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Written Answers

Volume 670: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2005

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Written Answers

Tuesday, 1 March 2005.

Northern Ireland Parades Commission

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they established the Quigley review on the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland; whether they have considered the report of the review; and what action they are proposing to take. [HL830]

Her Majesty's Government established the Quigley review on the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland with the aim of considering whether there were any changes which could promote further public confidence, respect the rights of all and encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes on parades. Her Majesty's Government have now considered the report of the review, the subsequent public consultation on that report, and the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report on the Parades Commission and Public Processions Act 1998. I refer the noble Lord to the Written Statement made in another place by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Pearson) on 22 February, repeated in this House on the same day (Official Report col. WS 39).

Northern Ireland: Northern Bank Robbery

asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress has been made to establish the identification numbers of banknotes stolen in the recent Northern Bank robbery; why a corrected list of numbers has not been circulated to homes and businesses in Northern Ireland; and what is the amount of stolen money now believed to be untraceable. [HL1128]

The Police Service of Northern Ireland continues to work closely with officials from the Northern Bank in the course of its investigation into the robbery.Police decided against circulating a corrected list of numbers to individual homes and businesses as it would not have been a definitive guide, but took a number of steps to communicate as quickly and to as wide an audience as possible the details of the stolen notes. The PSNI senior investigating officer conducted a number of television and press interviews and pictorial presentations of the notes have been shown. In addition, the serial numbers for three batches of new Northern Bank £10 notes, which were stolen in the incident, have been issued. The value of the notes is £16.5 million. These details are also contained on the PSNI's website.Serial numbers for £10 million of stolen notes have not been determined.

North/South Implementation Bodies

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Lord President on 8 February

(WA 95), why the Special European Union Programmes Body, the Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission and Waterways Ireland received budget increases for 2005 above inflation under the policy of "care and maintenance". [HL1321]

The care and maintenance policy relates to the policies and actions of each body, as opposed to their underlying costs.

Northern Ireland: St Louis Order Property

asked Her Majesty's Government:When the agreement regarding the St Louis Order property, reported to the North/South Ministerial Council on 11 April 2002, was made; what form the agreement took; who were the parties to the agreement; who negotiated it; when it was negotiated; what the main provisions of the agreement were; and whether they will publish this agreement. [HL1356]

The agreement to purchase the St Louis Order property was made on 30 June 2004. This took the form of a legal conveyancing agreement between the two parties of the Middletown Centre for Autism (Holdings) Limited, a company limited by guarantee, and the St Louis Order. The purchase agreement was primarily negotiated by legal advisers and officials of the Departments of Education North and South, and was negotiated in the months prior to the purchase on 30 June 2004. The main provisions of the agreement were for the purchase of the property, which comprised the former St Joseph's Adolescent Centre and the former St Louis Primary School, a licence for access by the order to the graveyard on the site and a separate leaseback arrangement for the convent and the chapel on the site. As the agreement is between the above two parties the department will write to them in advance of making the agreement public to inform them of this, and I will then place a copy in the Library.

Government Press Notices

asked Her Majesty's Government:When, and to whom, a press notice dated 8 February from No. 10 Downing Street, deferring the appointment of a Permanent Secretary to the Department of Trade and Industry, was distributed; why it did not appear on the websites of No. 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office or the Department of Trade and Industry by 9 February; and when it appeared on these websites. [HL1386]

The press notice was distributed at the No. 10 press briefing at 15:45 hours on Tuesday 8 February. Due to an administrative error it was not placed on the Downing Street website until 16 February.

Palace Of Westminster: Heat Loss

asked the Chairman of Committees:What steps will be taken to reduce heat loss from the House of Lords end of the Palace of Westminster. [HL1480]

Steps are continually taken to reduce heat loss as part of the wider programme of energy efficiency investment throughout the Palace. An energy group meets regularly to review energy consumption figures and advise, help and encourage occupants to economise. Both Houses also have a framework agreement with the Carbon Trust under which they provide advice and assistance in reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.New main boilers and chillers for the Palace of Westminster, which are substantially more efficient than the old ones, came into use in October 2004. In addition, in the summer recess this year the windows of the Library will be double glazed, bringing them into line with all the other windows on the Principal Floor and the Committee Corridor on the river front.

