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12 Oct 1998 : Column WA89

Written Answers

Monday, 12th October 1998.

Russian Passport Processing

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider taking steps to withdraw work permits or visas issued to Russian consular staff who wilfully delay the re-issuing of Russian citizens' passports in London, or make compulsory charges to applicants for renewal of passports for typing the applications submitted.[HL3310]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): This is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government. The operation of the Russian Embassy Consular Division and the requirements of Russian nationality law are matters solely for the Government of the Russian Federation.

Prison Sentences: Alternatives

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

    Whether they will give effect to the recommendations of the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs dated 28 July 1998 on Alternatives to Prison Sentences.[HL3323]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government welcome the Report of the Home Affairs Committee's Inquiry into Alternatives to Prison Sentences. We believe that the courts should have available to them an effective range of sentencing options and the Committee's report contributes towards realising this aim.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary and I are considering all the Committee's recommendations very carefully and when we have done so we shall publish our response. Many of the recommendations endorse action which the Government are already taking.

Institute for Public Policy Research

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What tax relief is given in relation to donations or contributions to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR); and whether they will provide a list of trustees covering the past five years.[HL3282]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Institute for Public Policy Research is a registered charity. As such, it is exempt from tax on its charitable activities and can claim tax relief on its charitable donations. Donors can also claim further relief when they are eligible.

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The names of the trustees of registered charities, including the Institute for Public Policy Research, are available from records held by the Charity Commission.

The following have been trustees in the past five years:

    Lady Amos

    Professor A. Atkinson

    Professor P. Bateson

    Professor K. Bhattacharyya

    R. Bickerstaffe

    Lady Blackstone

    Lord Brooke

    A. Christopher

    J. Church

    C. Clarke

    J. Cornford

    Lord Donoghue

    Lord Eatwell

    J. Edmonds

    Sir D. Forman

    R. Gavron

    Professor A. Giddens

    P. Hewitt

    Lord Hollick

    P. Hughes

    Sir J. Isaacs

    A. Jinkinson

    Professor D. Marquand

    Professor B. Parekh

    G. Rebuck

    E. Rothschild

    J. Royall

    T. Sawyer

    Lady Symons

Earl Soham Borehole

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total cost to public funds, and the date of completion, of the River Deben augmentation borehole at Earl Soham in Suffolk; what volume of water was abstracted from it during its first six months of operation; and what estimate can be made of the fall in the water table to date which has resulted from its operation.[HL3308]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The cost to public funds to date of the Earl Soham development has been £120,000 and the abstraction licence, effectively the date of completion, was authorised in February 1998. Two hundred and sixty thousand cubic metres of water were abstracted from the borehole in the first six months of operation. The borehole has been operated intermittently

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so far and therefore, at this stage, it is difficult to assess the actual impact on the natural water table. Water level data are being collected and analysed and these will be assessed against data representing the natural water table in the area. The 10-year monitoring programme, associated with the time-limited licence, is designed to establish the long term environmental impact of the abstraction.

Land Protection

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to promote the co-ordination and consistency of land protection measures and policy in the interests of the environment, recreation and the countryside.[HL3321]

Lord Whitty: Protection of land from inappropriate development is provided for by the land use planning system. National planning policy in England in respect of protection of the countryside is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Notes 2 (green belts), 7 (the countryside) and 9 (nature conservation) and guidance is similarly issued in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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New Housing: CPRE Study

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the publication Hungry Housing produced by the Council for the Protection of Rural England; what conclusions they have drawn; and what action they are consequently promoting.[HL3320]

Lord Whitty: The Government share the CPRE's wish to promote more sustainable development as set out in their publication, Hungry Housing. The Government have set a national target that, within 10 years, 60 per cent. of new homes should be built on previously developed land. We are revising planning policy guidance on housing and transport with the aims of making better use of land resources and encouraging less dependence on car usage. We have consulted widely in advance of publishing a revised Sustainable Development Strategy and our consultation has specifically addressed the need for more sustainable construction. We have also recently issued a consultation document about the continued conservation of our most important wildlife sites. These are only some of the measures which the Government have taken which address the CPRE's concerns.

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