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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 17 October 2002

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Medicines

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to her letter to the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 15 September, when she will publish the results of the Working Group on Access to Medicines for the Poor. [74447]

Clare Short: The High Level Working Group on Access to Medicines brought together Government, foundations, international organisations and the pharmaceutical industry. These stakeholders worked together on the Report to the Prime Minister which will be published shortly.

TRANSPORT

Road Improvements

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the timetable for each stage until the opening of the A303 (T) Stonehenge improvement scheme, with specific reference to the (a) Countess Road flyover and (b) Chicklade bypass; and if he will make a statement. [72616]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 15 October 2002]: The proposed timetable for the A303 (T) Stonehenge Improvement scheme is—

publication of draft ordersearly 2003
public inquirylate autumn 2003
decision2004
start of works (subject to the above)2005
completion2008

The construction of a flyover at Countess roundabout is part of this scheme and, subject to the completion of statutory procedures, is expected to open in Summer 2006.

The A303 Chicklade Bottom—Mere Improvement is one of the schemes that were remitted to the London to South West and South Wales Multi-Modal Study (SWARMMS). The study recommended that this improvement should be taken forward to provide, with other improvements to the A303, an improved strategic route into the south west of England, and is supported by the South West Regional Assembly. The representations received on the study are being reviewed and an announcement will be made in due course.


Aircraft Noise

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent airports have powers to restrict aircraft use by reference to engine noise levels. [74827]

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Mr. Jamieson: Restrictions on aircraft use by reference to engine noise levels must be compatible with the recommended standards and resolutions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and with the relevant directives and regulations of the European Union, in particular Directive 2002/30/EC on rules and procedures relating to operating restrictions at airports. Subject to these constraints, and to the airport's licence conditions, an airport may restrict the access of aircraft on noise grounds, either absolutely or subject to conditions, provided it does so in a non-discriminatory fashion.

Multi-Modal Studies

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government's Code of Practice on Written Consultation applies to multi-modal studies; and if he will make a statement. [75604]

Mr. Jamieson: In certain circumstances Ministers can decide to depart from elements of the Code of Practice on Written Consultation issued by the Cabinet Office in December 2000. We decided in October 2001 that the Multi-Modal Studies should not be bound by the Code's requirement for a 12-week consultation period for their consultation exercises.

The main reason for departing from the Code is that consultation is not a one-off exercise but an integral part of the Study process. Key stakeholders and the wider public are consulted at various stages during a Study. In addition to specific consultation events, members of the public and key partners are kept informed of progress through tailor made leaflets and newsletters. Most Studies have also established specific websites or have a page within the Government Office website where key documents are posted.

Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to propose a Harbour Revision Order to reconstitute the Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority; and if he will make a statement. [74549]

Mr. Jamieson: We have received an application from the Authority itself for a Harbour Revision Order to reconstitute the Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority. This Order was formally advertised (in accordance with Schedule 3 of the Harbours Act 1964) in May and June of this year. No formal objections were received during the 42 day period for such objections to be made and we hope to be in a position to make this Order in the near future.

Zero Sulphur Fuels

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are in place to ensure zero sulphur fuels are available within the UK. [72378]

Mr. Jamieson: A new European Directive is in the closing stages of agreement that will, subject to final negotiation between the Member States and the European Parliament, require sulphur-free petrol and diesel to be widely available from 1 January 2005, with all petrol and diesel sold for road-use being sulphur-free from 1 January 2009. This Directive is expected to be adopted in the coming months.

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Two recent initiatives will ensure sulphur free petrol and diesel fuel is increasingly available in the UK over the next few years.

In his last Budget statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans to introduce duty incentives favouring sulphur free fuels in 2003, subject to agreement with the European Commission. This announcement was aimed at providing the oil industry with early notification so that they could plan their investment in the necessary refining technology accordingly.

DEFENCE

Terrorism

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of the reserve forces will continue to support operations as part of the campaign against international terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [76115]

Dr. Moonie: With the expiry of the call-out order made last October, a new order has been made to enable reservists to continue to be called out into service to support military operations in Afghanistan and related operations arising as part of the campaign against international terrorism. The new order is effective until 30 September 2003. Over 500 reservists were called out under the order made last October, of whom over half were called out compulsorily. The reservists are providing an invaluable contribution to the operations and we are most grateful for their continuing commitment and their employers' support.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Beryllium

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the agreements and protocols banning the sale of Beryllium to which the United Kingdom is a signatory. [74390]

Nigel Griffiths: The United Kingdom is not a signatory to any agreements or protocols banning the sale of Beryllium.

British Energy

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when she expects to present her proposals for the restructuring of British Energy to the European Commission; [74379]

Ms Hewitt: The Community Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty require proof of the repayment of the loan, or termination of the loan guarantee, or the submission of a restructuring or liquidation plan to the Commission within six months of authorisation of the rescue aid measure, subject to

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extension by the Commission. The UK has indicated to the Commission that it will communicate with it within the timescales required by the Guidelines.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards the sale of British Energy's North American assets. [74375]

Ms Hewitt: No decisions have been taken and no commitments given on British Energy's long term future at this time.

Overseas Visits

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the overseas visits made by (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department since June 2001, stating for each the (i) cost and (ii) purpose. [74591]

Ms Hewitt: I have placed in the Libraries of the House details of overseas visits that DTI Ministers have undertaken since June 2001.

The costs of these overseas visits, attributable to the Ministerial budgets, during this period are as follows:

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry#68,508
Minister of State for Energy & Construction#174,466
Minister of State for E Commerce and
Competitiveness#56,598
Minister of State for Employment Relations
Industry & the Regions#37,829
Minister of State for Trade*#68,854
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for
Competition, Consumers and Markets#11,238
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small
Business and Export Control#40,775
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science
and Innovation#46,781

Note:

* These charges are shared with the FCO.

Details of overseas travel undertaken by officials are not held centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.



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