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Written Answers

Volume 714: debated on Wednesday 4 November 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Armed Forces: Memorial

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will be represented at the unveiling on 8 November at the British Cemetery in Kyrenia of the memorial plaque to the 371 British servicemen who lost their lives during the Cyprus Emergency from 1955 to 1959. [HL5864]

Communications Data

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many authorisations were made for (a) directed surveillance, (b) covert human intelligence sources, and (c) communications traffic data under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by (1) local authorities, and (2) public authorities which are not law enforcement agencies, in each year since 2000 according to records held by (i) the Home Office, (ii) the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, and (iii) the Interception of Communications Commissioner. [HL6079]

The available figures are published in the annual reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Chief Surveillance Commissioner (see table attached) copies of which are in the House Library.

Figures for communications data acquisition were published for the first time in the Interception Commissioner's report for 2005.

No further breakdown is given by the commissioners. The Home Office does not separately record this information.

Covert Investigatory Techniques Authorised Under RIPA

Directed surveillance

2000/01

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

By law enforcement

not given

27,800

26,400

26,986

25,518

23,628

19,651

18,767

16,118

By other authorities

not given

not given

not given

6,398

6,110

6,924

12,494

9,535

9,894

Covert Human Intelligence Sources

2000/01

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

By law enforcement

Not given

5,400

5,900

5,907

4,980

4,559

4,373

4,498

4,278

By other authorities

Not given

not given

not given

273

308

437

429

204

234

Acquisition of Communications Data

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

1/1/05- 31/3/06

11/4/06-31/12/06

2007

2008

By all public authorities

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

not given

439,054

253,557

519,260

504,073

By local authorities

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

not given

not given

1,694

1,707

1,553

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: Regulations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Answer by Lord Rooker on 18 June 2007 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 7), what progress the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is making under the simplification programme; and which of the 130 aspects of the programme are under way or have been achieved. [HL5930]

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Statutory Instruments

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many statutory instruments the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has introduced since 18 June 2007; how many created new regulations; and how many revoked or replaced existing ones. [HL5928]

The numbers of statutory instruments made, replaced, revoked and creating new regulations by Defra were as follows:

Period

Made1

Revoked and replaced

Replaced without revoking2

Revoked without replacing3

Entirely new regulation4

18 June 2007-31 December 20075

108

87

1

6

20

1 January 2008-31 December 2008

88

111

13

0

11

1 January 2009-31 October 2009

72

37

2

1

8

Totals

268

235

16

7

39

1 This includes instruments prepared by Defra, but made by another body eg the Privy Council.

2 Some statutory instruments only have a year's currency eg the Hill Farm Regulations 2009 (SI No 138) and others effectively replace an earlier instrument relating to the constitution of a board eg the Reconstitution of the Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board Order 2009 (SI No 1723).

3 This does not include measures of simplification or where new exemptions are granted.

4 This means entirely new legislation, which includes benefits (eg S.I. 2007/1671) as well as burdens, rather than “regulation” in the sense of burdens. It includes S.I.'s implementing an Act.

5 Includes instruments coming into force after 18 June 2007 though made before that date.

Education: Examination Bodies

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the recent report on the consultation conducted with examination awarding bodies with the aim of developing an approach to the biennial review. [HL6064]

The first biennial review from the Joint Advisory Committee for Qualifications Approval is expected to be published in early 2010. The review and its recommendations will be based on a combination of quantitative data on the qualifications offer and findings from qualitative research, mainly interviews, with awarding bodies and other sector bodies and stakeholders. These interviews were carried out with a guarantee of confidentiality to protect any commercially sensitive information and, where desired, anonymity of respondents. For this reason the interviews will not be published verbatim, but they will inform and be referred to in the review, which will be placed in the Libraries.

Education: Qualifications

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Joint Advisory Committee for Qualifications Approval does not include value for money in its criteria for recommending that qualifications be funded. [HL6065]

The Joint Advisory Committee for Qualifications Approval (JACQA) offers advice to the Secretary of State on whether accredited qualifications should be eligible for public funding in 14-19 learning. Its recommendations are made against the published criteria under Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. These require, for example, that qualifications must be suitable for the age group and, at key stage 4, must fit with the national curriculum.

