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Water Regulations Advisory Committee

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): Professor John Swaffield of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, has accepted the invitation of my honourable friend the Minister of State for Planning, Construction and Energy Efficiency to chair the Water Regulations Advisory Committee. My honourable friend has formally appointed Professor Swaffield and 10 members of the committee, whose names appear below.

The committee's terms of reference are to advise the Secretary of State for the Environment on the requirements of plumbing installations and fittings which should be included in water regulations made under powers in Section 74 of the Water Industry Act 1991 and on other technical matters connected with the regulations.

The regulations will deal with contamination, waste, undue consumption and misuse of water in premises. As part of its remit, the committee will also consider the requirements for water usage by fittings and appliances. This will include advice on such things as WC flush volumes and water used by washing machines and dishwashers.

Membership of the Water Regulations Advisory Committee



    Mr. J. A. Andrew

    Mrs. B. M. Bickley

    Mr. S. B. Butler

    Mr. R. F. Clayton

    Mr. P. Crane

    Dr. J. Hall

    Mr. P. W. Herbertson

    Mr. G. Marsh

    Mr. J. Roy

    Mr. M. A. Rymill

Lyme Bay Tragedy: Coastguard Actions

Viscount Addison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish the findings of the independent investigation into the Coastguard actions in the Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): In March 1993, four teenagers were tragically drowned in a sea canoeing accident in the Lyme Bay area. Mr. John Reeder QC was appointed to conduct a review the terms of reference of which were that:

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    "In the light of the Coastguard's internal inquiry, the evidence presented to the Lyme Bay trial and the judge's comments in his summing up--

    (i) to review all of the actions, both internal and external, taken by the Coastguard during and subsequent to the tragedy.

    (ii) to consider how far this action was appropriate and whether any further action was necessary, and

    (iii) to make recommendations.

    Consideration under item (ii) should cover the suggestion by Sir James Spicer MP that harbourmasters should be given a more formal role in Coastguard's emergency procedures."

    We have today published Mr. Reeder's findings.

Mr. Reeder has produced a thorough and well researched report of the Coastguard involvement in this tragedy. He reported that no lives had been lost as a result of the Coastguard's actions and that the lessons of the incident had been fully learned. He has endorsed the action taken by the Coastguard Agency and other parts of my department to make sure that all lessons were fully learned. He recommends that no further disciplinary action should be taken.

It is right that all concerned should do all that can be done to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. The Government have made regulations to seek to improve the safety of activity centres. Thanks to Mr. Reeder's report, we can now be confident that the Coastguard Agency has responded fully to the tragedy, and that all necessary steps have been taken to safeguard against similar incidents in the future.

Following the incident, the Coastguard Agency carried out its own investigation and took appropriate action. Portland Coastguard has since been reorganised and all the officers involved have been retrained.

Mr. Reeder made recommendations on the radio coverage of the area, on the relationship between Coastguard and harbourmasters, and on the Coastguard Agency and British Canoe Union's advice on sea canoeing. All of his recommendations either have been implemented by the Coastguard Agency, or are being urgently addressed.

Mental Illness: Care Programme Approach

Lord Thurlow asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether all health districts have now applied the Mental Illness Care Programme to all patients in contact with specialist psychiatric services, having regard to the Minister's statement on 15th May 1996. (H.L. Deb., col. 544.)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): All health authorities have now reported full implementation of the Care Programme Approach. We have made audit of the Care Programme Approach a priority for 1996-97 with a view to ensuring that it is operating effectively.

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MED Broadcasting Limited

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are taking any action to protect and assert the legitimate business interests of MED Broadcasting Limited (a company registered in England No. 2960 755) and in particular its access to international satellite television systems.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): MED TV is licensed by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) to provide a TV programme service uplinked from the UK. The use of satellite facilities is a commercial matter between the providers of such facilities and the programme company concerned and is not a matter for either government or the ITC.

Passport Agency Framework Document

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the status of the Passport Agency's Framework Document following the decision to confirm the Passport Agency's status as an executive agency of the Home Office for a further period.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Following a "prior options" review, an announcement was made to Parliament in November 1994 that Ministers had agreed that the Passport Agency should retain its status as an executive agency for another five years. The agency's framework document

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has been revised and we are pleased to say that copies of the revised document have now been placed in the Library.

Forensic Science Service: Annual Report

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will lay before Parliament the Annual Report for the Forensic Science Service.

Baroness Blatch: We have today laid before Parliament copies of the Forensic Science Service's (FSS) Annual Report and Accounts for 1995-96.

The FSS met or exceeded all its targets in 1995-96. During 1996-97, we expect the service to continue to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. The financial targets for the year are recovery of full economic costs; and a cash unit cost target of £81.33 based on an efficiency gain of 3.6 per cent. on the audited 1995-96 results. In view of the merger of the FSS with the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory on 1st April 1996, this target has been calculated taking into account retrospective adjustment to 1995-96 as if the merged organisation had existed throughout 1995-96. From 1996-97 onwards, the cash unit cost measure has been translated into the cost per Process Output Hour rather than as previously the Chargeable Output Day. The service level targets are to meet 90 per cent. of delivery dates agreed with customers; to maintain accreditation to UKAS NAMAS M10 and BSI QA ISO 9000 series standards; and the completion of a customer satisfaction survey.

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