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General Olusegun Obasanjo

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have urged the Nigerian Government to ensure that former President Obasanjo is subject to the due process of law, and is either released or promptly charged. The

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Commonwealth Secretary General and the European Union have issued statements expressing concern, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Northern Ireland: Young Offenders Awaiting Trial

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many suspected offenders (a) under 18 years of age; and (b) under 17 years of age are being held on remand in Northern Ireland; and in which premises both categories are being detained.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Baroness Denton of Wakefield): At 20th March 1995, the number of suspected young offenders in Northern Ireland held on remand, awaiting trial, was 14 males under the age of 18 years and two males under the age of 17 years. All were being held in the Young Offenders Centre, Hydebank Wood.

Scottish Shellfish Depuration Plants: Charging Schemes

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Scottish Office environment department has not reviewed charging schemes for shellfish depuration plants since 1991; and

    Why Shellfish Depuration Plant operators have not had the opportunity to make representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland since the charging scheme came into effect.

The Minister of State Scottish Office (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): Following public consultation, the river purification authorities introduced charging schemes for discharges to the water environment during 1992. These

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have since attracted few representations. Once the proposed Scottish environment protection agency is established, it will be responsible for reviewing all of the charging schemes which it will inherit from its constituent bodies, including those currently operated by the river purification authorities. In the meantime, the Secretary of State would, of course, be pleased to receive any views which Scottish shellfish depuration plant operators may wish to submit.

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why shellfish depuration operators are being charged £50 in The Highland River Purification area, and £350 in the Clyde area for discharging water which has a negligible polluting impact on the environment, and is less polluting than the existing list of discharges which attract the reduced charge of £50 for applications for consent; and whether this constitutes a "level playing-field"; and

    Given that shellfish depuration plant discharges cost no more for river purification boards to deal with than those currently listed under the schemes for reduced charges of £50 such as sewerage effluents from single house septic tanks, whether the scheme as it stands properly takes into consideration the primary purpose of Section 53 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The river purification authorities' charging schemes for discharges to the water environment are cost-recovery schemes introduced in accordance with the provisions of Section 53 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. They were subject to Treasury consent and the approval of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Their interpretation and administration is, however, a matter for individual authorities themselves, who are subject to audit by the Accounts Commission for Scotland. In the future, the proposed Scottish environment protection agency would be responsible for administering the schemes throughout Scotland.



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