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1 Mar 2006 : Column 777W—continued

Digital Hearing Aids

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients were awaiting the supply of new digital hearing aids in each of the health and social services board areas on the last date for which figures are available. [46337]

Mr. Woodward [pursuant to the reply, 31 January 2006, Official Report, c. 387W]: I am now able to provide the information.

The number of people in each of the Health and Social Services Board areas who were waiting for a digital hearing aid to be fitted is shown in the following
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table. Information is in respect of the position at 30 September 2005 (the latest date for which such information is available across all Board areas).
Health and Social Services
Number of people waiting for a digital hearing aid to be fitted
Northern Ireland total3,272

Farm Land

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the accuracy of his Department's estimates of the amount of land owned by farmers in the (a) flat and (b) mountain regions of Northern Ireland. [54617]

Angela E. Smith: Land in NI is categorised under three classifications namely lowland (LL), disadvantaged area (DA) and severely disadvantaged area (SDA). The introduction of DARD's new computerised mapping system, the Geographical Information System (GIS), provides accurate information relating to land parcels in terms of both their location, size and classification. This year the GIS has enabled DARD to compare land classification with the original disadvantaged area map agreed with the EU in the 1980s and amend classifications where these were incorrect.

Illegal Drugs

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been convicted of offences involving the importation and distribution of illegal drugs into Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [53073]

Mr. Hanson: The following table provides statistics for calendar years 2000 to 2004 for the number of convictions for importing, distributing and all other drug-related offences. 'Distribution' has been interpreted as supply of controlled drugs and possession with intent to supply. Figures for 2000 and 2003 are not directly comparable to those for 2004 due to the differing data sources and collation methods. Further explanation of this is provided in the footnotes.
Table 1: Convictions for drug related offences 2000–04


n/a=not available.
1. Figures for 2000–03 are sourced to the Northern Ireland Office and are based on a principal offence rule. Thus only where illegally importing or distributing drugs is the most serious offence tried at a court sitting, will that individual be counted in the above table.
2. 2004 figures are sourced to the Public Prosecution Service. Figures may include offenders who have been convicted of other more serious offences. However where one offender has been convicted of several offences of illegally importing or distributing drugs as part of the same criminal case, only the most serious of these is recorded.

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Lisanelly Barracks

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans the Government have to consult with the community and stakeholders in Omagh about the future of the Lisanelly Barracks site in Omagh. [53202]

Mr. Hain: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that, subject to the maintenance of an enabling environment, Lisanelly Barracks will close no later than 1 August 2007 as part of the revised Normalisation Programme.

Arrangements exist through the Northern Ireland Administration (NIA) to ensure that the MOD is aware of all public sector interest in their sites as they become available. Lisanelly Barracks is freehold and MOD will offer the site at market value to the NIA for first refusal. If it is not required by the NIA, the site will be offered for sale to the wider public sector through a Clearing House, run by the Valuation and Lands Agency, again at market value. If no interest is expressed through these routes the site may, depending on the circumstances, be offered to the former owner. Only after that process would the site be advertised and sold on the open market.

At this stage it is too early to predict what consultation will take place on the site's future.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average annual cost of housing (a) female and (b) male prisoners in Northern Ireland has been over the last five years. [53170]

Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Prison Service reports the annual cost of housing prisoners in Northern Ireland, as measured by cost per prisoner place. Cost per prisoner place is calculated by dividing service-wide operating costs by the number of staffed prisoner places available for accommodation.

Until June 2004 female prisoners were housed on the Maghaberry site and since then they have been housed at the Hydebank Wood site. In both locations female prisoners and male offenders have shared common capital, staffing and administration costs.

The Prison Service does not separately report cost per prisoner place by sex. The average service-wide cost per prisoner place over the last five years was:

Until 2002–03 Government accounting required costs to be recognised on a cash basis. From 2003–04 costs are calculated on a resource basis. With resource
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accounting introducing capital charges such as depreciation and cost of capital, NIPS cost per prisoner place increased significantly in 2003–04.


Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost per prison place was in each prison in Northern Ireland in (a) 1995, (b) 2000 and (c) 2005. [53001]

Mr. Woodward: The figure for 1994–95 is based on cost per prisoner, as opposed to cost per prisoner place on which the figures for 1999–2000 are based. The cost per prisoner is calculated by dividing the net operating costs by the average number of prisoners. The cost per prisoner place is calculated by dividing the net operating cost by the number of staffed prisoner places. The cost per prisoner for 1994–95 was calculated on a cash basis. Thereafter the cost per prisoner place measurement was established, first on a cash basis (until 2002–03) then on a resource basis.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service calculates these costs on a service-wide basis so figures are not available for individual establishments. Outturns are as follows:
Cost per prisoner—1994–95

£ (cash basis)
Northern Ireland Prison Service74,447

Cost per prisoner place

1999–2000 (cash)2004–05 (resource)
Northern Ireland Prison Service77,74985,935


David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were convicted of polluting waterways in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [36547]

Angela E. Smith: The records held by the Environment and Heritage Service of Department of the Environment on convictions for water pollution offences relate to the year in which the offences were committed. Convictions are in some cases against companies rather than people. The number of convictions imposed by the courts to date for incidents over the last ten years are as follows:
Year in which pollution
offences occurred

Total number of convictions

(6) Plus 15 cases pending
(7) Plus 29 cases pending
(8) Plus 59 cases pending

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The totals in the table relate to outcomes where either a fine, a conditional discharge or an absolute discharge was imposed. All are convictions.

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