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Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his written answer of 5 March 2001, Official Report, column 53W, on air pollution in Leeds, if he will give comparable information for other monitoring stations located in the Leeds, Central constituency. 
Mr. Hill: DETR has one monitoring station within the Leeds, Central constituency and data have been reported in the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions' written answer of 5 March 2001, Official Report, column 53W. The dates when levels of air pollution were recorded as High or Very High at the monitoring stations in the Leeds, Central constituency and operated by the city council are as follows:
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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what changes there have been in the membership of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment since June 1999. 
Mr. Meacher: There have been no changes to the membership of ACRE from that agreed at the end of the appointment process in June 1999. The current membership of ACRE was announced on 18 June 1999. One member, Professor Philip Mullineaux, was abroad at the time and could not be contacted and was therefore appointed formally in September. The membership of ACRE, including Professor Mullineaux, was announced again at the time of the Committee's first meeting on 16 September 1999.
Mr. Meacher: Emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, fell by 7 per cent. between 1990 and 1998. 1999 emissions of carbon dioxide are provisionally estimated to be 7.5 per cent. lower than in 1990. The 1999 UK air emission estimates for greenhouse gases and other pollutants are due to be published on 28 March 2001.
Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what steps he is taking to prevent unqualified and fraudulently qualified seamen from sailing ships into UK waters; 
Mr. Hill: As a signatory to the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspects at least 25 per cent. of non-UK ships visiting our ports. An important part of any Port State Control inspection is the scrutiny of the qualifications of the ship's personnel to ensure that the qualifications are genuine and valid. Where there is any concern, the holder is questioned to determine the propriety of the qualification. Where appropriate, prosecutions for fraud have been pursued in close co-operation with the police. The MCA inspects UK ships in a similar manner as under Port State Control. No ship is permitted to sail from any UK port without correctly qualified seafarers.
Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what recent discussions he has had with (a) his counterparts in other maritime countries and (b) the International Maritime Organisation to prevent the practice of exchanging (i) qualifications and (ii) certification of seamen for money; 
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(3) what discussions he has had with the International Transport Workers Federation and the Seafarers International Research Institute about recent research on forged and fraudulently obtained seamen's certificates. 
Mr. Hill: After discussions between my Officials, the International Transport Workers Federation and officials in other maritime administrations, the United Kingdom co-sponsored a paper concerning fraudulent certification that was discussed at the Maritime Safety Committee meeting of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 1999. The IMO subsequently commissioned a Research Project by the Seafarers International Research Centre in Cardiff. The UK contributed £5,000 towards the project and participated in the research.
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions also contributed funding to the project. A summary Report will be put forward for consideration by the Maritime Safety Committee at its meeting in May 2001 and the full Report will be considered by an expert sub-committee in January 2002.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Scottish Parliament and the Scotland Office over plans to increase access to water for non-powered craft in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: I have seen the Scottish Executive's consultation paper on the draft Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and we will observe its progress with interest. So far as access to water for non-powered craft in England and Wales is concerned, my officials have held discussions with a number of interested parties following which we recently let a contract led by the University of Brighton to establish the facts about participation.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action he is taking to provide additional protection to sites of ancient woodland under the sites of special scientific interest system. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which give greater protection to sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) came into force on 30 January 2001. The Act gives English Nature power to tackle neglect of sites and to make management agreements to help fund positive management. It also introduced increased penalties and a general offence of damage to the features of an SSSI. English Nature is also considering whether further sites should be notified as SSSIs.
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Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he has required the bidders for NATS to include in their plan for the New Scottish Centre the capability to run the total Scottish Flight Information Region and the Oceanic Centre operation; 
(3) what criteria he will use to evaluate NATS' strategic partner's plan for the New Scottish Centre to determine whether it is satisfactory. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth [holding answer 15 March 2001]: Bidders are required to submit plans covering all NATS' major capital projects in the most integrated and efficient manner. The NSC, as part of the two centre strategy endorsed by the Government, is expected to have the capacity to service the Scottish FIR, the Oceanic region and provide a significant contingency in the case of catastrophic failure of NERC/LATCC.
The two phase strategy for the NSC was announced by the Minister for Transport in April 1999. Phase 1 included development of detailed design of the building and systems, as well as software development, with Phase 2 containing the implementation of these designs, and bringing the centre into operation. This strategy was modified in February 2000, following the signing of an agreement between the systems supplier Lockheed Martin and NATS, and the retendering of the building design and construction contracts. This approach is expected to save over £100 million in comparison with the original PFI proposals for the New Scottish Centre.
Site preparation for the NSC has already started. Detailed design of the building is being carried out by Gibb Ltd., and NATS expects to appoint the main construction contractor by the end of 2001. On the systems side, software design is continuing.
The operational date for the NSC is largely a matter for the Strategic Partner--it will be obliged under the Strategic Partnership to bring the NSC into service by a given date, but may choose to do so before then.
The Government will be carefully scrutinising the bidder's complete investment plans as well as their proposals for the New Scottish Centre (NSC) in particular. This will involve a careful analysis of their strategies for safety management; procurement and financing; software integration; capacity planning; contingency capability for NERC; introduction of new controller tools; transition planning; and the overall impact on the mode of operations and controller interface and training.
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