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The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): During this period of temporary public ownership, Northern Rock is managed by its board at arm's length from the Government on commercial principles. It is a matter for the company's management to release specific business updates or provide any required disclosures in their audited annual report and accounts.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 22 July (WA 277), how many of the 3,431 prisoners referred to (a) have learning difficulties or learning disabilities, and (b) are unable to participate in offending behaviour programmes. [HL5712]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The information requested is available on neither the Public Protection Unit database nor any other central database, and to provide the information requested would require manual checking of individual records which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.
Where an individual with learning difficulties or disabilities is assessed as not suitable at present to participate in an offending behaviour programme, further work may be possible to prepare that individual for the programme, for example, by improving learning skills. One-to-one work may also be considered. If an individual is still unsuitable, other interventions or activities may be provided to try to meet the individual's needs.
Lord Bach: The requirement to complete an action plan was introduced in the revised Prison Service Order 2855 Prisoners with Disabilities on 3 April 2008, and as a baseline in Standard 8 Prisoners with Disabilities. Standard 8 Prisoners with Disabilities, which was revised at the same time as Prison Service Order 2855 Prisoners with Disabilities on 3 April 2008, contains a baseline which requires each prison to develop an action plan. This standard is subject to self audit by the prison according to a set timetable. Monitoring of self audit is carried out by area offices or the Office of the Director of Offender Management (where appointed). There is currently no national monitoring of the development of action plans, though a system will now be implemented to capture this.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Those committed to prison in Northern Ireland are assessed by prison education departments to ascertain literacy and numeracy standards, using classifications set by the Department of Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland). Level one broadly equates to Grades D-G in GCSE and is considered to be the basic level necessary for
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All prisoners have access to education. Although this is not mandatory, all those who have low levels of literacy and numeracy are actively encouraged to develop their skills and many do so. For example, 71 prisoners in Maghaberry have achieved level one in literacy and 65 in numeracy since the beginning of April 2008.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Public Prosecution Service adheres to the Northern Ireland Office's personnel and equal opportunities policies and practices. These include a range of family-friendly policies such as job-sharing and part-time working designed to assist staff to combine their work and domestic responsibilities.
Whether appropriate financial incentives exist for Network Rail and the train operating companies to work together to secure efficiency in excess of the levels agreed in franchises and in the Rail Regulator's periodic review. [HL5685]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): There are currently no specific direct financial incentive mechanisms in place to encourage Network Rail and the train operating companies to work together to secure efficiency in excess of the levels agreed in franchises and in the Rail Regulator's periodic review.
Why, in its response to the Competition Commission's provisional findings in its rolling stock leasing market investigation, the Department for Transport is reported to have said that changes to the franchising system do not provide a reliable or even remotely timely remedy to the provision of new rolling stock for the railways. [HL5644]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Department for Transport's response to the Competition Commission's provisional findings is available on the Commission's website at www.competitioncommission.org.uk/inquiries/ref 2007/roscos/responses_provisionalfindings.htm and the remedies that relate to franchising are discussed fully in annex A, part 2. The quote (from paragraph 1.16 of this document) does not refer solely to new rolling stock.
The quote summarises the department's view of whether the provisional remedies suggested by the Competition Commission are likely to remedy the problems in the rolling stock market which the commission has identified for the older rolling stock on the rail network. New rolling stock is already on the way, with 1,300 new and additional rail vehicles planned by 2014 and over 400 already ordered.
Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Joan Ruddock, on 14 July (Official Report, House of Commons, 25W), whether, in view of the quantity of ferromanganese, zinc and mercury that is recoverable from used batteries, they plan to facilitate one or more battery recycling plants in the United Kingdom. [HL5625]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The lack of UK recycling capacity for portable batteries reflects the relatively low level (about 3 per cent) of batteries that are currently collected for recycling. There is greater recycling capacity for industrial and automotive batteries where the percentages of batteries collected are much higher.
The EU batteries directive requires large increases in collection, treatment and recycling of portable batteries over the next few years. The targets are for at least 25 per cent of portable batteries to be collected, treated and recycled by 2012 and 45 per cent by 2015. These increases will provide opportunities for UK companies to invest in recycling capacity.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The A55, apart from a small stretch running from Chester to the Welsh border, runs primarily within Wales. The provision of lorry parking and rest areas is a devolved matter, and as such the National Assembly for Wales has policy responsibility for the provision of lorry parking and rest areas in Wales. The provision of rest areas for drivers is a priority within the Wales freight strategy.
What action they are taking to set up the independent transport authorities as proposed in the Local Transport Bill; and what particular actions are being taken in the Greater Bristol and the Solent areas. [HL5647]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Local Transport Bill provides that the six existing passenger transport authorities in England will become integrated transport authorities (ITAs). It also enables authorities in these and other areas to carry out reviews of existing governance arrangements for planning and delivering transport in their area andwhere necessaryto make proposals to improve these, including the possible establishment of new ITAs. It will be for authorities in areas such as Greater Bristol and the Solent themselves to draw up proposals for the establishment of new ITAs, if they consider that this would be likely to improve the planning and delivery of transport in their area.
Whether they will enable farmers and landowners to transport materials that have been tipped illegally on their land to the nearest convenient landfill site without a waste transport certificate. [HL5661]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Farmers and landowners must be registered with the Environment Agency as a waste carrier in order to transport illegally tipped waste from their property to a licensed waste facility.
Which rivers in the United Kingdom have been studied using the system developed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to measure endocrine disruption from steroid oestrogens; and whether the results are available to the public. [HL5656]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The predictive model used in the Catchment Risk Assessment of Steroid Oestrogens from Sewage Treatment Works, commissioned by the Environment Agency from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, includes 357 river catchments split into some 10,313 river reaches (21,452 km) covering 122,000 km2 of the inland waters of England and Wales. Estuaries and coastal waters, and sewage treatment works serving very small communities, were excluded from the model. The model predictions of risk have been mapped in an Environment Agency Science ReportSC030275/SR3 Catchment Risk
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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): No recent discussions have been held with local authorities or other associations specifically about controlling the five injurious weeds including common ragwort (senecio jacobaea) covered by the Weeds Act 1959. But Defra has published a code of practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort and alongside Natural England is willing to work with local authorities and other associations on this matter if further guidance is required.
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