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Lord Davies of Oldham: As it currently stands, the European Commission's proposal for Article 13 of the council directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty would restrict duty-free sales to passengers whose immediate destination is outside the EU. The Government have not conducted an assessment of the extent of any impact of the proposal on smaller regional airports.
However, later proposals from the EU presidency have replaced the word immediate with final in Article 13 of the draft directive. This will maintain the current position, allowing passengers to continue purchasing duty-free goods at any port or airport, providing they hold a valid transport document to a destination outside the EU, regardless of their immediate or interim destination.
Whether pre-flight briefing quarters at terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport can cater for a reasonable build-up of delayed flights without having to impose cancellations due to inadequate space being available. [HL3872]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: British Airways does not franchise services on behalf of the Government. In most parts of the world it is open to any UK airline to compete with British Airways or its franchise partners on the routes it operates.
Lord Rooker: As set out in my previous Written Answers dated 17 March (Official Report, col. WA 2), and 30 April (Official Report, col. WA 24), the costs quoted on BBC TV's Sunday AM programme in July 2006 were inaccurate and the Government subsequently informed Parliament of the correct figures.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Central government devolves a majority of its resources to local areas to allocate according to local priorities. Central government grant schemes and initiatives are not intended to be a substitute for long-term sustainable local funding.
However, the Government recognise that rape crisis centres face considerable financial difficulties and have set up an advisory group of sexual violence organisations to consider what more can be done to increase the capacity and sustainability of the sexual violence voluntary sector. To respond to the crisis in the short term, the Minister for Women announced on 18 March an emergency fund of over £1 million to prevent immediate closures and that money is in the process of being distributed.
Whether victims of violent crime must register with the Northern Ireland prisoner release victim information scheme in order to receive notice of matters relevant to them which involve the perpetrator of the crime. [HL3927]
Lord Rooker: Yes. Following the conclusion of a trial where the perpetrator of a crime is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months or more, the Police Service of Northern Ireland writes to the identified victim or victims inviting them to register with the Northern Ireland prison service's prisoner release victim
11 Jun 2008 : Column WA101
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 28 April (WA 45), what arrangements will be put in place to monitor the outputs of renewable energy installations whose locations have not been justified during the planning process; to remove them if they do not perform; and to compensate the local population for the failure of installations which do not perform.[HL3820]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Planning authorities are expected to address the environmental, social and economic impacts that arise from the proposed location of a renewable energy project. In doing so, they can already use planning conditions to require the removal of a renewable energy installation at the end of a specified period. In such cases planning conditions can also be used to require that a site is restored to its former condition. In the case of wind farms, a guidance note prepared for the Renewables Advisory Board and published by BERR* highlights that decommissioning conditions can be used to ensure full and satisfactory restoration of a site, either in whole or part, should one or more turbines cease to be operational for a given period of time prior to the cessation of a planning permission. There is no reason in principle why such conditions should not be applicable to other installations for renewable energy. Planning authorities can also impose planning conditions relating to other environmental matters such as noise emissions. The companion guide supporting planning policy statement 22 on renewable energy** provides practice guidance on the use of planning conditions and their applicability to a range of renewable energy technologies.
What terms are in the contract with the consultancy firm Parsons Brinckerhoff to prevent it charging more than its initial quotation for analysing how the environment around the Severn estuary would be affected if a tidal range power project went ahead. [HL3794]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): In the tender for the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) submitted by the consortium led by Parsons Brinckerhoff on 21 February 2008, there is a detailed outline for the work on the environmental impacts of proposed tidal power developments in the Severn estuary. This includes studies on hydraulics and geomorphology, flood management, water quality, bird and fish surveys, estuarine and marine ecology surveys and compensation habitat review. If we decide that any extra environmental studies or other work are required in order to complete a good-quality environmental report, particularly after the scoping phase of the SEA later this year, then we will agree a price with the contractor as a variation to the current contract.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Pending consideration of the recommendations of the NHS Next Stage Review, clinical standards are published by the department when they are developed as part of specialty-specific strategies and national service frameworks. The department is not currently engaged in discussions which might result in the publication of clinical standards for asthma.
Whether the proposals in the White Paper Pharmacy in EnglandBuilding on StrengthsDelivering the Future (Cm 7341) for pharmacists to play a greater role in the delivery of health services will include encouraging pharmacists to build partnerships with existing community-led healthy living centres across the country. [HL3885]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In taking forward the vision within the White Paper Pharmacy in EnglandBuilding on StrengthsDelivering the Future of community pharmacies as healthy living centres, it will be important to ensure that pharmacists work in partnership with other health improvement services, including existing community-led healthy living centres. The public health leadership forum for pharmacy will support this programme of work.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): As I indicated in my Answer on 16 May 2008 (WA 154), public petitions to the House of Lords are rare: the last occasion on which a petition was presented was on 13 December 2000. I do not therefore believe that expenditure on developing a system of e-petitioning unique to the House of Lords could be justified.
On 6 April 2008 the House of Commons Procedure Committee published a comprehensive report on e-Petitions (1st Report, Session 2007-08, HC 136). The committee envisages that if its proposals are agreed by the House of Commons the earliest date at which a system of e-petitioning could be operational is likely to be early in 2010. The appropriate committees in this House may at the appropriate time wish to take stock of experience in the Commons, and consider whether a similar system should be introduced in the House of Lords.
How many local authorities have achieved each of the eight themes that are quoted as hallmarks of a well performing local authority in relation to biodiversity in the Association of Local Government Ecologists publication Increasing the Momentum 200410.[HL3827]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker):Increasing the Momentum is a vision statement by the Association of Local Government Ecologists for biodiversity in local government. There is no commitment for the Government to monitor the uptake of the vision and therefore we cannot report on how many local authorities have achieved the eight themes.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government made it an offence to sell knives to people under the age of 18 in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. The Knives Act 1997 created an offence of marketing a knife in a way which suggested it was suitable for combat, or is otherwise likely to stimulate the violent use of a knife.
There are also 18 items on the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988 which it is illegal to sell, offer for sale, hire or import. Belt buckle knives, push daggers and butterfly knives are among the items on this order.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Anybody purchasing a firearm or shotgun covered by Sections 1 or 2 of the Firearms Act 1968 must produce a valid certificate which entitles them to purchase the gun being sold. These certificates contain a stamped photograph of the holder. Air weapons can only be sold by way of trade or business through a registered firearms dealer who must record the name and address of the purchaser in a register of transactions.
The Government made it an offence to sell knives to people under the age of 18 in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. If sellers are in any doubt about a person's age, they can request proof of age documents including passports, photo driving licences, or accredited proof of age cards.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government made it an offence to sell knives to people under the age of 18 in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. A mail order company selling knives over the internet would be committing an offence if it did not take proper steps to ensure that it was not selling these weapons to under-18 year-olds as with any other retail outlet. The Knives Act 1997 created an offence of marketing a knife in a way which suggested it was suitable for combat, or is otherwise likely to stimulate the violent use of a knife. This applies to mail order companies as to other retail outlets.
In the case of firearms, when a person applies for an authority to possess a firearm the police conduct detailed background checks to ensure that he is fit to possess a firearm and is suitable to have it in his possession without a danger to public safety or to the peace. While firearms may be bought via mail order, only those holding the appropriate certificates from the police or Secretary of State would be able to purchase firearms legally.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is an offence to carry a knife or bladed article in public without good reason or lawful authority. However, folding penknives with blades of not more than three inches are currently not included in this definition. We keep this legislation under constant review.
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