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Written Answers

Volume 702: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

Written Answers

Monday 23 June 2008

Afghanistan: EU Troops

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many European Union troops there are in Afghanistan. [HL4082]

There are currently around 50,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF.

British forces in Afghanistan currently number approximately 7,800 rising to around 8,030 by spring 2009. We do not comment on the numbers of deployed troops from other nations, which are matters for the countries concerned. However, they are listed with periodic updates on the ISAF website at: www.nato.int/isaf/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat.pdf.

Afghanistan: Withdrawal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their strategy for removing the Armed Forces from the military operation in Afghanistan. [HL4068]

We have made a long-term commitment to the security of Afghanistan. The removal of our forces from the country depends on a number of factors, including the ability of Afghan security forces to take responsibility for the security of their own country.

Agriculture: BSE

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Summary: Intervention and Options document of the impact assessment of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy responsibility and cost-sharing proposals, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 11 December 2007, whether it is intended that the third proposal on page 8 will be set up in such a manner that the charges cannot be passed backwards to the farmers. [HL4251]

It is for abattoirs to determine how best to recoup any increases in any of their costs, including those that might arise from charging for some of the costs incurred by MHS in enforcing controls on cattle aged over 30 months. Abattoirs could pass costs to their customers, absorb them themselves, pass them back to farmers or share them among all three parties. The way in which costs are handled will depend on trading conditions and the nature of the product. In order to gain an indication of the potential impact on producers and abattoirs of the responsibility and cost-sharing proposals, we assumed that farmers would bear two-thirds and abattoirs would bear one-third of the costs of the three proposals affecting abattoirs (see impact assessment, section 2.1.1). Producers could expect to bear less than this when abattoirs were actively seeking supplies of cattle aged over 30 months.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Summary: Intervention and Options document of the impact assessment of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy responsibility and cost-sharing proposals, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 11 December 2007, when the proportion of United Kingdom cattle subject to testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will be reduced, and more of the cost borne by those whose animals are found to have the disease. [HL4252]

The European Commission has proposed a reduced BSE testing programme for member states which meet strict criteria. In February 2008, member states agreed a proposal establishing the criteria. This is currently subject to European Parliament and Council scrutiny. Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority is assessing the risk of a range of options for increasing the age limits for testing, which will inform the Commission's decision on the structure of the reduced programme.

We do not expect to implement a reduced testing programme in the UK before January 2009 at the earliest. This is subject to advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee and agreement from Rural Affairs and Health Ministers, the Food Standards Agency and the EU.

We expect to detect fewer than 40 cases of BSE in Great Britain in 2008 from suspected cases based on clinical signs and the testing programme which costs about £60 million per annum. The testing programme benefits the industry as a whole and there are no plans to pass more of the cost specifically to those whose cattle are found to have the disease.

Alcohol

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether United Kingdom supermarkets have ceased selling alcohol to teenagers at below cost. [HL3615]

It is illegal to sell alcohol to those under the age of 18. The Government take underage drinking extremely seriously. The National Alcohol Strategy, Safe. Sensible. Social, published in June 2007, focuses action on three groups most at risk, which are 18 to 24 year-old binge drinkers, harmful drinkers whose drinking is damaging their health, often without them realising it and young people under 18 who drink alcohol.

In relation to your reference to price, the Government are aware of concerns regarding the price of alcohol through Safe. Sensible. Social. The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy, committed to carrying out an independent review of the relationship between alcohol price, promotion and harm, and following public consultation, will consider the need for regulatory change in the future, if necessary. This review is being led by the Department of Health and we anticipate publishing the reviews findings in the summer of 2008.

In addition, the Government are also committed to carrying out a review and consultation on the effectiveness of the alcohol industry’s social responsibility standards document in contributing to a reduction in alcohol harm, and following public consultation, will consider the need for regulatory change in the future, if necessary. We anticipate publishing the review's findings shortly.

