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Written Answers

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009

Written Answers

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Airports: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 3 June (WA 81–2) concerning security at United Kingdom airports, which are the regulated airports to which the answer referred. [HL214]

The national aviation security programme regulates all aerodromes on which directions under the Aviation Security Act have been served. There are currently 68 of these although this number can fluctuate due to seasonal variations as some of the smaller aerodromes do not receive flights at all times. These aerodromes include all BAA airports, airports of the Manchester Airports Group, airports of the Peel Airport Group, and the Highlands and Islands Airports.

A full list of regulated airports has been placed in the Library of the House.

BBC Trust

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what formal or informal assessment they have made of the operation and success of the BBC Trust governance model for the BBC since its inception. [HL335]

No formal assessment has been made.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport regularly receives representations on all aspects of the BBC, including the BBC Trust. He has already said that he has concerns about the corporation’s regulatory structure and is clear that this must be a key issue for the next charter review.

Civil Service: Retirement

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average age of retirement in the senior civil service. [HL71]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, National Statistician, to Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, dated November 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what is the average age of retirement in the senior civil service. (HL71).

The Office for National Statistics collects data on leavers from the Civil Service as part of the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES). The average age of retirement in the senior civil service, in the twelve months to 31 March 2008, the latest date for which figures are available, was 58 years.

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the latest figure for carbon dioxide emissions in metric tonnes per capita in the United Kingdom. [HL84]

Carbon dioxide emissions account for about 85 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions or 542.6 million tonnes in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available. The UK population figure from the ONS 2007 mid-year estimates is 61.0 million. The latest figure for carbon dioxide emissions per capita is therefore 8.9 tonnes.

Total UK greenhouse gas emissions in the same year were 636.6 million tonnes which equates to 10.4 tonnes per capita.

Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in the latest year for which figures are available, how many farmers in receipt of the single farm payment claimed for (a) less than five hectares, (b) between five and 10 hectares, (c) between 10 and 20 hectares, (d) between 20 and 100 hectares, and (e) over 100 hectares. [HL95]

For the 2008 scheme year, the number of farmers who received single payment scheme payments in England who claimed in each size category is set out below.

Area claimed in hectares (ha)

Number of claims

Less than 5 ha

16,844

5 ha to <10 ha

11,559

10 ha to <20 ha

13,416

20 ha to <100 ha

39,304

100 ha and above

23,252

Counterterrorism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any civil servants have transferred from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) to assist with the launch of identity cards; if so, how many; and whether any civil servants are assisting with the launch of identity cards from within OSCT. [HL300]

There has been no transfer of staff within the Home Office from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) to the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in connection with the public launch of identity cards for British Citizens, and nor have OSCT staff been assisting with the launch. OSCT work closely with IPS regarding all aspects of the National Identity Service (NIS), to help ensure that where possible this can also support the Government’s counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST.

Cyprus

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent opinion poll in Cyprus showing that 60 per cent of Greek Cypriots and 77.9 per cent of Turkish Cypriots favour a two-state solution for Cyprus; and whether the results of that opinion poll will alter the United Kingdom's stance towards the unification of Cyprus. [HL38]

This opinion poll does not affect the UK's policy on Cyprus. The UK continues to believe that the ongoing settlement negotiations represent a unique opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem and will continue to support the two leaders' commitment to finding an acceptable solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, as one of the three guarantor powers, they have made of the 45-year functioning or lack of functioning of the constitution agreed between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots in 1960, and of the ongoing process of seeking to impose unification upon the island. [HL39]

The UK has made no assessment of the functioning of the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. The UK continues to believe that the ongoing settlement negotiations represent a unique opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem. We welcome progress made so far and will continue to support the two leaders' commitment to finding an acceptable solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality.

