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Written Answers

Volume 416: debated on Wednesday 21 January 1981

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Written Answers

Herring: Disposal Of Accident Catches

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will re-examine the possibility of allowing herring caught accidentally to be sent to charitable institutions or hospitals.

In the interests of conserving herring stocks, United Kingdom and EEC legislation has prohibited fishing for herring in specified areas and has provided that where herrings are caught in these cases they shall be returned immediately to the sea. In order to ensure effective enforcement, these provisions necessarily apply whether or not the fish are caught inadvertently, although there can be exemptions for limited quantities of herring, expressed as a percentage of the total catch, to be landed where the herring is taken as a by-catch with other species in mixed fisheries. If the legal requirements are strictly observed and illegal herring catches are returned immediately to the sea, there would be no landings of such fish in the United Kingdom and the question of disposal would not arise.

The Eec Sheep Meat Régime

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied with the operation of the EEC Sheep Meat Regime, and whether they will make a statement.

The régime brings major benefits to both consumers and producers in the United Kingdom. Some problems arose initially over the requirement for clawback of variable premium on exports, but our export trade picked up last month and this was helped by the suspension of clawback on exports to third countries until 31st March, 1981. There is still a need to keep the matter under close review and we shall be pressing for measures to protect our export interests during the Commission's forthcoming review of sheep export policy.

Airport Expansion In The South-West

asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have to expand airports in the South-West of England.

Plans for the expansion of airports in the South-West of England, as elsewhere, are a matter in the first instance for the owners concerned. The Government have, however, recently made a special capital expenditure alloctaion to Devon County Council of £504,000 for the year 1981–2 for improvement of the terminal and enlargement of the apron at Exeter Airport.

Air Traffic Control In Scotland

asked Her Majesty's Government:When secondary surveillance radar is to be installed at Aberdeen to facilitate radar identification and monitoring of air traffic using Aberdeen Airport and whether such equipment would be capable of interpretation by both Aberdeen Air Traffic Control and the Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre at Prestwick; andWhat were the average weekly air traffic movements along Air Traffic Advisory Route DW5 between Sumburgh and Aberdeen in the months of January and June in the years 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1980; andWhy Air Traffic Advisory Routes DW5, DB22, DW3 and DW4 have not been upgraded to Airways thereby allowing civilian air traffic using them the full benefits of controlled airspace.

This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority and I have asked the chairman to write to the noble Lord.

Afghanistan: Red Cross Access

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will draw the attention of the United Nations Security Council to the difficulties of the International Red Cross in obtaining permission to serve in Afghanistan during the military conflict.

Her Majesty's Government support the appeal which the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made on 16th September 1980, and deplore the refusal of the Karmal regime to allow the ICRC to work in Afghanistan. The Government do not, however, consider that the United Nations Security Council is the right place to consider this issue.

Zimbabwean Students In The Uk: Grants

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will suggest to the British Council that they should reconsider their decision to terminate the grants to Zimbabwean students at British educational establishments in view of the serious financial demands on the newly independent state.

No such decision has been taken by the British Coundil or by the Government. Zimbabwean students who were studying in this country at the time of independence on awards made under our training programme are continuing to receive support until the completion of the courses for which their awards were given. New awards may be financed at the request of the Zimbabwe Government from the £75 million aid allocated to Zimbabwe at independence. It is now for that Government to decide how much of their own resources they can devote to training overseas, how much of our aid they ask us to devote to this, and which students they ask us to support.

Medical Records Of Prisoners

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether probation officers are given copies of, or sight of, medical records of prisoners and former prisoners; and what restrictions, if any, are applied in granting these officers access to such records.

Access to medical records is restricted to medical staff, but a medical officer could decide that appropriate information from a prisoner's medical record should be made available to another member of staff, including a probation officer.

Skeletal Maturation Tables

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will give a list of references of the literature in which tables of skeletal maturation drawn up in the USA have been found to apply, with or without modification, to children from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively, from 1960 to the present day.

I will write to the noble Lord as soon as possible.House adjourned at twenty-seven minutes past seven o'clock.