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Written Answers

Volume 596: debated on Wednesday 3 February 1999

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Written Answers

Wednesday, 3rd February 1999.

Eurostar: Amsterdam

asked Her Majesty's Government:When they expect the Eurostar service to be extended to Amsterdam. [HL700]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
(Lord Whitty)

We understand from Eurostar that they already provide a connecting service to Amsterdam via the European rail network, and that they have no current plans to launch a direct service.

Planning Applications

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many directions have been made by the Secretary of State under Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 (SI 1988/1813) since 1 May 1997; and how many directions were made in the equivalent period prior to that date. [HL727]

From 1 May 1997 to 31 December 1998, some 536 directions were made under Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995*. In the equivalent period prior to 1 May 1997 (1 September 1995 to 30 April 1997), some 506 directions were made. (The latter figure does not include directions made in the SW Region or in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire or Oxfordshire in the SE Region prior to 1 April 1996, or in respect of applications referred under departure and retail directions in the London Region, for which information is not available.)

* Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 was replaced by Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 (SI 1995/419).

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many planning applications have been called in for decision by the Secretary of State since 1 May 1997; and how many applications were called in during the equivalent period prior to that date. [HL728]

From 1 May 1997 to 3 December 1998, my right honourable friend called in some 246 planning applications. In the equivalent period prior to 1 May 1997 (1 September 1995 to 30 April 1997), some 228 applications were called in. (The latter figure does not include any applications called in the SW Region in September 1995, for which information is not available.)

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether there has been any change in policy since April 1997 with regard to the use of directions under Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 (SI 1988/1813) and to the calling-in of planning applications. [HL729]

There has been no change in policy since April 1997 in the use of directions under Article 14(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 or in the calling in of planning applications.It remains the policy that use of Article 14 directions and of the power to call-in applications should be used sparingly.

Allotment Sites

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many allotment sites have been (a) approved for sale and (b) sold; and whether they will name the sites and specify the "new use" where data are available. [HL765]

Further to the Written Answer by my noble friend Lady Hayman on 5 May 1998 (WA 56–57), the Secretary of State has given his consent for the sale of the following statutory allotment sites. The department does not record whether sites are actually sold after consent for sale is given. The proposed new use is not necessarily a factor which is taken into account in deciding whether to grant consent for the sale of allotment land. In some cases, the proposed alternative use may require planning consent.

DateAllotment SiteNew Use (Where known)
9 FebruaryClough Road, RotherhamProperty Development
4 MarchLongbarrow, BournemouthResidential
4 MarchHigher Lane, LiverpoolHousing
6 MarchDuke Street, SuttonHousing
2 AprilMoss Hall Lane, Lytham St. Anne'sRoad improvements
7 AprilMoreland Road, GosportSports Facilities/Car Park
11 MayVange, Basildon(Not known)
12 MayHey Street, RochdaleHousing
9 JulyWharf Road, WoodstonResidential
31 JulyCastleman Road, Chichester(Not known)
10 AugustBroadwater Gardens, HillingdonHousing Consortium
17 AugustEfford Crescent, PlymouthHousing Association
17 AugustGreen Street, EastbourneHousing
2 OctoberWoodhall, Chelmsford(Not known)
16 OctoberBartram Avenue, BraintreeMeeting/Play Area
17 NovemberMimms Hall Road, potters BarMeeting Hall
30 NovemberHawcliffe Road, Mountsorrel(Not known)
9 DecemberHengrove Farm, Bristol(Not known)

Date

Allotment Site

New Use (Where known)

16 DecemberWilton Road, Camberley(Not known)
5 JanuaryYorktown Trading Estate, Surrey Heath(Not known)
26 JanuaryTownsends North, BrentHousing

Sewage: Dumping At Sea

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the United Kingdom has stopped all dumping of sewage waste at sea from 1 January 1999; and whether any public announcement has been made of this action. [HL846]

In accordance with the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and Annex II to the OSPAR Convention 1992, all UK licences permitting the dumping of sewage sludge at sea terminated, at the latest, on 31 December 1998. No sewage sludge has since been dumped at sea. My right honourable friend, the Minister for the Environment, issued a press statement explaining this on 30 December 1998.