Education: Special Educational Needs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether central statistics are kept of trends over the past five years regarding children with a statement of special education needs. [HL8]

Information is collected on the characteristics of pupils with a statement of special educational needs through the school census returns made by schools to the department. The pupil characteristic data collected include indicators relating to gender, ethnic group, home postcode and type of special educational need. Details of the items collected in 2009 are available on Teachernet at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/ims/datacollections/schoolcensus/sc2009/.

School census data are transferred to the National Pupil Database which enables further analysis e.g. by attainment.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 112), how a researcher could take reasonable steps to contact the person who originally provided cells to a tissue bank if there is no requirement on the part of any tissue bank to use contact information at their disposal for that purpose. [HL18]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that its Research Licence Committee considers on a case-by-case basis each application for a research licence for a project proposing to use human cells in the creation of embryos without explicit consent. In all cases, the committee would expect the applicant to demonstrate that it had taken all reasonable steps to contact the cell provider.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 28 October (WA 151), how people in Scotland are monitored regarding their ongoing consent for specific proposed activities; and what the remit is of the Human Tissue Authority in Scotland (aside from checking living organ donors). [HL19]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) applies across the United Kingdom. Consent for specific proposed activities in connection with embryo research licensed under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended), is monitored in Scotland in the same manner as elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The Human Tissue Authority has no remit in connection with activities licensed under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended), in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 111) and the ensuing letter from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) chief executive on 9 November, which were the research licences for which an HFEA research inspection report indicated that 23 embryos were obtained for research after two separate women produced 44 eggs and 29 eggs respectively; and whether that was unconventional; and, if not, at what frequency similar numbers of embryos were obtained for research from individuals following superovulation at each respective licensed centre. [HL20]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the research licence referred to is licence R0145 at Newcastle Centre for Life. The number of eggs obtained from individuals following stimulation can vary significantly. Judgments about the appropriate number of eggs to obtain are clinical in nature and the HFEA takes the view that centres should follow guidance from the professional bodies when making these judgments.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 12 November (WA 207–8), why Medical Research Council (MRC) funding was not awarded to undertake research involving admixed embryos in accordance with the remarks by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 October 2008 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 1615); why MRC funding was instead provided for somatic cell nuclear transfer where “scarce human eggs would be used over animal eggs”; and whether the MRC agrees with Professor Shaw's testimony regarding use of animal eggs that there “is no biological reason why it should not work” (HC 272–II, Session 2008–09, Q49). [HL21]

The Medical Research Council (MRC) approach to funding research on stem cells follows from the council's objective of improving human health through excellent science and is committed to supporting research across a range of approaches to harness the potential of stem cells to treat human disease. It is not evident at present which area of stem cell research may deliver the most effective treatments for particular conditions and more research is needed on all types of stem cells to determine which routes should be pursued in the development of cell-based therapies.

The MRC considers excellence as the primary consideration in taking decisions on which proposals to fund and all research proposals submitted to the MRC are subject to stringent scientific peer review. The process is rigorous and highly competitive and only proposals which are of an internationally competitive standard can be funded. This is the basis on which MRC takes individual funding decisions, including those using different stem cell types derived from human or animal tissue.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 12 November (WA 207–8), how the Medical Research Council (MRC) will “sustain the careers of the future research leaders”, as described in its strategic plan for 2009–14, when it has declined funding for an investigator whose example had been highlighted by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health; and how the departure of a prominent scientist from academia would continue the “tradition of supporting the United Kingdom's most talented individuals at critical stages of their research careers”. [HL22]

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is committed to supporting the UK's most talented individuals at critical stages of their research careers and to seek novel ways of enabling career research scientists to flourish. The MRC considers excellence as the primary consideration in taking decisions on which proposals to fund and all research proposals submitted to the MRC are subject to stringent scientific peer review.

The MRC works closely with stakeholders in industry and academia to exchange knowledge and forge successful partnerships and to maintain a cadre of highly skilled researchers within the UK which is essential for the innovative research in both the commercial and academic sector that increases our understanding of health, disease and treatment.