The first criterion is, however, that, to be considered eligible, a qualification must have been accredited by interim Ofqual. Once established in statutory form, assuming Royal Assent of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, Ofqual will have an efficiency objective to ensure that regulated qualifications provide value for money. It would not be appropriate or necessary to ask JACQA to duplicate Ofqual's efficiency objective, but JACQA will need to consider whether according to the Section 96 criteria and in the context of the stated aims of the 14-19 qualifications strategy, public investment in a qualification represents good value for money.

Elections: Botswana and Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the elections held in Botswana on 16 October 2009; and how these elections compare with the last elections held in Zimbabwe. [HL5809]

The Commons supports the preliminary report of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which stated that the general election held in Botswana on 16 October 2009 was “credible, peaceful, free and fair”.

The election process was overseen by observers from SADC, the African Union (AU), the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Botswana Election Support Network. Various diplomatic missions, including our high commission, acted as local observers. Observers agreed that despite election procedures being initially slow, they were meticulously followed. The pre-election phase was characterised by a peaceful political atmosphere and all political parties were free to hold rallies and meetings without hindrance. The Independent Electoral Commission conducted its work in a transparent and professional manner.

The election in Botswana was significantly different from the 2008 Zimbabwean elections which did not meet African standards and did not reflect the will of the people, with widespread state-sponsored violence and intimidation. This view was made clear by African observers from SADC, the AU and the Pan-African Parliament.

Elections: Gibraltar

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the entitlement of Moroccans resident in Gibraltar to vote in Gibraltar elections is identical to that of Moroccans resident in the United Kingdom to vote in United Kingdom elections. [HL5787]

Moroccans resident in Gibraltar are not entitled to vote in Gibraltar elections. This reflects the same position as Moroccans resident in the UK who similarly cannot vote in any UK elections.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), which future projects involving provision of eggs to research in exchange for payment of in vitro fertilisation treatment costs are expected to benefit from a study of participants' experiences.[HL5976]

Since making the award for the research project “Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer” to the University of Newcastle, the MRC has not funded further projects involving similar work. The MRC stated, when making this award, that it should not establish a precedent for other cases. In assessing any proposals to the MRC that may involve such research in future, the MRC's Council, and its Ethics, Regulation and Public Involvement Committee, will take account of the findings of the MRC-funded social science study as well as the outcomes of other high-quality work in this area.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Drayson on 5 May (WA 95–96) and by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), how the views, values and experiences of other women who provide eggs for research will continue to be studied until April 2011 if the project to which their eggs will be donated is due to terminate towards the end of 2009. [HL5977]

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has recently agreed a one-year extension to the duration to the University of Newcastle for the research project “Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer”. The project, which was previously due to end on 31 October 2009, is now expected to end on 31 October 2010. The duration of the separate social science study, which aims to learn from women's experiences and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs, was also correspondingly extended. The social science study will end six months later than the research projects to allow data collected as the research project progressed to be analysed.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), whether it is standard practice for social science studies to be funded by the Medical Research Council instead of the Economic and Social Research Council; and how the social science study concerned can be demonstrated to be independent of research funded by the same body that takes place at the same university. [HL5978]

The Medical Research Council's charter states that the MRC may “promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related post-graduate training in the biomedical and other sciences, with the aim of maintaining and improving human health”. The MRC does support social science where it is relevant to its mission.

The MRC-funded social science study, “An investigation of the experiences of potential in vitro fertilisation (IVF) donors in egg sharing for SCNT”, was specifically commissioned by the MRC to learn from women's experiences in relation to the separately funded and separately managed research project and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs. The findings of the social science study will also inform the MRC's assessment of future applications proposing similar or related work. The MRC considers that Dr Haimes and her team at the University of Newcastle are ideally placed to undertake this work, being highly respected in their field and having an understanding of the local environment. The MRC has impressed upon both research teams the requirement that they should be completely independent of each other with no principal investigators in common.

