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Porpoises: Protection

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The intentional killing, capture or injury of all cetaceans is prohibited by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The impact of fishing nets on harbour porpoise populations and their demographics around British shores has yet to be fully verified. The United Kingdom is currently participating in an EU sponsored multinational project which is investigating the way in which the risk of all marine mammal by-catch varies with gear type, environmental factors and season. It is hoped that the project will develop a framework for assessing the relative costs and benefits of gear modifications and area closures for reducing by-catch.

Water Abstraction: Licence Information

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Earl Ferrers: The Environment Agency has provided the following information covering the period since 1 April 1996 in respect of England and Wales:

Surface waterGroundwater
Abstraction licence applications rejected: 24 12
Abstraction licences withdrawn: (includes expired, revoked and voluntarily withdrawn licences) 458 363
Abstraction licences modified: (includes licences where succession rights were exercised) 609 694

The number of rejections is small because applicants are advised of likely rejection prior to formal application. Applicants may then decide not to proceed to avoid incurring advertising and application expenses.

Power Stations

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which are the 20 largest electricity generating stations and which are the 20 largest commercial wind farms in the United Kingdom, indicating for each the type of fuel, the output of electricity, the location and the total acreage of land occupied.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): Available information on all power stations in the United Kingdom over 1 MW is published in the Energy Report 1996. Appendix 2 gives basic details of the company name, the station name, the fuel, the capacity and the year of commissioning, and the department is currently in the process of updating it. Detail of acreage occupied by power stations is not available.

ECSC Products: Anti-Dumping Duties Review

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to the European Community's anti-dumping duties imposed by Commission Decisions 67/94/ECSC and 1751/94/ECSC on imports of pig iron from Brazil, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine, (a) whether they have carried out any studies as to the cost of these measures to United Kingdom iron foundries and manufacturing industry, and, if not, whether they will do so; (b) whether they support the measures, and, if so, why; and (c) if not, what measures, if any, they propose to take to have these decisions withdrawn.

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Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: On 10 April 1996, the European Commission initiated a review of the anti-dumping duties imposed by Commission Decisions 67/94/ECSC and 1751/94/ECSC (and also 55/96/ECSC covering the Czech Republic). The review will assess the state of the EU pig iron market and the impact on it of the duties, as the basis for a decision on whether or not they should be prolonged. When consulted about the original imposition of the duties, a majority of member states--including the UK--opposed them because the Commission had failed to take account of user interests. However, under the ECSC treaty, the Commission has sole competence to impose or prolong anti-dumping measures on ECSC products.

Cotton Greycloth: Anti-Dumping Duties Review

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to the European Community's provisional anti-dumping duties imposed under Commission Regulation 2208/96 on imports of grey cotton fabrics from China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey, (a) whether they have carried out any studies as to the regulation's likely impact on employment in the United Kingdom textile industry, and if not whether they will do so, (b) whether they support the measures, and if so why, and (c), if not, what measures, if any, they propose to take to have the regulations withdrawn.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: When Sir Leon Brittan announced the imposition of the current, provisional anti-dumping duties on cotton greycloth on 21 November 1996, he committed the Commission to carrying out a full assessment of their likely effects on users of the product in the EU textile finishing industry. The results of the assessment have only recently been put to member states as the basis for a decision on whether the duties should be made definitive. That decision will be taken by a simple majority vote of member states. The Government will vote against any proposal for definitive duties and will encourage others to do so as well.

Health Service: Recruitment and Retention

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list by region those National Health Service trusts which have reported shortages of (a) psychiatrists, (b) psychiatric hospital nurses and (c) community mental nurses; and what central initiative they propose to improve recruitment and retention of these professionals.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The information is not available centrally. We accept the view of the 1997 review body for nursing that, while

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there is at present no general shortage of nursing staff, healthcare employers need strategies to improve recruitment and retention. Planning guidance issued by the National Health Service Executive in June 1996 recognised the need for employers to improve their recruitment and retention through the spread of good employment practices such as flexible working arrangements, return to practice courses and continuing professional development. A £32 million package of measures was announced on 29 January 1997 to enhance existing policies concerned with recruitment and retention and to encourage the return of trained nurses back to the health service.

In addition, the Government accepted the specialist workforce advisory group's recommendation to increase the number of higher specialist trainees in 1997-98 by a total of 850; £4.5 million will fund a minimum of 250 new training placements in the priority specialties which include psychiatry (mental illness), forensic psychiatry and psychotherapy. We are also working closely with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to take forward a range of initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of psychiatrists. We shall be publishing shortly the report of a joint working party and the proceedings of a conference between the NHS Executive and the Royal College, held in November 1996, where my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health outlined a series of plans to increase the numbers of psychiatrists.

Parking on Horse Guards Parade and Mall North Horseride

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What categories of users are permitted to park cars in (a) Horse Guards Parade; and (b) beside the Mall, who is responsible for allocating parking permits, and whether there are any plans to alter such arrangements.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): Responsibility for the subject of this question has been 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 Berkeley from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, dated 18 March 1997.

I have been asked by the Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage to reply to your Parliamentary Question about parking on Horse Guards Parade and the Mall North Horseride.

Vehicles are no longer permitted to park on Horse Guards Parade, except where there is an unavoidable operational need to do so.

Persons requiring a car for official Government business, and who regularly work unsocial hours or are disabled, are permitted to park on the Mall North Horseride. Departments are responsible for considering

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applications from their staff against these criteria and apply to the Royal Parks Agency who issue the passes.

There are no plans to alter the present arrangements.

Asylum Seekers: Application Forms

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to replace the current application forms for foreign nationals wishing to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The current application forms expire on 14 April 1997. Revised versions of the six existing forms have been prescribed together with a new form for those applying for an extension of stay or indefinite leave to remain following the refusal of asylum. These will be valid until 14 April 1998. From today until 14 April 1997 applications may be made on either the newly prescribed forms or the existing versions. Only the newly prescribed versions may be used for applications made on or after 15 April 1997. The new forms will be available shortly from the Application Forms Unit (0181 760 2233) and copies have been placed in the Library.

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