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Marine Environment: Protected Areas

Lord Hunt of Chesterton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In preparing proposals for a Marine Bill, the Government have consulted widely and have considered relevant European and wider international policy and scientific developments.

Marine conservation zones introduced by the Bill will help to deliver an ecologically coherent network of well managed protected areas by 2012 and thereby to meeting a range of international commitments, including those under OSPAR, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The Marine Strategy Directive seeks to achieve good environmental status in Europe's marine environment. It is a framework directive and is still being negotiated. The Marine Bill will include new powers to help achieve the goal of the directive.

Parole Board

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Every year the Parole Board provides the Secretary of State with projections for the number of new appointments it requires in order to handle its projected caseload. Its assessment is usually accepted; any adjustment is normally made in consultation with the Parole Board.

Police

Lord Dear asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Health and safety legislation is potentially applicable in the circumstances described. Whether it is invoked is a matter for the prosecuting authorities applying the guidelines set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Post Office

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): I understand that the Managing Director of Post Office Limited will reply shortly. It has now been agreed that copies of such responses will be placed in the Library of the House.

Poverty

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): I refer the noble Lord to the projection of the number of children in relative low-income poverty set out on page 12 of the Harker Review (Delivering on Child Poverty: What Would It Take?, DWP November 2006 available at www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2006/harker/harker-full.pdf).

Policies announced since the review was published in both the Budget 2007 and the recent Pre-Budget Report will help lift up to an additional 300,000 children out of poverty.

Research Facilities: Merial Laboratory

The Duke of Montrose asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): These data are not recorded by the Government, but once Merial animal health had identified that a leak may have occurred, albeit one that was contained within the system, it informed Defra officials of this

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incident and the action that it had taken. Having learnt of this possible breach of a Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) licence condition, Defra suspended Merial's SAPO licence with immediate effect.

Revenue and Customs: Alcohol

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The estimated strengths used to convert quantities of beer, wine and cider in to hectolitres of alcohol are:

Wine Average Strength (a)Beer Average StrengthCider Average Strength

2000-01

10.28 per cent

4.19 per cent

5.03 per cent

2001-02

10.07 per cent

4.16 per cent

5.02 per cent

2002-03

11.39 per cent

4.17 per cent

5.02 per cent

2003-04

11.74 per cent

4.19 per cent

5.02 per cent

2004-05

11.74 per cent

4.21 per cent

5.03 per cent

2005-06

11.77 per cent

4.17 per cent

5.03 per cent

2006-07

11.81 per cent

4.20 per cent

5.03 per cent

Note: (a) The increase in average strength in 2002-03 is caused by the reclassification of most “cooler/alcopops” to spirits-based “ready to drink”.

An average strength is not needed to produce the quantities of pure alcohol for spirits as the duty is charged on the quantity of alcohol released for consumption.

Revenue and Customs: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: HM Revenue and Customs (the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise before April 2005) employed the following numbers of people in Northern Ireland at the dates shown in the table below. Staff numbers at 1 January are not available before 2003, so figures for 1 April have been provided.

1 April 2000

2,078

1 April 2001

2,129

1 April 2002

2,164

1 January 2003

2,341

1 January 2004

2,595

1 January 2005

2,724

1 January 2006

2,551

1 January 2007

2,518



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Roads: Traffic Volumes

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport has not recently commissioned any reviews on this topic.

Russia: International Organisations

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have been clear in our private discussions with the Russian Government, and in our public statements, that we have concerns about the situation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia.

The Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms have regularly reported on the level of Russia's compliance with Council of Europe commitments. We continue to urge Russia to make progress in implementing the recommendations of these bodies, including through our bilateral human rights consultations and the EU-Russia human rights dialogue. Russia is also subject to the scrutiny of the Committee of Ministers in which the UK plays an active role. Furthermore, judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in certain cases brought by Russian citizens against the Russian Federation, have highlighted areas where the level of protection of human rights in Russia is inconsistent with Russia's Council of Europe obligations. The Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of these judgments.

In the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU and UK have repeatedly called on Russia to adhere to its OSCE commitments, and expressed concern in areas such as media freedom, freedom of association and electoral conduct, where failings have been apparent. Most recently, my honourable friend the Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, attending the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid on 29 and 30 November, said, “We regret that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has recently faced a number of unprecedented restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles to observing the Russian Duma elections”.



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Russia is a regular attendee of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meetings and has a member on the IPU's executive committee. The Russian group of the IPU visited the UK in 2002 and hosted a return visit by the British group of the IPU in 2004.

Schools: Admissions

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): We are aware that this can be an important issue for parents in this situation, particularly when applying for places at a primary school.

We introduced a new school admissions code in 2007. Local authorities and admission authorities must act in accordance with it. In relation to siblings at primary schools, it says that admission authorities should make sure in their oversubscription criteria that, as far as possible, siblings (including twins, triplets or children from other multiple births) can attend the same primary school, as long as they comply with the infant class-size regulations.


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