Energy: Labelling

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to pages 73 to 75 and table 11.4 of the European Commission's impact assessment of the proposal for a directive on the indication by labelling and standard produce information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products (COM(2008) 778 final), whether the information on water heaters and street lighting is available in a form that allows United Kingdom government departments and local authorities to identify the manufacturers and the model numbers of the products used in the comparisons; and, if so, where it may be accessed. [HL5950]

Defra does not hold information on water heaters and street lighting in a form which identifies the manufacturers and the model numbers of the products. However, the Defra “Buy Sustainable—Quick Wins” specifications include sustainable and environmental criteria across a wide range of commonly purchased products, including heaters and lighting. The minimum specifications are mandatory for all public authority procurement, through the energy labelling scheme. The Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement is responsible for assuring and monitoring compliance by government departments.

Kenya

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in persuading the Government of Kenya to follow the latest recommendations of Kofi Annan, in support of those of the 2008 Waki Commission; and what direct assistance have they offered or provided. [HL5849]

The UK is concerned at the lack of progress in implementing key recommendations of the 2008 Waki Commission. We are working closely with Kofi Annan, the EU and other partners to provide support for Kenya's reform process, as well as continuing to press the Kenyan Government for further action where necessary.

The UK continues to make strong representations to the Kenyan Government and parliamentarians to push for key reforms vital to Kenya's future stability. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga on 9 April 2009 to relay our concern at slow progress on reform and to encourage them to intensify their efforts to deliver. Our high commissioner in Nairobi continues to do the same. Following the missed September deadline for reporting to the International Criminal Court on action to prosecute the perpetrators of the 2007 post-election violence, we have welcomed the Kenyan Government's invitation to Justice Ocampo to visit Kenya in early November, as suggested by Kofi Annan.

The UK is helping co-ordinate international assistance on constitutional reform in Kenya and encourages consensus-building on controversial areas. We have also provided expertise to Kenya's police reform task force which is expected to report shortly. We have provided financial support to Kenya's Interim Independent Elections Commission, and press for the body's independence and transparency. And we have been the leading donor to Kofi Annan's mediation office based in Nairobi, providing £1.4 million over two years.

Lisbon Treaty

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits to British sport and recreation policies and programmes if the Lisbon treaty is ratified. [HL5995]

Under the treaty of Lisbon, the European Union would have a new competence to carry out actions to “support, co-ordinate or supplement” the actions of member states. Harmonisation of national laws and regulations is explicitly excluded.

This could be a valuable opportunity for sports in the United Kingdom to benefit from EU funding programmes and the recognition of the special nature of sport, without damaging the key principles of subsidiarity and autonomy. We will continue to work closely with the sports to ensure that they are best placed to benefit from new programmes if the treaty is ratified.

The Government's response (published 22 July 2008) to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's Third Special Report provides further information on sport policy in the EU context.

Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a warrant issued under regulation 7(5) of the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1361) that is valid for three months can comply with the conditions for its granting under regulation 7(4). [HL5943]

Most warrants will be executed shortly after they are issued, there may though be practical operational reasons why a warrant is executed later. In the event of later execution of a warrant, the person executing the warrant will be bound by the obligations under the Human Rights Act and in particular under Article 8, and also by the general obligations on a public authority to act properly. In executing the warrant, PACE Code B applies to non-police investigators as well as to the police, and provides safeguards relating to the conduct of the search, such as in relation to occupants.

Morocco: Overseas Students

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what reply they have received from the Government of Morocco to their demands concerning the decision to withdraw permission from students who had been given visas to attend a Talk Together event in Oxford in August, which had received funding from the British Council. [HL5822]

On 23 September 2009 our embassy in Rabat received a written response from the Moroccan Government to a request for clarification of the events surrounding the Talk Together event in Oxford in August.

