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11 May 2000 : Column WA225

Written Answers

Thursday, 11th May 2000.

Court Service: Performance Targets

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the key performance targets for the Court Service Executive Agency for 2000-01.[HL2400]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The following table sets out the key performance targets that I have set for the Court Service for 2000-01.

Performance IndicatorTarget 2000-01
KPI 1The quality of service provided to court users 85%
KPI 2The percentage of administrative work in the civil courts processed within target time 94%
KPI 3The percentage of Crown Court cases that commence within target 78%
KPI 4Average waiting time for asylum appeals from receipt at the Immigration Appellate Authority to promulgation of the Adjudicator's decision 16 weeks
KPI 5The percentage of the cost of the civil courts recovered through fees 94%

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Sanctions

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will clarify what Baroness Scotland of Asthal meant by "smart sanctions" in her Answer on 20 April.[HL2227]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The term "smart sanctions" refers to the EU's wish to target sanctions so that, as far as possible, they affect the Milosevic regime and those closely associated with it rather than the ordinary people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the procedures for monitoring the detailed effects of mandatory sanctions on Serbia under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1160, and any other relevant resolutions, and how often monitoring takes place; and who assesses the impact of similar European Union voluntary measures and how.[HL2256]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: UN Security Council Resolution 1160 (1998) imposed an embargo on the supply of arms and related material to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a ban on arming and

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training for terrorist activities there. SCRs 1203 and 1244 allow supplies to the verification missions and the international civil and security presences respectively. UN member states are responsible for implementing and enforcing these sanctions. Resolution 1160 established a UN committee which is tasked with, inter alia, seeking information from all member states regarding action taken by them to implement the sanctions and to consider information brought to its attention by any state concerning violations of the prohibitions and to recommend appropriate measures thereto.

The European Union has a series of measures in place against the FRY. These impose mandatory obligations on EU member states and include appropriate exemptions on humanitarian grounds and for Kosovo and Montenegro. EU member states are responsible for enforcing these measures. The General Affairs Council of the European Union regularly reviews EU policy towards the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At the General Affairs Council of 14 February EU Foreign Ministers agreed to tighten financial sanctions and at the same time suspend the EU flight ban for six months.

FCO Communications System

Lord Grenfell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to modernise the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's communications systems.[HL2397]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office signed a contract on 10 May 2000 with Global Crossing to provide a new telecommunications network and associated telecommunications services. The contract has been negotiated as part of the private finance initiative, and will run for a 10-year period. The projected net present value of the contract is £106 million. The total cost of the contract over the 10-year period is projected at £165 million.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes have been made in the composition of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.[HL2398]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The noble Lord, Lord Sewel, has replaced the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, as a member of the delegation.

E-envoy Website

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With what frequency the e-envoy pages of the e-envoy's website are updated.[HL2116]

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The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The purpose of the e-envoy forum is to allow users to enter into a debate about appropriate matters. The pages are not therefore "updated" except by users. The e-forum was launched, together with the e-envoy's website, on 18 January. It was re-designed and relaunched on 5 April.

Trident Programme: Cost

Baroness Serota asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest estimate of the cost of the Trident acquisition programme.[HL2363]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The current estimate of the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme, with payments already made expressed at the prices and exchange rates actually incurred and future spend at the current financial year exchange rate (the hybrid estimate), is now £9,745 million. Leaving aside the effects of price inflation (+£12 million), there has been a real cost reduction since last year of £23 million. Expenditure on the Trident acquisition programme to 30 September 1999 represented some 96 per cent of this estimate. If all expenditure, past and projected, is brought up to the current year's economic conditions (the non-hybrid estimate) the estimate is £13,170 million.

£ million
Estimate Table (hybrid)
Previous estimate (April 1999) at 1998-99 economic conditions (£1 = $1.6269)2,8736,8839,756
Real changes-16-7-23
Price inflation on unspent balance+2+10+12
Exchange rate variation0n/a0
Revised estimate at 1999-2000 economic conditions (£1 = $1.6269)2,8596,8869,745
Estimate Table (non-hybrid)
Previous estimate (April 1999) at 1998-99 economic conditions (£1 = $1.6269)3,4489,42312,870
Real changes-16-7-23
Price inflation on unspent balance+64+258+323
Exchange rate variation0n/a0
Revised estimate at 1999-2000 economic conditions (£1 = $1.6269)3,4969,67413,170


Figures rounded to nearest £ million, hence any apparent imbalances.

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Decommissioned Nuclear-Powered Submarines

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the study into options for the storage of decommissioned nuclear submarines; and whether they will make a statement.[HL2399]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean : We announced in March 1998 that we would undertake a study into options for the storage of decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines. The initial phase of our study has been completed. We have concluded that while afloat storage would remain a safe option, if suitable alternative venues could be identified land storage offers the best overall solution in the long term. Further work will now be undertaken to determine which land storage option should be adopted. We expect this further work to take up to three years to complete.

The purpose of the next phase will be to determine which land storage solution should be adopted. This work will be taken forward in conjunction with industry, which will be invited to submit their proposals with a view to entering into a public private partnership arrangement. As part of the process, we will further develop one land storage option, the removal and storage of the intact reactor compartment and the recycling of the remainder of the submarine, as a basis for comparison with industry proposals. We have not identified specific land store sites but would expect these to emerge from the proposals we receive from industry. No decision will be taken on the most suitable storage option or on a site until we have completed the next phase of the study, which will include full and open consultation. As part of this process, environmental impact assessments will be undertaken for each storage option taken forward.

We are providing oral briefings to interested parties and the media and material is also available on the MoD website. In addition, we are inviting written comments as a means of shaping and informing our further work and plan to consult widely during the next phase of the study.

Separately, and in parallel, we have received an unsolicited commercial proposal from Babcock Rosyth Defence Limited, the owners of Rosyth Royal Dockyard, to dismantle the reactor compartment of one decommissioned nuclear submarine, HMS Renown and store the components. This would be an alternative to the traditional nuclear decommissioning work planned to start at Rosyth later this year and would not lead to any overall increase in the radioactive waste already held there. The intermediate level waste from Renown would be held initially in the purpose built facility at Rosyth, but BRDL has been asked to make proposals for its eventual removal.

The Babcock proposal will be taken forward in two stages and we have agreed that the first, which will involve feasibility and planning work only, may proceed. There will be no question of moving to the

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second, implementation stage of the proposal until and unless we and the relevant regulatory authorities are entirely satisfied. In these circumstances we will make a further announcement.

During the second stage, we will work with Babcock to produce an environmental impact assessment which will involve public consultation. In addition, the company will have to satisfy the nuclear safety and environmental requirements of the independent regulators, including the Nuclear Installations inspectorate and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, before the dismantling work can begin. The company will be briefing local interest groups and the media tomorrow.

In all of the above, safety remains of paramount importance and we will work to the same standards that apply to civil nuclear industry.

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