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Angela Smith: The main environmental functions in Northern Ireland are delivered by the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), an executive agency within the Department of the Environment. EHS was established in 1996 following consideration by Government of the options available.
In November 2004, a coalition of NGOs, following a public consultation exercise which they had carried out, recommended to me that an independent inquiry be set out; this inquiry would look at, among other things, the arguments for establishing an Environment Protection Agency in Northern Ireland which would carry out the functions which currently lie with EHS.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which statutory agency provides a (a) pollution and (b) environmental damage hotline in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: To encourage the reporting of pollution incidents in Northern Ireland, Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), an executive agency of the Department of the Environment, operates a freefone pollution response system that is available to the public at all times. During office hours, all calls made to the freefone water pollution hotline number (0800 80 70 60) are directed to an operations room in Belfast, where the incident is assessed and passed to the relevant field staff for investigation and relevant action. Outside office hours, all calls are directed to an Environment Agency communications centre, which then tasks the on-call duty emergency pollution officer in Northern Ireland to respond.
To date a hotline dealing with reports of other environmental damage has not been established in Northern Ireland. However, in the light of recent events, the need to extend emergency reports arrangements has been identified and a system for reporting damage to
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protected areas is currently being devised. It is hoped to have new arrangements in place in the near future following which they will be fully publicised.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many health service employees were suspended from work in the Province in each of the last five years; what the average time off work of such individuals was; and what total costs were incurred as a result of such suspensions. 
Angela Smith: The most recent figures available indicate a total of 31 new first-UK diagnoses of HIV in Northern Ireland in 2004 (until 30 September 2004). Figures for the final quarter of the year are not yet available.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether fluid management is taught in induction training for all junior doctors who commence posts in paediatric medicine in the Province. 
In November 2003 the Department for Employment and Learning commissioned a review of its relationship with the University for Industry (UfI)/learndirect. The report, presented in May 2004, identified a number of positive findings; for example, that UfI/learndirect supported the widening access agenda. However, the review also identified several areas of major concern including poor support for learner tracking or progression, and a decrease in 'on-line' learning from 80 per cent. in 1999 to 20 per cent. in 200304.
A review of Enterprise Ulster commenced in September 2004 focusing on Enterprise Ulster's role and performance. The draft report is due to be presented to the Department in December.
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An evaluation of Worktrack was completed in May 2002, which concluded that, with some modifications there was a continuing need for the programme, at that time. Since then, the economic climate has improved, unemployment is at a very low level and there are more job opportunities. The programme is therefore considered to have a lower priority than other competing demands. The costs of an employment placement under Worktrack are also high. There is other provision available to assist people into work and significant resources available to increase skills through higher and further education.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been allocated from public funds on learndirect in (a) North Belfast and (b) Northern Ireland in each year since 2000. 
Mr. Gardiner: Since the introduction of Learndirect in March 2000, 43,544 people have undertaken learning through the network of Learndirect centres in Northern Ireland this includes 2,394 learners in centres in North Belfast.
Mr. Hume: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of people in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Foyle constituency entered paid employment within six months of completing each New Deal and Worktrack programme in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
The percentage of people in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Foyle Consistency entering paid employment within six months of leaving the two main New Deals and the Worktrack programme are as follows.
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|Programme||All leavers||Into employment||Percentage into employment|
|(a) Northern Ireland|
|New Deal 18 to 24||8032||2214||28|
|New Deal 25 +||6946||1348||19|
|New Deal 18 to 24||1124||242||22|
|New Deal 25 +||711||97||14|
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to reduce the Occupational Therapy Assessment waiting list in the Newry and Mourne health trust area. 
Angela Smith: Newry and Mourne health and social services trust has advised that waiting times for occupational therapy assessments have been affected by difficulties in filling vacancies in the service. Action is being taken to overcome these. In addition, an Activity of Daily Living (ADL) clinic has been set up and this has already made an impact on the waiting list. For those unable to travel to the clinic, domiciliary visits are being arranged in the near future to assess their needs.
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