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Balfour Declaration

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We support Israel's right to exist. We also support the principle of self-determination for the Palestinian people, and the right of all religions to have freedom of access to the Holy Places. We support UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

US Policy and UN Charter

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the US's 18 million dollar funding by Congress for the purpose of destabilising Iran is fully concordant with the UN Charter.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I refer to the Answer I gave to the noble Lord on 15th May 1996 at col. WA 58.

US Counter-proliferation Equipment: Use for Pre-emptive Action

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have discussed with the US the possible use of that country's counter-proliferation equipment in UN Charter Chapter 7-type action, but outwith Security Council Resolutions, particularly in relation to possible pre-emptive action against Libya's purported chemical facility or other states held to be "rogue states" by the United States or Israel.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is not our practice to disclose details of confidential exchanges with other governments. With regard to reports about Libya, I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 4th July at col. WA 110.

Her Majesty's Birthday Honours List: Awards to Women

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

    Further to the Answer given by the Lord Privy Seal of 27th June 1996 (WA 72), whether they will take steps to increase the proportion of women included in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours Lists; and if not, why not.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): The Government are concerned to see that outstanding service by all sections of the community is fully recognised in the honours lists. We welcome nominations of women at all levels for consideration as candidates for the lists recommended by my right honourable friends the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence. I hope noble Lords can assist in this.

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Special Waste Regulations 1996

Lord Mountevans asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with the implementation of the Special Waste Regulations 1996.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The Special Waste Regulations were made on 28th March 1996 and will come into effect on 1st September 1996. The regulations, which implement the EC Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC), update provisions for supervising movements of the most difficult and dangerous waste and controlling its management and disposal. In particular, the regulations provide for movements of such waste to be pre-notified to the environment agencies and to be tracked by a system of consignment notes. Guidance in the form of a circular to the environment agencies and local authorities was published on 13th June.

Since the regulations were made, some technical problems have come to light and we plan to make amending regulations in order to correct these before the regulations enter into force. We hope to make amending regulations by the end of the month and to lay them before Parliament shortly thereafter.

These are complex regulations and I believe that these changes will be welcomed by industry and regulators alike for the clarification and improvements which they will bring to the functioning of the new system.

In addition to these technical changes, we have looked again at the exclusion which applies to household waste. The definition of household waste does not include waste oils, clinical waste or asbestos. We intend to make an amendment which will ensure that waste oils, and clinical waste from households are not subject to the regulations. These changes will ensure that the regulations do not interfere with arrangements for separate collections of clinical waste from domestic properties nor add to their cost.

The definition of household waste includes waste from premises forming part of educational establishments, and hospitals. We plan to make an amendment to clarify that the exemption will not apply to waste from laboratories or to non-domestic hospital waste. However, this amendment will not imply that all waste from such sources will be Special Waste.

The technical changes will include an amendment to the schedule which has to be completed for movements of Special Waste collected during a daily round of consignments (referred to as a carrier's round). An amendment will clarify that a single consignment note and schedule can be used for more than one type of waste for which a single fee will be charged for each such round.

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The changes will also clarify and update cross references to the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging) Regulations (SI 1994/3247) which are intended to assist industry in determining whether waste is Special. They will introduce a simplified procedure for waste which is consigned by pipeline. Other amendments will set a time limit of two months for the payment of fees to the environment agencies, and will set the penalty for failure to pay at a level three fine.

Schools in Green Belts: Extensions

The Earl of Munster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If planning policy Guidance Note 2 rules out any extensions to schools in green belts; and if development plans may include policies for them.

Earl Ferrers: PPG2 does not rule out the extension of schools located in Green Belts if other considerations clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, or if the development is for purposes specified in PPG2 such as essential facilities for outdoor sport.

Very special circumstances are needed to justify development for purposes not specified in PPG2. Development plan policies should ensure that any application for such development would not be in accord with the plan. The plan's reasoned justification might however indicate the factors that the local planning authority would take into account in considering an application for a school extension for purposes not specified in PPG2.

An application would also need to be considered against other relevant planning policies, for example on the visual amenities of the Green Belt (see PPG2) and on transport (see PPG13). The suitable re-use of existing buildings would not require very special circumstances.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 grants limited rights to erect small buildings in school grounds without the need to apply for planning permission.

Waste Treatment Plant: Licensing

Viscount Ullswater asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their views on the need for operators of trade effluent treatment plant to obtain a waste management licence.

Earl Ferrers: On 25th July 1995, the Government announced the extension to 31st March 1996 of a transitional exemption from waste management licensing for certain operations which involve the biological or physico-chemical treatment of waste. In so doing, we confirmed that we would be prepared to consider whether a case could be made for some waste treatment plant to be exempted from licensing under Article 11 of the amended EC Framework Directive on waste, and we invited representations from anyone with an interest in such plant.

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Following that announcement, the Government decided that it would be appropriate also to review the application of Article 2 of the Framework Directive. The transitional arrangements were therefore extended to 30th September 1996 in order to enable this to be done. We are now in a position to announce our conclusions.

The Government's conclusions are that the requirements of the Framework Directive on waste do not apply:

(a) to discharges of effluent which are covered by national legislation transposing the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive; or

(b) to discharges of effluent which are covered by national rules in force at the time of the Framework Directive's adoption in March 1991, which lay down regimes for discharges of effluent which provide an effective means of pursuing the aims of the directive, and which provide for rules and authorisations of the kind provided for in the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. In the Government's view, national rules of this kind are discharge consents under Chapter II of Part III of the Water Resources Act 1991 or Part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 in Scotland (pollution of controlled waters); and consents under Chapter III of Part IV of the Water Industry Act 1991 (consent for discharge of trade effluent into a public sewer).

It follows that, where effluent is being subjected to biological or physico-chemical treatment in circumstances where these criteria are met, the operation of the treatment plant does not require a waste management licence under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

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