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Departments of State: Hospitality Budgets and Alcohol

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): A wide variety of government departments have an interest in the issues around alcohol misuse. However, the budget for hospitality in government departments is a matter for each individual department.

Communications Data: Retention Orders

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which orders give directions about retention of communications data under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; and on what dates such orders were made.[HL5107]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: No orders giving such directions have been laid.

National Policing Plan

Lord Burlison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the National Policing Plan.[HL5320]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Copies of the National Policing Plan 2004–07 and the consultation paper Policing: Building Safer Communities Together have today been placed in the Library of the House.

The National Policing Plan sets the framework and context for policing in England and Wales for the next three years. It sets out the vision for successful policing, the key priorities, underpinning themes, national standards and the operational tools to deliver the service wanted and demanded by the public. The National Policing Plan will inform local planning and help to ensure that all communities know what they should expect from their local police force.

The plan is central to our determination to ensure the police are to work within a modern and efficient criminal justice system and to be engaged with the communities they serve. That is why we have published it jointly with our consultation paper, Policing: Building Safer Communities Together.

The consultation paper sets out our broad thoughts on the future direction of police reform. We want to build on the successes of the existing reform programme in moving towards a modernised, truly representative, more responsive police service delivering, consistently, core national standards of policing that the public has a right to expect, within a framework which allows for local flexibilities. We want a genuine dialogue on the issues contained in the paper which are grouped under four main themes—increasing community engagement, strengthening accountability arrangements, improving operational effectiveness and modernising the police service.

Both documents are available on the Home Office website at

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Extradition: Consultation on Draft Code of Practice

Lord Burlison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will respond to the consultation on the draft code of practice, issued under Part 4 of the Extradition Bill.[HL5321]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are today publishing a report containing our response to the consultation on the draft extradition code of practice.

The draft code of practice, which sets out the operation of police powers under Part 4 of the Extradition Bill, was published on 9 June 2003. The consultation closed on 8 September.

We are grateful to all those who took the time and trouble to respond to the consultation. The responses (other than those where the author requested that the response remain confidential) were placed in the Library of this House and made available on the Home Office website on 30 September.

The report contains a summary and analysis of the comments received and sets out the Government's position in response to the main issues raised by respondents. Copies of the report are available in the Library and can be accessed through the Home Office website at

Assuming that the Extradition Bill receives Royal Assent, the code of practice will be revised in the light of the comments received and laid before the House for approval by resolution.

Renewable Energy: Planning Policy Statement 22

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to issue a new land use planning policy statement for renewable energy in England.[HL5324]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): I am today announcing the start of the public consultation period for Planning Policy Statement 22, which sets out this Government's planning policy for renewable energy projects.

Increased development of renewable energy resources is vital to facilitating the delivery of the Government's commitments on both climate change and renewable energy. This new draft planning policy statement clearly sets out positive planning policies, which will facilitate renewable energy developments and contribute to all four elements of the Government's sustainable development strategy.

This statement makes clear:

    that local planning authorities should set clear criteria in their plans on which renewable energy projects will be judged rather than identifying any specific locations suitable for certain types of development. We believe that the past emphasis

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    on identifying specific areas of search within development plans has proved unsuccessful;

    that targets for renewable energy generation should be set within regional planning guidance, as indicated in the energy White Paper. Such targets may be disaggregated subregionally if appropriate, but the aim should always be to exceed any targets set, rather than just meet them;

    the latest government planning policy relating to renewable energy developments and the additional safeguards for national parks or other national and internationally designated areas.

Due to the need for clearer and more concise statements of government policy this PPS does not include technical advice or good practice guidance. The intention is to publish separately a companion guide containing the technical details of what was originally in the annexes of PPG22. We are also keen to include evidence of good practice from both developers and local planning authorities within this guide. Work on the guide will commence shortly and it will be published alongside the final version of PPS22.

Caravans: Disabled Facilities Grant

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have found a means of amending the definition of "qualifying park homes" for the purposes of Schedule 3 to the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002, so that disabled facilities grants are available to people who live on gypsy caravan sites.[HL5106]

Lord Rooker: Yes. Provision to extend eligibility for disabled facilities grant to all those occupying caravans as their only or main residence will be brought forward at the earliest suitable legislative opportunity.

Colombia: UK Military Aid

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much military aid they are giving Colombia in 2003–04; and what is the projected amount for 2004–05.[HL5041]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): In financial year 2003–04, military assistance provided by the United Kingdom to the Colombian armed forces focused primarily on explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and provision of training courses to members of the Colombian armed forces both in Colombia and in the UK. The cost of this assistance was about £120,000.

The assistance is aimed at reducing the number of deaths, both civilian and military, from explosive devices, and at introducing Colombian military personnel to British defence concepts in key areas such as rules of engagement and the democratic and accountable control of the armed forces.

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We anticipate a similar programme in the financial year 2004–05.

The nature of other aspects of military advice and assistance provided to Colombia is confidential between governments, and I am withholding details under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which covers information where disclosure would be harmful to national security, defence or international relations.

Gulf War 1990–91: Vaccines

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 9 October (WA 67), what were the standing procedures which should have been followed to ensure that personal medical records were accurately kept during the 1990–91 deployment for the Gulf and that they were fully updated on return to the United Kingdom; what steps have been taken to improve the procedures in the light of lessons learned from the 1990–91 deployment; and on what dates.[HL5093]

Lord Bach: I refer my noble friend to the Ministry of Defence paper, Medical Records in the Gulf, dated October 2001, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. It is also available on the Internet at:

A mandatory operational medical record form (F Med 965) is now in use whenever service personnel deploy on non-maritime operations during which time they are not required to have their permanent service medical record (F Med 4) with them. The F Med 4 is held on board ship for the RN ship's company and embarked Royal Marines and thus is available to medical staff. The F Med 4's of deployed Army and RAF personnel are retained at their home base. The F Med 965 has been used in the Army since July 1998 and on a tri-service basis where appropriate from 20 January 1999. It comprises a 12-page booklet in a waterproof cover and should be held by the individual to whom it relates at all times while deployed on operations. Since January 1999, medical centres have been required to record the fact that F Med 965s have been issued to individuals so that forms not returned after the operation can be hastened. On return from deployment, the information recorded on the F Med 965 is to be transferred to the individual's F Med 4. When not being used, the F Med 965 is retained within the individual's F Med 4 and should be reviewed for accuracy at each medical examination and updated following vaccinations and significant health events. An audit procedure is in place to ensure that the information on the F Med 965 is transferred to the F Med 4.

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