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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister today announced a new £7 million bilateral aid package for the Palestinians. Two million pounds of this will be provided for UNRWA's Peace Implementation Programme. Five million pounds will be allocated to a Know-How Programme covering assistance for management training for the ministries of the Palestinian Authority, small scale water and sewage treatment plants and water leak detection, health management, and education including English language teaching. We are also hoping to promote joint projects with UK private sector companies to help generate exports and employment in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Basic training for the civil police will also be considered. In addition 1 million dollars will be given towards the costs of UNRWA's moving offices to Gaza.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Hong Kong Government continue to discuss with China the one-way permit scheme for immigration from China, and to consider the case for a further increase in the daily permit quota. We believe that any increase in the quota should make special provision for children who will gain the right of abode in Hong Kong in 1997.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The governments and legislatures of the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are considering the inclusion in their constitutions of a Bill of Rights. Once that is agreed, they will then review their legislation. A precise timetable cannot be given at this stage.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Most of the international relief programmes responding to the needs of those displaced by the Chechnya conflict are trying to cover all the affected republics: it is not therefore possible to give details of assistance to Inghushetia in isolation. However, much of the assistance provided to date has concentrated on the displaced populations west of Chechnya. Total international relief assistance to the affected populations stood at 41,014,669 US dollars as at 2 March 1995.
The City Challenge Company commissioned a report from independent auditors on 16 February. The report was submitted to the company's chairman on 10 March and is now being considered by the company and by the local authority's Chief Internal Auditor. Enquiries on the audit investigation should be addressed to the local authority.
Viscount Ullswater: Yes. I have today placed copies of a list of all those who responded to the consultation together with a summary of their views in the Libraries of the House. A copy of any individual response can be inspected in the Library of the Department of the Environment.
Viscount Ullswater: Sir John Knill, the Chairman of the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC), was invited last year to chair a joint study group drawn from members of RWMAC and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (ACSNI) to consider the approach to site selection for radioactive waste disposal facilities and the criteria for ensuring the protection of human health.
The study group's report has been published today, together with the minority views of two members. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. We welcome the report and minority views as a valuable contribution to the debate on this issue. They represent advice to the Government and are not a statement of policy. The Government's response will be published in due course, together with the final conclusions of the review of radioactive waste management policy.
Viscount Ullswater: The designation of a Community Forest has no direct statutory implications for the planning process. It does not confer a more restrictive, or more permissive, land use planning designation on the area. The planting of trees and the provision of public access are voluntary. The statutory role and responsibilities of the local planning authorities are unaffected. Local Community Forest teams do not have any status within the statutory land use planning system.
Planning applications are determined in accordance with the statutory development plan, and any other material considerations. Each Community Forest has a non-statutory Forest Plan, which describes how the Forest Team working with a variety of partners proposes to create the Forest. Since new woodlands on a significant scale may have implications for other land uses, local planning authorities should take approved Community Forest Plans into account in formulating their policies and proposals for development and use of land in development plans. Although an approved Community Forest Plan might be a material consideration in deciding a planning application within a Forest, policies and proposals that are likely to provide the basis for deciding such applications or determining conditions to be attached to relevant planning permissions should be set out in the development plan, which is subject to statutory procedures.
Community Forests should be shown on structure plan key diagrams and on local plan proposals maps. Development plans should facilitate the establishment of agreed Community Forests and provide that any development proposals within them should respect the woodland setting. Local planning authorities should be flexible in their approach to negotiating planting and landscaping requirements with developers. Any planting or landscaping required, whether on-site or off-site, should be directly related to the particular development proposal and should be no more than is necessary to overcome planning objections to it. Conversely, planning permission should not be granted simply because applicants are prepared to plant trees.
Any development proposal within Community Forests in the Green Belt should be subject to the normal policies controlling development in green belts. Community Forests provide an effective mechanism for achieving the positive objectives for the use of green belt land set out in PPG2 (revised January 1995).
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