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Whether the section of the A322 between the M4 and M3 can accommodate any abnormal load complying with the technical requirements of the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) Order; and [HL4689]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The A329(M) and the A322 are both roads which are not part of the motorway and all-purpose trunk road network, and as such are maintained by the relevant local highway authorities. They are designated as primary routes under Section 1 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, and in the opinion of the Secretary of State for Transport provide, outside of the motorway and trunk road network, the most satisfactory route for through traffic between places of traffic importance.
The Department for Transport does not hold records of the suitability of the A322 or A329(M) to accommodate abnormal loads, as these roads are the responsibility of the local highway authorities through which they pass. For abnormal loads falling within the terms of the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) Order 2003, it is for the haulier to notify the relevant local highway authorities, owners of structures and police of the route over which an abnormal load would pass, and to propose an alternative route if its initial route is refused. Structure owners and highway authorities are notified to ensure that abnormal loads will not pose a danger to structures and highways during a move.
The assessment of the congestion on the M25 motorway between the M3 and M4 motorways, in line with the PSA journey time reliability target, is that the worst 10 per cent of journeys travelling clockwise experience a delay of five minutes and 44 seconds, and anti-clockwise a delay of eight minutes and 22 seconds, for each 10 miles.
Congestion may be caused by incidents, planned roadworks and limited capacity. To reduce incident-related congestion, Highways Agency traffic officers now patrol the M25, helping to clear incidents more quickly. Roadworks are planned to keep as many lanes as possible open and work is carried out at night whenever possible. This section has recently been widened to five lanes to address capacity issues and has variable compulsory speed limits which smooth traffic flow. The Highways Agency manages information for customers through a telephone information line and the internet to enable journeys to be planned to avoid congestion where possible.
In addition, the Highways Agency is conducting a trial new road layout at the junction between the M25 and the M3 (junction 12, M25) to give an extra lane to traffic joining the M3 coastbound from the M25. This reduces traffic queuing to leave the M25 at this junction, especially in the anti-clockwise direction. The Highways Agency is also considering schemes at either end of the stretch of the M25 between junctions 12 and 15 in order to alleviate congestion.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The maximum time for which a vehicle is permitted to park on lay-bys which are part of the public highway will depend on whether there are any waiting or loading restrictions. It is for the relevant highway authority to consider whether any restrictions should apply. Such restrictions require a traffic regulation order and may apply to different classes of vehicle and can provide for both the time of the day, and the duration, for which specified vehicles may or may not park.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The royal prerogative is the only currently available basis to legislate in respect of ceded overseas territories, and may continue to be used for the exercise of reserved powers in relation to other overseas territories. To rework the system by which overseas territories are governed would require the introduction of primary legislation in Parliament, perhaps in relation to each overseas territory. Such a course of action would require careful consultation with the Executive, legislature and population of each of the populated overseas territories. There is very little impetus behind such a venture from the populated overseas territories, many of which are currently in the midst of, or have recently completed, a constitutional review process with the United Kingdom under the current governance arrangements.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK is a strong supporter of Turkeys EU accession process and we continue to have a close dialogue with the Turkish Government on reforms necessary to meet EU standards, including on human rights and conditions of detention. There are currently no plans to raise the issue of the closure of the prison on Imrali Island in the context of the EU/Turkey dialogue or in any human rights fora.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Figures provided by the Office of National Statistics show that there are 37,827 people of Turkish ethnicity living in London.
|UK settlement visas issued to Turkish nationals applying worldwide|
|Source: MSR Stats Search Screen, 27 June.|
While this is a significant step, the legislation does not state clearly what will happen to those prisoners already on death row. According to the Uzbek Government, no executions have been carried out since February 2005. Some human rights groups claim that the Uzbek authorities have begun to commute the sentences in certain cases from the death penalty to life imprisonment, though we have not been able to verify this. Concerns remain about the conditions in which prisoners on death row are kept. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are identified as particular dangers. There have also been reports that prisoners have not had proper access to legal assistance.
Our embassy in Tashkent monitors the human rights situation in Uzbekistan closely. Our ambassador, Iain Kelly, discussed UK concerns on human rights in Uzbekistan with both Foreign Minister Norov during his introductory meeting on 5 June, and President Karimov during the presentation of his credentials on 8 June. The EU has made regular representations urging the Government of Uzbekistan to stop the use of the death penalty, pending full abolition. This was last discussed at the EU-Uzbekistan human rights dialogue in May. However, the position of the Government of Uzbekistan is that a freeze on the use of the death penalty would be inhumanethat their policy is to go straight to full abolition, and in the mean time to focus on measures to prepare for the abolition of the death penalty such as legislative amendments, education and training.
What were the findings of the investigation by UKvisas into the disappearance of files containing sensitive personal information sent to London by diplomatic posts, recommended by the independent monitor for entry clearance in paragraph 62 of her report of March 2007. [HL4522]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The conclusion of the investigation was that the file packages were incorrectly addressed. All the files in question have been traced and accounted for.
New instructions have been issued to overseas missions, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office internal postal service and the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, to ensure that individual files for the independent monitor reach UKvisas direct in future.
Which diplomatic missions (a) are now collecting visa applicants' biometric and other data, and (b) will be doing so at the completion of phase two of the biometric visa project; and under what data protection rules these data are held and shared.[HL4589]
The data are processed and held in accordance with the data protection principles within the Data Protection Act 1998. In common with other agencies which collect and retain fingerprints under the Immigration Acts, the data may be shared with the police and other government agencies in the prevention or investigation of crime and to protect national security. Any disclosure is made in accordance with the Data Protection Act and where appropriate the Human Rights Act 1998.
Which diplomatic missions subcontract the collection and transmission of visa applicants' biometric and other data; and, in each case, what are the names and details of the commercial partners. [HL4590]
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