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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The Government will continue to progress the manufacturing strategy put in place in 2002 which is designed to make the UK a world leader in modern manufacturing. The strategy includes a range of support including strong investment in science, financial support for technological innovation and R&D, support to encourage investment and for the application of design and best practice. The R&D tax credit has provided more than £1.8 billion of support to business since its introduction and the Manufacturing Advisory Service has generated over £411 million for manufacturing firms since 2002.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): Low-energy light bulbs contain a small dose of mercury and should be disposed of responsibly. Recent legislation which implements two EC directives on electrical and electronic equipment limits the amount of mercury which such bulbs may contain and sets up a framework for disposing of them in an environmentally safe manner.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE) require all distributors of low-energy light bulbsreferred to in the legislation as compact fluorescent lampsto provide information to consumers and other users on the requirement not to dispose of such bulbs and a wide range of other electrical and electronic equipment as unsorted municipal waste; the return and collection systems available to them; their role in contributing to reuse, recovery and recycling; the potential effects on the environment and human health of any hazardous substances in this equipment; and the meaning of the wheeled bin symbol which is placed on products.
The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (RoHS) prohibited the placing on the market of such bulbs that contain more than 5mg of mercury per bulb from 1 July 2006.
Lord Jones of Birmingham: The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE) place a responsibility on the manufacturers to ensure that low-energy light bulbs, referred to in the legislation as compact fluorescent lamps, are disposed of in a safe manner.
How this is done in any given part of the country will depend on arrangements made by the local authority. Since 1 July this year, a collection network is in place allowing final holders to return household lamps free of charge to designated collection facilities, (generally civic amenity sites).
Lord Jones of Birmingham: Following the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE), local authorities are working together with the retailers of electrical and electronic equipment in their local area to ensure that householders know where they can deposit old equipment (including low-energy light bulbs) for treatment and recycling.
These regulations require all distributors (retailers, mail-order companies and internet sellers) of low-energy
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Lord Jones of Birmingham: The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE) established a collection network allowing the final holders of low-energy light bulbsreferred to in the legislation as compact fluorescent lampsto return them and other electrical equipment free of charge to designated collection facilities (generally civic amenity sites for householders, with other facilities for business-to-business waste) at end of life.
Producer compliance schemes, (acting on behalf of those that originally placed the product on the market), must collect deposited bulbs from these facilities and ensure that they are treated and recycled to the treatment standards laid down in the regulations and guidance documents.
What proposals there are to open an office of the United Kingdom Passport Agency in Armagh city; and whether persons resident in the Republic of Ireland will be able to apply for British passports at this office. [HL5418]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is in the course of establishing 69 offices in the UK to interview adult first-time passport applicants. There will be interview offices in Belfast, Coleraine, Omagh and Armagh. The Armagh interview office will open in November 2007 at First Floor (level 3), 17-21 Market Street, Armagh, BT61 7BW.
It will not be possible to apply for a passport in the Armagh office. Passport applications cannot be lodged directly at any interview office but must continue to be made to the existing regional passport offices. Adult first-time passport applicants will be invited to make an appointment at an interview office of their choice after their application has been checked. British nationals resident in the Republic of Ireland can renew their passports in person at the regional passport office in Belfast but must send postal applications to the British Embassy in Dublin.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy, published in February 2006, recommended that the West London Line passenger service should not run on the fast lines south of Clapham Junction, for reasons of performance reliability, although there may be opportunities to route these trains via the slow lines. The recommendations of the RUS will be implemented at the timetable change date in December 2008.
What progress has been made on the Discovering Lost Ways project; whether changes have been made in its objectives and methods of working; and what is the programme and timetable for progress on the project. [HL5401]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): To date, the Discovering Lost Ways project has concentrated on the development of research procedures and has focused primarily on Cheshire and Shropshire. It is expected that research in these counties will be completed shortly.
Natural England is currently undertaking a review of Discovering Lost Ways. This review aims to define the most cost-effective approach to the project. A report on this will go to my Defra ministerial colleagues and me at the end of 2007.
Whether an assessment has been made of the impact of the summer flooding on footpaths, bridleways and other recreational rights of way; what estimates have been made of the costs of necessary repair and restoration works; and how such work will be funded. [HL5400]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Local highway authorities have been carrying out assessments of the impact of recent flooding on their rights of way and estimating the costs of repair and restoration. These estimates are not collected centrally. The funding for the repair of flood-damaged rights of way is a matter for local highway authorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government have always stood firmly against discrimination in all its forms, including against Roman Catholics, and they will continue to do so. To bring about change to the law on succession would be a complex undertaking involving amendment or repeal of a number of items of related legislation, as well as requiring the consent of legislatures of member nations of the Commonwealth. The Government have no immediate plans to legislate in this area.
What is the annual amount raised by the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the cost of repairs to historic houses; and what consideration they are giving to removing VAT on such repairs or providing a tax allowance to offset the cost of such repairs. [HL5435]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Approved alteration work to listed houses is already VAT zero-rated. Under our VAT agreements with our European partners, we may
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On what date, in respect of which boat and to whom enforcement in the form of a letter was sent to the boat owner responsible for pollution of the River Thames at Maidenhead in the week of 10 September. [HL5458]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Environment Agency is currently investigating the incident and is yet to issue a warning letter. For a warning letter to be issued, the Environment Agency has to confirm, beyond any reasonable doubt, the owner of the boat and the address at which they reside.
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