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7 Dec 2009 : Column 25W—continued

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many residential properties his Department owns; and how many (a) are occupied and (b) have been empty for more than six months. [303999]

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office owns 1,391 residential properties throughout our overseas network. This includes the official residences of our heads of post and other staff accommodation. We do not own any residential properties in the UK.

Monitoring the occupancy of our residential properties is not done centrally, as the day-to-day management of the estate is carried out by our overseas missions.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of jobs advertised by his Department in the last 12 months were online only applications; and what provision his Department makes for those wishing to apply for jobs in his Department who do not have access to the internet. [301541]

Chris Bryant: Within the last 12 months, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advertised for 211 vacancies in the national press and on our website. Online application forms were used for 164 (78 per cent.) of these vacancies. The remaining 47 vacancies (22 per cent.) were advertised inviting applications via email and hard copy. Alternative application methods are considered on request for all our vacancies.

EC Law: Agriculture

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the UK Permanent Representative to the EU has had with (a) the Welsh Assembly Government and (b) the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission on the application of European Commission rules to the transitional arrangements for EU agri-environment schemes in Wales. [304194]

Chris Bryant: None.

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EU Law

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what EC legislative instruments, including provisions on criminal law, which apply to the UK and are in force or are due to come into force, have been adopted on the basis of provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community other than those in Title IV of Part Three of that Treaty. [302582]

Claire Ward: I have been asked to reply.

Two legislative instruments containing criminal law provisions in the first pillar were adopted under the provisions of the treaty establishing the European Community other than those of Title IV of Part III of the treaty. Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law was adopted on 19 November 2008. The instrument is in force and the deadline for transposition is December 2010. The amending directive 2005/35/EC on ship source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements was adopted in March 2009. The instrument is not yet in force.

European Union: Fines

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial penalties the Government has paid to European Union institutions in the first six months of 2009. [304005]

Chris Bryant: The UK has never incurred a financial penalty for failure to comply with a European Court of Justice judgment under Article 228 (ex Article 171) of the treaty establishing the European Community.


Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to encourage Fiji to rejoin the Commonwealth. [304711]

Chris Bryant: Following the military coup in December 2006, Fiji was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth. The situation deteriorated further in April 2009, with the abrogation of the constitution, suspension of the courts, censorship of the press and re-establishment of Public Emergency Regulations. In July, Military Commander and interim PM, Voreqe Bainimarama, announced a 'Roadmap for Change', which ruled out holding democratic elections until 2014. As a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, the UK took a full role in discussions which led to Fiji's full suspension from the Commonwealth on 1 September 2009. The regime can be erratic: the Australian and New Zealand Heads of Mission were suddenly expelled on 3 November 2009. This was the third New Zealand Head of Mission expulsion since the coup.

Full suspension from the Commonwealth means Fiji is no longer eligible for Commonwealth technical assistance, and can no longer participate in Commonwealth sporting events. While the Commonwealth Games Federation has voted to exclude Fiji from the Commonwealth Games, Fiji officials continue to lobby for Fiji participation. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
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(CHOGM) reinforced suspension from the Commonwealth calling for an early return to democracy, respect for human rights and respect for the rule of law. CHOGM also made clear that sporting ties under the Commonwealth name are inseparable from the values of the association.

The Commonwealth is keen to readmit Fiji, but only when the regime demonstrates a clear and committed willingness to return to democracy and adhere to the principles of the Harare Declaration, which includes a commitment to the respect for fundamental human rights. The UK continues in its policy of engagement with the regime to work towards these common objectives, both in Suva and in other capitals, and works closely with the EU, UN and regional partners in encouraging Fiji towards an early return to democratic principles and the rule of law.

Holidays Abroad: Death

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens have (a) died whilst abroad and (b) had their death reported to the British Embassy in the relevant country in each of the last five years. [304710]

Chris Bryant: Figures collated by consular directorate in previous years related only to deaths that required action by our staff. Since April 2008, we have updated our guidance to include cases where we have been notified of a death even if no action has been necessary.

Based on the above criteria, the number of deaths recorded by consular staff overseas over the last five years are as follows:

April to March each year Number of deaths











Iraq: Prisoners

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the (a) conditions under which Daniel Fitzsimmons has been detained since the incident in respect of which he is to stand trial in Iraq and (b) judicial process by which that trial will be conducted; and what representations he has received from relatives of those who died in that incident. [304040]

Chris Bryant: Mr. Fitzsimons is being held at a police station in the International Zone in Baghdad where he is visited regularly by our consular staff. He has not raised any concerns with us about the conditions in which he is being held.

