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Telecommunications Masts

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)whether Government guidance requires consideration of the cumulative impact of a number of masts in close proximity on the (a) environment and (b) health of local residents; [13651]

(2) whether Government guidance requires consideration of the health implications arising from an intensity of beam of electromagnetic field when a number of masts are located in close proximity. [13652]

Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

The research on health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields was comprehensively reviewed by the National Radiological Protection Board's (NRPB) independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation in 2003. The review concluded that

The NRPB, now part of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), has posted the results of its base station exposure measurements on its website, with an explanation of the effect of other masts in the vicinity. This is available at:

In addition, an audit of more than 450 measurements of exposure around base stations undertaken by Ofcom over the last four years demonstrate that none has exceeded the electromagnetic field exposure guidelines of the international commission on non-ionising radiation.
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Nevertheless, in view of the public concern and the precautionary approach to the use of these new technologies recommended by the Stewart Report (2000) and the NRPB's Mobile Phones and Health 2004" report, the mobile telecommunications and health research programme is supporting studies on the possible effects from mobile phone radio waves.

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in his Department in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [7860]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. The number of cases of work-related stress as categorised by staff is set out in the following table:
Cases reported and categorised as work related stress" by staffDays lostCost (£000)
1 June 2002 to 31 March 2003471,26385
1 April 2003 to 31March 2004681,752116
1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005711,951162

No compensation has been paid to employees for any stress related case since the Office was established.

Individual staff are responsible for reporting and recording short term absence according to what they perceive the cause to be. Longer term absence results in referral to our Medical Adviser who confirms the cause. Therefore in a number of cases the cause of stress may actually be factors outside the work place, for example, domestic or financial pressures.

The Office is committed to identifying and reducing the causes of work related stress and to supporting staff who may suffer from work related stress. Within the Office staff have access to a Counselling and Support Service and advice and support from the Occupational Health Adviser, line managers and Human Resources. The Office is currently assessing the Heath and Safety Executive Stress Management Standards and their potential use in the Office.



Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the stated objectives of al-Qaeda; and if he will make a statement. [12092]

Ian Pearson: We conduct frequent assessments of the stated objectives and motivations of al-Qaeda terrorists and their associates. The real objective of these terrorists is clear:
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Ambassadors (Subordinate Staff)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many formal grievances made against Her Majesty's Ambassadors by subordinate staff are outstanding; how long each case has been outstanding; whether investigations in each case have been concluded; and when the complaint is expected to be determined in each case. [14447]

Mr. Straw: None.


Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he has offered to President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva to tackle corruption in Brazil. [14009]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: While tackling corruption in Brazil is the responsibility of the Brazilian authorities, we are active in helping Brazil build capacity to combat corruption. Brazil is a priority under the Economic Governance programme of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund (GOF). One relevant project aims to assist the Brazilian authorities to combat corruption by developing expertise in budget auditing and the identification of fraudulent practices. The project also aims to spread best practice more widely in the region.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many letters to his Department from hon. Members in session (a)2004-05 and (b) 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (i) one month old, (ii)two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. [13863]

Mr. Straw: Details of letters to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, from both hon. Members and others, are stored together in such a way that this information is not retrievable without incurring a disproportionate cost. The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of departments in replying to hon. Members'/Peers' correspondence. The Report for 2004 was published on 6 April 2005, Official Report, columns 137-140WS, and showed that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responded to 83 per cent. of letters from hon. Members and Peers within the 20 working day target.

Drugs and Crime Fund

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the UK drugs and crime fund was allocated to activities in (a) Colombia, (b) Jamaica, (c) Iran, (d) Pakistan, (e)Afghanistan and (f) Turkey in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this expenditure on the trade in drugs. [14039]

Dr. Howells: The amount of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's drugs and crime fund that was allocated to activities in the six countries in each of the last five years is set out in the following table:


This expenditure has played an important role in helping to increase the capacity of the six countries concerned to combat the trade in drugs. It has improved the law enforcement capacity of the six countries e.g. to interdict drug shipments and to target, arrest and convict leading drug traffickers. The increase in the seizures of cocaine, heroin and other opiates in recent years suggest that, through training and other measures, this investment may be having some effect: worldwide cocaine and opiate seizures both increased by a third in 2003, the latest date for which figures are available.

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