Lords Of Appeal: Appointment Of Women

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why no woman has been appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. [HL644]

Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. It is a long-established convention that my advice to the Prime Minister on individual appointments is confidential.Appointments must be on merit. In determining my advice on the appointment of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary I give careful consideration to the merits of eligible women. I wish to see more women appointed to the judiciary at all levels and I have taken steps to promote equal opportunities in judicial appointments and appointment to silk.

Lords Of Appeal: Role In Constitutional Change

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they regard the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary as having a role in promoting constitutional change. [HL645]

The Lords of Appeal in Ordinary have an important part to play in interpreting and applying any legislation made by Parliament which brings about constitutional change and, when the substantive provisions of the Human Rights Act come into force, in developing the common law compatibly with the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sex Offender Treatment Programmes

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, given doubts about the success rate of sex offender treatment programmes in the United States, the similarity of United Kingdom programmes to the United States models, and the significant investment in these programmes, they will commission independent research into their effectiveness. [HL691]

The sex offender treatment programmes used by the Prison Service are based on Canadian rather than United States models. Neither the Government nor the Prison Service is aware of doubts about the success rates of those models.Independent research into effectiveness is an integral part of the Prison Service's offending behaviour programme policy, since it would clearly be wasteful to devote resources to programmes which cannot be shown to reduce recidivism. As I said in my reply to the noble Lord on 16 December last (

Official Report, col. WA 149), interim outcomes from independent research into the Prison Service's sex offender treatment programme, relating to attitudinal and other change predictive of changes in recidivism, are available, and were reported in Home Office Research Findings No. 79 (ISSN 1364–6540). I will send a copy to the noble Lord.

Prisoners Under 17: Education

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the event of a 16 or 17 year-old boy being sentenced to imprisonment under the existing age of consent legislation, he would have, during his detention, educational opportunities suited to his academic abilities. [HL817]

There is a statutory requirement to provide sentenced prisoners under the age of 17 years with 15 hours academic education including English, Mathematics, life skills relevant to their age, and Information Technology. In the case of sentenced prisoners aged 17 years with learning difficulties, there is a requirement to provide education appropriate to their needs.Prison education for all prisoners focuses on the core curriculum of basic educational skills (literacy and numeracy), life and social skills and computer skills.The Prison Service is currently developing new regime standards for young people under the age of 18. They will include the development of a broader education curriculum for young people under school leaving age which will take into account their particular learning difficulties, especially dyslexia, attention deficits and hyper-activity disorder and any statement of educational needs. The Comprehensive Spending Review has made additional funds available for achieving the new standards.The Prison Service is also planning to introduce an individual programme for each young person. It will be based on a thorough assessment and will include an action plan and programme suited to individual needs, ability and aptitude.

Crime (Sentences) Act 1997

asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the reasons for their decision to implement Section 4 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 with effect from December 1999. [HL758]

The Government have always said that implementation depended on the capacity of the Prison Service and available resources. The latest long-term projections for the prison population are lower than had previously been the case. We now believe that the Prison Service has the capacity to cope with the increase in the prison population which Section 4 will give rise to.

Police Authority Funding

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the final funding allocations for police authorities in England and Wales for 1999–2000. [HL890]

Allocations for each police authority are set out in the table. The table also shows allocations approved by Parliament for 1998–99.