Aviation: Taxation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much additional revenue they estimate will be generated annually if airlines are taxed per plane rather than per passenger. [HL4036]

The amount raised by the tax is distinct from the design. Theoretically, tax revenue from aviation could be raised either by a per-passenger or a per-plane duty.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimate they have made of how much tax the average passenger will pay if airlines are taxed per plane rather than per passenger. [HL4037]

The Chancellor announced in the Pre-Budget Report 2007 that air passenger duty would be replaced by a per-plane duty in November 2009. A formal consultation on this new tax, which considered all aspects of the operation of the duty, closed on 24 April. Over 160 responses were received and Treasury officials are currently considering and analysing these responses. No decisions have yet been made on the design of the duty. The Chancellor will announce the policy in the autumn.

As to how much tax the average passenger will pay, it will be dependent on a commercial decision by the airline involved.

British Coal Compensation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take any action (a) in the light of claimants in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation and British Coal vibration white finger litigation referred to Thompsons Solicitors by the National Union of Mineworkers, Durham area, being required to pay 7.5 per cent of their compensation to the union and to subscribe to associate membership; and (b) following the case of the late Mary Alice Collins, a miner's widow who had been suffering from disabilities, who was required to pay 7.5 per cent of her compensation to the solicitors for the benefit of the union. [HL4049]

I understand that the National Union of Mineworkers, Durham area, now known as the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA), will pay back the 7.5 per cent charge and cancel membership if requested to do so by the member or associate member. In April 2007, the DMA became subject to regulation under the Compensation Act 2006 in respect of its claims management services. Anyone with a complaint about the way in which the DMA handled their claim should first refer their complaint to the DMA under its complaint procedure. If they are not satisfied with the outcome, the complaint should be referred to the Claims Management Regulation Unit at the Ministry of Justice. Only those complaints arising after regulation commenced in April 2007 can be formally considered.

Claims Management Regulation

Monitoring and Compliance Unit

57-60 High Street

Burton-upon-Trent

Staffordshire

DE14 1JS

Tel: 08454506858

I cannot comment on the position of an individual complainant. Complaints about solicitors are a matter for the Legal Complaints Service.

Climate Change: Sea Temperatures

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will increase the funding for research into the effect of human activity on rises in global ocean temperatures, with particular reference to the North Sea and Irish Sea. [HL4109]

Defra funds various activities that provide information on changes in global ocean temperatures and regional assessment of their impacts. The Government are not currently planning to increase their funding for research into the effect of human activity on rises in global ocean temperatures.

Crime: Fuel Laundering

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much revenue has been lost due to fuel laundering in County Armagh in 2005, 2006 and 2007. [HL4212]

Estimates of the revenue lost through the illegal consumption of diesel and petrol in County Armagh, or indeed Northern Ireland, are not available because it is not yet possible to split revenue losses between those resulting from the illicit market and those from legitimate cross-border shopping. However, estimates of the total non-UK-duty-paid consumption for Northern Ireland are available, and are reported in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses—2007, which is published alongside the PBR and can be found in the House of Commons Library.

Criminal Records Bureau

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the contract with Capita Group Plc to operate the Criminal Records Bureau's information systems is next up for renewal; and [HL4061]

How many organisations tendered for the Criminal Records Bureau contract when it was last up for renewal. [HL4065]

The contract with Capita Group Plc to operate the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) information systems is next up for renewal on 11 March 2012.

In June 1999, following a tendering exercise, 95 organisations expressed an interest in joining a partnership arrangement with the CRB. In December 1999, it was announced that Capita Group Plc, PricewaterhouseCoopers and eCRES were the short-listed bidders.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the operation of the Criminal Records Bureau was last reviewed; and whether all the recommendations from that review have been implemented. [HL4062]

An independent review of the operation of the Criminal Records Bureau was carried out in 2002 by the independent review team. All recommendations made in this review were considered by the Government and accepted at that time and of the 10 recommendations nine have been implemented.

The remaining recommendation to mandate the progressive introduction of electronic submission of applications is currently under development.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How police forces' performance in supplying information to the Criminal Records Bureau within 14 days varies. [HL4066]

A police force's performance can be affected by a number of factors; the volume of cases sent to a force to process in any given month, the number of staff available to process the checks, and the IT resources on hand to forces. With these variables, performance can fluctuate within individual forces from one month to the next.

The CRB has been supporting those forces that have encountered problems in meeting their targets by a range of measures including the provision of additional resources, monitoring performance, providing demand forecasting data, and assistance in introducing new IT initiatives.

Further details of forces' performance against these targets can be found on the CRB website at: www.crb.gov.uk.

