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17 Nov 2005 : Column 1494W—continued


Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his estimate is of the number of cormorants in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [28850]

Angela E. Smith: A 10-year average of 2,773 cormorants are present in Northern Ireland during the winter months (November to February), when numbers are highest. Data for the past 10 years is as follows:

Winter population of Cormorants for Northern Ireland 1995–2005

There are around 600 breeding pairs in summer.

Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date the railway carriages in Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin, were cut up and repositioned. [28640]

Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the response I gave on Thursday 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1369W.

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under what conditions the deposit of the railway carriages in Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin, laid down by the planning appeal tribunal in 1983 were set aside. [28641]

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Angela E. Smith: I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the response I gave on 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1368W.

Disabled Access

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Government buildings in Northern Ireland remain to be adapted to meet the needs of people with disabilities; and when the necessary adaptations are expected to be completed in each case. [24983]

Angela E. Smith: Details of Government buildings which remain to be adapted to meet DDA requirements have been placed in the Library.

Electronic Human Resources

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether an Equality Impact Assessment was carried out in respect of the proposal to
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outsource the Civil Service Electronic Human Resources work; and what assessment was made of the equality issues involved. [26823]

Angela E. Smith: The proposal to outsource Human Resource work, which would be carried out in a Shared Service Centre, is being considered as part of the Equality Impact Assessment of the eHR policy. Ministers have been briefed on the equality issues.

Emergency Drills

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what dates since October 2001, local authorities and emergency services in Northern Ireland have carried out emergency drills for terrorist attacks; where such drills took place; and which agencies were involved. [22764]

Mr. Woodward: Exercises carried out by Government, local authorities and the emergency services in response to the terrorist threat since October 2001 are detailed in the table:
Date of exerciseExercise organised byNature of Exercise/ScenarioLocationAgencies involved
20 June 2002Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS)Terrorist Chemical Attack on Windsor Park.Table top ExerciseNIAS, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast City Hospital
26 February 2003Ballymena Borough CouncilChemical attack exerciseTable top Exercise Ballymena ShowgroundsNIAS, NIFRS, PSNI, Ballymena Council
25 May 2003Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)Cross border civilian plane crashLive Exercise in FermanaghMulti Agency, local authorities, PSNI and An Garda Siochana
23 July 2003Emergency Medical Assistance and Rescue Team (EMART)Test of call out procedures for delivery of PODS containing equipment for dealing with a CBRN incidentTransported from storage in Belfast/Omagh areas to Tyrone County Hospital and Downe HospitalEMART Project Manager, NIAS and NIFRS
5–6 March 2004EMARTChemical attack exerciseTabletop and exercise at Stormont Hotel and NT Civil Sports PavilionEMART Project Manager and EMART Volunteers, PSNI, NIFRS, NIAS
8 April 2004OFMDFM / NIOExercise Counterbalance—a National Programme of seminars, presentations and table top exercises to raise awareness of CBRNPark Avenue HotelDHSSPS, NIFRS, NIAS, MoD, HQNL NIO, PSNL Metropolitan Police, Home Office, London Resilience Team, Emergency Planning College, Maritime and Coastguard Agency
26 May 2004PSNI / N1OTerrorist release of gas at die Odyssey ArenaNew Salesman Exercise, Marine Court, BangorPSNI, NIO, Home Office, HQNI, MoD, NIFRS, NIAS, and various technical experts from GB
4 September 2004EMARTCoping with a disaster where there is a lack of infrastructureTest of EMART communications, mobilisation of 50 bed ward and staffing a casualty clearing stationUniversity of Ulster Professional Development Unit with the Territorial Army
24 October 2004Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS)Explosion on board a ferry. Unknown chemical involved and possibility of terrorist attackWarrenpoint HarbourNIFRS NIAS
17 December 2004OFMDFMTabletop Exercise to test senior officials from NI Departments and NIOStormontNI Departments, NIO
9 February 2005Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH)Nerve gas attackTabletop exercise carried out at RVHRVH Personnel NIAS
13 April 2005PSNINIFRS Decontamination CapabilitySteeple Barracks, AntrimNIFRS
18 May 2005NIOCrisis Management Workshop—A series of presentations and tabletop exercises for NIO emergency respondersStormontNIO, PSNI, MoD
10 June 2005NIOCommand Post Exercise to test the Government's response to a terrorist attack on NI infrastructureStormontNIO, NI Departments, PSNI, NIFRS, HSE, HQNI, Home Office, Cabinet Office
7/8 July 2005PSNICBRN Exercise in relation to visit to Belfast of the EU Employment MinistersBelfastPSNI, NIFRS, NIAS
10 September 2005Regional Virus LaboratoryTo test courier arrangements for transportation of potential smallpox clinical specimen for specialist analysisRegional Viral Laboratories to Health Protection Agency Specialist Laboratory in GBLaboratory personnel and courier service provider

1. Many hospital trusts have not carried out specific exercises dealing with a terrorist attack hut continue to test and review major incident plans, designed to enable Trusts to respond to any major emergency, where a large number of casualties result, including plans to deal with chemical and radioactive contamination.
2. There are no centrally held figures on specific local government exercises. Information would need to be sought from individual councils.

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Grammar Schools

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with parents about the grammar school system of education in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [29550]

Angela E. Smith: During the last two months, I have had meetings with key interests to discuss new admissions arrangements for post-primary schools. This has included a meeting with two groups representing parents—the Concerned Parents for Education and the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education.

It is important to hear the full range of views on this issue before making decisions on the way forward. I want to put in place a better system that provides choice, better opportunities and flexibility to all young people to enable them to reach their full potential.

I will be publishing a summary report on the responses to the consultation on new admissions arrangements and making an announcement on the way forward shortly.

Marine Bill

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress he has made in developing proposals for a Marine Bill for Northern Ireland; and what resources have been set aside to implement the legislation. [28191]

Angela E. Smith: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has lead responsibility for taking forward work associated with the introduction of a Marine Bill. DEFRA officials have held discussions with the devolved administrations about the scope for their inclusion in the Bill.

In light of these discussions officials in the Department of the Environment are currently considering possible options taking account of the policy development work and resources which would be necessary to enable Northern Ireland to participate in the Bill in line with the DEFRA timetable.

No final decisions have yet been taken.

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