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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: A draft regulatory impact assessment (RIA) was produced to cover the proposals for amendments to Part L that are embodied in the new regulations and in the approved documents that give non-mandatory guidance on how the technical requirements of the regulations may be met. The draft RIA was included in the consultation document published in June 2000. It was amended in the light of responses to the consultation, and both the draft and the final versions of the RIA were scrutinised by the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit (CORIU), formerly known as the Better Regulation Unit. Bill:
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: In line with the scheme announced in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England, the tenders invited for the A303 Stonehenge scheme require proposals for illustrative designs for either a 2km cut-and-cover or a 2 bored tunnel.
The International Council on Monuments and SitesUK has asked for a comparison to be made between our proposal and a 4km long bored tunnel. This has been discussed with the council and the comparison will be covered in the environmental statement.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government's proposal is for a 2km length of cut-and-cover tunnel as announced in 1998 in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England. Funding for the scheme is planned on that basis.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: National planning policy with regard to windfarms is set out in PPG 22 (renewable energy), which provides planning authorities with guidance on a range of issues that affect the siting of wind turbines and other renewable energy developments. We are currently reviewing the guidance and will consult widely on the revised draft.
The Secretary of State's general approach is not to interfere with the jurisdiction of local planning authorities unless it is necessary to do so. Parliament has entrusted them with responsibility for day-to-day planning control in their areas. Local planning authorities are normally best placed to make decisions relating to their areas and it is right that, in general, they should be free to carry out their duties responsibly, with the minimum of interference. There will be occasions, however, when the Secretary of State may consider it necessary to call in a planning application to determine himself instead of leaving it to the local planning authority. His policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. He will in general take this step only if planning issues of more than local importance are involved and if those issues need to be decided by the Secretary of State rather than at a local level. Each case is, however, considered on its own facts. Barry
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The department has internal guidelines for the employment of consultants. The guidelines cover among other things the principle of obtaining value for money, the selection of consultants and the preparation of business cases.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The consultation paper on possible changes to the use classes order and temporary use provisions was published on 24 January 2002. The issue of clay pigeon shooting is addressed in the temporary uses part of the consultation paper. In respect of the temporary use provisions, the paper puts forward six options for possible change as well as inviting proposals for alternative options.
We would welcome views on the consultation paper from all interested parties, including shooting organisations and landowners. The consultation period expires on 24 April 2002. The department will then consider the views of all those who have responded before making any decisions on the future composition of the use classes order and temporary use provisions. Janice
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The foot and mouth disease contingency plan was not circulated to animal health offices when it was updated in July 2000 because the changes were comparatively minor ones, for example, names and addresses, which had been circulated to staff already. The State Veterinary Service receives its instructions on foot and mouth procedures through detailed operational procedures. These are available online through the department's intranet facility and includes a section on contingency planning. In addition to this, each animal health office is required to maintain up-to-date, local contingency plans dealing with foot and mouth disease and other notifiable diseases (e.g. classical swine fever, rabies etc). These plans are reviewed on a regular basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): In November 2001, a UN General Assembly Resolution established an ad-hoc committee to consider proposals for an international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The committee is expected to meet later this year and will take account of the recommendations of the UN Commission for Social Development, the UN Commission of Human Rights and the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability.
In addition, the Irish resolution at the commission on Human Rights (CHR) in 2000 has led to a study on the adequacy of existing international standards to protect the rights of disabled people. The report is due soon.
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