Elections: Ballot Papers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What consideration they have given to providing that the list of names of candidates on ballot papers be determined by random selection rather than alphabetically. [HL4056]

The Government have been considering the ordering of the names of candidates on ballot papers in the context of the Gould report on the Scottish parliamentary and local government elections in May 2007, which recommended that a public lottery be held to determine the ordering of parties and candidates on the ballot paper. The Government have consulted on the report's recommendations, and plan to publish their response to it before the Summer Recess.

Energy: Biogas

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs, Mr Jonathan Shaw, on 30 April (Official Report, Commons, 455W), whether the average expenditure by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of £100,000 per annum on research and development into biogas production is a contribution to a budget or whether it involves officials of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs working on the project. [HL4249]

The figures quoted refer to funding for research and development with external contractors. It does not cover the cost of staff time internally.

Energy: VAT

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How VAT receipts on each of (a) road fuel, (b) red diesel, (c) gas and (d) electricity are used; whether the European Union takes money from VAT income; and, if so, whether it is a sum fixed for each year in advance. [HL4248]

The Government do not hypothecate revenues from VAT on road fuel, red diesel, gas and electricity. Revenue from taxes is pooled so that the spending it finances can be prioritised across the range of government activities in the most efficient way.

VAT-based contributions to the EU budget are not paid directly from the VAT revenue that is collected in the UK. Rather, the contributions are made against a VAT base assessed in a common manner in all of the member states.

Equality: Age Discrimination

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to make provision to combat age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services and a positive duty on public authorities to promote age equality within the Equality Bill. [HL4098]

These issues were considered as part of the discrimination law review, as set out in the consultation paper on proposals for the Equality Bill, A Framework for Fairness. The Government's proposals for the Equality Bill package will be published shortly.

Food: Beef

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 9 June (WA 82), whether regulatory impact assessments in general are normally reviewed; and whether this is standard practice in all departments. [HL4247]

In May 2007, the Government introduced a revised impact assessment process to improve clarity and transparency of new regulations. This has increased the focus on the costs and benefits associated with regulations, supported by a strengthened ministerial declaration that has helped bolster the quality of this analysis.

The revised impact assessment process has placed greater weight on post-implementation reviews, with the central guidance stating this should be carried out after three years (depending on the nature of the policy). This review should be used to establish the actual costs and benefits and whether the regulation is achieving the desired effects.

These revisions complement new arrangements introduced by the Office of the Leader of the House to carry out standardised post-legislative scrutiny. The new system is intended to respond to calls that once an Act has been passed insufficient attention is paid to whether it has been implemented well and to its actual effects.

These changes promote a more systematic approach to post-legislative scrutiny by Government, working with Parliament.

Housing: Leasehold

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of the total number of homes in private ownership is leasehold. [HL4023]

The Survey of English Housing for 2006 shows that there were 14.6 million (70 per cent) owner-occupying households, 3.7 million (18 per cent) social renters and 2.5 million (12 per cent) private renters. Of the 14.6 million owner-occupying households, 0.6 million (4 per cent) were leasehold houses and 1 million (7 per cent) were leasehold flats. The survey does not collect data in relation to whether rented houses and flats are leasehold or freehold.

Housing: Residential Leases

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to review the law concerning forfeiture provisions in residential leases. [HL4024]

The Law Commission has considered a range of ways in which a court may be able to deal with matters where default of a lease occurs, including the provision of notices and the power to order the sale of a forfeited property and for the proceeds of a sale to be distributed in a fairer manner.

It published its report in October 2006, setting out its views and how the law could be reformed, and work is continuing to establish the way forward.

Through the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 we have already improved the protection available to long leaseholders. This currently requires notices to be served; for any alleged breach to be determined by a court or leasehold valuation tribunal before any forfeiture action can be taken; and no forfeiture for amounts of less than £350 unless outstanding for more than three years.

We continue to be involved with the work being carried out by the Law Commission and will consider, in light of this work, whether any further changes are necessary to the law of forfeiture as it applies to residential leaseholders.

Indonesia: Religious Minorities

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether at the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia by the United Nations Human Rights Council they raised the issue of the treatment of Ahmadiyah Muslims; and, if so, with what result. [HL4228]

At the UN Human Rights Council examination of Indonesia under the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on 9 April, the UK raised concerns about the treatment of the Ahmadiyah community. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Meg Munn, also expressed concern about the situation of the Ahmadiyah community to the Indonesian ambassador on 3 June.

