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St. Helena: Politics and Government

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many consultations on (a) proposals for an airport on the island of St Helena, (b) other matters associated with an airport and (c) general matters relating to the economy of St Helena have been held in each year since 1999; and what the cost of each was. (267932)

The St. Helena Government and the Department for International Development have together consulted the public on St. Helena on a wide range of issues associated with the airport and the economy over a number of years. These include the referendum on access in 2002, and subsequent consultations regarding Land Use, Private Sector Investment, Tourism and most recently Taxation. Details of consultation relating to the airport can be found in the planning statement at:

http://www.sainthelenaaccess.com/application/documents/Planning-Statement

Most of the consultation work has been carried out in the course of wider preparatory work and costs are not readily disaggregated.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Defence and (b) the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the strategic importance to the UK of the island of St Helena in respect of (i) the South Atlantic and (ii) Africa in the last six months. (267934)

The Secretary of State for International Development has regular meetings with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what periods in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010 RMS St Helena will be out of service for programmed works; and what plans there are to ensure that the island of St Helena will receive supplies during such periods. (267935)

The RMS St. Helena will be out of service for programmed works from 16 to 30 August 2009, from 8 March 2010 to 19 April 2010 and from 31 August to 5 October 2010.

The Government of St. Helena are planning in the same way as they plan for the RMS absences when it makes trips to the United Kingdom, as that journey is comparable to these out of service periods. The RMS schedule is published well in advance so that arrangements can be made, through proper preparation, to ensure that essential supplies are maintained.

RMS voyage schedules information can be found on the RMS website:

http://www.rms-st-helena.com/schedules.html

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 40WS, on St. Helena, when he expects the consultation on access arrangements for the island of St. Helena to conclude; if he will publish all submissions the consultation receives; and if he will make an oral statement to the House as soon as possible after conclusion of the consultation. (267980)

The consultation starts in April. The deadline for responses is 31 July. In line with the Government's ‘Code of Practice on Consultation’, we plan to publish a report within three months of the close of the consultation. This will summarise the responses received and explain how the consultation will influence policy development. The Secretary of State for International Development will make his decision once he has considered the report.