Schools: Drug Seizures

asked Her Majesty's Government:What financial value of (a) heroin; (b) cocaine; (c) crack cocaine; (d) amphetamines; and (e) cannabis has been seized in schools in England and Wales during each of the past five years. [HL804]

Data on the financial value of drugs seized in schools are currently not collated by the Home Office.However the most recent information on drug seizures in general is available in the

Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, United Kingdom, 2001 and 2002 publication (the most recent year for which figures are currently available). Copies are available in the Library of the House, and on the RDS website;

A summary of the number and quantity of drug seizures by drug is given in Table 1.1.

Internet Fraud

asked Her Majesty's Government:In light of the appearance of the worm VBSun-A and other fraudulent activities on the Internet, what action they are taking against online fraudsters seeking to exploit the tsunami disaster. [HL809]

UK law enforcement agencies have received reports of unsolicited e-mails seeking to solicit money fraudulently, which it is claimed will be used either to support the tsunami relief effort, locate loved ones who may have been lost in the disaster, or release inheritance funds tied up with the disaster. It has also been noted that false websites have been established related to relief donations which actually spread computer viruses.The National Criminal Intelligence Service has issued public advice and guidance regarding these and other similar scams, and investigations are ongoing by UK law enforcement agencies into tracing those individuals who participate in such schemes, and taking appropriate action against them.

Police Vehicles: Road Accidents

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 15 March 2004

(WA 13–15) on road accidents involving police vehicles, whether they will provide the same information for the year 2003–04 [HL962]

The number of police and civilian fatalities and serious injuries arising from police responses to immediate/emergency calls and pursuits in 2003–04 is given in the table. Details on the number of fatalities and injuries involving police vehicles engaged in activities other than immediate/ emergency response or pursuit are not available centrally.

Police and Civilian Fatalities and Serious Injuries Arising from Police Responses to Immediate/Emergency, Responses and Pursuits, 2003–04
Number of persons
Police personnelCivilians
police force areaFatalSerious injuryFatalSerious injury
Avon & Somerset0422
Devon & Cornwall0110
Greater Manchester0663
London, City of0001
Metropolitan Police02419
North Wales0001
North Yorkshire0000
Police and Civilian Fatalities and Serious Injuries Arising from Police Responses to Immediate/Emergency Responses and Pursuits, 2003–04
Number of persons
Police personnelCivilians
Police force areaFatalSerious injuryFatalSerious injury
South Wales0000
South Yorkshire00012
Thames Valley00211
West Mercia0101
West Midlands0022
West Yorkshire0000

Asylum Seekers: Children

asked Her Majesty's Government:What proposals they have regarding the return of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children without parents to their country of origin; and [HL1394]Whether the child care and protection structures in Albania are satisfactory to safeguard the welfare of asylum-seeking children deported from the United Kingdom. [HL1396]

We have been developing a returns programme for some time for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) who are under 18 years of age and whose asylum or humanitarian protection claims have been refused.The programme will be piloted in Albania. We set out our intentions in this area in

Controlling our borders: Making Migration Work For Britain, Five year strategy for asylum and immigration (Cm 6472, February 2005, paragraph 76).

UASCs will be either returned to their family, where tracing has been possible and reunification is appropriate, or given a tailored package of reception, care and support in Tirana, to be provided by contracted non-governmental organisations with considerable international expertise in childcare and welfare issues. No child or young person will be removed from the UK unless we are satisfied that the arrangements put in place meet our international obligations.