Emissions Trading Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to include aviation, aluminium and chemicals production in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. [HL188]

Last year two directives amending the EU emissions trading system were agreed. As a consequence aviation will be included in the system from 1 January 2012 and aluminium production and many types of chemical production will be included from 1 January 2013. Some emissions from chemical production are already covered by the EU ETS due to the combustion activities involved.

Energy: Carbon Emissions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking with the international community to reduce carbon emissions from methane in Arctic permafrost thaws. [HL83]

The Government recognise the potentially significant feedback between methane release from permafrost thaws and climate change, and are seeking the strongest possible commitments in the Copenhagen negotiations to emissions reductions which will (among other benefits) reduce the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the permafrost. We recognise the need for research to understand better the processes involved. UK researchers including those at the Met Office Hadley Centre are actively involved in this, including work with Russian collaborators on permafrost modelling. We are also looking at how current scientific work can contribute to the task force established by the Arctic Council to consider the impacts of methane and other short-lived products such as black carbon and tropospheric ozone. The Arctic Council task force investigating this is due to report in February 2011.

Environment Noise

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the criteria for determining action plans under the Environmental Noise (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 will be assembled, discussed, implemented and reviewed; by whom; and at what intervals. [HL111]

Draft noise action plans (NAPs) set out the principles for managing environmental noise and describe the process to be followed to determine what, if any, further noise management measures might be undertaken in areas found to be most affected by environmental noise.

The criteria for the identification of important areas, and within that the first priority locations, were derived through the NAP impact assessment. Three options were considered:

(a) identify top 0.5% of populations exposed with priority given to exposure to 80dB(A) or more according to the noise maps;

(b) identify top 1% of populations exposed with priority given to exposure to 76dB(A) or more according to the noise maps; and

(c) identify the population with exposure to 65dB(A) or more according to the noise maps (with no specific additional priority).

Option (b) was chosen as it was seen to the most pragmatic approach to implementing the first round of noise action planning, bearing in mind the five-yearly cycle of the environmental noise directive (END). First priority locations were identified within these important areas as those locations where the LA10,18h is at least 76dB for roads, and for railways, those locations where the LAeq,18h is at least 73dB, according to the results of the noise mapping.

The relevant noise-making authority has the responsibility for determining what further measures might be taken to improve the management of noise. The criteria for identifying these important areas will be reviewed on a five-yearly basis to coincide with the END timetable.

EU: Foreign Affairs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 9 November (WA 112), whether they will ensure that, following the implementation of the Lisbon treaty and the establishment of the European External Action Service, there will be no diminution or dilution of the United Kingdom Diplomatic Service, and that it maintains its independence of action to promote the interests of the United Kingdom. [HL90]

The Lisbon treaty clearly states that the treaty's provisions covering common foreign and security policy “will not affect existing legal basis, responsibilities, and powers of each member state in relation to the formulation and conduct of its foreign policy, its national diplomatic service, relations with third countries and participation in international organisations, including the member state's membership of the Security Council of the UN”.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Crawley on 5 October (WA 484), whether the Cabinet Office's Propriety and Ethics Team has issued internal advice or guidance stating that there should be a presumption against disclosure in relation to (a) specific Freedom of Information Act requests, or (b) Freedom of Information Act requests as a whole. [HL240]

The presumptions to be applied for and against disclosure which form the basis of advice and guidance in relation to freedom of information requests are as detailed in my answer of 5 October (WA 484).

Health: Complementary and Alterntive Medicine

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 10 November (WA 141), whether acupuncturists, herbal medicinalists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will be able to continue to practise after April 2011 as they do at present, in the absence of statutory regulation and any resulting loss of the supply of third-party products. [HL100]

European directive 2001/83/EC, as amended by the directive on traditional herbal medicinal products (directive 2004/24/EC), does not prevent acupuncturists, herbal practitioners and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners from continuing to practise after April 2011. However, the directive confirms that, following expiry of transitional protection in April 2011, manufactured herbal medicines placed on the market are required to have either a marketing authorisation or traditional herbal registration. This issue was explored in our recent consultation on whether, and if so how, to regulate these practitioners. We are currently assessing responses to that consultation before deciding on the way forward.

