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Alkali &c. Works Regulation Act 1906

Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provided for the repeal of the 1906 Alkali Act. I signed on 28th November a commencement order giving effect to this repeal, coming into force on 16th December.

The repeal of this Act marks the end of a chapter of national industrial air pollution legislation which dates back to the first Alkali Act of 1863. The systems of Integrated Pollution Control and Local Air Pollution Control, which are implemented under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, supersede the old legislation.

These two new systems are now fully operational, with well over 10,000 industrial processes in England and Wales subject to their control. The repeal of the Alkali Act is a reflection of that success.

This is a further example of the Government's intention to remove redundant legislation from the statute books. This commencement order will have the effect of repealing not only the 1906 Act, but also three separate sets of regulations, and provisions in two other Acts.

Leeds Supertram Scheme

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): Bids for funding Leeds Supertram under the Government's Capital Challenge Scheme and from my department's local transport resources are currently being considered. The results will be announced shortly before Christmas.

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Social Affairs Council, 2nd December

Lord Teviot asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the EU Social Affairs Council on 2nd December.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: The UK was represented by the UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union at the Social Affairs Council on 2nd December. No votes were taken.

The Joint Social Affairs Council, ECOFIN and Commission Report on Employment was approved for submission to the Dublin European Council. The proposal for the establishment of an Employment and Labour Market Committee was agreed unanimously and agreement in principle was reached on a number of amendments to Directive 1408/71 on social security for migrant workers, although final adoption will await the opinion of the European Parliament. The directive on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social security schemes was agreed unanimously.

A recommendation on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process and resolutions on mainstreaming equal opportunities for men and women into the European Social Funds, equality of opportunity for people with disabilities and on the role of social protection in the fight against unemployment were all agreed unanimously.

There was a political discussion, but no agreement, on a draft directive amending the 1976 Equal Treatment Directive to take into account the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the Kalanke case.

There were a series of presentations: on the proposed Chemical Agents Directive; the conclusions on lifelong learning adopted at the Education Council; a Commission Communication on Information and Consultation of Workers; a Commission Communication on the Social Dialogue; a French paper on initiatives to follow up President Chirac's Memorandum on a European Social Model; and on a Commission Report on Cohesion.

The other member states discussed, but did not reach agreement on, the draft directive on the reversal of the burden of proof in sex discrimination cases, which is being taken forward under their Agreement on Social Policy and which will not apply in the UK.

3 Dec 1996 : Column WA51

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