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Written Answers

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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Written Answers

Protective Services Expenditure

asked Her Majesty's Government:Under which heading of " public expenditure by programme " (Table 6, p. 16:

The Government's Expenditure Plans, January 1977, Command 6721-I) does expenditure on the exercise offshore of the civil power fall.

(Baroness Birk)

Expenditure on protective services falls within programmes 3, 4, 9.

Immigration Act 1971: Custodial Statistics

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  • (1) how many non-criminal prisoners on 30th June 1977 were persons held under the Immigration Act 1971;
  • (2) what was the average daily population of non-criminal prisoners who were persons held under the Immigration Act 1971 in the first six months of 1977;
  • (3) how many non-criminal prisoners who were persons held under the Immigration Act 1971 were received into custody in the first six months of 1977;
  • (4) what was the average number of days for which non-criminal prisoners held under the Immigration Act 1971 had been in custody prior to deportation or release in the first six months of 1977;
  • (5) what was the longest period for which any non-criminal prisoner held under the Immigration Act 1971 on 30th October 1977 had been in custody;
  • (6) what was the average number of days for which non-criminal prisoners held under the Immigration Act 1971 following recommendation for deportation by a court had been in custody prior to deportation or release in the first six months of 1977;
  • (7) whether non-criminal prisoners held under the Immigration Act 1971 are permitted the use of a telephone to deal with urgent domestic problems, consult solicitors etc.;
  • (8) whether payments are made by local social security offices on behalf of the Home Office for visits to non-criminal prisoners held under the Immigration Act 1971 in the same circumstances as for criminal and remand prisoners.
  • The full information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Readily available information as regards persons held in custody in England and Wales under the Immigration Act 1971 is as follows:

  • (1) On 30th June 1977 there were 227 such persons held in prison establishments.
  • (2) Over the first six months of 1977 the average daily population of such persons was about 220.
  • (3) Over the first six months of 1977 there were 680 receptions into prison establishments. This figure does not include persons detained on completion of a sentence of imprisonment.
  • (4) No information is readily available about the average time spent in custody prior to deportation by persons who had not been imprisoned for a criminal offence.
  • (5) The longest period for which such a person in custody on 31st October 1977 had been held under the 1971 Act awaiting deportation was 301 days.
  • (6) There is considerable variation in the circumstances of those held to await deportation after serving custodial sentences. The only information readily available relates to 74 people discharged from Pentonville prison in the first half of 1977: this shows that a quarter of those recommended for deportation spent less than 21 days in custody between the completion of their sentence and their deportation; a half spent 43 days or less; and three-quarters spent 63 days or less.
  • (7) Unconvicted prisoners, including those detained under the provision of the 1971 Act, can apply to make personal telephone calls within the United Kingdom for the following purposes:
  • (a) for urgent domestic reasons,
  • (b) to clear up immediate business problems,
  • (c) to consult a solicitor,
  • (d) to arrange bail securities,
  • (e) to contact a national representative at an Embassy etc.
  • (8) A request for assistance for a visit to a detainee would be considered on the same basis as for a visit to a remand prisoner.
  • Unidentified Flying Objects

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are aware that Monsieur Robert Galley, the then French Minister of Defence, in his radio interview on the France-Inter radio on 21st February 1974 stated that the

    gendarmerie are playing a very large part in official investigations into unidentified flying object sightings and alleged landings; and whether our police have been likewise officially

    instructed to collect reports and investigate these unidentified flying objects.

    The Government have no knowledge of either the radio interview to which the Question refers, or the role played by the gendarmerie in investigating unidentified flying objects. The police in this country have not been asked to collect reports of, or investigate, unidentified flying objects. The jurisdiction and powers of the police are normally confined to terrestrial activities, but I have every confidence that should an occasion arise where there is evidence that an unidentified flying object has landed within a police area, the police force concerned will investigate it with its customary vigour. However, until there is some clear indication that the frequency of such occurrences is likely to impose a significant burden on the police, I doubt whether it would prove fruitful to issue guidance on this subject.

    "A Study Of Exmoor"

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will make a Statement on Lord Porchester's Report

    A Study of Exmoor.

    As the House was informed on 6th April last, my right honourable friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food appointed Lord Porchester to undertake a study of changes in the moorland areas of the Exmoor National Park, because they felt that the exceptional character of the moor as a national heritage and the need to balance and safeguard the various interests concerned called for special and immediate study.My right honourable friends are greatly indebted to Lord Porchester for the fair and expeditious way in which he has conducted the Survey and prepared his report. This was published yesterday and copies are available in the Printed Paper Office.The report establishes that since 1947 the total area of moorland in the National Park has been reduced by some 12,000 acres. Within the Critical Amenity Area defined in 1968, 40,000 acres of moorland remain, of which some two-thirds is either common grazings or publicly owned or unsuitable for agricultural improvement. Lord Porchester expects that farmers may wish to convert more of the privately owned improvable land but cannot predict the timing or extent of this.Since the Critical Amenity Area was defined and a voluntary notification procedure was introduced with the cooperation of the National Farmers' Union and the Country Landowners Association, the rate of conversion within the Critical Amenity Area has averaged 100 to 150 acres a year.Lord Porchester's comprehensive and thoughtful recommendations in relation to the remaining moorland will now need careful consideration by Ministers and I am sure by others to whom they are addressed. Among the matters that Ministers will need to consider in consultation with the interests affected are whether the report has a bearing on any other National Park, what precise legislation would be required to implement it and the financial implications of the recommendations. My right honourable friends intend to treat this as a matter of urgency and hope to reach decisions on the report early in the New Year.We are all most grateful to the farmers of Exmoor for the co-operation and restraint which they have shown during the past months and are confident that this will continue.

    Horsemeat Exports: Slaughterhouse Inspections

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Who are the proprietors or operators of the four slaughterhouses at Bristol, Crawley, Huddersfield and Norwich licensed for the export of horsemeat or carcases to EEC and when they were last inspected.

    The information requested is as follows:

    • L. J. Potter,
    • Cappards Farm,
    • Bishop Sutton,
    • Bristol.
    • W. H. Maslen,
    • Forge Farm,
    • Steers Lane,
    • Tinsley Green,
    • Crawley,
    • Sussex.
    • D. S. Cooper, Ltd.,
    • Barden Works Abattoir,
    • Barden Lane,
    • Shelley,
    • Nr. Huddersfield.
    • E. E. Pilgrim & Son,
    • Moor Farm,
    • Banham,
    • Norwich.
    Enforcement of national legislation on standards of hygiene and animal welfare in slaughterhouses is the responsibility of district councils. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant EEC legislation. Each of the four slaughterhouses mentioned has been visited by an officer of the State Veterinary Service during November 1977.

    Livestock Buildings: Fire Precautions

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What regulations exist for fire precautions to be taken in intensive poultry and farm animals units.

    Buildings housing these units must comply with the statutory provisions for structural fire precautions set out in the Building Regulatons 1976. The Agriculture Departments also make it a condition of grant-aid for all livestock buildings that the standards of fire protection recommended in the livestock welfare codes are observed.House adjourned at five minutes past seven o'clock.