Health: Dentistry

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the population are believed by the Chief Medical Officer to be covered by dental practices registered with NHS trusts as taking NHS patients; and what percentage of that group are in practice told that they can only be taken on privately. [HL56]

Information is not available in the format requested.

Information on the number of patients seen by a National Health Service dentist in the previous 24 months as a percentage of the population is available in Table E4 of Annexe 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2008-09 report. Information is provided by primary care trust and strategic health authority in England and is available at quarterly intervals, from 31 March 2006 to 30 June 2009.

This report, published on 19 August 2009, has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalstats0809.

Currently, there is no source of information on the number of patients who have been offered private treatment.

Health: Ophthalmology

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made since the guidelines in February covering intraocular lens insertions for correcting refractive error and double vision. [HL85]

Progress against the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) interventional procedure guidance on Intraocular Lens Insertion for Correction of Refractive Error, with Preservation of the Natural Lens is not monitored centrally. Compliance with NICE's interventional procedures guidance generally is a core standard for National Health Service organisations and the Care Quality Commission 2008-09 annual health checks show that 98 per cent of NHS organisations are able to provide evidence of compliance with NICE's interventional procedures guidance.

Health: Prescriptions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they will give to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence about the report that 40 per cent of medicines routinely prescribed for long-term conditions are not being used as the prescription requires. [HL86]

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence issued its clinical guideline on medicines adherence in January 2009. In addition, the department has commissioned research into the reasons why people do not take their medicines as prescribed and we expect the results of this research shortly. We will then consider the research findings to determine what impact they might have on future policy.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 12 November (WA 217) concerning the raising of particular human rights concerns with foreign states, what such issues they have raised with the Government of the Republic of Ireland in the past 10 years. [HL142]

Immigration

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 6 July (WA 98), how many foreign nationals were removed from the United Kingdom after serving a custodial sentence of more than 12 months. [HL227]

Of the 2,560 foreign national offenders deported from the UK in the first and second quarters of 2009 around 70 per cent had been given cumulative custodial sentences of 12 months or more.

Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of responses to the provisions for marine policy statements in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009; and what action they will take to secure compliance with marine policy statements. [HL179]

I assume the noble Lord is referring to the results of consultation on provisions on the marine policy statement in the marine planning part of the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Those provisions were developed following wide ranging consultation with stakeholders. They also reflect the outcome of pre-legislative scrutiny in 2008.

My officials are working closely with stakeholders as we develop the marine policy statement. A statement of public participation will soon be issued jointly with devolved Administrations which will set out the timetable for development of the marine policy statement and how and when all interested parties can become involved.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act gives the marine policy statement a legal effect on decision-making by public authorities. This means that when authorities take authorisation or enforcement decisions those decisions must be in accordance with the marine policy statement and marine plans unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. If they are not in accordance with the marine policy statement or marine plans, authorities must give their reasons. Public authorities must also have regard to those documents in taking any other decision which will affect or may affect any part of the UK marine area.

Marine Environment: Plastic

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what international action is being taken to reduce the amount of floating plastic in oceans. [HL187]

There are a number of international agreements which either directly or indirectly address the issue of marine litter. Together they include various aspects of controlling the input of litter from a variety of sources including shipping, fishing, the dumping of wastes at sea, and inputs from human activities on land. They are listed as follows:

International Maritime Organisation—MARPOL 73/78 Annexe V;

the London Convention (1972);

the Convention on Migratory Species;

the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes;

Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan;

the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities;

the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Jakarta Mandate;

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (abandoned/lost fishing gear), and;

Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a multidisciplinary body of independent experts nominated by sponsoring organisations to provide advice on pollution and litter.

