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Written Answers

Tuesday, 1st February 2000.

Deaths in Police Custody: Proceedings

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any of the police officers involved in the deaths in custody of Mr O Lapite and Mr R O'Brien have been prosecuted as a result of the judicial review of proceedings in the Queen's Bench Division and the report by His Honour Gerald Butler QC of his inquiry into Crown Prosecution Service decision-making in relation to Death in Custody and Related Matters; and, if so, what was the outcome.[HL640]

The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn) : Following the outcome of the judicial review proceedings in the Queen's Bench Division, the Crown Prosecution Service conducted a review of the cases against those police officers involved in the deaths in custody of Mr O Lapite and Mr R O'Brien. Following those reviews no prosecution was brought against any police officer involved in the death of Mr Lapite. A prosecution for manslaughter was brought against police officers involved in the death of Mr O'Brien. This prosecution concluded on 27 July 1999 with all the officers being acquitted by a jury.


Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of existing hedgerows they deem to be important; and whether this figure includes all hedgerows which are already legally protected under pre-1840 Enclosure Acts.[HL659]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty) : At the time that the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 were introduced it was estimated that some 20 per cent of countryside hedges in England and Wales would qualify as important. Information collected by ADAS during its research into the Hedgerows Review Group's proposed criteria defining importance suggests that the figure could be at least 57 per cent. The higher figure includes hedges which are an integral part of a field system dating from before 1845 or, in the case of an enclosure field system, from before 1870, and where the system is substantially complete. A copy of the ADAS research report, which was published in November last year, has been placed in the House Library.

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Lead Shot Restriction: Enforcement of Regulations

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Parliament will be informed in advance if the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and Regions decides to grant powers of entry for the enforcement of Environmental Protection (Restriction on the Use of Lead Shot) (England) Regulations 1999 (S.I 1999/2170) to officials of the Environment Agency or English Nature; and, if not, why not.[HL650]

Lord Whitty : The Government have made it plain that the enforcement of the regulation will primarily be carried out by the police. This is in line with other legislation concerning the protection of birds and notices have been sent to the Chief Constables of all police forces in England, authorising them to enforce the legislation. As we have previously stated, there may be very rare occasions where another competent organisation such as the Environment Agency or English Nature is better placed to enforce the regulation, and the regulation needs to contain this element of flexibility. In these circumstances, authorisation may need to be given at short notice for a particular incident, therefore not allowing sufficient time for advance notice to be given to Parliament.

Lead Shot Restriction, Scotland and Wales

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to introduce regulations for the restriction of the use of lead shot in Scotland and Wales, similar to those provided for England under the Environmental Protection (Restriction on the Use of Lead Shot) (England) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2170).[HL651]

Lord Whitty: The decision on whether to implement similar legislation in Wales and Scotland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

London Underground: Performance Targets

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What performance targets, other than financial ones, they have put in place for London Underground; and[HL460]

    How they assess the performance of London Underground.[HL461]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Performance targets for London Underground were not set at the beginning of this financial year because of discussions about London Transport's funding requirements, which culminated in the allocation of £517 million of additional resources for this year and next. Since then

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the Government have been developing performance targets to be met by the Underground by the end of financial year 2000-01, with milestones to be achieved along the way. These targets will be announced in due course.

The Government receive regular reports of London Underground's performance against a number of indicators, both objective performance measures and results of customer satisfaction surveys. In addition, I take a close personal interest in the performance of the Underground through the London Transport Taskforce, which I chair. The Taskforce is the forum for London Transport to report to me on performance and delivery of their investment programme.

Commercial Pilots: Age Limit

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they will take to protect the interests of British commercial pilots aged over 60 years currently prohibited from flying over or into France in command of public transport aircraft.[HL781]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Government have raised this matter both directly with the French authorities and within the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and will continue to seek a resolution of the problem.

Under Council Regulation 3922/91 on the harmonisation of aviation technical standards, the national aviation authorities of member states are required to be members of the JAA. The Regulation also adopted some of the JAA's Joint Aviation Requirements (JARs) as the European Community's harmonised standard and established a procedure to adopt future JARs as the EC standard. Where a JAR has not yet been adopted under EC law, JAA member states implement them under national law and are obliged, under the JAA Arrangements, to use their best efforts to implement JARs by the due date.

Requirements affecting the age of pilots are contained in the Joint Aviation Requirements on Flight Crew Licensing (JAR-FCL), which was adopted by the JAA in 1996 with the implementation date of 1 July 1999.

JARs generally set standards that are compatible with those set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) under the terms of the Chicago Convention, but can introduce differences, so long as member states notify the differences to ICAO. In drawing up the JAR-FCL, the JAA determined that commercial pilots can safely be licensed to the age of 65, provided that only one pilot in a multi-pilot aircraft may be over 60: this differs from the ICAO standard, under which a person can only act as a pilot in command if they are under 60. The UK and most other JAA member states are, or are in the process of, applying the JAR-FCL age limits. However, the

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French authorities are continuing to apply the ICAO age limits within French airspace, although co-pilots up to the age of 65 are permitted. The French authorities have said that they are not opposed to a joint approach from the JAA member states to ICAO seeking a revision of the ICAO provisions in line with those in JAR-FCL, and we will pursue this with the JAA.

Train Operating Companies: Response to Complaint

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they consider to be a reasonable length of time before replies are sent by train operating companies to letters from Members of either House of Parliament.[HL686]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Train operating companies have target response times to complaints from passengers in their Complaints Handling Procedures and their Passenger's Charters. The targets vary between the different companies but the majority aim to reply within 10 working days.

Touting by Unlicensed Taxi Drivers

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What redress members of the public have when harassed by unlicensed taxi drivers in London; and what steps they are taking to eliminate unlawful touting for custom by such drivers.[HL688]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Touting for taxi services is an offence under Section 167 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, whether or not the driver is licensed. Plying for hire (in London) without a taxi licence is also an offence under Section 7 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869. The penalty for both these offences is a fine not exceeding Level Four on the Standard Scale (£2,500). Enforcement of these legal provisions is a matter for the police.

Mobile Phone Use on Public Transport

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to discourage the anti-social use of mobile telephones on public transport.[HL689]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We hope that passengers using mobile phones when travelling on public transport will show consideration to other passengers. However, the use of mobile phones on public transport is a matter for individual transport operators.

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