The question relates to a period prior to the Government's decision to publish an annual report on strategic export controls.

Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the roles being undertaken by reservists in Iraq. [143734]

Mr. Ingram: The range of roles provided by reservists to support Operation TELIC broadly reflects those undertaken by the Regular Forces plus a number of specialist areas unique to the Reserves. The range includes: RN amphibious warfare advisers, logisticians, intelligence analysts, linguists, RN mine warfare specialists, media operations, combat engineers, amphibious bridging specialists, signallers, port operating specialists, NEC warfare specialists, movements personnel, medical personnel, meteorologists, aircrew, ground crew, railway specialists, POL operators, HGV drivers, cooks, ambulance crews, administrative staff and the Army and Royal Marine combat arms.

5 Jan 2004 : Column 98W

Next Section Index Home Page