Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Paraguayan Chaco Project

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: We continue to be concerned about the progress on the settlement of land claims, and I can assure the noble Lord that we will be insisting that the evaluation report of the European Union's Sustainable Development in the Paraguayan Chaco project be discussed at the ALA meeting this month. In advance of this meeting, we are asking other member states for their views on this report and what, in their considered opinion, the next course of action should be. Our efforts will be directed towards the best outcome for the indigenous peoples. The possibility of a suspension will be looked at in this light.

Kosovo Conflict

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The economic and political effects of the air campaign were that Serb military and paramilitary forces were forced to withdraw from Kosovo. The health effects of the conflict in Kosovo are to be assessed by a joint task force set up by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Commission on Human Settlements. The UK stands ready to co-operate with that task force.

13 Jul 1999 : Column WA36

NATO: Consultation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any limit to the "field of common concern" for which NATO is deemed to be "an essential transatlantic forum for allied consultations" (as stated in the Government's Observations on the House of Commons Defence Committee Report on the Future of NATO and the Washington Summit); whether there are any limits to NATO's "wider role beyond collective defence"; and, if so, where these various limits may lie.[HL3465]

Lord Gilbert: The Alliance's commitment to consultation is encapsulated in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, 4 April 1949, which states that: "The Parties (to the Treaty) will consult together, whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of the Parties is threatened."

Peacekeeping and Security

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the statements in paragraph 16 of their Observations on the House of Commons Defence Committee Report on the Future of NATO and the Washington Summit (which quoted from paragraph 31 of NATO's New Strategic Concept) indicate that NATO accepts that the "primordial responsibility for peace keeping and international security" lies with the United Nations Security Council, as declared in the Toulouse Declaration from the Franco-German Summit held on 29 May.[HL3467]

Lord Gilbert: Paragraph 15 of the Strategic Concept, agreed by Allied Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit, 23-25 April 1999, states: "The United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, as such, plays a crucial role in contributing to security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area". Paragraph 31 of the Concept reaffirms the willingness expressed by all Allies at the NATO Summit in Brussels in 1994 to participate, on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with NATO's own procedures, in peacekeeping and other operations under the authority of the UN Security Council or the responsibility of the OSCE.

Ministry of Defence Actions: Accountability

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the reference to "militarily effective and defensively structured armed forces that are firmly controlled by democratic civilian authority," in their Observations on the House of Commons Defence Committee Report on the Future of NATO and the Washington Summit indicates that NATO is encouraging the British Government to subject their military activities to the control of the British

13 Jul 1999 : Column WA37

    Parliament, or alternatively that NATO is content with the British system whereby the Government do not refer the activities of the armed forces to Parliament.[HL3468]

Lord Gilbert: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence and other Defence Ministers are fully accountable to Parliament for the actions of the Ministry of Defence, including those of the armed forces.

London Underground Public Private Partnership

Baroness Ludford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord Whitty on 29 June (H.L. Deb., cols 174-176), what are (a) the characteristics of the PPP contract and (b) the special position of Railtrack which make the exclusive negotiations with Railtrack for the London Transport contract escape the competitive biding requirements of the European Union Utilities Directive;[HL3477]

    Which principal aspects of the proposed London Transport-Railtrack contract place it within the description of Part B (services) under the European Union Utilities Directive; and within which specific service does it fall; and[HL3478]

    Why the contract does not fall in the category of "works" contract of the European Union Utilities Directive for which full competition is required, if it is, in the words of the 15 June statement, for "maintenance and upgrading" of the sub-surface Underground lines and to "build links between the Underground and the national rail lines".[HL3479]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Following the creation of the London Underground public private partnership, private sector infrastructure companies will provide access to the public sector operating company, using assets and employing personnel currently employed by London Underground. The new partnership will involve putting in place contracts setting out the terms on which the use of those assets will transfer to the infrastructure companies and the terms on which the infrastructure companies will provide access to LUL as the train operator. If it were considered that this constitutes the award of a contract for services they would fall within Part B of Annex XVI of the Utilities Directive as supporting and auxiliary transport services. The Directive does not require competition for Part B services and the incidental undertaking of engineering, construction or maintenance does not mean the contracts are works contracts within the meaning of the Utilities Directive.

The special position of Railtrack in relation to the sub-surface infrastructure is that it can offer integration with the national rail network using similar technology. London Underground has therefore decided to explore in negotiations whether Railtrack should be the PPP partner for the sub-surface lines. These proposals will

13 Jul 1999 : Column WA38

only be pursued if they deliver real benefits on terms that offer value for money. If not, London Underground will proceed by way of competition, as it proposes to do for the deep tube lines.

In the meantime, in order to facilitate a full competition in relation to the public private partnership for the deep tube lines, London Transport has placed notices in the Official Journal of the European Communities, on a voluntary basis, inviting expressions of interest by the private sector.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask English Heritage to produce illustrations of the Stonehenge landscape during the multi-year period of construction of the two kilometre cut-and-cover tunnel they propose, and of the landscape with the scar of the cut-and-cover tunnel, similar to the airbrushed illustrations of the Stonehenge landscape in the long term, that is, when the tunnel has been completed and the scar mitigated by the passage of time, which they publish in their documentation for the Visitors Centre, or associated developments, and including illustrations of the various portals of the tunnel and of the approach cuts for it, and of the landscaping proposed in Stonehenge Bottom, all within the World Heritage Site.[HL3516]

Lord Whitty: We have no plans at this present time to ask English Heritage to produce illustrations of the Stonehenge landscape during the period of construction of the scheme. This element of work will be developed by the Highways Agency in consultation with English Heritage, the National Trust, English Nature and the Countryside Agency. The details of the tunnel portals, its approach cuttings and landscaping will all be established during that phase of the scheme. The intention will be to keep the impact of the construction work to an absolute minimum. Proposals will be included in the Environmental Statement that will be published to coincide with publication of the draft statutory orders.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page