The Oslo and Paris (OSPAR) Convention has a litter programme which looks at the problem of litter in the north-east Atlantic and is currently investigating how it might be addressed.

Litter has been set out as one of the 11 descriptors of good environmental status (GES) under the EU marine strategy framework directive (MSFD). Member states will be required to assess whether properties and quantities of marine litter are causing harm to the coastal and marine environment and to introduce measures where relevant.

National DNA Database

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they retain the DNA and fingerprints of those detained under the Terrorism Act 2000; and, if so, for how much longer they will continue to do so. [HL202]

The police can and do retain DNA and fingerprints taken from persons detained under the Terrorism Act 2000. There is currently no limit on the length of time these can be held. We announced on 11 November that we are proposing to put a new retention framework in place for DNA and fingerprints via the new Crime and Security Bill. Our proposals include new retention timeframes for material taken under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The proposal is that such material must be deleted within six years where the material relates to a person aged 18 years or over (and samples will be destroyed within six months or as soon as the DNA sample has been profiled).

However the material may be retained beyond this six-year period where the chief officer of police determines that it is necessary to retain it for purposes of national security. In such cases the material may be retained for a period of no more than two years although this is renewable.

The policy for juveniles would be similar but would take account of the differential treatment proposed for juveniles more generally in the context of DNA retention in the Bill.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons not charged with a criminal offence but required to give biometric samples (a) under the Terrorism Act 2000, and (b) on being arrested, have applied to have their samples destroyed; and, in each case, how many of the applications have been accepted; and within what average length of time. [HL226]

The information requested is not available as data held on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) do not contain any information on the nature of the offence or the legislation under which the original sample was taken from which the profile on the NDNAD is derived.

We have proposed in the Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament that all DNA samples taken from those who have been arrested, whether or not they were subsequently charged or convicted, should not be retained beyond a maximum of six months to ensure satisfactory loading of the profile taken from the sample on to the NDNAD.

On DNA profiles, currently chief officers may consider the destruction of the profile in accordance with the ACPO guidelines. We have also set out in the Bill clearly defined criteria where deletion would be appropriate before the end of the relevant proposed DNA profile retention period.

Nauru

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Brett on 4 November (WA 63) regarding Commonwealth Secretariat discussions with the Government of Nauru regarding the payment of arrears owed, what was the content of the discussions; and what is the current outcome and position. [HL144]

The Commonwealth Secretariat held discussions with Nauru to agree and implement a repayment plan prior to the exclusion date of 1 January 2006. The Commonwealth Secretariat has informed us that, since being excluded, the Government of Nauru have made enquiries and discussed the matter with the secretariat, but have not put forward specific repayment plans or proposals.

Pirates: Kenya

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Brett on 4 November (WA 61) concerning the administration of justice in Kenya, what assessment they have made of whether Kenya is an appropriate jurisdiction for the trial of pirates captured by the Royal Navy. [HL79]

The UK and Kenya have entered into a framework Memorandum of Understanding for the transfer of suspect pirates. This affirms that the suspects will be treated in accordance with international human rights law standards, including the right to a fair trial. The UK Government have worked with the European Commission and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to complete reviews of the legal framework in Kenya, to assess the adequacy of the Kenyan judicial, legal and prison systems for prosecuting pirates in accordance with international standards, and to provide assistance where appropriate. This assistance has included supporting prosecutors through ensuring evidence handover protocols are in place and training in the law of the sea. The UK Government hope that in addition to strengthening Kenya's legal capacities, this support will provide impetus to faster implementation of Kenya's judicial reform programme, in line with the recommendations set out by Kenya's judicial reform task force.

Police: Impounded Vehicles

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much each police authority in England charges an individual for the return of their car which has been stolen from their home, found by the police and taken to a police station compound. [HL204]

The information requested is not held centrally. The decision to charge for the return of stolen vehicles is a matter for each chief constable and police authority.

