|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are receiving progress reports on investigations into alleged war crimes committed by Hamas in the recent Gaza conflict. [HL2593]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are gravely concerned about allegations that war crimes were committed by both sides. We are currently awaiting the results of investigations being carried out by the UN, the Israeli Government, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are not receiving detailed updates, but once these are concluded we will then consider what further action should be taken.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to address problems with the ecological status of bodies of water in England and Wales in order to agree finalised river basin management plans by the end of 2009. [HL2819]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Water Framework Directive (Articles 4 and 11) requires that river basin management plans include a programme of measures to meet environmental objectives for surface water, groundwater and protected areas. Each body of surface water must have an ecological status objective and a chemical status objective set for it. Each body of groundwater must have chemical status and quantitative status objectives set for it.
For surface water, necessary measures will be implemented with the aim of progressively reducing pollution from priority substances and ceasing or phasing out emissions, discharges and losses of priority hazardous substances.
For groundwater, necessary measures will be implemented to prevent or limit the input of pollutants into groundwater and to prevent the deterioration of the status of all bodies of groundwater.
The Environment Agency is currently consulting on the draft river basin management plans. These include a draft programme of measures aimed at improving the ecological status of water bodies. When the consultation has finished at the end of June, the Environment Agency will consider all the responses before submitting final river basin management plans to Ministers in September. Ministers will then consider the Environment Agency's recommendations before approving the plans (with or without changes) in December.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will make the river basin management plans understandable to members of the public. [HL2820]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Environment Agency is currently consulting on the draft river basin management plans for England and Wales. In preparing the draft plans for consultation, the Environment Agency worked with many organisations, including environmental stakeholders, to ensure the consultation documents met the requirements of a wide range of audiences. The draft plans are designed to be relatively high-level strategic documents, but some audiences have sought much greater detail, particularly at the local level. While the draft plans have weighty annexes holding information more relevant to a technical audience, the draft plans themselves are limited to around 50 pages, and contain the information considered necessary to respond to the consultation questions. The Environment Agency has also made much of the information in the draft plans available on the part of their website called What's in Your Back Yard, which allows the public to view information in the draft plans as a set of interactive maps and tables.
The Environment Agency continues to work with environmental stakeholders and others to improve the presentation and accessibility of the final river basin management plans. It is producing a series of short documents summarising the plans. These include summaries of relevance to the general public, or different business sectors affected by the plans, or covering smaller geographical areas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request from the Government of Israel figures of the number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, respectively, and of the number of village settlements in each; and, if so, whether they will place those figures in the Library of the House. [HL2722]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): According to Peace Now, a well respected non-governmental organisation, in 2008 there were 285,000 Israeli settlers living in 121 settlements in the West Bank. As the Israeli Government do not differentiate between east and west Jerusalem there are no official figures available for this area. Peace Now draws on freely available Israeli Government figures in compiling its statistics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request from the Government of Israel figures of the number of Israeli settlers arriving in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in each of the last 10 years and of the percentage increase in settlers over that period; and, if so, whether they will place those figures in the Library of the House. [HL2723]
Lord Malloch-Brown: According to Peace Now, a well respected non-governmental organisation, there were 198,300 settlers living in the West Bank area in 2000. By 2008 this figure had increased to 285,000.
As Israel does not differentiate between east and west Jerusalem there are no official figures available for this area. However, we judge that a significant increase has also occurred in east Jerusalem.
Peace Now draws on freely available Israeli Government figures in compiling its statistics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken through the European Union and with the Government of the United States to address any contraventions of international law that have occurred as a result of Israeli settlements in the
20 Apr 2009 : Column WA382
Lord Malloch-Brown: It is the long-standing position of the Government that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are unlawful under international law, as they contravene Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. This position has also been taken by UN bodies, such as the UN Security Council, for example in UN Security Council Resolution 446 (1979), and by the International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall.
We regularly discuss our concerns over illegal Israeli settlements with the US and our EU partners. We will continue to press the Israeli authorities to freeze settlement expansion and to negotiate a peace deal to bring the occupation to an end.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many young offenders at HM Young Offenders Institute Aylesbury who are serving indeterminate sentences for public protection are on the waiting list for courses on enhanced thinking skills, victim awareness, victim empathy, family and man relationship skills, and assertiveness; and, in each case, how many of those concerned have exceeded their tariff. [HL2567]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): One prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection at Aylesbury young offender institution has been assessed as suitable for the enhanced thinking skills course and is awaiting a place. He has not exceeded his tariff. Eight are awaiting assessment for the course, one of whom has exceeded his tariff. Nine have been set the course as an objective and will complete it at another establishment, one of whom has exceeded his tariff. Sixteen are awaiting places on the family and man relationship skills course, eight of whom have exceeded their tariff. Eighteen are awaiting places on the assertiveness course, nine of whom have exceeded their tariff. Victim awareness and victim empathy courses are not available at Aylesbury.
The National Offender Management Service has implemented a range of measures to improve the position of indeterminate sentence prisoners, and further work is being undertaken to match delivery. The benefits of moving prisoners through the system are fully recognised: Action is being taken to prioritise indeterminate sentence prisoners particularly with short tariffs, and if necessary move them as quickly as possible to establishments where their offending behaviour needs can be addressed.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|