In their reply, the Moroccan Government said that the decision by the students from Casablanca not to take part in the event meant that the delegation as it stood lacked the necessary balance and was not representative of all sides to the dispute. The Moroccan authorities told us that, in these circumstances, they felt it would have been inappropriate for only students from Laayoune to participate.

The Government understand that the British Council did not directly fund this event. Talk Together received funding from the European Commission's Youth in Action programme, a programme the British Council is contracted to administer in the UK on behalf of the European Commission.

Nauru

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total amount of the arrears owed by Nauru to the Commonwealth Secretariat for membership. [HL5973]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there have been discussions with Nauru to negotiate the payment of arrears owed to the Commonwealth Secretariat. [HL5974]

The Commonwealth Secretariat has held discussions with the Government of Nauru regarding the payment of arrears owed.

Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what further confidence-building measures they will consider in preparation for the forthcoming non-proliferation treaty review conference; and whether a reduction to fewer than 100 warheads or to two “weapon-loads” will be included in such consideration. [HL5852]

The UK is working with the nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states alike to build confidence and consensus in the run up to the non-proliferation treaty review conference. The review conference is a key opportunity to reinvigorate the non-proliferation treaty across its three pillars: by strengthening the non-proliferation regime, reinforcing progress on nuclear disarmament, and promoting the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The UK has taken a number of significant steps on disarmament in recent years and is committed to retaining only the absolute minimum credible nuclear deterrent capability; we regularly review the number of warheads in the UK stockpile in that light. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced on 24 September 2009 at the UN Security Council summit that the UK would review whether we could meet our minimum deterrent requirements with three next-generation nuclear armed submarines, rather than the existing four, provided this is consistent with credible and continuous deterrence.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 10 February (WA 180), what is the outcome of the review of special allowances paid to staff of the Northern Ireland Office. [HL5934]

Consideration is currently being given to the recommendations resulting from the review of environmental allowance.

Northern Ireland Office: Trade Unions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) how many paid staff in the Northern Ireland Office are seconded to trade unions and what facilities are made available to them; (b) in the latest year available, what is the number of days other staff spend on trade union activity or at conferences; and (c) what are the annual costs of trade union activity in the department. [HL5802]

The Northern Ireland Office has one full-time member of staff seconded as a full-time trade union official for the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA). This official is provided with full-time administrative support. The cost of running this office in 2008-09, including staff costs, was £65,669.09. Other members of staff throughout the department are allowed facility time on an ad-hoc basis representing NIPSA, First Division Association and the Public and Commercial Service Union. The department does not employ any other staff who work as trade union officials. Facility time for trade union members is managed by line managers and details are not available.

Police: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether European legislation allows firms with paramilitary links to undertake contracts within police stations in Northern Ireland and hindering that process would result in court proceedings, as suggested by Sir Hugh Orde in the Sunday World on 26 July. [HL5578]

European directives on public procurement are implemented through the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. Part 4 of these regulations deals specifically with the criteria for rejection of economic operators and the circumstances where a contracting authority (public body) can reject economic operators who have put forward application for the provision of goods, services or works to a public body.

The regulation sets out the offences that if committed by an economic operator or its directors or any other person who has powers of representation, decision or control may give a contracting authority (public body) grounds to treat that economic operator as ineligible for selection to provide goods, services or works to a public body. The regulation as stated deals with convictions for certain criminal offences but does not extend to cover paramilitary links.

A dissatisfied tenderer has the right to challenge a contracting authority either in the High Court or they can complain about the contracting authority to the European Commission (EC). The EC has the power to investigate and, if satisfied that a breach has occurred, may require the contracting authority to remedy that breach.

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the purpose of Section 54 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. [HL5871]

The purpose of Section 54 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 is to put in place eligibility requirements and other controls which apply to those who make or receive political donations.

These requirements and controls stem from the recommendations made in the fifth report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Neill report) and the Government's response to that report.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the Procedure Committee will invite the Attorney-General and the Permanent Secretary of the Attorney-General's Office to explain why Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay's Question for Written Answer of 21 July (HL5322) was not answered until 28 October. [HL6121]

It is open to the noble Lord, as a member of the Procedure Committee, to put his proposal to the committee directly. However, the responsibility for reminding Ministers about the importance of answering Written Answers within a fortnight lies primarily with the Leader of the House.

