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8 Feb 2006 : Column 1231W—continued

Smoking Ban

10. Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the response from the people in Northern Ireland has been to the proposed smoking ban in public places. [48313]

Mr. Woodward: My announcement on 17 October was widely welcomed by a broad spectrum of public opinion, including health professionals, trades' unions and the main political parties. A recent survey commissioned by Action Cancer and Action on Smoking and Health found that 78 percent. of Northern Ireland respondents support laws to make all workplaces, including pubs and restaurants, smoke-free.

Fuel Smuggling

11. Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government are taking to combat illegal fuel smuggling into Northern Ireland. [48314]

Mr. Woodward: Bearing down on oils fraud is a key priority for the Organised Crime Task Force. Legitimate fuel deliveries into NI have increased by 28 percent. since 2000.


14. Mr. Mackay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation in Northern Ireland. [48317]

Mr. Woodward: We continue to see dramatic improvements in the security situation compared to the height of the troubles, with paramilitary style attacks on a downward trend.

Breast Screening

15. Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to restore public confidence in reporting on breast screening in Northern Ireland following the Wilson review. [48318]

Mr. Woodward: The recommendations of the Wilson report will be implemented in full as will those of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority when it reports in March. Delivery of breast diagnosis will in future be achieved through multi-disciplinary team working. The Department is urgently addressing the need to recruit further consultant radiologists and is already considering how best to deploy current resources to provide a quality service to women with breast disease.

Coastal Erosion

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the measures he has taken to reduce the impact of coastal erosion around Northern Ireland. [18247]

Angela E. Smith: Northern Ireland does not have any legislation specifically related to coastal erosion. Essential works within the sphere of interest of various
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Departments continue to be dealt with under various pieces of existing legislation according to the Bateman formula.

The Bateman formula is an historic interdepartmental agreement detailing the procedure for executing essential coastal protection works. Within this formula cost beneficial works, to protect essential infrastructure, may be undertaken by the Department or authority responsible for the asset at risk. For example, Translink is responsible for sea defences on certain sections of the rail network and has recently completed £600,000 of work repairing sections of rail between Downshire Halt and Whitehead.

DARD's Rivers Agency undertakes essential cost effective works that do not fall within the functional area of other Departments or agencies.

Drugs Seizures

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many seizures have been made in each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland of (a) ecstasy tablets, (b) cocaine, (c) cannabis and (d) heroin during each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. [48282]

Mr. Woodward: Neither the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) nor Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) hold records of the number of seizures of illicit drugs made in each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland.

Information relating to the number of seizures of ecstasy, cocaine, cannabis and heroin which have been made in the last twelve months by PSNI, and broken down by district command unit, and by HMRC broken down by airports and postal depots has been placed in the Library.

Dungiven Castle

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) environmental and (b) historical protection there is against inappropriate developments adjacent to Dungiven castle, County Londonderry. [49152]

Angela E. Smith: Dungiven castle is a Grade B1 listed building. It is listed under Article 42 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991. Both the castle and its setting are protected from inappropriate works under this Order and Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS 6) Planning Archaeology and the Built Heritage". The Draft Northern Area Plan, published May 2005 is also a material consideration in determining planning applications and affords protection to the castle and its surrounding area by two designations. The first is as a Local Landscape Policy Area. This seeks to prevent proposals liable to adversely affect features that contribute to the environmental quality, integrity or character of the area. The second is as an Area of Archaeological Potential. This highlights, for prospective developers, areas where it is likely that archaeological remains will be encountered in the course of development. Where remains are found, PPS 6 provides policies for their safeguarding and management. The Castle Environmental Park is a major area of existing open space which is protected by another
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Planning Policy (Statement 8 Open Space and Recreation). A small part of this park is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is a scheduled archaeological site and monument located to the south east of the castle which is also afforded protection under PPS 6.

Floral Displays

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money was spent by each district council in the Province on floral displays in the last 12 months. [49356]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested is not held centrally and councils inform the Government that they do not record this separately.


Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of students in (a) grammar schools and (b) non-grammar schools in Northern Ireland achieved passes at grades A* to C at GCSE level in at least five subjects including English and mathematics in each of the last five years. [49493]

Angela E. Smith: The requested information is as follows:
Academic yearGrammar schoolsNon-grammar schoolsNorthern Ireland average

1. The figures refer to the percentage of year 12 pupils who achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C including English and mathematics.
2. The latest information available relates to the 2003–04 academic year.

General Practitioners

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the trend in the number of general practitioners in Northern Ireland continuing to practise beyond the age of 65 years. [49396]

Mr. Woodward: At 6 February 2006 there are 28 general practitioners over the age of 65 who are working in primary care, out of a total of 1,490. Full historic detail of the age profile of general practitioner's is not held.

Health Commissioning Bodies

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the likely costs of developing and sustaining seven new health commissioning bodies in the Province. [49323]

Mr. Woodward: Under the new arrangements to be put in place as a result of the Review of Public Administration, four health and social services boards and 18 trusts are to be replaced by a single strategic health and social services authority and five trusts.
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Seven social commissioning groups will be established as local offices of the authority.

The operational costs of these new commissioning arrangements are still being considered but it is expected that the new structures will deliver significant savings in overall management and administration costs.

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