Police Authority1998–1999 Allocation1£ million1999–2000 Allocation1£ million
English Shire forces
Avon & Somerset164.3168.4
Bedfordshire60.961.4
Cambridgeshire71.974.8
Cheshire104.7109.0
Cleveland80.481.7
Cumbria59.060.1
Derbyshire97.7102.1
Devon and Cornwall167.4174.3
Dorset67.870.1
Durham78.181.3
Essex158.4163.0
Gloucestershire61.562.4
Hampshire189.1194.5
Hertfordshire94.1100.0
Humberside110.6113.0
Kent178.9183.1
Lancashire174.9178.2
Leicestershire99.1102.3
Lincolnshire60.763.4
Norfolk80.983.4

Police Authority

1998–1999 Allocation

1

£ million

1999–2000 Allocation

1

£ million

North Yorkshire75.677.6
Northamptonshire62.865.3
Nottinghamshire123.0126.3
Staffordshire111.1113.0
Suffolk66.068.6
Surrey84.291.9
Sussex162.6166.4
Thames Valley219.3224.6
Warwickshire51.152.2
West Mercia110.0113.0
Wiltshire63.464.9

English Metropolitan forces

Greater Manchester364.8375.7
Merseyside233.3236.3
Northumbria205.4213.0
South Yorkshire165.4171.3
West Midlands371.9380.6
West Yorkshire279.5286.3

London forces

Metropolitan Police21,715.31,743.9
City of London357.155.4

English total

6.682.66,852.8

Welsh forces

Dyfed-Powys51.151.7
Gwent67.369.7
North Wales73.275.5
South Wales161.3163.8

Welsh total

353.0360.8
Total7,035.57,213.6

Notes

1 Rounded to the nearest £100,000. The Allocation is the sum of: Police Grant, Transitional Grant, Police SSA, Capital Finance SSA, SSA Reduction Grant and Central Support Protection Grant.

2 Figure for the Metropolitan Police does not include funding allocated to the Receiver under the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA for school crossing patrols, Magistrates' Courts and the Probation Service. It does include its Special Payment.

3 Figure for the City includes Police SSA Grant, and SSA Reduction Grant, but excludes other SSAs (e.g. Capital Financing) and Central Support Protection Grant. These are allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions.

Public Records: Security Service Files

asked Her Majesty's Government:When they will publish the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Public Records' review of the criteria used by the Security Service in deciding whether to retain files on grounds of historical interest. [HL891]

In July last year my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced that, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, he had invited the Advisory Council on Public Records to review the criteria which the Security Service employs to select files for permanent preservation on grounds of historical interest. The Chairman of the Council, the Master of the Rolls, accepted the invitation and submitted the Council's report to him on 21 December 1998.

The council's report concludes with the following recommendations:

1. The following criteria should be added to those which currently guide the selection of files of historical interest:

  • (i) Organisations and individuals on which security action was required but which were not of great significance nationally or internationally at the time when the action took place.
  • Selection should be carried out to show the geographical, national and social range of individuals and organisations with which the Service had dealings. Full details of this criterion to be developed within the operational selection policy as follows:
  • (ii) Events with which the Service had an active involvement but which were neither newsworthy at the time nor historically significant if considered in isolation.
  • Selection should be carried out in order to reflect both developments in the Service's own activities and policies and the social, economic and political context within which the Service operated. Full details of this criterion to be developed within the operational selection policy.
  • (iii) A sample taken from all files on individuals on whom, after initial investigation, no security action was taken and from the files on individuals not selected under other criteria.
  • At a minimum this should be a sample of 1/100 of such files. The details of the sampling method should be considered as part of the development of an operational selection policy. The taking of a sample is dependent on the preservation of all means of reference.
  • (iv) All policy and subject files, other than those of an ephemeral nature.
  • (v) All registers and other means of reference to policy files and to files on subjects, organisations and individuals.
  • 2. The Security Service should work with the Public Record Office to develop an operational selection policy based on the criteria as amended, for completion in 2000–01.

    Having consulted the Director General of the Security Service, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has decided to accept the council's recommendations in full. Additionally, and in response to an observation elsewhere in the report, officials of the Public Record Office with the necessary security clearance will, in future, be invited to examine files which have been earmarked for destruction following review by the Security Service. This will provide a useful measure of external scrutiny of the selection process.