Recycling

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have access to or maintain a register of locations in the United Kingdom at which plastics are recycled. [HL5951]

To ask Her Majesty's Government where in the United Kingdom there are plants that recycle plastics other than drinks bottles; what assessment they have made of whether the technology used at such plants is proven; and whether they plan to assist with the introduction of such technology across the country. [HL5952]

The table below shows the companies that the Environment Agency has accredited for the reprocessing (recycling) of plastic in England and Wales. Separate data are not held for the recycling of plastics other than drinks bottles. This table and further information can be found on the Environment Agency’s website.

Aintree Cartons Ltd

Liverpool

Merseyside

L9 6DX

Alfaplas Ltd

Hereford

Herefordshire

HR2 6LR

Alpha Polymers Ltd

Liverpool

Merseyside

L20 8QJ

Anson Packaging Ltd

Ely

Cambridgeshire

CB6 2QE

Aurora Manufacturing Ltd

Leigh

Lancashire

WN7 4HB

AWS Eco Plastics Ltd.

Gainsborough

Lincolnshire

DN21 5TU

Axion Recycling Ltd

Salford

Greater Manchester

M6 6HQ

B & J Parr

Mansfield Woodhouse

Nottinghamshire

NG19 8BZ

Birmingham Plastic Recycling

Birmingham

West Midlands

B66 2BJ

British Polythene Limited

Tredegar

Caerphilly

NP22 5PY

British Polythene Limited

Heanor

Derbyshire

DE75 7RG

British Polythene Limited

Stroud

Gloucestershire

GL5 3QF

Britton Merlin Limited

Louth

Lincolnshire

LN11 0AX

Britton Taco

Winsford

Cheshire

CW7 3RD

C Plumb & Sons (Hatfield) Ltd

Rotherham

South Yorkshire

S66 8HR

Centriforce Products Ltd

Liverpool

Merseyside

L20 8EE

Chase Plastics Ltd

Brandon

Suffolk

IP27 0NE

Closed Loop Recycling Ltd

Dagenham

Essex

RM9 6LF

Colin Smith T/A Polymers 1st

Leigh

Lancashire

WN7 4HB

Delta (Container) Recycling Ltd

Manchester

Manchester

M18 8DB

Elite Plastics Limited

Hereford

Herefordshire

HR26JR

Extrusion & Moulding Compounds Ltd

Nr pontypool

Gwent

NP4 8UW

F P International (UK) Limited

Brackley

Northamptonshire

NN13 7ES

Flogen Ltd

Frome

Somerset

BA11 4BG

Frank Mercer & Sons Ltd

Bolton

Greater Manchester

BL5 3JF

Gelpack Industrial Ltd

Madley

Herefordshire

HR2 9NQ

Globally Greener Solutions Limited

Swansea

West Glamorgan

SA54DJ

ITW Ltd

Swansea

SA5 4ED

J & A Young (Leicester) Ltd

Leicestershire

LE15 8AE

Jason Plastics Ltd

Bury

Lancashire

BL9 7HZ

JFC Plastics Ltd

Stratford upon Avon

Warks

CV37 7NB

JFC PLASTICS LTD (Runcorn)

