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AIR POLLUTION IN TOWNS: REDUCTION MEASURES

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Viscount Goschen: The Government are determined that the transport sector will play its part in reducing air pollution. As a result of improvements to vehicle standards and measures such as the recent initiative on enforcement, launched by the Secretary of State for Transport, we are now set to see a marked decline in pollutants that will extend well into the next decade.

Local authorities also have an important role to play in reducing the environmental impacts of transport. Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 (PPG 13) and the department's "package approach" to funding of capital projects illustrate the way the Government are seeking to help local authorities perform that role. These measures aim to help local authorities to develop coherent approaches to transport and land use planning which look beyond road based options , with a view to giving people a choice of modes and of reducing the need to travel.

VDUs: GUIDANCE FOR USERS

Baroness Macleod of Borve asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Inglewood: There is no evidence that work with visual display units causes any permanent damage to eyes or eyesight, but it can cause temporary visual fatigue. Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employees who habitually use a display screen as a significant part of their normal work can ask their employer to provide them with eye and eyesight tests, and special spectacles if required.

Employers should also help minimise eyestrain by providing satisfactory lighting and taking steps to avoid refections and glare on screen. The Health and Safety Executive has explained these points in its guidance publications. These include an illustrated booklet VDUs: an easy guide to the Regulations, which gives practical advice for employers, and a free leaflet Working with VDUs for employees, copies of which are available in the Library.

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INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNALS: REVIEW

Viscount Mountgarret asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the internal review of the operation of the industrial tribunals announced by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 29th April 1994.

Lord Inglewood: Following the completion of the internal review of industrial tribunals, the Government are today publishing a Green Paper Resolving Employment Rights Disputes: Options for Reform.

Since their inception in 1964, the role of industrial tribunals has steadily developed as their jurisdiction has expanded. The Government believe that the industrial tribunals have proved to be a fair and effective means for adjudicating employment rights disputes. They are firmly committed to ensuring that they continue to provide an "easily accessible, informal, speedy and inexpensive" means of redress in accordance with the criteria laid down in 1968 and accepted by all governments since then.

The industrial tribunal system has been subjected to growing pressures in recent years. Employment legislation has grown both in extent and complexity, the numbers of tribunal applications have doubled since 1989 and are expected to continue rising, and hearing delays have increased unacceptably. The department's internal review was commissioned to find ways of helping the tribunals to cope and to achieve greater efficiency and reduced delays.

The Green Paper sets out a range of proposals designed to increase the proportion of disputes settled voluntarily by the parties themselves or with third party assistance, to simplify and improve tribunal procedures and to improve the organisation and management of the administrative support.

The Government invite views on those proposals. Improvements which can be achieved through administrative action by the department are already going ahead; decisions on whether and how to proceed with those requiring legislation will be taken in the light of the consultations. However, the Government have decided that tribunals should have discretion whether or not to obtain a view from an independent expert when deciding claims for equal pay for work of equal value.

It is the Government's intention that any efficiency savings should be applied to improving standards of service to the public.

INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE, COMMISSIONER AND TRIBUNAL

Lord Denham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps have been taken to appoint an Intelligence and Security Committee, Commissioner and Tribunal, under the terms of the Intelligence Service Act 1994.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): Following consultation with the Leader of Her

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Majesty's Opposition, and in accordance with Section 10 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has appointed the Intelligence and Security Committee as follows:


    The right honourable Tom King, CH, MP (Chairman)


    The right honourable Alan Beith, MP


    The right honourable Dr. John Gilbert, MP


    The right honourable Sir Archie Hamilton, MP


    The right honourable Lord Howe of Aberavon, QC


    Mr. Barry Jones, MP


    Mr. Michael Mates, MP


    Mr. Allan Rogers, MP


    Sir Giles Shaw, MP

In accordance with Section 8 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994, my right honourable friend has appointed Lord Justice Stuart-Smith as the Intelligence Services Commissioner for a period of three years. Sir Simon Dennis Brown has been appointed President of the Intelligence Services Tribunal, John Colin McInnes Vice-President of the Tribunal, and Sir Richard Kennedy Harvey Gaskell a member of the Tribunal, by Royal Warrant, each for a period of five years. All appointments take effect from 15 December 1994.

INSPECTORATE OF CONSTABULARY: DUTIES

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary with a statement of the duties which he expects of the Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): As promised in the Government's White Paper on Police Reform (Cm 2281), we have provided the Chief Inspector of Constabulary with a clear statement of the duties and responsibilities which we expect the inspectorate should fulfil.

The statement emphasises the key role of the inspectorate as an independent watchdog monitoring police performance and ensuring that standards are maintained. We have made it clear that we will also be looking to the inspectorate to report to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on the progress being made by police authorities and forces in establishing local strategies for building effective partnerships between the police and the local community.

We have placed copies of the statement in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. We are also arranging for it to be circulated to all chief officers of police and to clerks of police authorities.

EXTRADITION APPLICATIONS: CATEGORISATION OF PRISONERS

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What reference is made to prisoners held on extradition applications in HM Prison Service's Manual on Security, and what consideration is given

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    to the identification of inmates who may need to be recorded as provisional Category A cases when the offences with which they may be charged in the countries making the application have no equivalent in the criminal law of the United Kingdom; and What instructions they have given to HM Prison Service on how to decide whether to place in Category A inmates held pending extradition applications who have not been charged with any offence in the United Kingdom.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Derek Lewis, dated 14 December 1994:


    Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about the application of Category A to persons held in prison custody in connection with extradition applications.


    The Prison Service's security manual makes no specific reference to persons held in custody pending extradition applications. Category A can be applied to any person in prison custody if, after careful consideration of all available information, the highest security category is considered to be appropriate.

REMANDS OF 15 AND 16 YEAR-OLDS TO HULL, NORTHALLERTON AND DONCASTER PRISONS

Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many (a) 15 year-olds and (b) 16 year-olds have been remanded to Hull, Northallerton and Doncaster prisons respectively since 1st August.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Faithfull from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Derek Lewis, dated 14 December 1994:


    Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of 15 and 16 year-olds who have been remanded to Hull, Northallerton and Doncaster since 1 August.


    This information is given in the attached table.

Receptions of untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners, aged 15 and 16 into Hull, Northallerton and Doncaster prisons and remand centres, August–October 1994(1)

Receptions of untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners by age(2)
Establishment 15 year-olds 16 year-olds
Hull 6 12
Northallerton 12 25
Doncaster 14 26

(1) Provisional figures.

(2) Initial receptions into Prison Service establishments.



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