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8 July 2008 : Column 74WS

In addition, the Presidency will consider the way ahead on the Lisbon agenda for jobs and growth, within the context of increased economic uncertainty, climate change, and competition from emerging economies. It will be important in this to focus on delivering reforms which help EU citizens to take advantage of the opportunities, and meet the challenges, presented by globalisation. We will work closely with the Presidency to assist them in taking this forward, rooted in a Global Europe approach.

The EU will continue to work with international partners to address the challenges such as those posed by Zimbabwe, Burma, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East Peace Process.


Civil Justice Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): I am today announcing that Dr. Jonathan Spencer CB has submitted his report of his independent review of the Civil Justice Council on 24 June 2008. I welcome the report and accept the thrust of the recommendations. I have asked my officials to work closely with the Council to develop a suitable action plan for their implementation. The report recommends retention of the Council as an advisory public body but with a series of changes, set out in 27 recommendations for action. These are designed to increase the relevance, value and visibility of the Council’s work to users of the civil justice system. They aim to achieve this in particular by increasing the user element in the Council’s membership, and by increasing the user influence over its programmes of work, while retaining the technical expertise of the legal and judicial members of the Council and its committees.

I am particularly pleased that the report acknowledges the value of the Council’s work and achievements so far and I am confident that the implementation of the recommendations will be a major step towards its further development.

The report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The report and further information about the review can be found at the Ministry of Justice website: .


Heathrow Consultation

The Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly): The 2003 White Paper “The Future of Air Transport” made clear that given the economic benefits to the UK, the Government support the further development of Heathrow by adding a third runway and exploring the scope for making greater use of the existing runways, subject to meeting strict local conditions on air quality and noise and improving public transport access.

8 July 2008 : Column 75WS

Last November, I published a major consultation on the future expansion of Heathrow airport. The consultation invited views on:

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Almost 70,000 individuals and organisations representing all sides of the debate responded to the “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” consultation, which my officials are still analysing. That process is itself also subject to quality assurance and peer review to ensure its integrity.

We also want to be sure, given the socio-demographic mix in the Heathrow area, that we fully understand how airport development might affect different groups in terms of race, disability, age or gender. An initial screening exercise has been conducted to look at the potentially different effects of the proposals. Further work is now being undertaken to deliver a full equalities impact assessment. We will shortly engage in a consultative exercise, focused on these particular groups.

Our work on analysing the consultation responses, on completing the equalities impact assessment, and finalising the overall impact assessment will take some more time to complete. But I intend to inform the House of my decision on the future development of Heathrow airport before the end of the year.

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