    My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is most grateful to the Advisory Council for undertaking this valuable review, and for its helpful and constructive recommendations. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

    Defence Attachés

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How many days in 1998 the British Defence Attaché to Finland and Estonia spent on duty in Helsinki and Tallinn respectively; and whether he is able to fill both appointments to the complete satisfaction of the United Kingdom, Finland and Estonia. [HL694]

    The British Defence Attaché to Finland and Estonia spent 61 days in Estonia in 1998, supplemented by a further 36 days spent in Estonia by his support staff. Other than 25 days in the UK on duty, he spent the remainder of the year in Helsinki. Her Majesty's Government is satisfied that the Defence Attaché has satisfactorily fulfilled both appointments and made a significant contribution to developing our bilateral defence relationships with both Finland and Estonia.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they have decided against sending a Defence Attaché to Estonia, whose sole duties will be connected with Estonia; and whether they will reconsider the decision; and [HL695]Whether they will appoint a Defence Attaché to the British Embassies accredited to every European nation that has applied to join NATO. [HL696]

    We are currently reviewing the worldwide distribution of attachés in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. No decision has yet been taken. I shall write to the noble Earl when the review is complete.

    Regular And Territorial Armies: Trained Strength

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the present strength compared to the establishment of the Regular Army and the Territorial Army. [HL666]

    The trained strength, compared to the establishment, of the Regular Army and the Territorial Army is as follows.

    Trained strengthEstablishment
    Regular Army*96,822102,825
    Territorial Army54,03159,000
    * Figures for the Regular Army exclude Gurkhas, the Royal Irish (Home Service), Mobilised Reservists and Full Time Reserve Service.
    In addition there are 13,751 members of the Regular Army currently undergoing training.

    Sudan: Diversion Of Food Aid

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Amos on 16 December 1998 (

    WA 152), whether Operation Lifeline Sudan has arrived at an estimate of either the percentage or dollar value of food aid being diverted by the Sudan People's Liberation Army. [HL704]

    No definitive figures are available and the scale of diversions by the SPLA and government supported militias vary with location.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Amos on 17 December 1998 (

    WA 170), what evidence there is for food aid diversion by Government of Sudan structures or forces. [HL705]

    The Government of Sudan make it very difficult to monitor the end use of distributed food. There are widespread suspicions that the lists and numbers of beneficiaries, and the distribution of food, are manipulated in government controlled areas. It is also known that government-supported local militia groups regularly loot food.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Amos on 17 December 1998 (

    WA 169) about the diversion of emergency food aid in southern Sudan, whether (a) they have studied the report of the joint Operation Lifeline Sudan and Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association task force which examined allegations of such diversion of aid, and (b) whether they will place a copy of this report in the Library of the House. [HL706]

    We have studied the report of the joint Operation Lifeline Sudan and Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association Task Force report.We are seeking the agreement of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to make the report publicly available. We have arranged for the OLS press release on the report, dated 9 September 1998, to be placed in the Library of the House.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Amos on 17 December 1998 (

    WA 169), whether, having studied the report of the joint Operation Lifeline Sudan and Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association task force into the diversion of emergency food aid by the Sudan People's Liberation Army, they have directly raised this issue with the SPLA; on which occasions this issue was discussed; and what the response has been. [HL707]

    We regularly raise this and other humanitarian issues with the SPLA both bilaterally and in concert with the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). It was discussed most recently on 25 January in London with SPLA's UK representatives and on 26 January in Nairobi at a joint OLS/Donor meeting with John Garang, leader of the SPLA.

