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Wideroe Airlines Plane Crash

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We will offer every assistance to the Norwegian commission of inquiry if requested to do so.

Major (Retired) Christine Lloyd: MoD Communications

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 7 November (WA 161), what reply they are sending to the further representations made to them by Major (Retired) Christine Lloyd, a Gulf War veteran; and whether there is any action they will be taking.[HL386]

Lord Bach: As of 9 December 2002, the Ministry of Defence had not received any written representations from Major (Retired) Christine Lloyd since her letter to me of 20 October 2002. On 29 November, Major (Retired) Lloyd telephoned a MoD official and her query was answered.

Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the delay in the entry to service of the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to the end of 2002 announced in Parliament on 23 May (HC Deb, 477W) and the further announcement on 5 December (HC Deb, 84WS) of another delay to the end of June 2003, what will be the hand-over dates of the first operational aircraft to the air forces of the partner countries in this programme; and what financial and other penalties will be borne by the Ministry of Defence resulting from this further delay.[HL586]

Lord Bach: None of the partner nation air forces will be able to take delivery of Typhoon before joint type acceptance and the subsequent verification processes have been completed. As we stated on 5 December, we do not expect this to be achieved before the end of June 2003. Actual hand-over dates will be a matter for the individual governments concerned.

Typhoon is being procured under fixed price contracts. The Ministry of Defence does not anticipate any signficant financial or other penalties to result from the delay as we aim to adhere to the planned operational employment date for Typhoon, and replace existing fleets on schedule. The financial and schedule effects of the loss of a development aircraft in November are still being investigated.

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Computer Misuse Act: Prosecutions

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 26 March (WA 36), whether figures are now available for the number of prosecutions under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in 2001.[HL577]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The information requested is contained in the table.

Because the number of cautions exceeded prosecutions for Section 1 in England and Wales, these data are also shown.

Information for Northern Ireland should be available around summer 2003.

Number of persons(1) cautioned by the police and proceeded against for offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990,
United Kingdom, 2001

England and Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
StatuteOffence description CautionsProsecu- tions CautionsProsecu- tions CautionsProsecu- tions
Computer Misuse Act 1990, Sec. 1Unauthorised access to computer material109+-....
Computer Misuse Act 1990, Sec. 2Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences4+-....
Computer Misuse Act 1990, Sec. 3Unauthorised modification of computer material1012+1(2)....

(1) Figures provided are on the principal offence basis.

(2) The figures provided for Scotland have been derived from information held on the Scottish Executive Justice Department's court proceedings database. These data are subject to the data quality limitations inherent in any large statistical database.

.. = not available.

+ = not applicable.

- = nil.

Cultural Property: Offences

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to counter the increasing scale of art crime; and what progress the Home Office is making with the establishment of a stolen objects database relating to cultural property.[HL685]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are supporting the Dealing in Cultural Property (Offences) Bill. This Bill, which has recently been introduced, would create a new criminal offence of dishonestly importing, dealing or being in possession of any cultural object, knowing or believing that the object was stolen, or illegally excavated, or removed from any monument or wreck contrary to local law. The UK formally acceded to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of

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Ownership of Cultural Property on 31 October 2002. The convention enables countries which are parties to the convention to claim back stolen antiquities which surface in the countries of fellow signatories. Home Office officials continue to work with colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and law enforcement to consider the feasibility of implementing a national database of unlawfully obtained cultural property as recommended by the House of Commons Select Committe in July 2000. Officials from the DCMS are currently in the process of drawing up a business case for such a database.


Baroness Mallalieu asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by Lord Whitty on 3 December (HL Deb. cols. 1048-51), whether they will identify the "incontrovertible evidence" that deer hunting has no utility and involves cruelty; and[HL562]

    Further to the statement by Lord Whitty on 3 December (HL Deb. cols. 1048-51), whether they will identify the "incontrovertible evidence that hare coursing has no utility and involves cruelty.[HL563]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Bill that was published on 3 December is intended to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on the contentious issue of hunting with dogs. It seeks to prevent cruelty while recognising those activities which are necessary to countryside management such as the protection of animals or crops. All activities have to satisfy the two tests of "utility" (what is necessary for purposes set out in Clause 8, including the protection of livestock and crops) and cruelty (what method involves the least suffering). The evidence on which decisions were taken include the report of the Burns inquiry and evidence provided to that inquiry, submissions from a variety of organisations and individuals to my right honourable friend in response to his invitation in March to submit evidence, and to his further invitation to respond on specific issues in May. The Burns inquiry concluded "that hare coursing is a sport and not to control hare numbers, and stalking and flushing out causes less suffering than deer hunting and will always be available". Following his open period of consultation my right honourable friend formulated tests for utility and cruelty as set down in Clause 8 of the Hunting Bill. He has returned to the evidence referred again in the light of his consultation process and feels it is quite clear that both hare coursing and deer hunting do not meet both the tests.

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Timber Products

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What success they have had in recent years in increasing demand for home-grown timber, and in particular thinnings; and how they view prospects for wood products in (a) gluing technology and laminated timber; (b) long fibre spruce round-wood and (c) renewable energy, including industrial heating and combined heat and power.[HL582]

Lord Whitty: British roundwood deliveries to the wood processing industry currently stand at some 7.5 million tonnes per annum, compared with 7.1 million in 1996. This increase has been against a background of a continuing decline in international and UK prices for round timber, which is adversely affecting the area of woodland being thinned in Britian. The development of gluing and laminating technologies is now being adopted by commerical companies in new timber products. Long fibre spruce roundwood is an excellent pulping material and there is some potential for an increase in its use. Renewable energy, including heating, offers a potentially major new market for small and low grade timber. There is now a significant number of small schemes and sites utilising wood fuel for heat. Co-firing with coal for power is another promising option.


Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their use of trained birds of prey to remove pigeons from government buildings is compatible with their policies towards animal rights and welfare.[HL585]

Lord Whitty: All wild birds are protected under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which implements the EC Birds Directive in the United Kingdom. However, Section 16 of the 1981 Act sets out the circumstances under which Defra can issue licences to control protected species of birds. The feral pigeon is included in the list of 13 "pest birds" covered by general licences. These licences allow the control of listed birds by authorised persons all year round, where they are considered a threat to public health and safety. Permissible methods would include the use of trained birds of prey to control pigeon populations. Using raptors to control pigeons emulates the naturally occurring predator/prey relationship. This method, operated under the strict auspices of the departmental licence, is compatible with the Government's policies towards animal rights and welfare.

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