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24 Oct 1995 : Column WA111

Written Answers

Tuesday, 24th October 1995.

European Convention on Human Rights: Ratification of Protocol 9

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the states which have ratified Protocol No. 9 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The states that have ratified Protocol 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights are:




    Czech Republic












    San Marino





Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh: Review

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make an announcement about a policy and financial management review of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay): As part of the Government's rolling programme of five-yearly policy and financial management reviews of non-departmental public bodies, the Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department will conduct a thorough review of the work of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh between now and March 1996. The first stage of the review will take the form of a "prior options" study. This will include an examination of what scope there is, if any, for discontinuing, or undertaking in some other way some or all of the functions which the garden

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carries out. This will include looking at how it takes forward its statutory obligations, including its objectives, as set out in the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985.

The second stage of the review will concentrate on the garden's financial management systems and controls.

We would welcome comments from interested parties. They should be sent by 30 November 1995 to:

    Mr. K. K. Steven

    The Scottish Office Agriculture Environment and Fisheries Department

    Pentland House

    47 Robb's Loan


    EH14 1TY

Environment Council, 6 October

Lord Lyell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Environment Council on 6 October 1995.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council in Luxembourg held on 6 October.

Common positions were reached on a decision on the exchange of information on air quality and on a directive temporarily deferring the emission standards for certain diesel engines in line with technical progress. On the latter, my right honourable friend secured the deletion of text relating to fiscal incentives. Political agreement was secured on the second phase of the financial instrument for the environment (LIFE) which agreed a budget of 450 mecu over 4 years (1996–1999), to be reviewed in 1997. Political agreement was also achieved on an amendment to the Waste Shipments Regulation. In both cases a common position is expected in December.

There was a policy debate about the proposed amendment to Directive 85/337 on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). My right honourable friend secured some helpful amendments to the proposals and further detailed discussions will now continue in the experts' working group. The Presidency is aiming for a common position in December.

Council Conclusions were agreed on a number of international conferences taking place in the coming months. These include the third Pan-European Conference "Environment for Europe"; the seventh Conference of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol; the second Conference of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention; and the EuroMediterranean Conference. Agreement was also reached on Council Conclusions deferring the review of the functions of the European Environment Agency for two years.

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Third Country Nationals Resident in the EU: Status

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they expect to be the effect of the "completion of [the Council's] work on bringing about the closer integration of third-country nationals residing legally in the Union" to which the Presidency conclusions of the European Council at Cannes referred.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The work to which the Presidency conclusions refer would, if agreed by the member states, establish general principles relating to the status of long-term resident third country nationals. The Government see advantage in a measure of harmonisation of member states' practices in this area in so far as it contributes to the integration within a member state of third country nationals resident on a long-term basis.

Western Mediterranean Countries' Transport Ministers' Meetings: Exclusion of Gibraltar

Lord Merrivale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have noted the first two meetings (in Paris and Rabat) of the Ministers of Transport of the Western Mediterranean Countries for the reinforcement of co-operation in transport matters between those six countries, which excludes Gibraltar, and whether they propose any action.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The Government are aware that these two meetings have taken place. We are investigating the outcome of the meetings and will inform the Government of Gibraltar accordingly.

A.12 Wickham Market to Saxmundham Bypass

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish the Decision Letter from the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment on the Report of the Inspector for the Public Inquiry held in March 1995 on the A.12 Wickham Market to Saxmundham bypass.

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Viscount Goschen: The Inspector's report was received on 8 June and is being considered by my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport. They will announce their decision and publish the report as soon as possible.

Highways Agency Tunnels

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost per metre of other "long" tunnels the Highways Agency has undertaken, and in each case what were the reasons for choosing a tunnel.

Viscount Goschen: The cost per metre of tunnels undertaken by the Highways Agency which are under construction or have been opened within the last 10 years and for which figures are available are shown in the table. The costs have not been adjusted for inflation, changes to the rate of Value Added Tax or any outstanding construction claims.

Any simple comparison, based on unit costs per metre alone, could be very misleading, given the many differing factors which will have applied in each case, for example whether the tunnel is located in an urban or rural area; local geological and groundwater conditions, total carriageway width and the tunnel construction method used.

The reason a tunnel was chosen in each particular case would have been dependent on a careful and balanced consideration of such issues as economic and environmental benefit, traffic volumes, and the engineering practicalities for the particular circumstances that prevailed.

Location Length (metres) Cost (£m) Cost (£ per metre)
Hatfield Tunnel (opened 1986) (A1(M), Hertfordshire) 1150 23.60 20,522
Saltash Tunnel (opened 1988) (Saltash, Cornwall) 400 8.5 21,250
Round Hill Tunnel (opened 1993) (A20, Kent) 390 13.20 33,846
Green Man Tunnel(*) (Hackney– M11, London) 174 7.04 40,460
George Green Tunnel(*) (Hackney–M11, London) 300 8.43 28,100
Southwick Hill Tunnel(*) (A27, Brighton) 490 14.9 30,408
Fore Street Tunnel(*) (A406, London) 310 17.0 54,839
Meir Tunnel(*) (A50, Staffordshire) 284 6.01 21,162

(*) Tunnel under construction

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