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Warning Lights

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the organisations, authorities and agencies which are entitled to (a) mount on their vehicles and (b) use on the public highway, blue flashing or revolving lights; and if he will make a statement. [148432]

Mr. Hill: Entitlement to mount and use blue warning beacons, special warning lamps and similar devices on road vehicles are contained in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989.

These regulations restrict the fitting of blue warning beacons or special warning lamps to emergency vehicles. The meaning of an emergency vehicle in these regulations is defined as a motor vehicle of any of the following descriptions:











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The regulations prohibit the use of warning beacons emitting blue light and special warning lamps by emergency vehicles except (i) at the scene of an emergency (ii) or when it is necessary or desirable either to indicate to persons using the road the urgency of the purpose for which the vehicle is being used, or to warn persons of the presence of the vehicle or hazard on the road.

Army Training Estate (Otterburn)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for what reason he has not issued a decision letter in respect of the public inquiries into proposed development at Otterburn Army training estate. [148431]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The hon. Member may be aware that the Courts have given leave for judicial review in relation to development proposed by the Home Office at Aldington in Kent, which involves a challenge to DOE Circular 18-84 procedures for the development of Crown land. These are the same procedures as have been used by the Ministry of Defence to seek approval for the proposed development at Otterburn in Northumberland. The grounds of challenge are that the procedures are non- compliant with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is unlikely that I shall be in a position to reach a final decision on Otterburn before the Aldington case comes to Court this month. I shall then need to consider how to proceed in the light of the Aldington judgment.

In the meantime, I am arranging for various exchanges of correspondence on this issue to be copied to the parties to the Otterburn inquiry for their information.

Central Railway Project

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will institute the Transport and Works Act 1992 procedure for consideration of the Central Railway project. [148754]

Mr. Hill: We cannot institute the Transport and Works Act procedure unless the scheme's promoters, Central Railway, formally apply to the Secretary of State for an Order under that Act. That is for them to decide.

PRIME MINISTER

Lord Levy

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the dates in the last 12 months on which Lord Levy has met the Prime Minister; what the duration was of each meeting; and where the meetings have been held. [145325]

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The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Lord Levy liaises regularly with me, the Foreign Secretary, and other Ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 236W, on Lord Levy, if he will place the texts of the personal messages delivered by Lord Levy on his behalf to (a) President Zedillo, (b) President-Elect Fox, (c) President Chavez, (d) President Batte, (e) President Banizer and (f) President Noboa. [145324]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: No. The messages were personal.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister what plans there are for (a) the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and (b) other ministers to accompany Lord Levy on future trips while acting as his personal envoy. [145261]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: None.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister if Lord Levy has (a) security protection and (b) a personal bodyguard provided by Her Majesty's Government while travelling as his personal envoy in (i) Israel and (ii) Latin America. [145267]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: When travelling as my personal envoy, Lord Levy receives the level of security protection considered necessary in the country he is visiting.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 238W, concerning messages carried by Lord Levy, for what reason such messages could not be carried by Ministers and diplomats. [145274]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: The purpose of asking Lord Levy to convey such messages as my personal envoy was to signal my personal interest in our relations with the countries. He was accompanied throughout by our ambassadors to the countries concerned and by a Foreign and Commonwealth Office official.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister what definition he uses of personal envoy, in relation to the work of Lord Levy. [145266]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to her right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) on 30 March 2000, Official Report, column 246W.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 236W, (1) what his policy is on the payment of travel expenses by Lord Levy while travelling as his personal envoy; [145273]

The Prime Minister [holding answers 15 January 2001]: Lord Levy has always paid his own travel expenses when travelling as my personal envoy.

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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 236W, if Lord Levy's visit to the middle east over the Christmas period was made in his capacity as his personal envoy. [145270]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Lord Levy visited Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan from 5-9 January as my personal envoy.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Prime Minister with whom Lord Levy had (a) scheduled and (b) unscheduled meetings in his role as personal envoy during his most recent visit to the middle east. [145859]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 January 2001]: Lord Levy met a range of senior figures, including Prime Minister Barak in Israel, President Arafat in the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb in Jordan. He had no unscheduled meetings.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Prime Minister what statements were issued by each British embassy in (a) the South American countries and (b) middle eastern countries which Lord Levy visited, for each visit he has made there. [145860]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 January 2001]: In general Embassies do not issue formal statements when Lord Levy visits, but provide factual information to inquiries.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Prime Minister what the cost to public funds was of Lord Levy's most recent visit to the middle east; what contribution to the costs was made by Lord Levy; what the purpose was of his visit; what access Lord Levy has to non-confidential Government information; and from which officials Lord Levy has received briefings on the middle east. [145858]

The Prime Minister: [holding answer 16 January 2001]: Lord Levy's most recent visit as my personal envoy was to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan from 5-9 January. The FCO and Embassies provided practical support, the cost of which is not separately itemised. This included accommodation, briefing, assistance in arranging programmes, and accompanied transport by road. Lord Levy paid his own travel costs to and from the region. The purpose of the visit was to exchange views on regional issues, in particular the middle east peace process. Lord Levy received briefings from appropriate Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office official accompanied Lord Levy.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Prime Minister on which occasions during Lord Levy's most recent visit to the middle east he (a) made public statements and (b) talked to foreign media, as a representative of (i) the Prime Minister and (ii) the United Kingdom. [145857]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 January 2001]: None.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Prime Minister what engagements Lord Levy has undertaken on his behalf in the middle east in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99, (c) 1999-2000 and (d) 2000-01. [145856]

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 391W

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 January 2001]: I refer to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 510W.

Since then, Lord Levy has made one trip to the middle east as my personal envoy, visiting Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan from 5 to 9 January 2001.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister what (a) scheduled and (b) unscheduled meetings Lord Levy had with the media during his visit to South America. [146620]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 22 January 2001]: Lord Levy answered questions from the local media on a number of occasions.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister what steps he has taken to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between Lord Levy's business interests and his mission as an envoy for his Department in the middle east. [146496]

The Prime Minister: I am satisfied that there is no such conflict of interest. Lord Levy has no business interests in the middle east.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Prime Minister what (a) scheduled and (b) unscheduled meetings Lord Levy had with the media during his visit to the middle east in (i) December 2000 and (ii) January of this year. [146495]

The Prime Minister: Lord Levy did not visit the middle east in December 2000. He had no meetings with the media during his visit from 5-9 January.


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