On 9 June, the Indonesian Government issued a decree ordering Ahmadiyah members to “stop spreading interpretations and activities which deviate from mainstream Islam, including those which acknowledge that there was a prophet after Muhammed”. On 10 June, Indonesian vice-president Kalla confirmed that the Indonesian Government had no plans to ban Ahmadiyah provided it followed the law and that Ahmadiyah followers could continue to worship in their homes and mosques. The restrictions apply to them preaching or trying to convert others.

We will continue to monitor the situation of the Ahmadiyah community in Indonesia closely and seek opportunities to raise the issue of respect for religious freedom with the Indonesian authorities.

Local Government: Design Reviews

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 4 June (WA 62), when the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment expects to have reached its conclusions on whether or not its existing business plan contains the necessary resources to monitor and list local design review panels. [HL4046]

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) is currently considering a full range of activities that it could take forward and we are working with it to prioritise what to focus on as we continue to review its work programme over the year. It expects to reach a conclusion on this over the summer.

NHS: Structure

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many health authorities were in existence in 1997; and [HL4156]

How many primary care trusts have been formed since they were first introduced; and [HL4157]

How many health authorities and strategic health authorities have been formed since 1997. [HL4158]

The Health Authorities (England) Establishment Order 1996 (SI No. 624) established 101 health authorities on 1 April 1996.

Between 1997-98 and 2002-03, the numbers of organisations that evolved into the present day strategic health authorities (SHAs) reduced from 100 to 95. These evolved into 28 SHAs in 2003-04, which were then configured into the existing 10 organisations established on 1 July 2006.

There were 303 primary care trusts established during 2003-04. These were reconfigured into the current configuration of 152 organisations, which were established on 1 October 2006.

Prisoners: Housing and Resettlement

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many prisons in England and Wales provide resettlement services to prisoners upon leaving prison and subsequently. [HL4154]

All prisons in England and Wales provide resettlement services to prisoners. Establishments ensure that resettlement interventions along the seven pathways for rehabilitation—which include accommodation, education, training and employment, health, drugs and alcohol, finance, benefit and debt, children and families and attitudes, thinking and behaviour—are addressed based on the needs of the individual offender. The NOMS offender management model allows us to extend offender management including resettlement services to offenders who have been released from prison.

Prisons: Chaplains

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which prison establishments in England and Wales do not have a full-time Imam as part of the chaplaincy; and what are their plans to improve access to Islamic chaplaincy services within prisons. [HL4204]

There are currently 34 prisons in England and Wales with full-time Muslim chaplains.

Of those that do not have a full-time Muslim chaplain, the following prisons have part-time Muslim chaplains or Muslim chaplains appointed on a sessional basis.

Those with part-time Muslim chaplains:

Bedford, Blundeston, Brinsford, Buckley Hall, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Coldingly, Doncaster, Edmunds Hill, Elmley, Gartree, Grendon/Springhill, Guys Marsh, Hindley, Holloway, Huntercombe, Kennet, Kirkham, Leeds, Leicester, Lindholme, Lowdham Grange, Moorland, Norwich, Nottingham, Parkhurst, Peterborough, Rye Hill, Shrewsbury, Standford Hill, Stocken, The Verne, Wakefield, Wealstun, Wellingborough, Wymott.

Those with sessional Muslim chaplains:

Acklington, Albany, Altcourse, Ashfield, Ashwell, Askham, Aylesbury, Blantyre House, Bristol, Brockhill, Bronzefield, Bullwood Hall, Camp Hill, Canterbury, Castington, Channings Wood, Cookham Wood, Dartmoor, Deerbolt, Dorchester, Downview, Drake Hall, East Sutton Park, Eastwood Park, Erlestoke, Exeter, Ford, Forest Bank, Foston Hall, Garth, Gloucester, Haslar, Haverigg, Hewell Grange, Hollesley Bay, Holme House, Hull, Kingston, Kirklevington, Lancaster, Lancaster Farms, Latchmere House, Lewes, Leyhill, Littlehey, Low Newton, Maidstone, Morton Hall, New Hall, North Sea Camp, Northallerton, Parc, Preston, Reading, Send, Shepton Mallet, Stafford, Styal, Sudbury, Swansea, Thorn Cross, Usk/Prescoed, Warren Hill, Wayland, Werrington, Wetherby, Whatton, Winchester, Wolds.