    Sudan: Operation Lifeline Sudan

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Which United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisations, and British affiliates of international non-governmental organisations, are active in Sudan, both within and outside Operation Lifeline Sudan structures. [HL750]

    The following non-governmental organisations are either UK based or British affiliates of international NGOs active within Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS):

    • Agency for Co-operation and Research in Development (ACORD)
    • Action Contre La Faim (ACF)
    • CARE
    • Christian Outreach
    • Fellowship for African Relief (FAR)
    • He1page International (HAI)
    • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
    • MSF
    • Merlin
    • OXFAM
    • Ockenden Venture
    • SCF
    • Tear Fund
    • VetAid
    • World Vision
    The following organisations are active outside OLS:

    • Christian Aid
    • CAFOD
    • Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
    • ICRC
    • Lutheran World Service

    Zimbabwe: Aid

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the current level of aid to Zimbabwe; and whether maintaining that level of aid depends on the record of the Government of Zimbabwe on human rights. [HL764]

    In the last financial year, 1997–98, British aid expenditure for Zimbabwe was just over £12 million. Human rights are one of several factors that we consider in determining the level and content of the development assistance programmes but we are clear that the poor of Zimbabwe should not pay the price for human rights violations by their government.

    Daily Attendance Of Life Peers

    asked the Chairman of Committees:What has been the daily attendance of life Peers by party since the start of the present Session of Parliament up to and including Thursday 21 January 1999. [HL665]

    According to the House of Lords Information Office data base, the information requested is as follows.

    Current affiliationNumber of attendances
    24/11/98
    Conservative64
    Cross Bench14
    Labour91
    Liberal Democrats18
    Unknown1
    25/11/98
    Conservative82
    Cross Bench33
    Labour102
    Liberal Democrats30
    Unknown2
    26/11/98
    Conservative76
    Cross Bench31
    Labour92
    Liberal Democrats27
    Unknown2
    30/11/98
    Conservative77
    Cross Bench22
    Labour100
    Liberal Democrats28
    Unknown2
    1/12/98
    Conservative100
    Cross Bench32
    Labour105
    Liberal Democrats33
    Unknown2
    2/12/98
    Conservative97
    Cross Bench25
    Labour102
    Liberal Democrats27
    Unknown2
    3/12/98
    Conservative82
    Cross Bench33
    Labour103
    Liberal Democrats30
    Unknown2
    7/12/98
    Conservative75
    Cross Bench29
    Labour114
    Liberal Democrats31
    Unknown1

    Current affiliation

    Number of attendances

    8/12/98

    Conservative99
    Cross Bench30
    Labour124
    Liberal Democrats35
    Unknown1

    9/12/98

    Conservative96
    Cross Bench34
    Labour113
    Liberal Democrats26
    Unknown1

    10/12/98

    Conservative79
    Cross Bench26
    Labour97
    Liberal Democrats32
    Unknown1

    14/12/98

    Conservative85
    Cross Bench21
    Labour107
    Liberal Democrats29
    Unknown1

    15/12/98

    Conservative114
    Cross Bench31
    Labour117
    Liberal Democrats32
    Unknown2

    16/12/98

    Conservative93
    Cross Bench26
    Labour95
    Liberal Democrats25
    Unknown2

    17/12/98

    Conservative67
    Cross Bench18
    Labour85
    Liberal Democrats25
    Unknown2

    11/1/99

    Conservative66
    Cross Bench24
    Labour84
    Liberal Democrats28
    Unknown2

    12/1/99

    Conservative92
    Cross Bench22
    Labour96
    Liberal Democrats32
    Unknown1

    13/1/99

    Conservative79
    Cross Bench21
    Labour96
    Liberal Democrats27
    Unknown1

    Current affiliation

    Number of attendances

    14/1/99

    Conservative73
    Cross Bench24
    Labour99
    Liberal Democrats33
    Unknown1

    18/1/99

    Conservative73
    Cross Bench24
    Labour104
    Liberal Democrats31
    Unknown2

    19/1/99

    Conservative88
    Cross Bench25

    Current affiliation

    Number of attendances

    Labour106
    Liberal Democrats30
    Unknown2

    20/1/99

    Conservative98
    Cross Bench30
    Labour100
    Liberal Democrats32
    Unknown2

    21/1/99

    Conservative70
    Cross Bench23
    Labour102
    Liberal Democrats32
    Unknown1