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many unaccompanied asylum-seeking children there are in the United Kingdom, broken down by country of origin and age. [HL1395]

Based on management information, the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASCs) in the UK being supported by local authorities as at the end of January 2005 is estimated by National Asylum Support Service (NASS) to be a total of 5,700, of whom 4,000 children were aged 16 or 17, and 1,700 were aged under 16. A nationality breakdown is not available and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.Information on the number of UASC applications, and on initial decisions, broken down by nationality is published in the quarterly and annual asylum statistics on the Home Office website at

Army: Infantry Units

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the location, the number and the units of British Army infantry soldiers currently on operations. [HL 1326]

Details of the infantry units currently on operational tours, their locations and current strengths are contained in the table below. It should be noted that strength figures include non-deployed personnel such as those who are medically downgraded and those remaining with the rear party. Deployments have been defined as unaccompanied battalion level commitments:

Bosnia1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards650
Iraq1st Battalion The Welsh Guards545
1st Battalion The Scots Guards620
2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment550
1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington's Regiment515
Afghanistan1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment505
Northern Ireland2nd Battalion The Light Infantry530

Iraq: Missile Systems

asked Her Majesty's Government:What surface-to-air missile systems currently pose a threat to coalition forces in Iraq. [HL1328]

The surface-to-air threat to coalition aircraft in Iraq is posed by small arms fire, unguided rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, light anti-aircraft artillery and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

Defence Procurement: Nato Agreements

asked Her Majesty's Government:When they expect to abandon Standard NATO Agreements for defence procurement. [HL1446]

The United Kingdom does not intend to abandon Standard NATO Agreements (STANAGs) for defence procurement. STANAGs are a vital means to achieve interoperability between UK forces and our NATO allies and as such are intrinsic to NATO's effectiveness.

Defence Procurement: Eu Catalogue

asked Her Majesty's Government:What contribution they are making to a European Union catalogue for common standards for defence procurement. [HL1447]

The United Kingdom has been closely involved in this work, which although funded by the European Commission, is being managed by the European Standards Body CEN. The UK's direct contribution so far has been attendance at the CEN steering groups managing this work and providing a listing of our defence standards together with details of our national defence standardisation policies and procedures. In addition to this information, the UK has also provided members to a number of CEN expert groups who are investigating specific technology areas to identify best practices in the field of standardisation.

Drug Treatment: Residential Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many beds on average were unfilled in residential homes for the treatment of drug and alcohol addicts in 2002, 2003 and 2004. [HL1340]

Data are not available for the years requested. The National Treatment Agency (NTA) is engaged in a national work programme which aims to improve access to residential treatment services.The NTA is undertaking a national needs assessment, which maps out national and regional need for residential drug treatment. This will be published later this year and the findings will be used in future service development planning.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps they are taking to ensure that beds in registered residential homes for the treatment of drug and alcohol addicts are filled to maximum capacity. [HL1341]

The National Treatment Agency launched a scheme in September 2004 to ensure beds in registered residential homes for the treatment of drugs and alcohol are fully utilised.This online service offers up-to-date information on residential rehabilitation bed vacancies across England and Wales. Services can submit details of vacancies as they occur through the system, helping those making referrals or looking for drug and alcohol addiction treatment to find an available and suitable place quickly and efficiently.

Nhs University

asked Her Majesty's Government:How much money has been spent each year on the National Health Service University since its establishment in autumn 2003. [HL1433]

We established the NHSU special health authority on 1 December 2003. Its audited accounts for the period 1 December 2003 to 31 March 2004 show expenditure of £13.3 million. Actual expenditure for 2004–05 will only be determined once the financial year has been completed.

Nhs Institute For Learning, Skills And Innovation

asked Her Majesty's Government:Following the planned merger by July of the National Health Service University with the National Health Service Modernisation Agency and the Leadership Centre to form the National Health Service Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation, what the budget for that body will be in its first year of operation. [HL1434]

The 2005–06 budgets for the Department of Health's arm's-length bodies, including the NHS Institute for Learning, Skill and Innovation, will be set shortly.