Prisoners: Escape

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 28 October (WA 165) about the Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute or seek the extradition of Pearse McAuley and Nessan Quinlivan on the charge of escaping from custody in 1991, what were the statements made by Ministers as set out by the Crown Prosecution Service's statement of 5 August; and what were the statements made by Ministers following the talks at Weston Park in 2001. [HL139]

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction in this case. The decision not to continue with the prosecution and extradition was made for a number of reasons, including the availability or otherwise of key exhibits, statements made by Ministers, and the length of time since the acts took place. The courts in Ireland adjourned the extradition cases against a background of discussions which took place between the British and Irish Governments on the issue of outstanding prosecutions and extraditions against those who committed offences before 10 April 1998. The statements referred to in my earlier Answer were those made by Dr John Reid, then the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Brian Cowen, then the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on 1 August 2001 in a letter sent to party leaders following the Weston Park Talks; and on 24 October 2001, in the House of Commons, by Dr John Reid (Official Report, House of Commons, 24 October 2001, col. 304). The statements were amongst the many matters considered by the CPS in reviewing the case as a whole.

Prisons: Drugs

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how Mr Ellis Sherwood was able to obtain heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine whilst in prison. [HL76]

Possession and use of drugs within prison is not permitted. Mr Sherwood was released from prison in 1999 and specific information as to whether, and if so how, he was able to obtain access to drugs while in custody is not available.

Prisons deploy a comprehensive range of security measures to reduce drug supply—including use of search dogs, close working with local police and use of mandatory drug testing.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the prison population are serving sentences for drug offences. [HL102]

The following table gives the numbers of prisoners held in all prison establishments in England and Wales as at the end of June 2009 to show those being detained for drugs offences as a percentage of all offences.

Remand

Immediate custodial sentence

All prisoners

All offences

13,456

68,375

81,831

Drug offences

1,919

10,696

12,615

% Drug

14%

16%

15%

This information is available at the following website, which contains monthly briefings by the Ministry of Justice at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/populationincustody.htm.

For information on the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Prison Service can be contacted.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Railways: Freight

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to open discussions with United Kingdom rail freight representatives to launch services similar to Direct Rail Services' Grangemouth to Inverness intermodal freight line. [HL340]

The Government have no such plans: the launch of rail freight services is a commercial matter for the companies concerned and their customers.

Republic of Ireland: Social Development

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House the monitoring report on social developments in the Republic of Ireland created by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [HL140]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not produced a specific report on social developments in Ireland. Overseas missions, including in Ireland, report on social developments as part of their everyday work.

Rural Areas: Economy

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they next expect to meet Ministers from the devolved legislatures in the United Kingdom to discuss promotion of economic development in rural areas throughout the United Kingdom. [HL124]

Ministers regularly meet the devolved legislatures to discuss issues of importance. However, there are currently no plans to discuss promotion of economic development in rural areas with these Ministers.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional budget provision is available to promote rural development throughout the United Kingdom. [HL126]

In addition to any mainstream funding available for both urban and rural development, £6.7 billion is available specifically for rural development through the four UK rural development programmes for the period 2007-13.

Shipping: General Lighthouse Authorities

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why three directors of Trinity House received benefits of £3,019,000, £5,008,000 and £6,341,000 in addition to their salaries for the year 2007–08, as reported in the accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund for 2007–08. [HL211]

The correct figures are given in the 2007-08 accounts of Trinity House and are as follows:

S J Scorer £6,341;

J S Wedge £5,008; and

P J Melson £3,019

Due to a transposition error, incorrect figures for these benefits were included in the accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund. Revised figures will be included in the 2008-09 General Lighthouse Fund accounts, which will be published shortly.

The definition of benefits reported in the accounts covers a range of payments including travel and subsistence, relocation expenses and reimbursement of subscriptions to professional bodies.