Runcorn

Cheshire

WA7 1PH

Linpac Packaging Ltd

Castleford

West Yorkshire

WF10 2AL

Luxus Ltd

Louth

Lincolnshire

LN11 0LQ

Lynwood Products Ltd

Halifax

West Yorks

HX1 3TT

Moorgreen Flexible Packaging Ltd

Alfreton

Derbyshire

DE55 7EZ

NDC Polythenes Ltd

Cradley heath

West Midlands

B64 5RE

Norpol Recycling Limited

Nelson

Lancashire

BB9 7YG

Petlon Polymers Ltd

Lydney

Gloucestershire

GL15 5EL

Precision Polymers & Reclaim (Stroud) Ltd

Stroud

Gloucestershire

GL5 3QF

Preston Plastics Ltd

Preston

Lancashire

PR3 6BN

Recycled Plastics UK Ltd

Birmingham

West Midlands

B25 8HT

Roydon Granulation Ltd

St. Helens

Merseyside

WA9 3NA

Roydon Polythene Ltd

Rochdale

Lancashire

OL12 0AB

Schutz UK Ltd

Worksop

Nottinghamshire

S81 7BE

Sharp Interpack Limited

Bridgwater

Somerset

TA6 5LT

Skymark Packaging Solutions Ltd

Ilkeston

Derbyshire

DE7 8EF

Vencel Resil Ltd

Belvedere

Kent

DA17 6BG

Viridor Polymer Recycling Ltd

Skelmersdale

Lancashire

WN8 9SU

Waste Exchange Services Ltd

Redcar

Cleveland

TS10 4RG

West Midlands Recycling Ltd

Birmingham

West Midlands

B11 1BU

The data come from the National Waste Packaging database.

The Defra-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been investigating the options for recycling plastics other than plastic bottles. In June, WRAP held a conference on these issues and discussed the outcomes from its research. These included technical and economic assessments of the various alternatives for recycling mixed plastics. All the information from this conference, along with background information on WRAP’s mixed plastics programme, is available on its website.

WRAP also launched a capital competition in June, offering a £2,000,000 grant to help stimulate the development of waste management infrastructure for the recycling of mixed plastics, and to boost recycling capacity by at least 40,000 tonnes per year by 2011.

Regional Development Agencies: North West

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what area the Mersey Forest covers; and when it will be completed. [HL6022]

The Mersey Forest covers an area of 465 square miles, north and south of the Mersey. It covers the seven local authority areas of Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Warrington, St Helens, Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton.

The government-approved forest plan sets out a 30-year programme of landscape improvement through community forestry. This year marks the halfway point toward the completion of the programme in 2024. To date more than 8 million new trees have been planted.

Schools: Inspection

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisations, apart from Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate, have been licensed to inspect state and independent schools in England; and which schools they inspect. [HL6066]

Ofsted is the only organisation which inspects state schools. The other organisations currently approved to inspect independent schools in England are the Schools Inspection Service (SIS) and the Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI). SIS inspects 60 independent schools belonging either to the Focus Learning Trust or the Steiner Waldorf Schools' Fellowship and BSI inspects 57 schools belonging either to the Christian Schools Trust or the Association of Muslim Schools UK.

Schools: Music

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the value of schools teaching pupils to become proficient in playing one or more musical instruments; and what plans they have to increase the number of pupils achieving such proficiency. [HL6011]

The value of learning music is well documented, most recently summarised in the resource pack for Tune In—Year of Music, a national campaign to celebrate and develop participation in music over the 2009-10 academic year and which was launched by the Secretary of State in September.

Schools are already doing superb work in developing the essential music-making skills of performing, composing and listening. Whichever instrument is chosen, including the voice, there is an expectation of increasing proficiency, and teachers assess progress in national curriculum music against eight level descriptions of increasing difficulty. Children and young people who choose to take their instrumental playing further may also take graded exams which form part of the National Qualifications Framework and count as UCAS points.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will add teaching the ukulele to the music syllabus of the national curriculum. [HL6012]

Music is a national curriculum statutory subject to age 14. The teaching of particular instruments is not specified. Information about the requirements of national curriculum music can be found on the website of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.

Schools: Unregistered Institutions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of organisations not registered with the Department for Children, Schools and Families which provide education in England to pupils of compulsory school age. [HL6067]

All organisations offering full-time education to five or more children, or one child with special educational needs, are either maintained or independent schools. Independent schools must be registered with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and a proprietor operating an unregistered school can be fined or imprisoned. No assessment of unregistered full-time provision has been undertaken as all full-time independent schools must be registered. In taking forward the provisions of the Education and Skills Act 2008, which require part-time providers of education falling within specified thresholds to register, DCSF surveyed a sample of local authorities to determine the number of providers that would in future need to register. The survey produced estimates of between 1,385 and 1,629 for the number of part-time providers of education likely to meet the criteria for registration when the provisions of the Act are commenced. No assessment has been made of the number of part-time education providers falling below the threshold for registration.

