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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what conditions and guarantees were imposed upon (a) BAA and (b) Heathrow Airport by his Department after granting permission for Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport. [159824]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The information provided has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what factors were taken into account when final descent paths for aircraft approaching Heathrow were altered in 1995; [159826]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The final approach tracks followed by aircraft approaching Heathrow to land have to be aligned with the runways in order to comply with long established internationally agreed standards. They have not changed and cannot be changed unilaterally.

The paths that aircraft follow before aligning with the runway are not fixed, in order to allow for safe tactical integration of up to four streams of traffic, but the area of airspace used for this purpose has been established in its present form for about 30 years. An "early morning landings trial" commenced in September 1995, which required aircraft during westerly operations at night (before 6.00am) to join the 3o glideslope of the instrument landing system (ILS) at or above 3,000 ft (instead of 2,500 ft) and to join the final approach track at not less than 10 nautical miles (18½ km) from touchdown. The trial was evaluated and a summary of the findings was published in the November 1998 consultation paper on night restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports (copies of which were placed in the Libraries of the House). It was found that the trial procedure produced a reduction in noise exposure in the area between 16½ km and 31½ km from touchdown. Some noise increases were caused in parts of Clapham, Deptford, Lewisham and Blackheath because more aircraft joined the ILS final approach track further from touchdown. A redistribution of traffic over built-up areas can result in gains and losses but may be justified, as in this case, where the gains substantially outweigh the losses. The study also found a small increase in the achievement of the noise reducing continuous descent approach (CDA) procedure even though the CDA instructions were not changed for the trial.

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Aircraft Noise

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measurements his Department takes of the impact of aircraft noise on residents in south-east England during the (a) day and (b) night. [159825]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: My Department publishes annual daytime noise contours for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports. These contours cover the 16 hour day from 0700 to 2300 BST, averaged for the relatively busy period 16 June to 15 September. The contours for 2000 are about to be published by the CAA on the Department's behalf; and the explanatory booklets, including small-scale versions of the contours, will be placed on the DETR website shortly. All take-offs are monitored for compliance with the departure noise limits. The new daytime and night-time limits announced by my hon. Friend on 18 December 2000, Official Report, columns 11-12W, have come into effect. Readings from these and other noise monitors (covering both arrivals and departures) are used, along with radar data on the dispersion of aircraft tracks, to validate the model used to generate the contours. Other measurements are taken, and contours produced from time to time, for various studies on behalf of the Department and of the airports.

We do not routinely publish contours for aircraft noise at night at these airports, as research has suggested that, because of the uneven and distinct patterns of operation, these would not be sufficiently well correlated with sleep disturbance and annoyance. However, operations at night are subject to the restrictions, including movement limits and noise quotas made, after consultation, by Notice under s.78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982; and are monitored and reported by the airports accordingly.

Elsewhere in the South East, noise measurement and contouring are the responsibility of the individual airports. However, noise measurements collated from other airports will help inform the current South East and East Regional Airports Study (SERAS).



Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent reports he has had from General de Chastelain on progress on arms decommissioning. [159633]

Mr. Ingram: On 22 March this year, the Independent Commission on Decommissioning issued a report stating that they believe progress on actual decommissioning can be made.

I look forward to early and positive reports from the Decommissioning Commission that progress is being made.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many completed applications for the most recent Royal Ulster Constabulary recruiting campaign were received by 30 March; and how many

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were received from (i) Northern Ireland, (ii) the Republic of Ireland, (iii) Great Britain and (iv) outside the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. [158822]

Dr. Reid: I am advised that 7,843 completed applications have been received in response to the on-going Police Service of Northern Ireland recruitment competition. Analysis, in terms of applications received from addresses in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain or elsewhere is as follows:

Northern Ireland7,208
Republic of Ireland332
Great Britain262

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the completed applications for the Royal Ulster Constabulary received by 30 March were from (a) Northern Ireland Protestants, (b) Northern Ireland Roman Catholics and (c) persons of no religion and from other religious backgrounds with addresses in Northern Ireland. [158823]

Dr. Reid: Equal opportunities analysis of the applications has yet to be undertaken.


Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) when the Commission was advised of assessments by (a) the House personnel staff and (b) formal staff inspections of the overworking in the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards; [159203]

Mr. Kirkwood: Officials carried out a preliminary review of the staffing of the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in spring 2000, because of concerns which had arisen over the office's work load. The outcome of this work was reported to the House of Commons Commission on 3 July 2000, and temporary additional secretarial support was provided, pending a more thorough review of work load to be carried out by the staff inspector from the internal review service (IRS).

The findings of the IRS review were reported to the Commission late in 2000. The Commission referred the matter to the Finance and Services Committee whose

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advice was considered and agreed to in April 2001. The Committee's advice was that the case for permanent additional staffing had not been clearly established, and that the work load should be monitored over the early months of a new Parliament to ascertain what the long- term needs were. The temporary additional secretarial support would remain in place for the time being.

Commission meetings are deliberative and it is not the practice to publish papers relating to them.


Type 45 Destroyer

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 March 2001, Official Report, column 105W, on type 45 destroyers, if a contract has been placed with Vosper Thornycroft; and if he will make a further statement. [157749]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 24 April 2001]: No shipbuilding sub-contracts for the type 45 destroyer have yet been let by the prime contractor, BAE Systems Electronics. Under the procurement strategy I announced to the House in July last year for the type 45 programme, the prime contractor is working to a target of September 2001 for a commitment to Vosper Thornycroft.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford of 24 April 2001, Official Report, columns 232-33W, what lessons he has drawn from such ships. [159777]

Mr. Hoon: Our close co-operation with allies such as the United States in the development and operation of warships continues, particularly through visits and naval officer exchange postings. This type of co-operation will ensure that we continue to share best practice with our allies to mutual benefit.

There has been no significant direct read across between the Arleigh Burke class, which includes the USS Winston Churchill, and our more recent type 45 programme. Although similar in size to the Arleigh Burke class, the type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer, equipped with the principal anti-air missile system, offers, we believe, significant acquisition and through-life cost benefits over earlier generations of destroyers.

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