Shipping: Safety

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to review any duplications that exist with respect to the port marine safety code in the inspection regimes of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the General Lighthouse Authorities.[HL174]

Her Majesty's Government do not consider that there is any duplication in inspection regimes between the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the General Lighthouse Authorities.

The port marine safety code (the code) does not itself impose inspection requirements on harbour authorities, although it does refer to the existing regimes which are prescribed in statute.

The code also refers to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's verification visits, which are designed to check if a harbour authority is complying with the code. These visits include an assessment of whether the port is fulfilling its conservancy responsibilities, and noting the date and conclusions of the most recent inspection report by the General Lighthouse Authority. MCA does not normally inspect aids to navigation as part of its visits.

Special Areas of Conservation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 28 October (WA 158–59), whether Natural England has the power to amend the boundaries of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI); if so, how many such boundary changes have it or its predecessors made in the past 10 years; whether any such boundary changes resulted in an upgrade of the status of the SSSI involved; and, if so, how many such upgrades have occurred. [HL114]

Schedule 9 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced new powers to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for Natural England and its predecessors to amend the boundaries of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). These powers have been exercised as follows:

Two SSSIs extended under Section 28B;

Seventeen SSSIs enlarged under Section 28C (some cases subsumed other sites, meaning that a total of 31 SSSIs have been amended by notifications under Section 28C); and

Four SSSIs partially denotified under Section 28D.

All SSSIs are considered to be of national importance for their biodiversity and/or earth heritage features of special interest. It is not possible for this status to be “upgraded” as a result of a boundary amendment or through any other means.

Sudan: Darfur

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to support the African Union in implementing the recommendations of the Mbeki panel's report on Darfur. [HL158]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the implementation of the roadmap to a global political agreement in Darfur. [HL159]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they will give to the African Union and United Nations in planning for a truth, justice and reconciliation process in Darfur. [HL160]

We welcome the report from the AU high-level panel on Darfur led by former President Mbeki. We consider it a serious, thorough and balanced piece of work, whose recommendations, if implemented, could make a significant contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation.

The UK has engaged closely with the panel during its work, including extensive meetings in Addis Ababa, and participation in the AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Abuja that endorsed the report. We will continue to stay in close contact as the AU's plans for implementation develop. We look forward to further details of how new follow-up mechanisms will work in practice, including at the planned presentations of the report by the AU to the UN Security Council and EU in December. We remain ready to assist where appropriate.

The panel's proposed road map for a global political agreement broadly reflects the current efforts of AU/UN Joint Chief Mediator Bassole, whose work the UK supports both politically and financially. We agree with the observation of the AUPD report on the need to avoid micromanagement. It is important that the mediation team has the space and flexibility it needs to do its work.

Terrorism Act 2000

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have been stopped under Schedule 7 (Port and Border Controls) to the Terrorism Act 2000 since 2004; and how many of those people have been (a) detained, (b) arrested, and (c) subsequently convicted of a terrorist offence. [HL199]

The use of Schedule 7 powers of examination is an important tool in countering terrorism and those who would seek to do harm to the UK and its interests. Terrorists often need to travel across borders to plan, prepare and initiate their acts and these powers are essential in identifying those individuals.

Examinations for longer than one hour are recorded centrally; there were 10,404 examinations in the period between 1 January 2004 and 30 September 2009.

Of these, 1,110 persons were detained under the examining officer powers in Schedules 7 and 8 for the same period.

There were 99 arrests of persons examined under Schedule 7 during this period for terrorism-related offences, of which 17 were initially charged in relation to offences under the Terrorism Act 2000 and 31 were charged with other terrorist-related offences.

