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25 Mar 1996 : Column WA119

Written Answers

Monday, 25th March 1996.

Gibraltar: Pensions

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide further details on pensions in Gibraltar.

Lord Chesham: The British and Gibraltar Governments have reached an agreement under which Gibraltarian and other eligible pensioners, irrespective of nationality or residence, will receive fixed payments representing their full entitlement under the Gibraltar Social Insurance Fund, which was wound up at the end of December 1993. To help meet this commitment, the British Government will provide assistance to the Government of Gibraltar at about £9 million for the first year, reducing progressively thereafter. A new pensions scheme, backdated to 1st January 1994, will be set up in Gibraltar on the basis of non-discrimination and full compliance with EC regulations. Funds for 1996-97 will be sought through a supplementary Estimate. Funds will be additional to the planned Overseas Aid Budget announced on 28 November 1995. A minute has been placed in the Library of the House.

Lithuanian-US Military Exercises

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have received concerning the joint Lithuanian-US military exercises conducted in Kaunas, paid for by the USA, and whether those exercises are part of the Partnership For Peace or any other related NATO related programmes.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The US has told us that this exercise, "Winter Forest 1996", took place on 12-21 February and was based on a peacekeeping scenario in which a private had disappeared and a search and rescue operation by helicopter was initiated.

Another peacekeeping exercise, "Amber Valley", is planned for 6-22 April. The exercises are part of the US-Lithuanian bilateral co-operation programme and not part of the Partnership For Peace Programme, although they accord with the aims of Partnership For Peace. The USA paid for its own participation, while the Lithuanians provided the facilities.

Red Arrows: Performance in Indonesia

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was their rationale for deciding to send the RAF's aerobatic team to Jakarta in June rather than to other planned air displays due to take place at approximately the same time.

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Earl Howe: As in 1986, the Red Arrows will be performing at the Indonesian Air Show--which is held once every 10 years--at the invitation of the Indonesian Government.

It is hoped that the display by the Red Arrows, who have recently visited Australia, Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore will play an important part in developing our strong bilateral and commercial relations with Indonesia.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Designations

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on finalising the nitrate vulnerable zone designations in England and Wales following the recommendations in the report by the independent review panel which was published in October last year.

Lord Lucas: Environment and Agriculture Ministers have considered the report of the independent review panel. In the light of the panel's recommendations and following consultation with the National Rivers Authority, we have finalised the boundaries of the nitrate vulnerable zones in England and Wales. Today we have placed in the Library of the House a set of maps showing the 68 zones we have identified, and we have laid before the House the regulations which transpose the formal requirements of the EC Nitrate Directive into domestic law and designate the zones.

We also issued on 22 March the decision document setting out the Government's final decisions on the zone designations following the panel's report. It presents our considered response to the panel's specific recommendations for boundary changes or for further review of a small number of zones, and to their findings on issues of principle. In most cases we have accepted or acted on the Panel's recommendations. The decision document is being sent to each farmer in the designated zones, and to other consultees who made submissions to the panel. I am placing a copy of the document in the Library of the House.

The measures which farmers will be required to take in the designated zones have been the subject of a recent consultation. Regulations will be drafted taking account of the responses received and, following further consultation, these regulations will be laid before the House, and implemented in the zones by the end of 1999.

My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture will shortly be making an announcement on the reintroduction, in the designated zones, of grants for waste handling facilities.

The maps of the 68 designated zones will be available for inspection at MAFF Regional Service Centres and Welsh Office Agriculture Department Divisional Offices.

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Stratospheric Ozone Monitoring

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the recently detected record low level of stratospheric ozone over the United Kingdom, they will ensure that the ozone monitoring programme is fully funded.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): It is planned that the current UK stratospheric ozone monitoring programme run by the Meteorological Office will continue for at least the next two years.

Sustainable Development

Viscount St. Davids asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the White Paper on Sustainable Development and the government response to the Second Annual Report of the Panel on Sustainable Development will be published.

Earl Ferrers: We will publish This Common Inheritance: UK Annual Report 1996 and the Government Response to the Second Annual Report of the Government's Panel on Sustainable Development tomorrow. Copies will be placed in the Library.

The White Paper reports progress during 1995 in meeting the commitments which we made in previous White Papers and in the UK sustainable development strategy, as well as making commitments for future action. In particular, it highlights our new priorities for the year ahead and brings together the main quantified targets which have already been agreed by government or which are under consideration.

At the strategic level, government policy is guided by advice from its Panel on Sustainable Development, which issued its second annual report in January of this year, focused on environmental accounting, biotechnology, forestry and the disposal of radioactive waste. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister is writing to the convenor of the panel with the Government's response, which is also being issued in the form of a short booklet.

These White Paper and the panel reports provide an objective audit of the Government's success in moving towards sustainable development. They complement the recently published Indicators of Sustainable Development for the United Kingdom, which aims to demonstrate the progress which the country is making towards sustainable development and to show where further action is needed--not just by Government but also by business, local authorities and individuals.

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Child Road Deaths

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many children of primary school age were killed in road traffic accidents in the most recent year for which statistics are available.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): In 1994 there were 119 children in the age group 5-11 killed in road traffic accidents. Figures for 1995 are not yet available.

Rail Passenger Deaths

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To state the number of railway passengers killed in train accidents (as defined by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Railways) in each year since 1985 and, further, to break these numbers down into those riding in coaches of Mark 1 design and those riding in Mark II or Mark III design.

Viscount Goschen: Figures for the number of passengers killed in train accidents are contained in HM Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways' Annual Report of Railway Safety in Great Britain for 1994-95, a copy of which is held in the Libraries of both Houses. For reference, the figures are set out in the following table:

YearPassenger Fatalities


1. Figures for 1995-96 are not yet available.

2. The figures for 1991 are for the quarter 1 January 1991 to

31 March 1991 inclusive. The figures for 1991-92 are for the financial year from 1 April 1991.

The passenger fatalities listed above occurred in train accidents involving either Mark 1 rolling stock or rolling stock of a similar standard of crashworthiness to

Mark 1 designs. Train accidents involving Mark II or Mark III rolling stock have not resulted in passenger fatalities since 1985.

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