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25 Feb 2004 : Column 449W—continued

Trophy Hunting

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on trophy-hunting. [155256]

Mr. Morley: Many of the species that are hunted for trophies are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which is implemented in the EU under Council Regulation 338/97. Under these Regulations, the import of hunting trophies is allowed only where it has been established that this will not be detrimental to the populations concerned. We shall not hesitate to use the powers that are available to refuse the import of hunting trophies where there is evidence that these have been taken illegally, or that such hunting is itself unsustainable.

Warm Front

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to improve the effectiveness of the Warm Front programme following the recommendations of the Fifth Report of the Public Accounts Committee of Session 2003–04. [155117]

Mr. Morley: We are currently considering options for the future format of Warm Front. We expect to publish our conclusions as part of the Fuel Poverty Implementation Plan which we plan to publish after the Easter Recess.

Wind Turbines

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she plans to commission into the effects on health of low frequency noise from wind turbines. [154765]

Alun Michael: Defra is not currently researching the effects of low frequency noise from wind turbines on health. However, as part of Defra's research programme

25 Feb 2004 : Column 450W

on noise and nuisance issues, research has been let to better understand the assessment, management and effects of low frequency noise as a whole.

World Environment Day

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to mark World Environment Day on 5 June; and if she will make a statement. [153743]

Mr. Morley: The Department is currently considering a number of options regarding Environment Day but no firm or detailed decisions have yet been made.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Departmental Minutes

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether it is her Department's policy to make notes of (a) meetings and (b) telephone conversations involving Ministers; and under what circumstances no notes would be taken. [149531]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 20 January 2004]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport follows the central "Guidance on the Management of Private Office Papers" which makes clear that good record management procedures are necessary not least to ensure accountability and provide an audit trail. Among the records covered by the guidance are Ministers' meetings and telephone conversations.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many days on average her Department took in Session 2002–03 to give a substantive answer to a parliamentary question for ordinary written answer; and what the greatest number of days taken to answer such a question was. [155918]

Mr. Caborn: Ministerial colleagues and officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport attach great importance to answering parliamentary questions accurately and to time. We aim to ensure that all Members receive a substantive response to an ordinary written question within a working week of it being tabled.

It is not possible to provide information in the format requested without incurring disproportionate cost. However, during the Session 2002–03, 1,224 ordinary written questions were tabled to DCMS, excluding those withdrawn or transferred to another Department. 642 (52.5 per cent.) were answered within the target date. Of those questions remaining, 63.9 per cent. (372 questions) were answered within the next one to five working days.

The greatest number of days taken to answer an ordinary written question was 132 working days.

Tobacco Task Force

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects the Tobacco Task Force to (a) report next and (b) be wound up. [155803]

25 Feb 2004 : Column 451W

Mr. Caborn: The Tobacco Task Force is not scheduled to deliver any further reports. Any outstanding business of the Tobacco Task Force is expected to be concluded by August 2005 at which time the ban on tobacco sponsorship will cover 'global sports'.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Work Permits (Health Workers)

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued to health workers for each of the top 10 medical specialties in each of the last 10 years. [155984]

Beverley Hughes: The total number of work permits approved by the top 10 medical specialties from 2000 to the third quarter of 2003, the period for which information is available, is as follows:

Number of work permits approved
2000
Hospital consultants (undefined)1,917
Pharmacist415
Dentist302
Psychiatrist121
Radiographer99
Occupational Therapist90
Optician58
Speech Therapist42
Anaesthetist35
Psychologist34
Total3,113
2001
Hospital consultants (undefined)2,141
Pharmacist474
Dentist319
Physiotherapist261
Psychiatrist240
Radiographer155
Occupational Therapist135
Optician97
Speech Therapist63
Anaesthetist43
Total3,928
2002
Hospital consultants (undefined)5,900
Pharmacist443
Radiographer390
Physiotherapist378
Dentist357
Psychiatrist352
Occupational Therapist238
Anaesthetist213
Optician194
Biomedical Scientist181
Total8,646
2003 (Figures for the first three quarters only)
Hospital consultants (undefined)6,970
Radiographer364
Pharmacist315
Physiotherapist311
Dentist293
Psychiatrist262
Occupational Therapist163
Anaesthetist156
Speech Therapist155
Biomedical Scientist130
Total9,119


25 Feb 2004 : Column 452W

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will make a decision on the asylum application ref: R333201 of the Saudi Arabian constituent of the hon. Member for Putney. [154603]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 12 February 2004]: As you are aware, this is a complex case, which is still being actively considered. I am unable at this time to say when a decision on the asylum claim will be made. I have written to my hon. Friend on 25 February with further details.

Car Crime

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) car thefts and (b) thefts from cars were reported in Worcester in each year since 1997. [155037]

Ms Blears: The table shows the recorded crime figures for the Worcester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). Figures for 2002–03 will have been altered by the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (April 2002). Figures were not collected for any previous financial years.

Theft of a motor vehicleTheft from a motor vehicle
2002–034171,388
2001–02353912
2000–01402753
1999–2000457906

Crime (Havering and Romford)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons under the age of 18 were convicted of criminal offences last year in (a) Romford and (b) the London Borough of Havering. [154853]

Paul Goggins: The available information relates to 2002 and shows that 338 persons aged under 18 years were convicted in the Havering Petty Sessional Area, the magistrates court which sits at Romford. The figure includes eight persons convicted at the Crown court, having been committed for trial from Havering PSA.

Statistics for 2003 will be available in the autumn.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 28 January 2003, Official Report, column 440W, regarding the Criminal Records Bureau, if he will place a copy of the survey in the Library. [155052]

Ms Blears: Once the report has been finalised, a copy will be made available and placed in the Library.

I will write to you again to confirm when this has been done.

25 Feb 2004 : Column 453W

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to enable the Criminal Records Bureau to access information from Customs and Excise and Immigration authorities. [155667]

Ms Blears [holding answer 23 February 2004]: From the outset, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has been able to access conviction data in relation to cases brought by non-"Home Office" police forces and other agencies such as Customs and Excise, through the Police National Computer. Similarly, the CRB would have access to relevant local intelligence held by the police arising from a joint operation involving the police and an agency such as Customs and Excise. We are committed to bringing forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows to enable the CRB to access intelligence information held by non-"Home Office" police forces and other law enforcement agencies such as Customs and Excise and, in due course, the Serious Organised Crime Agency. It is currently open to bodies such as Customs and Excise, if they have information that, for example, connects a school employee to the smuggling of child pornography, to notify the relevant authorities of such information.

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will commission research to assess the effectiveness of the Criminal Records Bureau in protecting children. [155978]

Ms Blears [holding answer 23 February 2004]: We shall build on research conducted in early 2003 which showed that employers found information supplied by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) useful in making recruitment decisions, and that some one in five had decided not to appoint someone on the basis of information supplied by the CRB.


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