Of those charges there were 43 convictions. Some individuals will have been charged with more than one offence or had a charge varied later on advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The powers contained in Schedule 7 are kept under scrutiny by the noble Lord Carlile of Berriew, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the ethnicity and religious backgrounds of persons stopped, detained and arrested since 2001 under the Terrorism Act 2000. [HL200]

The Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests and included these data in a bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). These statistics include data on the ethnic appearance of suspects on arrest in the period 2005-06 to 2007-08. These statistics however do not include detail on the ethnic appearance of suspects on arrest prior to 2005-06; nor do these statistics include detail on the religious background of persons stopped, detained and arrested. The first edition of the bulletin is available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf.

The second issue of the bulletin was published on 26 November 2009 and contains data on the ethnic appearance only of suspects on arrest from 2005-06 to 2008-09. The second edition of the bulletin is available via the link below at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1809.pdf.

The Ministry of Justice collates statistics on the ethnic background of persons stopped and arrested under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in its annual bulletin, most recently published in April 2009 (Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2007-08). These statistics however do not include detail on the religious background of persons stopped and arrested. The latest bulletin is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/stats-race-criminal-justice-system-07-08-full.pdf.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students have been stopped, detained or arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 in the past five years. [HL201]

The Home Office does not hold statistics which are recorded in this way. However, the Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests included in a bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the bulletin is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf

The second issue of the bulletin was published on 26th November 2009 and is available via the link below:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1809.pdf

Terrorism: 7 July Bombings

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have identified any of those responsible for the bombings on 7 July 2005 in London and any countries or organisations for which they worked. [HL184]

Details of the identities of the four individuals responsible for the bombings of 7 July 2005 is contained in the Intelligence and Security Committee's report: Review of the Intelligence on the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005. The four were identified as Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shazad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain. It is considered that none of these individuals worked on behalf of another country. Although al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, there is as yet no firm evidence to corroborate this claim. However, the target and mode of attack of the 7 July bombings are typical of al-Qaeda and those inspired by its ideologies.

The ISC has commented in its second report that “it has become clear, since 7/7, that Mohammed Siddique KHAN had been training in Pakistan (on at least two occasions) and also possibly in Afghanistan”.

Thames Barrier: Sewage

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new consents for combined sewage overflow pipes have been granted on the River Thames between Windsor and the source of the Thames in the last five years. [HL207]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many combined sewage overflow pipes are located between the Thames Barrier and the source of the Thames; what are the locations of each of those pipes which relate to overflow at sewage pumping stations; and what are the locations of each of those pipes which relate to gravity-fed combined sewer overflows. [HL208]

The public register currently has 203 consented discharges into the River Thames between the Thames Barrier and the source of the Thames. Of these, 123 are pumped discharges and 80 are through gravity outflows.

I have arranged for details of the consented discharges to be placed in the House Library.

Water Supply: Purification

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of water supplies is contaminated by pesticides; and what is the annual cost of making it fit to drink. [HL238]

The drinking water inspectorate has advised that regulatory risk assessments by water companies in England and Wales have identified one or more pesticides as a potential hazard in 1,156 out of a total of 2,206 raw water sources. These 1,156 raw water sources serve 693 out of the total of 1,265 water treatment works. Measures to safeguard against the risk of pesticides are therefore currently required for about half of all public water supplies.

The measures used are unique to individual water supplies. Typically they involve one or more of the following activities: catchment management, monitoring-led abstraction management, and treatment informed by monitoring using either powdered or granular activated carbon alone or in combination with ozone. Treatment is not necessarily continuous because the risk of pesticides is seasonal; furthermore in some locations the risk is declining or related to a one-off historic event. Additionally, the unique combination of integrated treatment steps in place at each site is designed to address all potential hazards and produce safe, clean drinking water in the most cost-effective way.

The total annual base industry operating cost for water resource management, abstraction and treatment was £584,000,000 in 2008-09. In the same year, the extra operating expenditure to improve drinking water quality for risks from nitrate, lead, trihalomethanes, turbidity, lead and pesticides was around £7,000,000 and capital expenditure related to pesticide safeguards was about £3,000,000.