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9mm Centrefire Weapons and Ammunition

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): In general, 9mm centrefire ammunition is only used with pistols. Certain self-loading carbines and sub-machine guns also take this ammunition, but these are prohibited weapons and held legally only by the armed forces and the police.

As the 9mm cartridge was introduced in 1903, it is expected that a number of pistols of this calibre will fall within the scope of Section 6(3) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, as firearms of "historic interest" which may be kept as Section 1 weapons at secure sites designated by the Secretary of State. A small number of higher calibre handguns kept for purposes specifically exempted under the 1997 Act--for example, those held in connection with the humane killing of animals--will be Section 1 weapons and may include those chambered for 9mm ammunition.

The Government anticipate that, following the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, the number of legally held Section 1 weapons chambered for 9mm centrefire ammunition will be very small.

Royal Parks: Facilities for Cyclists

Lord Taverne asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): Responsibility for the subject of this question has been

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delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Taverne from the Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, Mr. David Welch, dated 5 March 1997.

I have been asked by the Secretary of State for National Heritage to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what were the recommendations of the Royal Parks Review Committee regarding cycling in the Royal Parks and whether they have been implemented.

I have set out below the Review Group's recommendations and the progress that has been made on implementing them. All Royal Parks

    --Park regulations to be regularly enforced to create a climate of opinion in which cyclists keep to their designated routes.

Enforcement of the Royal Parks regulations is an ongoing process, and the Royal Parks Constabulary enforce the regulations against illegal cyclists as resources and operational requirements permit.

    --The needs and impact of cyclists should be reviewed at regular intervals.

The agency carried out a comprehensive review of cycling in the Royal Parks in 1994, consulting cycling organisations, local authorities and other interested parties. We carried out a separate consultation on whether to allow cycling in Kensington Gardens in 1995. Consultants have just carried out a safety audit of cycle tracks in Hyde Park for the agency's Health and Safety Committee.

    --Cycle tracks to be well marked, signposted and shown on maps at park entrances.

Cycle tracks in the Royal Parks are marked and, where appropriate, signposted. Maps at park entrances show where the cycle tracks are. Parks with cycle tracks have produced or are producing leaflets on where to cycle and good cycling practice. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

    --Present cycle tracks should be supplemented to create cycle tracks to complete routes around north and south edges of Kensington Gardens and the agency should investigate new north/south link.

Following consultation of interested parties in 1995, we concluded that we could not justify introducing cycling, which would radically affect the nature and use of Kensington Gardens, principally for the convenience of commuting cyclists. However, in Hyde Park an additional cycle route is currently being installed alongside West Carriage Drive.

    --Special attention to be paid to creating easier, safer links with other cycle routes, particularly between Hyde Park and other central London parks.

We accommodate cycle tracks where we can without inconveniencing or endangering other park users. We try to ensure that they link with existing cycle routes,

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though they do not always link directly with destinations outside the parks. We also discuss with neighbouring local authorities any proposals they have for cycle routes that might link with those in the parks. St. James's Park and Green Park

    --The agency should investigate the possibility of providing two cycle tracks, one linking Hyde Park Corner and Birdcage Walk, via the Queen Victoria Gardens, and one parallel to the Mall on the north side, then crossing the Mall and running alongside Horse Guards Road.

We have completed a cycle track along Constitution Hill from Hyde Park Corner to Queen Victoria Gardens. The scope for installing cycle routes in St. James's Park is severely limited by the number of people using the park and its status as the nation's premier ceremonial route. Greenwich Park

    --The agency should mark out a new cycle track between Vanbrugh Gate and St. Mary's Gate via Great Cross Avenue to link with another to be created along Blackheath Avenue and The Avenue.

This is to be included in the agency's Corporate Plan for completion in 1999-2000, subject to the Secretary of State's approval. Richmond Park

    --The cycleway circuit is an imaginative project which should be completed as soon as possible. Detailed design including signage, surface and crossings should respect the overriding quality of the rural environment.

The track, which was completed in 1996 and is already in use, will be officially opened in May. The track and its signage was designed with due regard to its rural setting in mind.

    --Regulations against the use of mountain bikes should be enforced.

All park regulations are enforced rigorously, subject to operational priorities and the availability of resources.

    --Park management should investigate the scope for cycle hire.

Cycle hire facilities have been introduced and it is planned to expand the service over the next two years.

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    --The creation of a cycle training centre or a racing circuit should not be allowed.

We would not consider such a proposal, which would be contrary to the tradition and character of a deer park and would be likely to endanger the cyclists, other park users and deer. Bushy Park

    --Cycle routes should be designated on Chestnut Avenue and Cobblers Walk and a recreational cycling circuit established using sections of these through routes and other suitable paths.

We have agreed these cycle tracks in principle and will install them as soon as resources permit.

    --Secure cycle racks should be provided in car parks and consideration given to the potential for cycle hire.

Cycle tracks will be provided as resources permit. We will consider proposals from people wishing to set up cycle hire facilities on a franchise basis, like those in Richmond Park, once the cycle tracks have been installed.

Fluoridation of Water

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which research reports they rely on to support (a) the effectiveness and (b) the safety of water fluoridation; and

    Whether they study all research findings on fluoridation as they are published worldwide, and, if so, by what means.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Government advisors on fluoridation regularly monitor the scientific literature and, if required, will evaluate any research likely to be relevant to the safety of water fluoridation.

It is not possible to provide a full list of scientific publications used in support of the Government's policy of water fluoridation, given that the policy is based on advice obtained from a variety of sources, some external to the Department of Health, each with its own area of expertise and source material on fluoridation.

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