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9 Nov 2004 : Column WA65

Written Answers

Tuesday, 9 November 2004.

Indonesia: Leuser

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The European Commission has provided a grant of 35 million euros to the Government of Indonesia to fund the Leuser Development Programme. The original seven-year implementation phase was extended for a further two years to allow for fund raising activities by the newly established Leuser International Foundation. The foundation will continue the management of the Leuser Ecosystem for a period of 20 years from 2004.

Two local NGOs and one national NGO active in illegal logging monitoring, Yayasan Leuser Lestari, Pagar Alam Semesta and Forest Watch Indonesia (all funded by DfID's Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme), continue to express concern about continuing illegal logging within the Leuser National park. They cite three recent allegations:

A comprehensive review of the Leuser Development Programme has just been completed (October 2004) which concludes that this programme has achieved the conservation of 2.6 million hectare of forest. It acknowledges that reports of illegal logging do continue. The Leuser Management Unit, established to manage the project, considers that illegal logging is much reduced but that continued vigilance is necessary. The review identifies significant lessons and makes constructive recommendations for improvement in management.

The Ladia-Galaska road project has not yet been approved and the new government have indicated that they wish to take a decision on this as a priority. The Leuser Management Unit and the Leuser International Foundation continue to oppose the contruction of the road.
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Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Memorandum of Understanding aims to strengthen the capacity of the Indonesian Government and Indonesian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to tackle illegal logging. Some training of Indonesian NGOs in monitoring has been provided by international NGOs, with financial support provided under the Memorandum of Understanding. However, no formal international monitoring of logging activities is planned.

Future support to monitoring by Indonesian NGOs will focus on West Kalimantan and Jambi provinces. This monitoring is likely to cover illegal logging activities by the military.

On the second part of the question, findings released in local papers and magazines have been overwhelming about the existence of illegal loggers in the park. These reports have also been confirmed by heads of two districts and the Leuser National Office. Local NGOs are frustrated at the lack of progress in addressing illegal logging in the National Park. The Leuser Management Unit continues to pass on allegations and reports of illegal logging to the police and the Ministry of Forestry for further investigation, but the Leuser Management Unit cannot itself instigate criminal proceedings; this is the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia. In the past, there has been a lack of political will to tackle illegal logging in Indonesia. However, following the recent elections, with the new ministerial team, there is the prospect of real change. The Leuser International Foundation has met the new Minister of Forestry and expressed its concerns at the problem. The Minister has stated that tackling illegal logging is a priority of the new government.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The European Commission (EC) is not providing further direct assistance to the Leuser International Foundation after 9 November 2004 for the management of the Leuser ecosystem. It has
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always been an objective of the EC support that the foundation should be financed through other sources and not directly by the EC. The Commission has supported the Leuser International Foundation in its efforts to raise funds through the provision of expertise in fund raising and the foundation is finalizing the arrangements for a grant of 500,000 US dollars for the next two years from a major international company. The foundation is optimistic that contacts already made will lead to further grants before the end of the year.

However, the management of Leuser National Park continues to be highly contested, with a number of NGOs expressing doubts as to whether the Leuser International Foundation will be effective or credible in tackling illegal logging or the new road through the National Park.

Prison Deaths

Baroness Blood asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): No Home Office circular has been issued in respect of pre-inquest disclosure in prison deaths in England and Wales. The issue of guidance on such matters in Northern Ireland is for the Northern Ireland Court and Prison Services to consider.

Terrorist Offences: Asylum Applicants

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information on nationality and immigration status can be a key part of the investigation of terrorist offences and the police and Immigration Service work closely together in these cases. The Home Office legislated in the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 to make it easier to deport foreign nationals who have committed serious offences.

Information on arrests is collated centrally for statistical purposes but is not generally collated for individuals. It would be disproportionate to require the police and courts to obtain, verify and record this information in all cases.

The available evidence suggests that only a small number of foreign nationals, asylum seekers or refugees commit serious crimes.
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House Prices: Ratio to Average Earnings

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The ratios of average dwelling price to average earnings by Government Office Region are tabled below. Figures for Northern Ireland are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Government Office Regions
North Easte2.943.453.314.44
North Weste3.113.563.504.67
Yorkshire and the Humber2.933.693.534.72
East Midlands3.213.663.615.83
West Midlands3.253.933.955.72
South Easte4.204.534.937.84
South West4.023.964.207.26

e the earnings figures used in the derivation of these ratios are approximations, see below.

Data sources:

1. House prices

The data for 1984 are calculated as simple averages derived from the 5 per cent sample survey of Building Societies Mortgages (BSM).

The data for 1993 and 1997 are calculated as mix-adjusted averages derived from the 5 per cent sample survey of all mortgage lenders (the Survey of Mortgage Lenders, (SML)), except for the North-West. At the time, the North-West and Merseyside were separate Government Office Regions and the mix-adjusted averages were calculated on this basis. We are only able to produce simple averages for a combined North West and Merseyside region for 1993 and 1997.

The data for 2003 are calculated as mix-adjusted averages derived from a significantly enhanced sample of all mortgage lenders (SML) for all countries and regions.

2. Average earnings

These were based on data from the New Earnings Survey, an annual survey run by the Office for National Statistics. However, 1984 figures are available only by standard statistical region (SSR)—as opposed to Government Office Region (GOR). Consequently the 1984 earnings for some of the GORs were estimated on the following basis:

North East: figures for the SSR of "North" were used.

GOR North East = SSR North less Cumbria

North West: figures for the SSR of "North West" were used.

GOR North West = SSR North West plus Cumbria

East: figures for the SSR of "East Anglia" were used.

GOR East = SSR East Anglia plus Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex

South East: figures for the SSR of "South East" were used.

GOR South East = SSR South East less Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex

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