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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Local authorities carry out a biannual count of caravans occupied by "gypsies", defined in statute as "persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin . . . ". At the time of the latest published count in England in July 1998, there were 317 caravans occupied by gypsies on privately owned sites without planning permission, on which local authorities have indicated that they are not currently intending to take planning enforcement action.
Lord Whitty: Copies of these details for England and Wales have been placed in the House Library. No details are available yet for December 1998. There were no appeals against refusal of planning permission for gypsy sites decided in the years 1993 to 1998 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Except for England, this is a matter for which the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and the Welsh Assembly will be responsible after devolution.
What organisations have been consulted in connection with the study of capacity of the West Coast Main Line; and what is the expected completion date of the study; and[HL951]
Whether they intend to publish the capacity study of the West Coast Main Line.[HL952]
Whether sea, rail, road and air transport, as well as cycling and walking, will be included in the transport safety review; and[HL986]
In carrying out their transport safety review, what plans they have to consult with operators, customers and users of transport.[HL987]
Lord Whitty: I refer my noble friend to the reply I gave to my noble friend Lord Williams of Elvel on 9 December 1998 (WA 98-99), in which I set out the terms of reference of the review, and explained that it would embrace all the transport modes and that there would be a consultation in the Spring.
I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by the Economic Secretary (Ms Hewitt) on 19 November (Official Report, col. 839) which set out the UK Government's position on the openness of the international financial institutions.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The IMF is due to release two suspended tranches of an existing loan as soon as the Government of Zimbabwe satisfy two prior actions. Firstly, the Government must make public a comprehensive and authoritative statement on land reform, and, secondly, they must show that military expenditures associated with the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be met within the defence provision of the 1999 budget.
No new IMF lending to Zimbabwe is planned for the immediate future. Any such loans would be subject to customary IMF consideration of the economic performance and governance of the country. The UK Government believe that high standards of governance are essential to the success of economic reform programmes and to ensure that economic benefits are shared by all. We welcome the increased emphasis that the fund now places on governance issues, and will continue to argue that measures to promote good governance should be a condition of IMF programmes.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No recent discussions have taken place with the Dutch Government over the "Amsterdam" designated wreck site at Hastings. The "Amsterdam" is the property of the Dutch Government which is therefore primarily responsible for decisions about the site's future. The Department for Culture,
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): This information is included in the report of a survey of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales undertaken by the Office for National Statistics for the Department of Health, a copy of which was placed in the Library on publication in October 1998.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The ban on visiting will apply only to the visitor who is found to be bringing drugs into the prison. Other visitors will be free to continue to make visits to the prisoner but, if the prisoner is known or believed to be involved in bringing in drugs, these visits will for a period be held in closed or non-contact conditions. In considering whether or not to impose a ban and in determining the duration of a ban, governors will take into account the rights of the prisoner and visitors to respect for their family life.
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