The judicial process is a matter for the Iraqi authorities. However, we will make representations to the authorities should it become clear that there are concerns around the ongoing legal proceedings in comparison with internationally recognised standards or local procedure.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office consular staff have been in regular contact with the deceased British national's family to ensure he was repatriated to the UK as soon as was practicably possible and to discuss any other ongoing concerns they have.

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Students: Extremism

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's most recent assessment is of the level of threat to national security posed by foreign extremists, violent extremists and terrorists on student campuses in the UK. [303023]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 30 November 2009]: I have been asked to reply.

Our assessment is that there is some extremist activity happening in Higher Education Institutions within the UK. The problem is not widespread but where it does occur it is serious. For national security reasons, we cannot release details of which institutions.


Arriva: Government Assistance

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what net subsidy was paid to Arriva Buses from the public purse in (a) England and (b) West Yorkshire in the latest period for which figures are available. [303016]

Mr. Khan: The Government subsidises bus services in England through the Department for Transport's Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which is paid to operators of local bus services.

In 2008-09, Arriva England were paid £66,753,127.18 and Arriva Yorkshire West Ltd. were paid £2,042,380.03.

Aviation: Greater London

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if his Department will ensure that details of all air flights over London are publicly available and open to public inspection so that any resident is able to obtain accurate information as to how many flights fly over a particular London borough. [304760]

Paul Clark: These are operational matters for NATS and the Department for Transport does not hold the information in the form and detail requested. Assistance may be available from the chief executive of NATS with his inquiries. His address is:

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether his Department has any plans to improve the provision of information relating to noise levels from air traffic in London. [304759]

Paul Clark: The Secretary of State for Transport publishes annual aircraft noise contour maps for Heathrow
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airport which are designated under section 80 for the purposes of section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 for noise control purposes. These follow the standard UK practice of producing aircraft noise contours for the average summer's day (Leq 16 hour, 07.00 to 23.00) where 'summer' is the 92 day period from 16 June to 15 September.

The contours are produced in three dB bands starting at 57 Leq which the Department for Transport regards as the approximate onset of significant community annoyance. Therefore the contours will encompass those areas of London exposed to 57 Leq or more. Contour details are available on the Department's website at:

The Secretary of State is not responsible for the production of noise contour maps at non designated airports. However London City airport also produces annual noise contours on a similar basis which are available on the London City Airport Consultative Committee's website at

Modelling aircraft levels at lower levels becomes increasingly uncertain as the noise level decreases, primarily because of difficulties in obtaining aircraft noise measurements that are not contaminated with other sources of noise, such as traffic noise.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the number of people who cycle. [302687]

Mr. Khan: The Department for Transport is providing considerable support for projects to increase cycling, through Cycling England. Cycling England was established by the Department to get more people cycling, more safely, more often. We have increased their budget to £140 million over three years (running from 2008-09 to 2010-11).

Current cycling projects include the Cycling Demonstration Towns and Cycling City (we are investing £48 million in these) and 'Bikeability' cycle training. The first six cycle demonstration towns showed an average increase in cycling of 27 per cent. Our grants for Bikeability will enable an extra 500,000 children to take part in cycle training which meets the National Standard by 2012(1). This year, we are providing almost £10 million to train around 200,000 children.

In September of this year, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced a major £14 million package to transform facilities for cyclists at rail stations (£4 million of which is from Cycling England's budget).

In October of this year, the Department set up the Cycle to Work Guarantee. Signing up to the guarantee commits employers to helping their employees cycle to work, by providing them with improved cycle facilities, and giving them access to the Government's tax break scheme for new bicycles and equipment.

The Department is also developing the evidence base for the outcomes and benefits of cycling, and provides guidance on increasing cycling to local authorities. For
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example, in November this year, we produced guidance to local authorities on delivering sustainable low carbon travel(2).

We have also invested £10 million from 2004-09 on the 'Sustainable Travel Towns', initial results of which indicate cycling increases of at least 12 per cent.

Bicycles: Safety

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to increase cycling safety. [302686]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport has taken a number of steps to increase the level of safety for cyclists. We are aware that safety concerns are a deterrent for many people to cycle more, or to allow their children to cycle, and so it is an important aspect of our cycling promotion work.

To this end we have:

And finally

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