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Cemmaes "B" Windfarm

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The reasons for the decision are set out in a Welsh Office letter of 16 March 1999 a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Once a decision has been issued it is final and it would not be appropriate for further comment to be made on the merits of the decision or the reasons for it. Following the transfer of functions, such issues will be a matter for the National Assembly.

Armed Forces: Medical Posts of Consultant Status

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The number of medical posts of consultant status and of those eligible to be deployed on military operations at 1 March 1999 for the following specialties are:

Number of PostsNumber Deployable
Orthopaedic Surgeons2913
Accident & Emergency233
Burns & Plastics102

The number of consultant posts, based on the Strategic Defence Review, is still being finalised and includes those posts required to undertake continuing tasks at home establishments. Additionally, on military operations vacant consultant posts can be filled by specialist registrars who are within two years of becoming accredited consultants.

Iraq: Airspace

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What, in international law, is the status (a) of Iraq airspace and (b) of the air defence systems which American and British aircraft have been attacking.[HL1679]

Lord Gilbert: Iraq enjoys sovereignty over her airspace. The coalition's enforcement of the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq is, however, fully justified in international law. The zones were established in April 1991 for the north and August 1992 for the south in response to a situation of overwhelming humanitarian necessity and in support of UNSCR688, which demanded an end to the repression of the Kurds in the north and the marsh Arabs in the south. Coalition aircraft help to protect these people by ensuring that Iraqi aircraft are unable to fly north of the 36th parallel and south of the 33rd parallel. Under international law, coalition aircraft carrying out this mission have the right to defend themselves against any imminent threat from Iraq's air defence network.

Millennium Volunteers Programme

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Millennium Volunteers (MV) Ltd., company is up and running; and what it has achieved to date; and[HL2037]

    Who is the chairman of the Millennium Volunteers (MV) Ltd.; and what is his salary.[HL2038]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The Government decided to run the Millennium Volunteers programme from within the department so a company has not been set up for that purpose. In addition to the £12.75 million from the windfall levy, we have made available a further £35 million for Millennium Volunteers in England. Thirteen demonstration projects

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have already started and a bidding round of £20 million was launched in January.

No chairman had therefore been appointed for Millennium Volunteers. However, Anne Weinstock, Chief Executive of Rathbone CI, has been seconded to the department as the director of the Millennium Volunteers Unit within the department.

Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish the results of their review of the vaccine damage compensation scheme.[HL1973]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The current vaccine damage payment is not compensation but is designed to ease the present and future burdens of those suffering from vaccine damage and their families.

We have had meetings with members of the lobby and the All-Party Group on Vaccine Damage and consideration is still being given to whether and how changes can be made to the existing scheme. An announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Housing Benefit: Help with Mortgage Interest

Lord Layton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will continue to differentiate between "old" and "new" mortgages in calculating qualifying periods for housing benefit; and[HL2059]

    Whether they intend to lengthen the qualifying periods of both "old" and "new" mortgages for housing benefit.[HL2060]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Help with mortgage interest is only available through income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance. We have no plans to change the current qualifying periods at present.

EU Legislation: End-of-life Electronic Equipment

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the reference numbers of any present or proposed European Union legislation which might affect end-of-life electronic equipment in the United Kingdom; what is the state of play of that legislation; and what is their estimate of its cost and benefit to the United Kingdom.[HL2116]

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The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): At present, there is no European Union legislation targeting end-of-life electronic equipment. However, the Waste Management Unit in the European Commission's Environment Directorate-General has circulated an informal second draft of a proposal for a Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment, dated 27 July 1998.

The proposal could be adopted by the European Commission later this year, and it would then be the subject of negotiation by EC member states and the European Parliament.

The DTI has commissioned work to investigate the likely costs and benefits to the UK of this proposal, and we will be evaluating the results in due course.

EU Structural Fund Status

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a map showing the local authorities which will benefit from Objective 1 European Union Structural Fund status recently agreed in Berlin.[HL2057]

Lord Simon of Highbury: The Government will not be publishing a map in the immediate future showing the local authorities which will benefit from Objective 1 European Union Structural Fund from the year 2000 to 2006. The map that is eventually published will show the Objective 1 and 2 areas at a higher level, i.e. using county boundaries. Local authorities are measured at NUTS IV. A structural fund map showing NUTS IV (unitary authority) and NUTS V level (ward) would be far too detailed to be comprehensible. However, in the meantime this information can be obtained from the Office of National Statistics press release dated 29 June 1998 on new NUTS areas in the UK.

WTO Adjudications

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether World Trade Organisation adjudicators may take democratic, social or environmental criteria into account in their adjudications; and, if not, what steps are being taken to ensure that they should.[HL2008]

Lord Simon of Highbury: In each case, WTO panels, the appellate body and arbitrators base their rulings on relevant WTO rules which have been agreed by WTO member governments by consensus. New rules must also be agreed by consensus. At present there is no consensus for social criteria. There are some environmental criteria in WTO agreements, including in GATT Article XX, which are taken into account. The UK and the EU are pressing for further work on the interaction between WTO rules and environmental policies as part of the next WTO round of trade negotiations.

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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the World Trade Organisation's adjudications are immune from lobbying by interested parties; and, if so, how this immunity is secured.[HL2007]

Lord Simon of Highbury: Only parties to the dispute (plaintiff and defendant) and those WTO member governments who have registered an interest as a third party can be party to any WTO panel. Third party submissions are generally on points of law and do not have to state a position in favour of either the plaintiff or defendant. Panel proceedings are confidential and rulings must be made in line with the WTO's rules, as must appellate body rulings. The rules of procedure for panels and appellate bodies, which can be found in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (which is publicly available), provide for the integrity of those processes.

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