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11 Jun 2008 : Column WA99



11 Jun 2008 : Column WA99

Written Answers

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Airports: Duty-free Shopping

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Airports: Heathrow

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The aircrew facilities at Heathrow's terminal 5 are a matter for British Airways as the sole airline operating from the terminal, and BAA as the airport's operator.

Aviation

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The term “flag carrier” in relation to UK aviation is an informal term with no official meaning.

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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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.

Bloody Sunday: Saville Inquiry

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Crime: Rape

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Crime: Victims

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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

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information scheme. Only if they choose to register with the scheme will they receive information about the release, whether temporary or otherwise, of the perpetrator of the crime against them. This is a requirement of Northern Ireland Statutory Rule No. 293 (The Prisoner Release Victim Information (Northern Ireland) Scheme 2003).

Energy: Renewables

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Energy: Severn Barrage

Lord Moran asked Her Majesty's Government:



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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.

Health: Asthma

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Health: Pharmacies

Lord Mawson asked Her Majesty's Government:

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 Strengths—Delivering 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.



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House of Lords: Public Petitions

Lord Norton of Louth asked the Chairman of Committees:

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.

Local Government

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.

Offensive Weapons

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

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.



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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 Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

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 Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

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 Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:



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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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