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The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Abattoirs are licensed as either low or full throughput. There is no separate classification for medium-sized abattoirs.

Abattoirs may cease to operate, temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons, such as seasonal closure, refurbishment, receivership, surrender or revocation of licence. We only record closures due to licence surrender or revocation. However information on other types of closures has been obtained indirectly from the records of hygiene assessments which the Meat Hygiene Service carries out monthly in abattoirs. These indicate which abattoirs could not be assessed in a particular month because they were not operating.

The following table shows, for each month from January 1999 to November 2000, the number of abattoirs in the United Kingdom:

    (ii) which had their licences revoked.

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    Red meat White meat
    Full throughput Low throughput Full throughput Low throughput
    MonthNot operatingLicence revokedNot operatingLicence revokedNot operatingLicence revokedNot operatingLicence revoked
    January 199910111-31112
    January 200011-16-5-5-

    (2)Information is not available because hygiene assessment system scores were not published in those months due to changes to the system in July 1999.

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Severn Railway Tunnel

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of the recent high rainfall, whether they remain satisfied with the integrity of the Severn railway tunnel.[HL185]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): I understand from Railtrack that the amount of water entering the tunnel has risen above normal levels over the last two weeks. However, there remains sufficient reserve pumping capacity to manage the increase in a safe and controlled manner.

Office of Water Services: Senior Staff

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For how many years each senior staff member has been employed in the Office of Water Services; and how long was their previous experience in the water industry.[HL208]

Lord Whitty: The Director General of Water Services advises that the Office of Water Services employs six members of the senior Civil Service. The information requested is as follows:

Years with Office of Water ServicesNumber of senior Civil ServantsYears of experience in the water industry

*One member of staff.

Sustainable Development

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the concept of sustainable development is a guiding principle for all their policies; and if not, why not. [HL236]

Lord Whitty: The Government published A better quality of life--a strategy for sustainable development for the UK in May 1999 and continue to use that strategy as a framework to guide their policies.

We shall shortly be publishing our first annual report on progress by the country as a whole towards sustainable development.

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Litter Collection on Motorway Network

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the total expenditure by the Highways Agency in the most recent year for which information is available on litter clearance from the motorways and trunk roads in England; and how much of this was paid to contractors and how much was spent on direct labour. [HL279]

Lord Whitty: Although the Highways Agency is responsible for litter collection on the national motorway network I am afraid that information on costs is not held in a form which allows it to be disaggregated from other maintenance costs.

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the contractors at present holding contracts with the Highways Agency for the removal of litter from the motorways and trunk roads in England, indicating in respect of each contract the dates of starting and ending and the roads to be covered. [HL280]

Lord Whitty: On motorways and the trunk roads listed in table A below, sweeping and cleaning are the responsiblity of managing agents who supervise term contractors, also employed by the Highways Agency. A map has been placed in the Library which, with table B below, shows the areas where the agents and contractors operate and the starting and ending dates of their contracts.

A12 Embankment at Witham: Cutting back of Planting

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to discover who was responsible for the criminal damage caused to property of the Highways Agency by the recent cutting down of plantings on government land along the A12 trunk road embankment, adjacent to the advertisement hoardings on land owned by the Braintree District Council, at Witham; and whether they will ask the police to investigate this incident.[HL281]

Lord Whitty: The Highways Agency has undertaken its own investigation into the cutting back of planting on the embankment, both with Braintree District

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Council, which owns the advertisement hoardings and with the Allam Group, the company which controls most of the advertisements on display. Inquiries made with both bodies have not yielded any information about who was responsible for the cutting back.

The Highways Agency has passed to the police information relating to the incident.

Ice on Highways

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to take any action in the light of the judgment of the House of Lords in the case of Goodes v East Sussex.

Lord Whitty: The judgment was that there was no duty on local highway authorities under the Highways Act 1980 to remove ice from highways. Nevertheless, we expect authorities to continue to salt their roads in icy conditions in accordance with their Code of Good Practice on Highway Maintenance which has been in place since 1989. All our soundings with local highway authorities have confirmed that it is their intention to maintain existing practices.

We have instructed the Highways Agency to continue its usual practice of keeping motorways and trunk roads free of ice and snow.

Road users should follow the advice in the Highway Code that they should drive extremely carefully when the roads are icy.

Jubilee Line: Station Closures

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many times stations have been closed on the new section of the Jubilee Line as a result of equipment failure since its opening in 1999; and what proposals there are to remedy the situation.[HL284]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): I understand from London Underground Limited (LUL) that there were 20 instances of station closure due to equipment failure on the extended section of the Jubilee Line in the year after it opened fully in December 1999. The situation improved during the year, with only two instances since August 2000.

As part of the internal reorganisation of London Underground in preparation for the public private partnership, three infrastructure companies have been set up with responsibility for maintaining and upgrading the network. These companies, currently still subsidiaries of LUL, have a contractual obligation to ensure that stations are not closed due to equipment failure. Under the PPP, if an infrastructure company failed to make stations (or trains) available and fit for use, it would incur financial penalties.

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