Hospital Closures

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many (a) hospital wards; and (b) hospitals have been closed in the past five years due to a lack of patients. [HL1369]


asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the principal target organs in carcasses of badgers examined by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the period 1974 to 1998 that had died or had been killed in extremis from bovine tuberculosis were (a) lungs plus associated lymph nodes (glands); and (b) kidneys; and what was the proportion of each. [HL1109]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Lord Whitty)

Most of the badgers examined by MAFF between 1974 and 1998 were either trapped and killed as part of badger removal operations subsequent to cattle breakdowns or killed in road traffic accidents.Of the 44,286 carcasses examined in this period, 5,690 cultured positive for Mycobacterium bovis. Of these (a) 1,281 badgers had visible lesions in either the lungs or associated lymph nodes and (b) 342 had visible lesions in the kidneys.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the principal routes by which infection is spread from badger to badger is (a) respiratory, and (b) through bite wounds. [HL1111]

Evidence from post-mortem examination and live clinical sampling suggests that the principal route of Mycobacterium bovis infection among badgers is likely to be respiratory. However, M. bovis has also been isolated from bite wounds, although, whether these resulted from transmission by biting or haematogenous spread following another portal of entry is unclear.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Lord Whitty on 7 February

(WA 90), why the Independent Scientific Group has refused to disclose the results of postmortems on badgers; whether the results are known to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and whether the results should be in the public domain. [HL1306]

The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB advises that the results of the post-mortems of badgers should not be disclosed at present to avoid either encouraging illegal action against badgers or deterring participation in the randomised badger culling trial (RBCT).The results of badger post-mortems are not yet available to Defra. The RBCT is still incomplete, and the documentation on the statistical analysis carried out so far, and other trial data, is still in draft form. The trial data, and analyses of these, will be published when the trial is complete.

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many badger carcasses were examined by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food between (a) 1974 and 1995; (b) 1996 and 1998; and (c) 1998 and 2004 in the United Kingdom; how many were found to be positive for

Mycobacterium bovis; and what are the numbers in each case for England and Wales, and for each county within England and Wales. [HL1133]

The table below shows the total number of badger carcasses examined, and the number found positive for Mycobacterium bovis, between 1974–95 and 1996–98 in Great Britain and for each county in England and Wales.We are unable to supply figures for 1998–2004 as the majority of badgers caught during this period were taken as part of the ongoing badger culling trial. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB advises that these results should not be disclosed at present to avoid either encouraging illegal action against badgers or deterring participation in the badger culling trial. However, information on the location of badgers killed in road traffic accidents, where TB is diagnosed, is released to divisional veterinary managers to inform the measures they take with respect to disease control in cattle in the vicinity.Table: Total number of badger carcasses examined, and the number found positive for M. hovis, between 1974–95 and 1996–98 in Great Britain and for each county in England and Wales.

Region/CountyNumber of badgers examinedNumber positive for M. bovisNumber of badgers examinedNumber positive for M. bovis
East Sussex8734512552
Greater Manchester3
Greater London2
Hereford & Worcester75755946362
Isle Of Wight7
Mid Glamorgan
North Yorkshire311
South Glamorgan71
South Yorkshire71
Region/CountyNumber of badgers examinedNumber positive for M. bovisNumber badgers examinedNumber positive for M. bovis
Tyne & Wear10
West Glamorgan131
West Midlands321
West Sussex42
West Yorkshire18
Wales total1,3462727350
England total34,9263,9217,7071,691
Scotland total3410
GB total36,3063,9497,9801,741
Data provided by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency on 7 February 2005.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why no badger carcasses from Gwent were examined for

Mycobacterium bovis between 1996 and 1998. [HL1134]

During the period 1996–98, 133 badgers carcasses from Gwent were examined by MAFF as part of the bovine TB programme.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why no badger carcasses from Shropshire were examined for

Mycobacterium bovis between 1974 and 1978. [HL1135]

No badger carcasses from Shropshire were examined by MAFF between 1974–78 as part of the bovine TB control programme since Shropshire was not badly affected by the disease in this period.

