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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Paragraphs 1497 to 1513 of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Constitution (Cmnd 5460) set out the limited circumstances in which, in its view, the United Kingdom would be justified in using its paramount powers to legislate for the Islands without their consent. Legislation on taxation matters has always taken the form of laws enacted by the Island legislatures. The Channel Islands and Isle of Man are not subject to European Union instruments on taxation.
(a) England; and
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Scottish Office in Scotland administer freight facilities grants which are designed to assist with the additional capital costs associated with transferring freight from road to rail. For 1999-2000 there is a budget of up to £50 million for freight grants in England and £6 million in Scotland.
Aside from freight grants, funding for rail freight terminals could be provided from a number of sources. These include government departments, the European Commission and Regional Development Agencies (or in Scotland, Local Enterprise Companies). Regional Development Agencies would have the powers to provide such funding, but have no budgets specifically for this purpose.
Lord Whitty: As part of its normal process for appraising road schemes, the Highways Agency has consulted widely with the relevant statutory bodies and amenity groups and has carried out extensive environmental assessments during the development of the A.303 Stonehenge Improvement scheme. Environmental survey work, including archaeological and landscape surveys, has taken place since 1991.
The announcement of the preferred route will be made this Friday, 25 June. However the scheme will be subject to further environmental assessment and consultation with statutory bodies and others prior to publication of the full Environmental Impact Assessment along with the necessary draft statutory orders which, if confirmed, would authorise construction of the project.
EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, has the primary co-ordinating role in the field of air traffic management in Europe, and works with states to identify airspace or airports where additional capacity is needed in the short term. Strategic vision is provided in EUROCONTROL's
Lord Whitty: The Highways Agency is aware of the proposals put forward by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) in its January 1997 report: Tunnel Vision--The Future Role of Tunnels in Transport Infrastructure.
This included areas such as funding from alternative sources, improved systems of investment appraisal, giving greater weight to environmental considerations and the issue of policy about when road and rail tunnels could be used to protect a wider range of environmental assets.
A new approach was developed to the appraisal (NATA) of different solutions to transport problems as part of our 1998 trunk road review. The approach appraises different solutions against the Government's five criteria of accessibility, safety, economy, environment and integration.
This approach was used to assess the A.303 proposals at Stonehenge. We are proceeding with the road scheme as an exceptional environmental scheme following the 1998 review. The scheme includes a 2 km section of cut and cover tunnel and uniquely will be financed with at least a third contribution from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage, reflecting the status of Stonehenge as an important part of the World Heritage Site.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): We have published the report of the Quinquennial Review of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA). Copies have been placed in the Library. The review confirms that the MCA is a world leader in its field, with an international reputation for professional excellence. It has performed well against its targets, and has secured more work
Baroness Hayman: The terms of office of the chairmen of the eight National Health Service regions end on 1 November 1999. Professor Alasdair Breckenridge has already agreed to stand down to concentrate on his role as chairman of the Committee on the Safety of Medicines. Philip Hammersley, chairman of Trent Region, has indicated that he does not wish to be considered for reappointment.
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