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Written Answers

Wednesday 1st March 1995

Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands: Right of Individual Petition

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their Written Answer of 14 February 1995 (H.L. col. WA29) for what period of time was the right of individual petition, under the European Convention on Human Rights, accepted by the United Kingdom in relation to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, respectively.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Declarations made by the Government of the United Kingdom under Article 63(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights are published as Command Papers. The answer to the noble Lord's question can be found in the relevant entries in the Treaty Series and the supplementary lists thereto.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their Written Answer of 14 February 1995 (H.L. col. WA29) what were their reasons for deciding not to renew the right of individual petition, in January 1986, in respect of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, respectively, pursuant to Article 63(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The right of individual petition has not been renewed in respect of the territories concerned pending a review of legislation in those territories.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will amend the constitutions of the Cayman Islands and of the British Virgin Islands, so as to give effective legal protection to the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised by the European Convention on Human Rights and/or by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and, if not, why not.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are satisfied that the obligations accepted on behalf of both territories under the convention and the covenant are fulfilled. The question of how to give further legal protection to human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Cayman Islands is currently under consideration by a Select Committee of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly. Such questions will also be considered by the new Legislative Council in the British Virgin Islands following the General Election on 20 February.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will renew the right of individual petition, pursuant to Article 63(4) of the European

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    Convention on Human Rights, in respect of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, respectively; and if not, why not.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The decision whether to renew the right of individual petition is for the Governments of the British Virgin Islands and of the Cayman Islands in conjunction with us. That matter is kept under review from time to time.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many applications have been made, under Article 25 of the European Convention on Human Rights, by persons within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, respectively, complaining of violations of the Convention; what was the nature of the violations alleged; and what was the outcome of the complaints.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are not aware of any such applications having been made by persons in the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands. However not all applications are communicated to us and not all applications declared inadmissible specify the territory of origin.

Iraq

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What revenue they estimate has been raised by Saddam Hussein by the export of oil products to Turkey, in breach of UN sanctions; how many trucks they estimate are passing daily in either direction, and what amount of oil product they are carrying.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We estimate that approximately 600 trucks per day are crossing the border between northern Iraq and Turkey. The trucks are not oil tankers, but adapted trucks; no reliable estimates are therefore available for the amount of oil carried per truck or the revenue generated.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm that under UN Security Council Resolution 661 of 6 August 1990, medicines and foodstuffs required for humanitarian purposes are exempted from sanctions against Iraq, and that under Resolution 706 of 15 August 1991 and 712 of 19 September 1991, Iraq can sell 1.6 billion dollars worth of oil, of which 900 million dollars could be applied to the purchase of medication and foodstuffs; and what further steps they consider the Security Council might take to persuade Saddam Hussein that he should take advantage of this concession.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I confirm that the resolutions in question established these arrangements. The Iraqi Government has been pressed on many occasions by the UN Secretary General and the Members of the Security Council to make use of the provisions in Security Council Resolutions 706 and 712. They have refused to do so.

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Spratly Islands

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider it desirable that the Spratly Islands be demilitarized and issues relating to their natural resources submitted to international arbitration; and whether they will bring the matter before the United Nations Security Council

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We continue to believe that competing claims to the Spratly Islands should be resolved peacefully by diplomatic means and not through the use of military force. All competing claimants have subscribed to the 1992 Manila ASEAN declaration on the South China Sea which prescribes the peaceful resolution of all issues relating to the conflicting claims. Where we believe this will be effective, we do not hesitate to raise critical situations in the UN or in other international bodies.

M.5 and M.6 Traffic Delays: Costs

The Earl of Bradford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any estimates for the cost to British industry caused by the delays to traffic on the M.5 and M.6 through the Birmingham area.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The current costs to British industry (1994 prices) caused by delays to traffic on the M.5 and M.6 through the Birmingham area are assessed as at least £35 million per year.

M.6, Junctions 9 and 10: Traffic Flows

The Earl of Bradford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered closing Junction 9 of the M.6 during peak travel hours to improve the flow of traffic on the motorway.

Viscount Goschen: Consultants are studying options for the improvement of traffic flows through Junctions 9 and 10 of the M.6.

Birmingham Northern Relief Road and The Western Orbital Route

The Earl of Bradford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the state of plans for the construction of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road and the Western Orbital Route.

Viscount Goschen: The proposals for the tolled Birmingham Northern Relief Road are presently being considered at a public inquiry. That inquiry is expected to continue until the summer. Subject to its outcome and completion of procedures the Concessionaire, Midland Expressway Limited, could start construction around

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1998. The preferred route for the Western Orbital Route was announced in 1989 and 1990. The Highways Agency is continuing preparatory work.

Ponds: Wildlife Protection

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many ponds are protected by SSSI designation in England, Scotland and Wales respectively; and how many such ponds are designated specifically for the species or species assemblage they contain, and how many merely because they fall within a larger SSSI.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): This information is not available in the form requested. SSSIs are notified by the Country Conservation Agencies (English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage) over a wide range of wildlife habitats, geological features and landforms. Each SSSI may contain a wide variety of wildlife and physical features. However, I am advised that, in Wales, there are some 144 SSSIs which contain water as a notable feature, including lakes, ponds, rivers or pools.

Official Report: Production Costs

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total cost of producing the House of Lords and House of Commons Official Report (Hansard); how many of each publication are issued each day, and at what cost per copy; and what would be the additional cost per copy for every additional thousand copies produced.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe: The total cost of printing and publishing the Official Report of both Houses in 1994 was £6.5 million. Daily parts issued were around 3,200 copies of Commons Hansard and 2,000 copies of Lords Hansard. Nominal cover prices of daily parts are £7.50 and £4.20 respectively, but most sales are on a subscription basis. Additional daily sales of 1,000 copies would enable prices to be reduced by around 20 per cent. in the case of the Commons and 30 per cent. in the case of the Lords.


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