Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 448: debated on Monday 20 February 1984

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

Football Hooligans: Judicial Discretion

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether a recent ministerial pronouncement advocating the imposition of more severe penalties on football hooligans means that it is no longer official policy to leave it entirely to the courts to judge what punishment is appropriate for particular offences.

Her Majesty's Government entirely accept that it is for the courts alone to decide the appropriate sentence to impose on individual offenders. I assume that the noble Lord's Question is prompted by press reports following the recent publication of a speech made by the Minister for Sport in May 1983. That speech was intended to express support for the courts' general policy of imposing deterrent penalties on violent football hooligans—a policy recently reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal—not to interfere with the independent exercise of their discretion in dealing with particular cases.

Vehicle Rectification Schemes

asked Her Majesty's Government:If it is proposed to adopt as uniform procedure nationally the vehicle defect rectification scheme as introduced by the Nottinghamshire Police Force and police forces in some other areas, whereby drivers are given the opportunity to rectify vehicle defects within a given period of time instead of being automatically prosecuted.

Whether wide use of these experimental schemes should be encouraged will depend on an evaluation which is being undertaken by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Spain: Cruelty To Animals And Ec Membership

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will represent to the Spanish Government that bullfighting and the atrocities inflicted on live geese at the festival of E1 Carpio de Tojo are incompatible with membership of the EEC.

The presence or absence of animal protection legislation is not relevant to membership of the European Community and provides no grounds for the Government making such representations. In the United Kingdom, bullfighting, and all other forms of cruelty to domestic and captive animals, are made illegal by the Protection of Animals Act 1911 (1912 in Scotland).

Cormorants Killed Under Licence

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many cormorants have been killed under licence in England and Wales since the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; how many licences have been issued; and what localities do these licences cover.

Twelve cormorants have been killed in England under a licence issued since the passing of the Act. Five licences have been issued in England, one of which is still current: two for Essex, and one each for Cheshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria. Two licences were issued in Wales for two reservoir sites but neither licence was taken up and no birds were killed. All licences issued are for the protection of fisheries interests.

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many cormorants have been killed under licence in Scotland since the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; how many licences have been issued; and what localities do these licences cover.

In the period between implementation of Part I of the Act and the end of 1983 licensees reported the shooting of 907 cormorants.Two licences were issued for Grampian Region, 13 for Highland Region, Seven for Tayside Region, two for the Borders Region, three for Strathclyde and six for Dumfries and Galloway Region.

Goosanders Killed Under Licence

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many goosanders have been killed under licence in Scotland since the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, in what localities, and how many individuals currently hold licences to kill these species.

In the period between implementation of Part I of the Act and the end of 1983 licensees reported the shooting of 42 goosanders in Grampian Region, 37 in Highland Region, 111 in Tayside Region, 116 in Borders Region and 41 in Dumfries and Galloway.Only one licence has been issued in 1984 and it expires this month. Licences issued in 1983 have expired.

Endangered Species: Assurance

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will confirm that at a meeting between the Department of the Environment and organisations concerned with the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 9th February 1982, during discussion of the draft EEC CITES Regulation which was then in the final stages of negotiation, they confirmed that it would be possible to "go further" in all foreseeable circumstances and that the retention of border controls within the Community was possible under the regulation.

I confirm that an assurance in the sense indicated was given. In the event, the United Kingdom pressed in the negotiations for a provision to enable member states to take stricter measures if they thought them justified on conservation grounds. Article 15 of the regulation resulted from those negotiations. The United Kingdom has already informed the commission that it proposes to take stricter measures within the Community for some types of animals and plants. The question of further additions will be considered on their merits.

"Home Defence And The Farmer"

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are now in a position to say when the updated version of

Home Defence and the Farmer will be available, given that work has been proceeding on this for three and a half years.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the noble Lord on 16th January.

Ussr: Nuclear Explosions, September 1983

asked Her Majesty's Government:What information they have of the purposes in relation to which the Soviet Government conducted six nuclear blasts at five-minute intervals in September 1983.

Six underground explosions, assessed as nuclear, occurred on 24th September 1983 in the Astrakhan region of the USSR. Although the Soviet authorities have made no announcements as to the purposes of these particular explosions, they were probably intended to form underground cavities for gas condensate storage in the large natural gas field under development in the region.

Naval Weapons Tests At Sea

asked Her Majesty's Government:On how many occasions in recent years has the Royal Navy conducted weapon tests in the high seas; what areas of the high seas have been closed on such occasions; and for how long.

In common with other navies, the Royal Navy regularly tests weapons on the high seas. Records of such tests are not held centrally, and the information requested could not be provided without disproportionate cost. Such tests do not in any event involve closure of the high seas, although all appropriate steps are taken to avoid danger or inconvenience to other ships or aircraft.

Naval Exercises In The Arctic Circle

asked Her Majesty's Government:On how many occasions in the last 10 years has the Royal Navy either alone or along with other NATO fleets, conducted exercises in:

  • (a) the Norwegian Sea,
  • (b) the Barents Sea, and
  • (c) anywhere else north of the Arctic Circle.
  • In the last 10 years the Royal Navy has participated in six national or NATO exercises in the Norwegian Sea, but not in any exercises elsewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

    Prisoners: Legal Aid For Adjudications

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will make legal aid available for prison boards of adjudication following the decision of the Divisional Court in the case of

    R v. Board of Visitors of HM Prison Albany ex parte Tarrant.

    In consultation with my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, I have decided to make assistance by way of representation available where necessary to those prisoners who have been granted a right to legal representation at an adjudication by the board of visitors of a penal institution. This will provide, efficiently and economically, a form of legal aid appropriate to the nature of the proceedings. The arrangement is, however, an interim one; longer-term decisions on the form of assistance with the cost of representation must await the recommendations of the departmental committee set up to review the prison disciplinary system, whose establishment was announced by my right honourable friend on 24th October 1983, Vol. 47, c. 19. I shall make the necessary amendment regulations shortly, to take effect from 1st April 1984.