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The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): Information giving a full list of tourist attractions, which are the subject of signage from motorways, is not currently held centrally. However, Visits to Visitor Attractions 2001, which gives visitor figures for over 2,400 individual attractions in the UK, has been published by the English Tourism Council. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Ofwat has recently undertaken a consultation on flooding from sewers and in publishing the results has said that it will consider proposals from sewerage undertakers to spend more in carrying out more flood alleviation schemes in the period up to 2005. This should help to reduce the risk of sewer flooding cases. The report also said that for the period beyond 2005, consideration for increased expenditure will be taken account of in the periodic review of water prices. The Environment Agency, which incorporates the former National Rivers Authority and Pollution Inspectorate, will be involved in the periodic review process. The agency will also be required to assess the potential pollution from flooding of sites storing or processing toxic material, which would include sewage treatment facilities, as part of their future responsibilities under the Water Framework Directive.
Lord Whitty: The Countryside Agency's report The State of the Countryside 2002 was published on 28 May 2002. The report uses 20 indicators to assess the condition of rural lifeincluding employment characteristics, income levels and distribution of incomealongside the government headline and rural indicators set out in the rural White Paper.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Scotland Act 1998 established a Scottish Parliament and devolved to it the power to pass legislation within the boundaries of that Act. Her Majesty's Government do not oversee the vires of Scottish Parliament legislation for that is properly the function of the courts. Rather, Her Majesty's Government work closely with the Scottish Executive to ensure that legislation is prepared so as to be within the competence of the Scottish Parliament. The Government have a strong interest in ensuring that devolution works, and checking that legislation is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament plays a vital part in ensuring it keeps working. In the event that any legislative provision is thought to be ultra vires, then the Scotland Act provides that the matter may be referred by the Attorney-General, the Advocate-General or the Lord Advocate to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to decide on the issue. No such references have been made to date.
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