All prisons have multi-faith chaplaincy teams to meet the needs of the prison. Needs will vary over time and depend on a range of factors, including the make-up of the prison population. We are looking at this time to ensure in particular that all prisons have appropriate provision for Muslim chaplains in view of the numbers of Muslim prisoners, and the significant additional role that Muslim chaplains have in combating potential extremist views by providing proper Islamic teaching and classes. Work is under way to strengthen provision so that the service can ensure it is maximising this resource.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people have been convicted of the offence of withholding computer passwords or encryption keys since the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [HL4122]

Part 3 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act provides for the offence of failure to disclose a key to protected information in response to a notice under Section 49. Since it was brought into force in October 2007, two individuals have disclosed their keys when required to do so. A further four individuals have prosecutions pending for failure to comply with a notice.

Skills

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much funding was awarded to Cogent Sector Skills Council for nuclear skills training in each of the past five years. [HL4223]

The Cogent Sector Skills Council covers a number of science-based industries within its footprint. These include chemicals and pharmaceuticals, petroleum, polymer, nuclear and oil and gas. Cogent was licensed in February 2004 but was a trailblazer SSC before that.

Cogent SSC Ltd has received core funding from government for all the industries it covers, as set out below. This cannot, however, be split into specific sums for each industry. The science-using industries which Cogent covers are highly regulated and have many generic skills issues. Action to deliver skills solutions to address those issues therefore often needs to cover the whole of Cogent's footprint. Cogent's core funding was:

2003—£1.043 million;

2004—£1.25 million;

2005—£1.46 million;

2006—£1.25 million; and

2007—£1.6 million.

Cogent recognises the changing circumstances in the nuclear sector, particularly the need to re-skill the current workforce, with decommissioning and potential new build. Its response has included a successful bid and subsequent development of a national skills academy nuclear (NSAN). Government funding for the academy, which is matched to investment from industry, is as follows:

development year £0.5 million;

capital funding of £5.1 million over three years; and

revenue funding as follows:

year one (2008)—£1.8 million;

year two (2009)—£1.37 million; and

year three (2010)—£0.427 million.

Taxation: Evasion Hotline

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What has been the cost of establishing and running the national tax evasion hotline since 2006. [HL4222]

The National Audit Office carried out a full review of the tax evasion hotline in its report Tackling the Hidden Economy (HC 341). A copy of this report is available in the House of Commons Library.

The report states that the department spends around £700,000 a year on staffing the hotline and that each call costs the department about £6 on average to handle.

Terrorism: Promotion and Glorification

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimate have they made of the number of websites used by United Kingdom-based Islamic extremists to circulate extremist material; and how many of these they consider to be in contravention of the Terrorism Act 2006. [HL4193]

We do not keep statistics on the number of websites used by Islamist extremists to circulate extremist material, neither do we keep statistics on which of these contravene the Terrorism Act 2006.

Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 allows for the service of a notice by a constable where he or she is of the opinion that unlawfully terrorism-related material is available on an electronic service such as a website, on the person(s) responsible for that material. The notice requires that the unlawfully terrorism-related material is removed or modified within two working days. To date, no Section 3 notices have been issued, as the preferred route for removing such material from the internet is informal contact between the police and the ISP and this has so far always been effective.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many individuals have been prosecuted under Sections 1 to 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 for the online encouragement of Islamic extremism, for the dissemination of Islamic extremist material online or for running websites that facilitate such distribution. [HL4194]

We do not currently hold statistics on the number of individuals prosecuted under Sections 1 to 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 for the online encouragement of Islamic extremism. The Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General's Office are currently working with the National Co-ordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data on conviction under terrorist legislation and those under other legislation but following a terrorist investigation. As soon as this is complete, a statistical bulletin to cover information on arrests and convictions will be published.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many websites accessible in the United Kingdom contain recordings by Islamic extremist preachers who have been imprisoned in this country for inciting extremism or supporting terrorism; and whether they consider that the dissemination of such material constitutes the glorification of terrorism; and [HL4196]

Whether they consider that websites which disseminate extremist messages from members of al-Qaeda are engaging in the glorification of terrorism; and whether they consider that other sites which advertise, or allow for the advertisement of, those sites are also participating in the glorification of terrorism; and [HL4197]

Whether they consider that the dissemination of Nasheeds which promote violence and extremism constitutes glorification of terrorism. [HL4198]

It would be inappropriate to comment on particular examples of websites that either do or do not constitute glorification of terrorism. Any prosecutions are a matter for the police and the prosecuting authorities and much will depend on the specific circumstances of each individual case.

