Mr. Jason Pope
Lord Evans of Watford asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have contracted UNITA in order to obtain information about Jason Pope, a British citizen missing in Angola.[HL267]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As an exception, and for the humanitarian purpose of obtaining information about the whereabouts and welfare of Jason Pope, we have sought and obtained an exception to paragraph 12(a) of Security Council Resolution 1173. The United Nations Angola Sanctions Committee has granted this exemption to enable our Embassy in Luanda to contact UNITA in areas of Angola not under state administration. A full report of these contacts will be supplied to the Committee.
Our Embassy in Luanda is already in contact with UNITA representatives in Luanda for the same purpose. We have also authorised our Embassy in Washington to approach the UNITA representative in Washington for assistance. Such contacts are not prohibited under UNSCR 1173.
Human Rights Declaration: Fiftieth Anniversary Commemoration
Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:
What their plans are to commemorate the
50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[HL304]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Five decades on, the Declaration remains a common standard of achievement for all nations and all people. There can be no better way of commemorating the 50th Anniversary than reaffirming our commitment to speak up for the rights it sets out. Those rights are universal. They apply equally to all people--women, children and men.
Together with many non-governmental organisations, we have taken part in many events throughout the year,
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including: conferences, seminars and projects to raise the awareness of human rights issues:
the Foreign Secretary delivered a keynote speech at Amnesty International's Human Rights Festival in October, in which he announced a number of important initiatives, including a worldwide lobbying campaign against the use of torture.
the Minister of State (Tony Lloyd) addressed a Foreign Office-sponsored Anniversary seminar at Wilton Park with over 60 participants from some 30 countries.
We are also taking a full part in today's celebrations to mark the Anniversary throughout the world:
the Foreign Secretary attended a national commemoration service in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal at Westminster Abbey earlier this afternoon;
the Minister of State (Tony Lloyd) hosted a reception this afternoon to mark the anniversary;
the Development Secretary is in New York to address a special session to the UN General Assembly today;
the Minister of State (Joyce Quin) is attending today's EU commemorative event in Vienna, where the Presidency will issue a Declaration, including a joint UK/German proposal to publish an annual EU Human Rights Report.
Independent Schools: Registration and Inspection
Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:
What arrangements there are for independent schools when they first seek registration; and how often on average existing independent schools are inspected.[HL196]
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Independent schools in England which provide full time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age must register provisionally with the Department for Education and Employment within one month of opening. They are inspected by HMI from OFSTED, by the fire brigade, and by the local authority social services department in the case of a boarding school, to ensure that they meet the statutory requirements for final registration. Thereafter, finally registered schools are inspected by HMI on a five to six year cycle, unless signs of failings necessitate more frequent monitoring. New arrangements will apply from 1999 for regular inspection with published reports for schools which are members of an Independent Schools Council association.
There are some differences in the registration and inspection arrangements for independent schools elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
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Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct: Annual Report
Baroness Goudie asked Her Majesty's Government:
When the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct intends to publish its seventh annual report.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct has today published its seventh annual report, and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Roads Review: Targeted Programme of Improvements
Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether progress has been made since the roads review on the targeted programme of improvements and the programme of studies.[HL271]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): I am happy to announce today that we are able to provide further details of the construction programme for the schemes included in our targeted programme of improvements listed in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England.
As previously stated by my right honourable friend the Minister for Transport (Official Report, Commons; col. 1738, 31 July 1998), all the schemes listed in the TPI will definitely start within the next seven years, subject only to the completion of any outstanding statutory procedures.
For those schemes where all the statutory procedures have been completed, the following are the planned start of works dates. Final confirmation of individual start dates within each year will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the necessary contract process.
Whitfield Turn-Brackley Hatch
Hedon Road, Hull Improvement
Rushden and Higham Ferrers Bypass
Wadesmill-Colliers End Bypass
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Rounham Heath to Attleborough
Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass
J 5-8 (formerly M63 J 6-9 Widening)
We propose to take forward the following five schemes under design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) contracts. These provide bidders with the flexibility to decide their own start dates as a means of producing better value for money. In line with our new objectives for trunk roads the proposed payment mechanisms for these schemes will incentivise efficient road operation and will include rewarding improved safety and good service to buses and lorries. We will further keep under review the scope for additional public private partnerships to implement the TPI.
The DBFO schemes are:
Ferrybridge to Hook Moor
Wetherby to Walshford
The following three schemes, which we propose taking forward under DBFO contracts, are still subject to statutory procedures. The next statutory procedures for these schemes, together with the planned dates, are:
Bean-Cobham Widening Phase 2
(A2/A282 Dartford Improvement
I am not yet in a position to announce the final start of works dates for the remaining schemes listed in the TPI. I am, however, able to announce the next statutory procedure for the remaining schemes where applicable.
Stonehenge (Public Consultation)
Alvaston (Order Publication)
Chieveley/M4 J13 Improvement
(Order Publication--revised CPO)
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Bean-Cobham Widening Phase 1
City Road/Stoke Road Junctions
Rookery Crossroads Grade Separated
Junction (Order Publication)
Great Barford Bypass (Order Publication)
At the same time as the TPI was published, a further seven schemes were listed which were not sufficiently advanced to be considered for the TPI but which are to be progressed through their statutory procedures and, if endorsed as a result of the regional planning guidance procedure process, will be taken forward without delay, subject only to the availability of funds. They are, with dates of the next statutory procedure:
Bodmin-Indian Queens Improvement
Melton Grade Separated Junction
Tollbar End Improvement
Temple Sowerby Bypass & Imp.
at Winderwath (Order Publication)
In A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England we also proposed a programme of studies to address the most urgent problems on the trunk road network not addressed by schemes in the TPI. My department is today beginning a consultation exercise with regional planning bodies to agree the study programme and to seek views in particular on the timing of the studies. The provisional programme of studies is as follows:
Tranche one multi-modal studies: West Midlands to North West Conurbation; London Orbital; South West Yorkshire Motorway box; Tyneside; West Midlands Area; Access to Hastings; London to South West and South Wales; North-South Movements in East Midlands; and South East Manchester.
Work to begin in spring 1999.
Tranche two multi-modal studies: Cambridge
to Huntingdon, A453 (M1-Nottingham); Southampton to Folkestone; Hull; London to South
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Midlands; West Midlands to Nottingham; London to Reading.
The start date for these studies will depend on the progress of tranche one studies in each region.
Roads-based studies: A1 Bramham to Barton; Norwich to Great Yarmouth; A5 Shrewsbury to Welsh Border; A38 Derby Junctions; M1 Junction 19; A3 Hindhead; Deeside Park Junctions; M40/A46 Longbridge roundabout; A419 Blunsdon; A66 Safety study.
We intend to begin these within the next two years.
A copy of the consultation document will be placed in the Library.