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Written Answers

Wednesday, 14th February 2001.

Educational Projects in Museums and Galleries: DfEE Funding

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the total amount spent through the Department for Education and Employment since 1997 on new funding initiatives which have directly funded additional educational projects in art galleries without collections, including those in art centres.[HL655]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): I refer the noble Lord to the reply given to him on 2 January 2001, Official Report, col WA 106-07. We do not account for funding on educational projects in museums or art galleries according to the nature of the institutions being funded. Projects are chosen on the basis of the impact they will have on pupil outcomes.

The main objectives of the museum and galleries education programme are to stimulate and encourage museums and galleries to develop their educational role by strengthening their links with schools, and to improve the quality and spread of provision. The programme also looks to improve pupils' use of the opportunities presented by museums and galleries, in particular by experiencing real objects relevant to their studies.

The department received approximately 300 bids for funding from a wide range of museums and galleries when the programme was announced.

Channel Tunnel

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to commission an official history of the Channel Tunnel.[HL760]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Prime Minister has appointed Dr Terence R Gourvish, Director of the Business History Unit of the London School of Economics and Political Science, as an official historian to write the official history of the Channel Tunnel.

Inland Bathing Waters

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to increase the designation of inland bathing waters.[HL645]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Government have identified 11 inland bathing waters in the UK under

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the Bathing Water Directive. We keep this matter under review and if any sites are brought to our attention as potential inland bathing waters, we shall consider them against the identification criteria in the directive.

A406: Litter Clearance

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When litter was last cleared from the A406 trunk road between the A12 and the M11; and whether they are satisfied with the ways in which contractors to the Highways Agency are fulfilling their contract for litter clearance on this road.[HL647]

Lord Whitty: The A406 between the A12 and the M11 is no longer a trunk road as it now forms part of the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). However, the responsibility for litter clearance lies with the local authority, the London Borough of Redbridge, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Greater London: Cycle Accidents

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cycle accidents occurred in the Greater London area in each of the last four years for which statistics are available; and how many in each year involved fatalities.[HL688]

Lord Whitty: The following table shows the number of accidents involving pedal cycles in the Greater London area for the years 1996-99, and the number that involved fatalities for the same period.

Year of Accident
All accidents involving pedal cyclists4,4194,4824,3574,246
Fatal accidents involving pedal cyclists20141210

Asylum Seekers

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many asylum seekers living in London or the Home Counties have been required in recent months to travel for interviews at offices in the North of England.[HL305]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): In an eight-week period, 18 December 2000 to 9 February 2001, out of 7,478 applicants substantively interviewed in Liverpool and Leeds, 6,427 (86 per cent) were from London and the Home Counties.

During the same period 671 asylum screening interviews were also completed in Liverpool and

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Leeds. Information is not available to identify what proportion of applicants who attended for screening were from London and the Home Counties.

Depleted Uranium: Screening Programme

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with work to identify a voluntary screening programme for Service personnel and civilians who have served in the Balkans and who are concerned about exposure to depleted uranium.[HL715]

Lord Burlison: The first phase of work to identify a screening programme, which we intend should be equally applicable to Gulf veterans as to those who have served in the Balkans, has been completed. We published yesterday a consultative document setting out the technical issues associated with such a programme, inviting advice and comment in particular from a wide range of expert bodies. A copy of the consultative document is being placed in the Library of the House, and it will also be available on the MoD Internet web-site.

The next step in our work is to develop firm proposals for screening taking into account the advice and comments we receive in response to the consultative document. Those proposals in turn will be the subject of wide consultation.

BBC Producers' Guidelines onPolitical Impartiality

Lord Lloyd-Webber asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the coverage of the resignation of the Northern Ireland Secretary on "Newsnight" (BBC2, Wednesday 24th January) which featured only supporters of the Labour Party and the Government and with no response from members of the Opposition fell within the BBC Producers' Guidelines on political impartiality.[HL548]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for ensuring that the activities of the BBC are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the charter and agreement rests with the BBC's board of governors and not the Government.

English Heritage: Archaeology Budget

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the archaeology budget of English Heritage has been reduced in both cash and real terms since 1990-91, so that it is now in real terms approximately 55 per cent of the budget in 1990-91.[HL575]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is for English Heritage to decide what priority to give expenditure on archaeology commissions from the overall resources available to it from government grant in aid and from its own fund-raising activities.

In so doing it will take into account external conditions such as the impact of Planning Policy Guidance 16, which is now bringing in an estimated £20-£30 million of developers' expenditure a year on archaeological work, formerly funded entirely from English Heritage's Archaeology Commission budget.

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they propose to take in response to the report of the statutory advisory committee with responsibility for archaeology (the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee) to English Heritage that funding is insufficient to enable English Heritage to undertake its statutory responsibilities.[HL576]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My right honourable friend the Minister for the Arts regularly meets the chairman and chief executive of English Heritage to consider English Heritage's plans for the implementation of its various responsibilities.

Independent Football Commission

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why it was considered necessary for a firm of external consultants to be appointed in the search for the chairman of the Independent Football Commission; and what will be the cost to public funds of so doing. [HL592]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has agreed to the request from the football authorities to appoint the first chairman of the Independent Football Commission--the new self-regulatory body which they are establishing. In so doing, he has made clear that the process of appointing the chairman is conducted in an open and transparent manner according to the standards that would apply to a public appointment. Therefore an independent public appointments advisory panel was convened to consider the applications which had been received by the department for this post.

While the panel considered a number of the applicants would be suitable for appointment to the post, the panel concluded that it would like to test the applicants against other strong candidates before reaching firm conclusions on a short list of names to recommend for appointment. The panel recommended a further exercise to generate applications and suggested that employing external consultants might make a useful contribution to that exercise. The Government therefore approached the Football Association who confirmed that the football

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authorities would be willing to pay the costs of consultants. There will therefore be no cost to public funds from the use of consultants. Any applications for the post of IFC chairman, which are received following approaches from consultants, will be considered by the panel on equal terms with those already received.

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