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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 9 June 2005


Battle and Theatre Honours

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Battle Honours to ships and squadrons of Her Majesty's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, for their participation in the major combat phase of Operation TELIC during the period 19 March to 30 April 2003.

The following RN ships and naval air squadrons have been awarded the Battle Honour "ALFAW 2003":
HMS BROCKLESBYNo 845 Naval Air Squadron
HMS BANGORNo 847 Naval Air Squadron

RAF squadrons which were required to operate under constant threat of attack and had demonstrated gallantry and spirit under fire during the campaign over Iraq and Kuwait or on the ground in the same territories have been awarded the Battle Honour "IRAQ 2003" with the right to emblazon the honour on their standards. Other squadrons which participated in the air and ground campaigns, albeit at a slightly lower level of danger, have been awarded the honour "IRAQ 2003" without the right to emblazon the honour on their standards. The RAF awards are as follows:

With the right to emblazon "IRAQ 2003" on squadron standards:
No 1 (Fighter) Squadron RAFNo 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF
No II (Army Co-operation) Squadron RAFNo 31 Squadron RAF
No 3 Squadron RAFNo 47 Squadron RAF
No IV (Army Co-operation) Squadron RAFNo 617 Squadron RAF
No 7 Squadron RAFNo 51 Squadron RAF Regiment
No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

Without the right to emblazonment:
No 8 Squadron RAFNo 120 Squadron RAF
No 10 Squadron RAFNo 201 Squadron RAF
No 18 (Bomber) Squadron RAFNo 206 Squadron RAF
No 23 Squadron RAFNo 216 Squadron RAF
No 33 Squadron RAFNo 1 Squadron RAF Regiment
No 39 Squadron RAFNo II Squadron RAF Regiment
No 43 (Fighter) Squadron RAFNo 16 Squadron RAF Regiment
No 51 Squadron RAFNo 27 Squadron RAF Regiment
No 101 Squadron RAFNo 34 Squadron RAF Regiment
No 111 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

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Her Majesty has also approved the award of the Battle Honours "Al Basrah" and "Western Iraq 2003" and the Theatre Honour "Iraq 2003" to Army units which participated in Operation TELIC. Specifically the Queen has approved the award of the Battle Honour "Al Basrah" and the Theatre Honour "Iraq 2003" to the Irish Guards who participated in Operation TELIC during the period 19 March to 30 April 2003. The Irish Guards are being awarded these honours ahead of other Army units to enable them to display the Theatre Honour "Iraq 2003" on their colour on the Queen's birthday parade on 11 June 2005. They are unlikely to troop their colour again for another seven or eight years. Other Army units who served on TELIC during this period are being invited to apply for the award of these honours. Once all applications are ratified, details of the other units to receive the awards will be notified to Parliament by means of a separate written ministerial statement.


Mineral and Landfill Waste Permissions

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper): I have today issued a consultation document, Mineral Planning Authority Monitoring of Mineral and Landfill Permissions. This seeks comments on the proposed scope and content of a new fee regime in England for the monitoring and enforcement of minerals and landfill waste permissions by mineral and waste planning authorities, with a view to preparing regulations bringing a regime into operation on 6 April 2006.

The 1998 comprehensive spending review included a commitment to empower mineral and waste planning authorities to recover the costs of monitoring and enforcing planning conditions for minerals and landfill sites. The commitment acknowledged that the fees for applications for permission for mineral working and landfill do not cover the necessary long-term monitoring and enforcement commitment for these land uses, which is not required for other types of development. For minerals in particular, given the essentially physical processes involved, the sometimes technical and complex planning conditions are the primary form of environmental regulation during the process of implementing permissions, which can extend over very long periods. They are also important, alongside the pollution control regime, at landfills. The widening of the scope of local authorities' powers to charge fees in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 now enables us to move ahead on this long standing commitment.

Initial research in 2000, followed by consultation in autumn 2001, secured a good deal of agreement on the scope and content of a fees regime but left questions about the validity of the estimated costs to authorities of monitoring. In 2004, further research validated authorities'
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costs and made various recommendations about the form of a regime. We believe that we should now re-consult on the proposed regime in view of the time which has elapsed since the first consultation in 2001, because of the delay in securing enabling powers in primary legislation. Re-consultation provides an opportunity to report back to stakeholders on the comments received then, to report the findings of the further research in 2004, and to propose a regime which takes account of all the research and the earlier consultation comments.

We are proposing that fees will be charged for the monitoring of all mineral extraction sites, all landfill sites and all other waste activities located on a mineral extraction and/or landfill site which are an integral part of the operation of the site. We propose a regime based initially on an annual schedule of visits, ultimately determined by the authority and a standard fee per site visit which would be set and applied nationally.

The consultation document estimates that the total amount of fees which might be charged under the proposed regime is £2.7 million per annum, based on a best practice approach to monitoring. We believe that this additional revenue is necessary to ensure that mineral and waste planning authorities are adequately funded for this important long-term environmental protection work, given the potential impacts on amenity of mineral extraction and landfill.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The document is also available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk/.

The consultation period ends on 1 September 2005.


Partners for Water and Sanitation

The Minister for Climate Change and the Environment (Mr. Elliot Morley): I am delighted to welcome the third annual report from Partners for Water and Sanitation (PAWS). As one of the leading UK partnerships, PAWS is proof that the tri-sector partnership approach can deliver tangible results towards achieving the millennium development goals.

PAWS provides a platform where partners from Government, civil society and business can work together with people in Africa to develop sustainable solutions in the delivery of water and sanitation services. The annual report documents partnership work in 2004, and outlines how PAWS will significantly increase its activities in 2005.

In support of this expansion, an impressive effort has been invested in the management of the partnership over the past year, and this is reflected in the content and style of the annual report.

With this solid foundation in place, I am confident that the partnership will continue to grow and offer even more support to those who need it most.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
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Oversight Commissioner's Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Shaun Woodward): I have today laid before this House a copy of the oversight commissioner's first statutory report for the year 2005 which is being published today, in accordance with section 68(4)(a) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.

This is the fourth report compiled by Al Hutchinson as oversight commissioner and the thirteenth in the series of oversight reports published since 2001.

The Secretary of State and I welcomed the opportunity earlier this week to discuss the contents of the report with the oversight commissioner.

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