Red Squirrels

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why, as a protected species, the red squirrel is the responsibility of the Forestry Commission in accordance with Schedule 5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, when all other such species are the direct responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and whether this will be considered during the current review of this Act. [HL1182]

The Forestry Commission, through the UK Red Squirrel Group, is responsible for delivery of the red squirrel Species Action Plan in England. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has responsibility for policy relating to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which protects the red squirrel (through its inclusion in Schedule 5 to the Act) from being killed, injured or taken from the wild. The current review of the 1981 Act is not concerned with questions of policy responsibility.

Eu Fruit Plant Directive

asked Her Majesty's Government:Which European Union countries have yet to implement Commission Directive 2003/111/EC on the marketing of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants intended for fruit production. [HL1278]

Directive 2003/111/EC has been implemented in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK will complete its implementation in Spring 2005 when the directive is transposed in Wales.The department does not hold information regarding the implementation of directives in other member states. The European Commission is responsible for monitoring the transposition of Community law. Each year, the Commission draws up a report on the monitoring of the application of Community law in all member states. This report is available on the Commission's website

( The most recent report outlines the position for directives with implementation dates in 2003. The report to be published later in 2005 will summarise progress for directives with implementation dates in 2004, including directive 2003/111/EC.

Animals And Animal Products (Import And Export) (No 2) Regulations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the timetable laid down in Regulation 6(3) of the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (No. 2) Regulations is the same for all other European Union member states; and whether it is rigorously enforced by each of them. [HL1279]

The requirements laid down in Regulation 6(3) of the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (No. 2) Regulations 2004 implement provisions set out in EU Directives 91/68/EEC for sheep and goats and 64/432/EEC for cattle and pigs.These directives apply to and must be implemented by all member states. The EU Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) visits member states to check on the implementation and enforcement of this and other EU legislation.The timetable for such visits is set annually by the FVO. Following a visit, the FVO produces a written report. This report highlights any deficiencies in implementation. The member state concerned is required to produce an action plan setting out remedial action. If the action plan is not followed and the member state does not comply with the requirements of the legislation, one of the courses of action open to the EU Commission is to take legal proceedings (that is, infraction proceedings) against the offending member state.

Waste Implementation Programme

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether school-based waste-education work will be included within the criteria for distribution of the £92 million allocated for 2005–06 to the Waste Implementation Programme for England and Wales. [HL1417]

In 2005–06, the Waste Implementation Programme will be providing up to £3 million worth of targeted grant funds for voluntary and community organisations operating within the municipal waste sector. A number of project applications submitted under the new Waste Partnerships Fund are intended to support waste education activities, including within schools. Successful projects will be notified by end-March 2005.

Department For Transport: Taxi Expenditure

asked Her Majesty's Government:How much was spent on taxis for departmental purposes by the Department for Transport in the past two years. [HL1213]

The central department spent £87,254.47 on taxis in 2003, and £58,810.33 in 2004. Only two of the department's six agencies record taxi fares separately from general travel and subsistence costs. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency spent £26,824.05 in 2002–03, and £38,281.37 in 2003–04. The Driving Standards Agency began recording taxi costs separately in 2003–04, and spent £4,116 in that period. Information for the other agencies could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Railways: Salisbury To Yeovil Line

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 21 February

(WA 184), whether the responsible Ministers have considered the effect on the regional economy of the single-track railway line between Salisbury and Exeter; and, if so, what conclusions they have reached. [HL1435]

No such assessment has been made. The priority is to make best use of existing capacity. The new timetable includes a substantial increase in the frequency of trains from Yeovil and Salisbury to London. The development of the railway in the south-west will be considered by the Strategic Rail Authority's forthcoming regional planning assessment for the region. This will look at the development of the railway over the next five to 20 years, and its role in supporting the economic and wider development objectives of local, regional and central government.