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10 Mar 2005 : Column 1993W—continued

Surplus Assets Sales

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the value of sales of surplus assets from his Department was in each year since 2000–01. [220963]

Mr. Rammell: Sales of fixed assets per the resource accounts were as follows:


Suspected Terrorists

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have received requests from a Department or Agency of the United States Administration to use United Kingdom (a) airports and (b) airspace to deliver suspected terrorists from one foreign country to another via the United Kingdom. [217487]

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Mr. MacShane: No.

UK Nuclear Weapons

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list each multilateral negotiating forum in which United Kingdom nuclear weapons are under discussion pursuant to British obligations under Article 6 of the nuclear non proliferation treaty. [220640]

Mr. MacShane: None.


Butler Committee

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether all the Butler Committee recommendations concerning the proper recording and minuting of committee meetings have been implemented. [220375]

Mr. Miliband: Yes. The Cabinet Secretariat serves the Prime Minister and Ministers collectively, in particular by servicing Cabinet and Cabinet Committees. The Cabinet Secretariat's role is to put in place appropriate handling of committee business, such as the preparation of papers and minutes to ensure the effective functioning of the committee structure.

EU Rapid Reaction Civil Emergency Force

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with EU Governments regarding (A) the provision of a rapid reaction civil emergency force within the EU and (B) co-ordination measures needed to facilitate civil emergency planning; and if he will make a statement. [218890]

Mr. Miliband: Preliminary discussions on better co-ordination of resources within the EU to deal with emergencies and the outline of an Action Plan were discussed at an extra-ordinary meeting of the Council on 7 January. A detailed Action Plan was adopted at the meeting of the Council on 31 January. The Action Plan asks the Institutions of the European Union and the member states to discuss improvements to existing instruments for providing assistance in emergencies, including better co-ordination, and to discuss the setting up of a European rapid response capability including its relationship with the existing civil protection mechanism and EU humanitarian aid. The UK has, along with other member states, contributed ideas on how the EU might further improve its co-ordination of disaster response. These ideas have been discussed at various levels in the Council and its working groups, andbetween Capitals. The European Commission and Javier Solana are considering the ideas put forward andproducing options papers for consideration and discussion by member states.


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much has been spent on (a) provision
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of parking spaces for civil servants and (b) parking tickets and penalties incurred by civil servants in the Department in each year since 1997. [213806]

Mr. Miliband: The Cabinet Office does not specifically incur any costs for the purpose of providing parking spaces for its employees. Some parking spaces are provided as part of rent paid for some leased office space.

Employees are personally responsible for meeting the cost of parking tickets and penalties. The only parking tickets and penalties incurred were by staff of the Government Car and Despatch Agency (and more specifically the Government Car Service) while undertaking their official duties within Government and the public sector. A sum of £3,610 was incurred in 2003–04. Figures for earlier years cannot be readily retrieved without incurring disproportionate cost.

Regional bodies

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what regional (a) bodies, (b) institutions, (c) taskforces, (d) panels, (e) offices and (f) organisations the Government has established since May 1997 which are the responsibility of the Cabinet Office. [219945]

Mr. Miliband: The Cabinet Office has not established any regional bodies, institutions, taskforces, panels, offices or organisations since 1997. This reflects the nature of the Department's work.


Asbestos (Trains)

Mr. Hume: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what part was played by the Department in the processing of train carriages containing asbestos in the Crosshill Quarry Site between November 2003 and June 2004; what method of processing was used; on what dates; and whether the Department has assessed the extent to which statutory obligations were adhered to by the asbestos processing company. [219540]

Angela Smith: The Department of the Environment played no part in the repositioning of the carriages at Crosshill. I understand that this work commenced before 19 December 2003 when the regulatory powers for waste management transferred from district councils to the Department's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS).

I understand that the original method of moving the carriages was modified as they were too heavy to be removed in one piece. The carriages were removed by cutting them into three sections using large mechanical shears. The work was undertaken by an operator trained in asbestos removal, who did not observe any asbestos when the work was being carried out.

The site was inspected by my waste management officials on 13 February 2004 and they saw no evidence of railway carriages or asbestos waste, findings reinforced by photographic and documentary evidence on file. The site is also subject to regulation by EHS under the terms of the Water (NI) Order 1999. In the
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course of a regulatory site visit on 24 February 2004, EHS Water Management officials noted that no carriages were visible".

In addition, EHS has undertaken independent water quality and soil sampling tests at the site and concluded that there has been no breach of the water order consent nor evidence of contravention of waste licensing controls. The Department therefore has no grounds to take action against the company.

EHS will continue to monitor the Crosshill site for the presence of asbestos to ensure full compliance with the water order consent. Independent air quality monitoring will be a condition of any subsequent waste licence or permit application.

Cabra Towers

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been made of the impact of the closure of the South Eastern education and library board's Cabra Towers outdoors facility on the local economy; what plans the Department of Education has for the facility; and if he will make a statement. [220535]

Mr. Gardiner: Provision of outdoor education facilities such as Cabra Towers is a matter for individual education and library boards. I understand that the South Eastern education and library board has not made an assessment on the impact of the closure of Cabra Towers on the local economy and that the board's considerations are based on the costs of maintaining and refurbishing the building and on the board's ability to offer the services delivered through Cabra in a more efficient manner. I also understand that a decision has not yet been taken to close the facility and that the board is currently considering a number of options which will ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies if a subsequent decision to close is taken.

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what services are provided by the Cabra Towers outdoor facility; which of these services are classed by his Department as front-line services delivered for children; and what plans the Department of Education has for the provision of services to children in the event of the closure of Cabra Towers. [220536]

Mr. Gardiner: Cabra Towers is an outdoor education centre which focuses on the delivery of outdoor and environmental education to the primary sector. The Department recognises that outdoor activity centres such as Cabra Towers are a valuable educational resource and they enhance both curriculum delivery and the learning experience. However, the relevant aspects for the statutory curriculum can be delivered successfully without availing of the services of such centres and ultimately it is the responsibility of individual schools to decide which educational resources they use. The South Eastern education and library board is currently exploring a range of options which will ensure continued provision of these services
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in the board's other outdoor education centres, should a decision be taken by them to close Cabra Towers.

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the schools that have made use of the Cabra Towers outdoor facility in each of the last five
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years were from the (a) controlled sector and (b) maintained sector. [220537]

Mr. Gardiner: The relevant details are set out in the following table:
Statistics for usage of Cabra Towers by maintained and controlled schools for the period 1999–2004

ControlledMaintainedTotalControlled (percentage)Maintained (percentage)
September 1999 to June 20002511366931
September 2000 to June 2001248327525
September 2001 to June 20023110417624
September 02—June 03276338218
September 2003 to June 2004299387624
September 2004 to June 2005 (TBC)2710377327

The figures for September 2004 to June 2005 are based on bookings for the period after 4 March

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