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26 Jun 1997 : Column WA181

Written Answers

Thursday, 26th June 1997.

Mali: Conflict Prevention Work by UN

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the conflict prevention in Mali since the "Pacte Nationale" peace agreement of 1992; and whether they will draw attention to the work of the United Nations in that country in disarming and resettling combatants, in sustainable development and in restoring civil society, as a mode for other regions of conflict.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We are aware of, and commend, the UN's work on conflict prevention in Mali. We welcome the recent progress in implementing the Pacte Nationale, which has helped bring a degree of stability to Northern Mali. Malian refugees are returning to the area.

We shall draw attention to the UN's work in Mali as a model for other areas whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Mr. Richard Holbrooke: Cyprus Negotiations

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States government have discussed with them their decision to appoint Mr. Richard Holbrooke to conduct part-time negotiations within Cyprus, and whether they welcome this development.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have discussed Mr. Holbrooke's appointment, which we welcome, with both him and the United States government.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the present state of affairs in Bosnia and the extent to which (a) the military, and (b) the political, aspirations enshrined in the Dayton Agreement, negotiated by Mr. Richard Holbrooke, have been secured.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The military aspects of the Bosnian Peace agreement have been implemented. On the civilian side, elections have been held and common institutions established. Reconstruction is under way. A quarter of a million refugees and displaced persons have returned to their homes. The international community is pressing Bosnia's leaders to intensify their efforts to meet their obligations under the Peace Agreement in full.

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Greece and Turkey: Naval Exercises with Israel

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the governments of Greece and of Turkey have discussed with fellow members of NATO their reported decisions to undertake naval exercises with Israel, and if so what is Her Majesty's Government's understanding about who is to pay for these exercises.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have not held such discussions ourselves, and are not aware of any with other NATO allies.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Secretary General of NATO has been correctly reported as proposing that, having decided to expand eastwards, NATO should next expand southwards and into the Middle East, and if so whether this development has been agreed within the NATO Council.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No. But the Secretary General has acknowledged the importance of the dialogue between NATO and a number of Mediterranean countries which has been under way for some time, and which we also support.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States Administration wants NATO to have a formal or informal "strategic relationship" with Israel, and if this has been discussed either bilaterally between them and the US Administration, or within NATO.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is for the US Government to comment on its views on the relationship between NATO and Israel, and any discussions it has held with the Government of Israel. There has been no discussion of this matter within NATO.

Millennium Exhibition

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the case that the public funding of the Millennium Exhibition at Greenwich is conditional upon 50 per cent. of the cost being met by private sponsorship; and, if the necessary private sponsorship is not raised, whether they will seek to move the exhibition to Birmingham, where the required private sponsorship may be forthcoming.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Funding of the Exhibition at Greenwich from National Lottery proceeds is not conditional upon 50 per cent. of the cost being

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met by private sponsorship, although we are confident that the private sector will contribute substantially to the costs of the exhibition.

The recently completed review did not consider moving the Millennium Exhibition to Birmingham or any other site. In announcing his support for the exhibition on 19 June, the Prime Minister said that the exhibition must be a truly national event, with links across the whole of the UK.

Electromagnetic Fields and Health: Research

Lord Cochrane of Cults asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What research is now being done to establish whether a causal link exists between low level exposure to electromagnetic fields and cancer

    (a) in the presence of radon or its decay products; and

    (b) in any other circumstance.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): A number of universities and research institutes are undertaking electromagnetic field (EMF) and health related research. Among these is an investigation of any possible radon-EMF link by researchers at the University of Bristol. The Department of Health is funding four projects and considering others in its current programme of applications for funding. In addition, the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has its own programme of research.

The department will continue to monitor the results of all research closely, and to maintain its support for research in these areas, consulting NRPB and the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment as necessary.


Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the system of curfews for children in Germany; if so, whether they agree that these curfews are effective; and whether they will introduce such curfews in the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): We have no detailed information about the curfew arrangements in Germany. In England and Wales, curfew orders for people aged 16 years and older already exist, and operate using electronic monitoring in three trial areas: Berkshire, Greater Manchester and Norfolk. An interim evaluation report published in December 1996 showed that the use of electronic monitoring had been effective. Section 43 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 provides for the extension of these orders to 10 to 15 year-olds and we are currently considering whether, and if so when, this provision should be

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brought into force. We are also developing proposals for a child protection order which will allow the introduction of child protection curfews on a local basis so as to protect children who are on the streets at night without supervision and to ensure that parents face their responsibilities.

Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, Section 2: Implementation

Lord Ackner asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to bring into force Section 2 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997; and, if they are considering doing so, when they expect to reach a decision.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We intend to implement Section 2 as soon as possible. The Government are currently considering the relevant provisions of the Crime (Sentences) Act against the need to ensure that sufficient provision is available within the Prison Service. We will announce which provisions we intend to implement, and when, as part of a wider package of measures reflecting our approach to sentencing.

Speed Camera Operating Costs

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are any plans for police forces to be allowed to recoup some of the costs they incur in operating speed cameras from motorists caught by these cameras.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are no such plans. Hypothecating the revenue from speeding fines would result in expenditure on traffic enforcement being determined by the income generated, rather than the relative priority of the activity.

In the light of the Home Office's study of the cost benefit analysis of traffic light and speed cameras we have decided to examine the funding arrangements for the cameras and consider what more might be done.

Young Offenders: Motivation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware that a quarter of young offenders surveyed in the Audit Commission report Misspent Youth (1996) cited "lack of money" as a reason for offending; whether they have any further knowledge of the extent and causes of this lack of money; and whether they are in a position to say how far this finding measures greed, and how far it measures destitution.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Question relates to a survey of 103 young people on supervision orders undertaken by the Audit Commission for its report Misspent Youth, which the Government has had the

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opportunity to study. The survey sought to determine, among other things, the main reasons young offenders gave for their behaviour. The survey showed that 24 per cent. gave "no money" as a reason, while a further 9 per cent. said they offended because of "greed and excitement", but it did not comment on destitution.

Other research (Graham and Bowling, Young People and Crime, Home Office Research Study No 145) has confirmed that key factors related to juvenile criminality are:

    being brought up by a criminal parent or parents;

    living in a family with multiple problems;

    experiencing poor parenting and a lack of supervision;

    poor discipline in the family and at school;

    playing truant;

    associating with delinquent friends; and

    having brothers and sisters who offend.

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