Shipping: Budgets

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the anticipated budget for the General Lighthouse Authorities for financial years 2011–12, 2012–13 and 2013–14. [HL5860]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, and the General Lighthouse Authorities over their budgets for 2010–11.[HL5862]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the General Lighthouse Authorities will be subject to a five per cent reduction in their budgets for 2010–11. [HL5863]

My department is currently engaged in continuing discussions with the General Lighthouse Authorities, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch as part of the normal process of reviewing budgets for the next financial year.

Shipping: MV “Canna”

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 7 July (WA 147), why the Maritime and Coastguard Agency did not extend the period of validity for the existing passenger certificate for the MV “Canna” by one month when it discovered that the passenger certificate was out of date in September 2008. [HL6099]

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency did not discover that the passenger certificate of MV “Canna” showed an expiry date of 31 August 2008 until 3 October 2008, while completing its annual survey.

Shipping: Safety

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many United Kingdom passenger ships in the past five years have had survey dates entered on their passenger ship safety certificate which go beyond the anniversary date. [HL6098]

Passenger ship safety certificates issued to domestic passenger ships are ordinarily valid for five years, with annual re-survey during the term of validity. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) records show that there are around 850 vessels with a passenger ship safety certificate issued in the past five years.

To collate the data as requested can be done only at disproportionate cost.

Somalia

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To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria were used in the decisions to recognise the independence of Eritrea, East Timor and Kosovo; whether those criteria will apply to Somaliland; and whether they will raise the matter in the European Union with a view to gaining agreement on the recognition of Somaliland's independence. [HL5956]

The general criteria that we apply for recognition of an independent state remain as described in the Written Answer dated 16 November 1989 (Official Report, col. 494) by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The UK has signed up to an EU common position, and to many UN Security Council resolutions, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia. The Government do not propose to raise this issue in the EU.

Special Areas of Conservation

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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many areas Natural England has declared as special areas of conservation under the European Habitats Directive (a) in the United Kingdom inshore area, and (b) in the United Kingdom offshore area. [HL5818]

The designation of special areas of conservation (SACs) under the EU habitats directive is not a matter for Natural England, but is the responsibility of Ministers in the relevant country administrations. So far 609 terrestrial/coastal SACs have been designated. Of these, 73 are partly located in inshore waters.

Before sites are formally designated by the relevant Secretary of State they need to be approved by the European Commission. A further seven terrestrial/coastal sites (three of which are partly in inshore waters) and five marine sites in offshore UK waters have either been submitted to, or recently approved by, the European Commission and are likely to be formally designated by government in due course. Full details of the sites are available on the website of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

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To ask Her Majesty's Government to what management regulations inshore and offshore special areas of conservation are subject; whether all special areas of conservation are subject to the same management regulations; and how many management regulations for special areas of conservation are enforced. [HL5819]

Special areas of conservation (SACs) are afforded protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended), the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) and the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 (as amended). The controls contained in these regulations are strictly enforced. Most designated sites will also be subject to management schemes agreed between the relevant statutory nature conservation body and owners, occupiers and other bodies.

Waterways: Moorings

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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the connection between British Waterways' support for a reduction in the navigation width by the installation of new moorings in the mouth of the River Brent with its duties to “maintain and manage the waterways so that they fulfil their full economic, social and environmental and heritage potential” and to operate a safe waterways network. [HL5972]

The proposed installation of new moorings at the mouth of the River Brent has been carefully evaluated by British Waterways, the Port of London Authority and the Inland Waterways Association. All three bodies support the scheme which they consider will enhance the waterspace in this area without adversely affecting safety or navigation.