We do not keep statistics on the number of websites accessible in the United Kingdom that contain recordings by Islamic extremist preachers who have been imprisoned in this country for inciting extremism or supporting terrorism.

Toxic Chemicals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether reed beds provide a method for concentrating or eliminating toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin from soil and surface water in a manner that is effective and safe for wildlife which access the beds. [HL4089]

Reed bed systems have been found to be effective in reducing levels of suspended solids, metals and organic pollutants from wastewaters. They also provide a habitat for wildlife that might not otherwise be present, and can support a diverse ecosystem including microbes, invertebrates, mammals and birds.

Reed beds reduce the emission of contaminants to watercourses by allowing particulates to settle out, by adsorption of contaminants to sediment and organic matter, the microbial degradation of chemicals and uptake of contaminants by plant roots.

While these processes reduce emissions to the wider environment, some of the contaminants will accumulate within the reed bed system. Research shows that levels of metals increase in the sediment in reed beds, and also within the reeds. We are unaware of similar studies with polychlorinated biphenyls or dioxins, but would also expect these substances to accumulate.

Uganda: Peace Process

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the sustainability of the peace process in northern Uganda following the recent talks in Juba. [HL4009]

The Government and other international partners consider that the Juba peace process was a success, resulting in agreement between the Lord's Resistance Army and Ugandan Government delegations on a number of important issues. Despite the failure of the two sides to sign a final peace agreement, it is important that the gains made by the Juba process are not lost. The UK and its partners in the international community are committed to improving the situation in the north through continued financial assistance and support to the Ugandan Government's Peace, Recovery and Development Plan.

Vehicles: Disposal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they have taken to ensure vehicle manufacturers make available all necessary technical information to enable authorised treatment facilities to recycle safely and efficiently all types of motor vehicle. [HL4217]

The End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 place an obligation on vehicle manufacturers and professional importers to provide dismantling and other environmental information for each type of new vehicle put on the market. The regulations apply to passenger cars and light vans, and are enforced on behalf of BERR by the Vehicle Certification Agency. No such obligation applies in respect of other vehicles. However, I understand that the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS), established by manufacturers, is prepared to consider any approach from the dismantling sector to include treatment data on heavy commercial vehicles in its database.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many vehicles are disposed of using a scrap metal shredding machine rather than first being depolluted at an authorised treatment facility; and [HL4219]

Whether a vehicle may be disposed of by processing it in a scrap metal shredding machine without it first being depolluted at an authorised treatment facility. [HL4220]

The End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 require all vehicles to be treated at authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) and to be depolluted prior to further treatment, whether at the same facility or elsewhere. The majority of shredder operators are also ATFs. Shredding of undepolluted vehicles is not permissible under the regulations.

Vehicles: Repairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they support the objectives of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's “Right to Repair Campaign” when negotiating changes to the block exemption regulations as they apply to the motor industry. [HL4216]

Yes we do. Now that the Commission's assessment of the block exemption is public, officials have been in discussion with representative groups from all areas of the industry, including the aftermarket. We recognise the potential difficulties highlighted by the “Right to Repair Campaign” and will address these with the Commission. These meetings are very helpful in forming our final policy position.

Wildlife: Brofiscin Farm

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether any longitudinal studies have been conducted into the presence and health of all wildlife expected to be in the vicinity of the site of Brofiscin Farm; and, if so, with what results. [HL4090]

I am informed by the Environment Agency that when designating the site as contaminated land, the local authority did not identify any significant pollutant linkages relating to wildlife. As a consequence, the Environment Agency has not conducted a longitudinal wildlife study in the vicinity of Brofiscin Farm.