Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page



6 Feb 2009 : Column WA153

Written Answers

Friday 6 February 2009

Broadcasting: Audio Description

Question

Asked by Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): DCMS officials have regular discussions with Ofcom officials on television access services for people with sensory impairments, including matters relating to audio description.

Fire Engines

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): No recent consideration has been given to requiring all fire engines to be in a colour other than red. The Department for Transport has given a temporary exemption from existing lighting regulations to permit the use of red retro-reflective markings on the side of fire engines and intends to amend legislation later this year to make this exemption permanent.

Fishing: Trawlermen Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes):We propose that claims under the new scheme may be made by the personal representatives (someone who has the legal authority to deal with the deceased's affairs) of former Icelandic water trawlermen who are deceased. We expect to issue a consultation document setting out our detailed proposals shortly, and expect the new scheme to be formally launched in the summer.



6 Feb 2009 : Column WA154

Government Departments: Christmas

Question

Asked by Lord Hanningfield

Lord Brett: The Cabinet Office has not issued any guidance on this matter.

Asked by Lord Hanningfield

Lord Brett: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Gypsies and Travellers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews):Advice on local authorities' responsibilities when taking enforcement action against Gypsies and Travellers is set out in our Guide to the Effective Use of Enforcement Powers. Part 1 states that local authorities have an obligation to carry out welfare assessments on unauthorised campers to identify any welfare issues that need to be addressed before taking enforcement action against them. Part 2 states that taking “default” enforcement action, under Section 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, can be extremely traumatic for vulnerable residents in a site such as the elderly and that careful thought needs to be given to ensuring that action taken to restore a site to its original state is proportionate and considered. Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping states that, where bailiffs or other agencies and contractors are employed to take such enforcement action, a code of expected behaviour should be drawn up. This code must recognise that private bodies have a local authority’s human rights and race relations responsibilities while acting as its agent.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): We are consulting on changes to the revenue and capital rules that currently redistribute nationally some of the rent and capital receipts from new council housing. These changes would allow councils to keep the full revenue and capital returns from their investment. We are also inviting councils to bid for capital subsidy (social housing grant) from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): This is a devolved matter. The Government are aware of the development of the modernised right to buy in Scotland. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 introduced a new Scottish secure tenancy (SST). Existing tenants with the right to buy (RTB) whose tenancies were converted to SSTs retained the RTB on the same terms and conditions (commonly referred to as preserved RTB entitlements). People taking up new tenancies created after introduction of the SST are entitled to a modernised RTB.

Under the 2001 Act, local authorities in Scotland can apply to Scottish Ministers to have pressured areas designated. To justify designation, local need for social rented housing must be substantially in excess of the local stock, and it must be demonstrable that matters are likely to be worsened by tenants exercising the RTB. Twelve pressured area designations have so far been made in 11 local authority areas since October 2005. In all these cases, the pressured area is a part of the local authority area only. Within these pressured areas, the RTB is suspended for tenants with modernised RTB entitlements for up to 5 years, which can be extended. Tenants with preserved RTB entitlements are unaffected.

Magna Carta

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes):The Government currently have no plans to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.



6 Feb 2009 : Column WA156

Olympic Games 2012: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Lord Davies of Oldham:The candidate file which was submitted to the International Olympic Committee in November 2004 to support the UK’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games set out the relationship between capital costs, borne by the Olympic Delivery, Authority (ODA), and venue overlay costs, borne by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Specifically, themes 6 and 8, table 6.6.2b and tables 8.4.1 to 8.4.4 refer. Copies of the candidate file were placed in the Library of the -House following the bid in November 2004.

Since winning the right to host the Games in 2012, the ODA and LOCOG have been working closely together to agree the detail of their respective responsibilities for building the venues and equipping them for the Games. However, the detailed agreements which result from this work cannot be placed in the Library of the House at this time as they would contain information that relates to the commercial interests of both organisations and their disclosure would be likely to prejudice these interests. At the appropriate time, when negotiations are concluded, they will be.

Petitions: Downing Street Website

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves



6 Feb 2009 : Column WA157

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon):The Number 10 e-petitions system was established as a means for facilitating greater engagement with the public, giving them an opportunity to make their views known to the Government. They are not referenda and are in no way a legislative substitute for Parliament. An e-petition has no legal status, however to protect the service from abuse petitions must satisfy some basic terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are set out on the website at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/terms. 50,000 petitions have been received since creation.

Asked by Baroness Hamwee

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Number 10 e-petitions system was established as a means for facilitating greater engagement with the public, giving them an opportunity to make their views known to the Government. They are not referenda and are in no way a legislative substitute for Parliament. An e-petition has no legal status, however to protect the service from abuse petitions must satisfy some basic terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are set out on the website at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/terms. 50,000 petitions have been received since creation.

Public Lavatories

Question

Asked by Baroness Greengross

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Lavatories provided for public use in private developments are covered by disability discrimination legislation, which requires that reasonable

6 Feb 2009 : Column WA158

adjustments be made to enable disabled people to access those services. In addition, the British Standard BS8300 (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people — Code of Practice) states that “where turnstiles or other similar forms of access control, e.g. those with rotating arms, are used, a complementary side-hung gate should be installed to provide access for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility”.

These provisions aim to ensure that, where turnstiles are used, alternative access, or access to alternative facilities, is available to people with limited mobility.

Waste Management

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement made by my right honourable friend the Minister for Farming and the Environment on 22 January 2009 on Household Waste Incentives (Col. 40WS).

Waste Management: Reduction Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Defra wrote to all local authorities in England in June 2008 inviting formal expressions of interest in piloting a scheme to be submitted by the end of 21 January 2009. No local authorities have so far come forward. If in the future any local authorities wish to discuss how they can manage their waste more sustainably, Defra and the Waste and Resources Action Programme will be available to provide support.


Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page