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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: A list of special advisers currently in post has been placed in the Library of the House together with the new Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, the revised Model Contract for Special Advisers and details of the new pay arrangements for special advisers.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Progress has been made in co-operation with the Russian authorities in identifying priority projects in north-west Russia to facilitate Russian efforts to deal with this problem. This has, however, been held up by the delay in agreeing a legal framework under which this work can take place.
It is hoped that a bilateral UK/Russia agreement can be signed shortly which will allow work to commence. Our first project, to provide a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in north-west Russia, can then begin immediately. Other projects, focusing on the main issue of spent nuclear fuel, will follow on closely.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The draft Communications Data Protection Directive is subject to co-decision procedures. It will therefore need to be agreed by both the European Parliament and member states before it can be adopted. Member states and the Commission will need to formulate a joint response both to the amendments proposed in the report from the Civil Liberties Committee, and the vote of the plenary session of the European Parliament due to take place early in September, when they meet to agree a common position in October.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Smaller river hydro schemes receive support under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation and it is proposed that they should be eligible for support under the Renewables Obligation.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Electoral Commission, as part of its functions, is carrying out a review of the way the general election was conducted which will include the operation of the postal vote system. It expects to publish its findings shortly. We would wish to consider the findings of that review before deciding whether any further action is necessary on postal vote procedures.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is open to anyone to raise a petition in the electoral court if they consider that any action of a returning officer has unfairly affected the result of the election. In addition, anyone can inform the police for consideration of action under Section 63 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 if they consider that the returning officer has committed a breach of his official duty.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Highways Agency understands that Essex Police have been in touch with Braintree District Council and the Allam Group, the organisation that controls advertising on most of the
The Highways Agency is unable to guarantee that other parties will not attempt to cut back the planting on the embankment in the future. Braintree District Council, the Allam Group and its clients are now aware of the agency's position regarding the planting and that it will take the strongest action against those proven to have caused criminal damage or trespass.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The information requested by the noble Lord is not available. Trunk roads in Wales are the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales. Our policy in England is that the Highways Agency should not permit the placing of advertisements on trunk road land in contravention of PPG19 or DoE Circular 5/92 and any unauthorised advertisements should be removed. Control of advertisements on land outside the trunk road boundary is the responsibility of local planning authorities.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Rating (Former Agricultural Premises and Rural Shops) Act 2001 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2001 was signed on 16 July. All the provisions of the 2001 Act will come into effect on 15 August 2001. Commencement of the Act in Wales is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Local authorities will initially be responsible for bringing the new farm diversification relief and the extension of village shop rate relief to food shops to the attention of potential recipients. Department officials have already written to local authorities informing them that the Act will be commenced in England on 15 August. They have also written to the National Farmers Union and the Country Land and Business Association which will no
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The number of businesses receiving the new farm diversification relief will depend on how many such businesses are established. There are no precise figures available on the number of businesses that will or will not benefit from the new farm diversification relief, because it is not known how many new enterprises will in future be established and how many of those will be below the qualifying rateable threshold of £6,000. We have estimated that between 5 per cent and 30 per cent of farms in England may establish businesses that are eligible for the new relief, but the eventual figure will depend on demand.
It is also difficult to give precise figures on the number of businesses benefiting from the extension of village shop rate relief to food shops, as they are not currently separately identified in the rating system. However, it is estimated that there are about 3,000 food shops in small rural parishes. We would expect most of these to have rateable values of less than £6,000.
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