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Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Inglewood: Immediately after the earthquake we told the Japanese Government that we stood ready to send any assistance they required and gave examples of what we could offer. They made a specific request on 21 January, and the Overseas Development Administration at once chartered an aircraft to deliver a first consignment of relief supplies. The cargo consisted of over 18,000 blankets, 35 rolls of black plastic sheeting, 500 collapsible 20 litre water containers and 500 plastic bowls, totally filling the aircraft by volume. The aircraft arrived on Monday 23 January at Kansai International Airport near Kobe.

The Japanese authorities have requested some other items, including bandages, dressings and sanitary napkins. The Overseas Development Administration sent a consignment of 3 tonnes on 24 January; British Airways donated the freight space.

In addition, the International Rescue Corps, a British charity which supplies fully trained, self-sufficient rescue teams, has sent a 16-member group to assist in the rescue operations.


Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): The Department of the Environment has been working with the National Joint Utilities Group, the Cable Communications Association and the arboricultural industry to produce general guidelines on how to minimise damage to trees by utilities, and to utilities by trees. They will be published very shortly.


Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Viscount Ullswater: Research leading to the development of a long-term strategy for the conservation and management of cormorants and other fish-eating birds is currently under consideration by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and the Department of the Environment. The research will cover cormorant predation in both still water and rivers.

The Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Bonn Convention in June 1994 adopted a recommendation giving guidance on maintaining a favourable conservation status for the cormorant and action to prevent serious damage to fisheries. The Government are following this guidance.

I am aware that cormorant numbers are increasing on inland waters. Representations have been received from a wide range of angling and fishing interests. There is no scientific case for a general cull of the cormorant population but licences will continue to be issued, where justified.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If CINCSOUTH, the (US) NATO Commander in Naples "has no command over land or air forces other than those assigned to NATO" (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey's Answer of 5th December, col. WA66) and the unmanned US air vehicles which are operating from bases in Croatia are "under US national command" (Lord Henley's Answer of 6th December, col. WA 78), under whose command are the unmanned air vehicles operating out of Croatia.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): The unmanned air vehicles operating from bases in Croatia are US national assets and their command arrangements are therefore a matter for the US Government.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the US to which the Minister of State for Defence Procurement referred on 16 December 1994 (H.C. Deb, col. 822) covers research, development, production, procurement, etc. connected in any way with the US Defense Counterproliferation Initiative.

Lord Henley: The Memorandum of Understanding signed recently by both the United Kingdom Secretary

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of State for Defence and the United States Defense Secretary, relating to the principles governing co-operation in research and development, production, procurement and logistics support of defence equipment, replaced the previously existing arrangement, which was due to expire. It is not directly connected with the US Defense Counterproliferation Initiative. It is for British companies to decide whether to bid for any programmes arising from the US Department of Defense Report on Nonproliferation and Counterproliferation Activities and Programs.

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The Lord Bishop of Norwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total amount of VAT paid in 1993 from all sources and not subsequently recovered by those who paid it.

Lord Henley: Net VAT receipts by HM Customs and Excise during the financial year 1993–94 were £38,959.2 million.

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