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National Parks: South Downs

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): I can confirm that the reopened public inquiry is currently scheduled to continue until 23 May.

We had previously hoped to be in a position to make an announcement later this year, but we now anticipate that a decision will be made by January 2009.

I appreciate that this will be disappointing news, but it is important that we ensure that the democratic process is not prejudiced and that sufficient time is given for all views to be considered properly.

Occupational Health

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Health Service undertakes an annual census of staff. The figures for 2006-07 show 2,413 full-time equivalent (FEE) clinical psychologists and 584 FTE psychotherapists working in the NHS, a 71 per cent and 184 per cent increase respectively since 1997.

The department is liaising with the professional bodies representing psychological therapists, the British Psychological Society, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to ensure that experienced staff working outside the NHS are aware of the opportunities available through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

In the medium term, training will be made available for them and others to ensure that they have the competencies required to deliver the IAPT services. In the longer term, we will develop a new workforce, training new graduates and people with life experience, so as not to denude the existing services of experienced NHS staff.

Official Transport: Electronic Countermeasures

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government Car and Despatch Agency is responsible for providing ministerial cars and drivers. For obvious security reasons, it would be inappropriate to discuss the details of any security devices that may be fitted to ministerial cars.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Answer given by my noble friend Lord West of Spithead on 26 March 2008 (Official Report, col. WA89).

Questions for Written Answer: Unanswered Questions

Lord Jopling asked the Leader of the House:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): An Answer was given to Baroness Valentine on 17 March (Official Report, col. WA 1). I regret the delay in replying to the noble Baroness and, if she wishes to discuss this issue with the Home Office, I would be pleased to facilitate.

Railways: Carriages

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The number of carriages it operates to meet its franchise commitments is a matter for First Great Western to manage.

On 30 January, the Department for Transport published its rolling stock plan. This shows indicative numbers of rolling stock per train operating company. Fifty- two additional vehicles are shown for First Great Western. The rolling stock plan explains that these numbers are not intended to be prescriptive or to limit the development process with the industry, and could therefore be subject to change in the final outcome.

I also refer to the Written Statement made by my honourable friend the Secretary of State on 26 February

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2008. This Statement confirmed that additional carriages will be added to trains operating the First Great Western Portsmouth to Cardiff route from this summer.

Railways: Engineering

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: No. This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The noble Lord should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for a response to his Question: Iain Coucher, Chief Executive, Network Rail, 40 Melton Street, London, W1 2EE.

Smoking: Television and Cinema

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government share concerns about the portrayal of smoking in films but have no plans to prohibit smoking either on television or in films. The British Board of Film Classification guidelines direct the board to take anything that may harm children into consideration in the rating of films.

The Office of Communications guidelines direct that smoking should not be shown in a glamorous or appealing way before the 9 pm watershed.

Toxic Chemicals

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Lovells LLP was fully and properly instructed by the Environment Agency to act on its behalf in the United States bankruptcy court proceedings. All pertinent information and documentation was supplied by the Environment Agency. Legal representatives of the Environment Agency and Lovells LLP held regular telephone conferences

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and exchanged numerous letters and e-mails throughout the proceedings. The Environment Agency is confident that this was a cost-effective and efficient means of communicating with its US lawyers.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Brofiscin Quarry is listed as a legacy site in Appendix B to a relationship agreement made between Solutia Inc and Monsanto, approved by the United States bankruptcy court, which allocates environmental liabilities between the companies. This means that if there are any environmental liabilities attributable to Solutia/Monsanto at Brofiscin Quarry, Monsanto will take on those liabilities subject to legal or factual defences available to it in the United Kingdom. Monsanto will also be liable on the same basis and subject to the same defences for other similar but unlisted waste disposal sites in the United Kingdom that received wastes prior to 1997.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Environment Agency has not made an estimate of the quantity of contaminants that have leached into the Miskin aquifer from Brofiscin Quarry. Investigations to date have concentrated on the shallow groundwater regime beneath the quarry, and its interactions with the surface water environment. The conceptual site model report of July 2007 confirms the pollution of controlled waters from the waste mass is ongoing. The Environment Agency is currently conducting a remedial options appraisal in accordance with the relevant legislation and statutory guidance.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The World Health Organisation International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) has recently reviewed the data on the toxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls in its Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents Series. This is available on its website. In this document, a tolerable intake value of 0.02 micrograms per kg per day was derived for an aroclor 1254 mixture.

With regard to dioxins, the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has recommended a tolerable

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daily intake of two picograms toxic equivalents (TEQ) per kg of body weight per day. This is explained in a statement published on the Food Standards Agency website.

There is no single threshold set for dioxin emissions into the environment. Directive 2000/76/EC on waste incineration sets an emission limit for dioxins of 0.1 nanogram I-TEQ per cubic metre of gaseous releases to air, and emission limit values for discharges to water are set at 0.3 nanogram per litre. The Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulation (EC-850/2004) brought in additional controls on the disposal of waste containing dioxins above a trigger level of 15 micrograms per kg TEQ.

Transport: Appraisal

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport’s new approach to appraisal (NATA) requires scheme promoters to estimate the amount of carbon emitted by all modes of transport for “with intervention” and “without intervention” options. A monetary estimate of the damages associated with any change in carbon emissions caused by interventions must also be produced using a value produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The estimated change in the quantity of carbon emissions and the monetary value for carbon emissions in both the opening year and over the whole appraisal period must be clearly reported alongside qualitative comments and data sources.

In principle, the total carbon impact from all aspects of proposed interventions should be assessed. Data on traffic flow and speed by vehicle type is used to predict fuel consumption under “with intervention” and “without intervention” scenarios for every year in the appraisal period, and the resulting information is used to calculate carbon emissions based on the carbon content and density of fuel burnt. The department is also consulting on future improvements to NATA and investigating ways to make the estimation of carbon impacts more comprehensive by taking account of non-fuel-consumption related carbon effects of transport schemes.

Transport: Freight Carbon Emissions

Lord Teverson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport funds modal shift of freight from roads to rail and water, where this offers overall benefits—including carbon reduction, through three grant schemes. These are: freight facilities grant (towards the capital cost of

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rail or water freight handling facilities); waterborne freight grant; and the rail environmental benefit procurement scheme (both towards the operating cost differential between road freight and other modes).

The department also supports programmes to reduce the environmental impact of road freight including freight best practice and the safe and fuel efficient driving schemes.

Wages

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Based on data from the Office for National Statistics' Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2007, BERR estimates that, in the UK, around 430,000 employee jobs (less than 2 per cent of the UK total) were paid at the relevant national minimum wage in April 2007. In April 2007, this was £5.35 for those aged 22 or over, £4.45 for those aged 18 to 21, and £3.30 for those aged 16 to 17.

Although there are issues surrounding comparability of data, research conducted by the European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions in 2007 (Minimum Wages in Europe: Background Paper) found that the UK had a significantly smaller proportion of employees on the minimum wage than in most other EU member states.

Waste Management: Brofiscin Quarry

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): A copy of the letter has now been placed in the Library of the House.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:


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