Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Details of portable, transportable and towable pumps currently held in store for use by the Royal Navy are shown in the table below.

Type of PumpPumping CapacityNumber held
Godiva GN1700 diesel fire pump100,000 litres/hr (21,978 gallons/hr)4
Godiva GN500 diesel fire pump33,000 litre/hr (7,253 gallons/hr)1
Desmi/Lombardini diesel fire pump100,000 litres/hr (21,978 gallons/hr)1

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: There is nothing to prevent the hire of pumping equipment should the Armed Forces have a requirement for it. It is, however, the responsibility of local authorities to take action in response to flooding. They can call on the emergency services, and in some cases the Armed Forces, for assistance where appropriate. During the period of the recent 48-hour national firemen's strike, Green Goddess fire engines manned by the Armed Forces could have replicated assistance normally provided by fire brigades to the local authorities had it been required to save life. There was no requirement for the Armed Forces to hire pumping equipment because the Green Goddesses are equipped with capable pumps.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: As these are two very different vehicles, designed to do very different tasks, it is not possible to compare them like for like with regard to the complexity. An Army recovery vehicle is designed to recover broken-down vehicles (ranging from a Land-Rover to a tank transporter) in a variety of off and on road situations. Fire appliances are designed for a number of situations, including for example rapid intervention vehicles for airfield work.

A REME Territorial Army recovery mechanic receives two weeks' initial training to qualify as a class 3 tradesman. All class 3 personnel are subject to close supervision, however, until they have attended a class

25 Nov 2002 : Column WA22

2 course (also two weeks). A year must pass between the two courses, this time being spent doing on the job training.


Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make any of the radio spectrum around 2 GHz avilable for rural broadband.[HL45]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Access to radio spectrum in the 2 GHz band for broadband has always been seriously constrained as a result of other users. Access has been so constrained that it was previously available only for radio fixed access at low data rates in some remote rural areas and no services were ever provided by those offered licences.

Recent changes have made it even more difficult for broadbank provision in this band and it is no longer appropriate to make available any radio spectrum for broadband in the 2 GHz band. lynne

Foot and Mouth Disease Disposal Sites

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether following the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 in Cumbria the county council, the environmental health departments, the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should jointly consider what might be done to map where materials are buried and where necessary to address any safety issues that may emerge.[HL32]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Defra holds centralised databases relating to the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak of all sites where materials are known to have been buried during the cleansing and disinfection operations and of those where either animal carcases or ash resulting from pyres are buried. The databases are supported by detailed files held in local animal health divisional offices.

Defra is in the process of letting a tender to rank by risk all the sites with buried material derived from cleansing and disinfection in order to identify where further investigation and/or remedial action is needed for the protection of the environment and human health. The Environment Agency will be involved in agreeing the results of the risk assessment for these sites.

Defra is also in the process of letting a second tender, to review existing risk assessments at all carcass and ash burial sites and, where necessary, to undertake further site-specific risk assessments, in order to meet statutory obligations under the Groundwater Regulations 1998. In addition, the department is monitoring, through contracted environmental

25 Nov 2002 : Column WA23

consultants, the quality of controlled water in the vicinity of 60 FMD disposal sites. As a separate exercise, the Environment Agency is in the process of visiting all sites that were granted an authorisation under the Groundwater Regulations for the burial of carcasses or ash during the outbreak as part of the review process necessary for groundwater authorisations.

Farmers' Markets

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps to ensure the future of the National Association of Farmers' Markets.[HL38]

Lord Whitty: The Government very much welcome the development of farmers markets and the benefits they bring and recognise the important role the National Association of Farmers' Markets (NAFM) plays in publicising markets and assuring standards. The Countryside Agency has supported NAFM with funding of £110,000, which covered administrative and staffing start-up costs. We will continue to support NAFM where we can, but further core funding would fall foul of state aid rules which require such funding to be time-limited and degressive.

The Countryside Agency is funding a business plan review for NAFM and is working closely with the organisation to put together a future funding strategy. There are also project funds available under the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP) and the Agricultural Development Scheme (ADS). Both schemes are competitive and therefore offer no guarantee that a NAFM application would be successful, but they do offer the chance of continuing financial support, which would be compatible with state aid rules. lynne

Animal Disease: Closure of Footpaths

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that in any future disease outbreak leading to any general legal declaration covering the closure of footpaths or land by county councils such a declaration should be made on a strictly time-limited basis, for example 28 days.[HL72]

Lord Whitty: The Government do not intend to empower local authorities to close footpaths or land by means of a general legal declaration in a future outbreak of animal disease. The Government's published contingency plan for foot and mouth disease makes clear that local authorities will be empowered to close rights of way within infected areas only in circumstances similar to the 2001 outbreak when veterinary advice is that closures would generally only be justifiable within 3km of an infected farm. In these circumstances it would not be appropriate to set a 28-day time limit. The re-opening of rights of way will

25 Nov 2002 : Column WA24

follow on from the lifting of restrictions on the infected farm and those within the 3km zone.

Transport and Environmental Policy

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How successful the blending of environmental policy with European Union transport policy, as heralded by Her Majesty's Government at the 1998 Cardiff Council, has been; and what European Union environmental targets in the transport sector have subsequently been set and implemented.[HL112]

Lord Whitty: The Government continue to support strongly the integration of environmental and sustainable development considerations into European Union transport policy. The European Union Transport Council has adopted one of the furthest reaching of the integration strategies developed since the 1998 Cardiff European Council. This was recognised by a report for DETR in 2001 by the Institute for European Environmental Policy. Ensuring sustainable transport also featured as one of the four priority areas in the sustainable development strategy adopted by the European Council at Goiteborg in June 2001.

Since the Cardiff Council a range of European Union targets affecting the transport sector have been agreed. These include air quality standards set under the Air Quality Framework Directive; vehicle emission standards; fuel quality standards; and the voluntary agreement on reducing CO 2 emissions from passenger vehicles. Additionally, the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM)—an annual indicator-based report—has been established by the European Union to enable policy-makers to gauge the progress of their integration policies. lynne

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page