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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Country Aid Programme Statements (CAPS) on the UK's bilateral programmes to Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Russia are now available from the ODA Library.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: In 1993/94 ODA expenditure under the bilateral aid programme where biodiversity was a principle or significant objective totalled £13.5 million. In 1993/94, 22 new commitments with a significant biodiversity component were entered into with a total value of £33.9 million. Expenditure figures for 1994/95 are not yet available. These figures do not include the UK's share of expenditure on such projects through the Global Environment Facility, which is the interim financial mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity, nor through other multilateral financial institutions or the European Community.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: At the summit, the Acting President of the World Bank acknowledged that, although the bank has worked extensively on measures to protect the poor and vulnerable groups during transitional periods of economic reform, it recognises that it must do more to help borrowing
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Through our regular contacts with the Government of China we have made clear our view that people should not be coerced to use contraception, accept sterilisation or undergo abortion, and that policies and programmes should conform to accepted international standards. In September 1994 the Chinese Government signed up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are not aware of any significant constraints on the religious or civil liberties of the Alevi minority in Turkey. We have expressed concern to the Turkish Government about police action against protesting Alevis on 13/14 March. We have been told that there will be an enquiry into police actions.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are not aware of any NATO document which describes UN personnel in these terms. Following further investigations, both UNPROFOR and NATO accepted that there was no conclusive evidence to support initial UN reports of unauthorised flights in the vicinity of Tuzla's airfields and now consider the matter closed.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits, depending on their individual circumstances. Expenditure on Invalid Care Allowance, which is specifically aimed at carers of sick and disabled people, has increased from £345 million in 1992/93 to an estimated £530 million in 1994/95, an increase of 46 per cent. in real terms, and is expected to increase by around 11 per cent. in real terms in the next financial year. We will continue to keep financial provisions for carers under review.
Baroness Blatch: The policy of other countries in dealing with war crimes is a matter for those countries' governments. Our approach is reflected in the War Crimes Act 1991. Individual cases will continue to be considered on their merits under its terms.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): Inconsiderate noisy neighbours can cause extreme distress and suffering to many. My concern about the steeply rising complaints about domestic noise and the effectiveness of the current legislation to deal with these problems resulted in the formation of a working party last October to review the situation.
My honourable friend the Minister of Environment and Countryside yesterday published a consultation paper which sets out the conclusions and recommendations of the working party. I am placing a copy in the Library of the House. The key recommendations are: Good practice guidance should be made available to local authorities on the management of noise services. Local authorities should be encouraged to provide information to residents about their authority's noise complaints service and to increase public awareness of neighbour noise issues. Government should consider supporting publicity initiatives to increase awareness of what constitutes unacceptable noise. Consideration should be given to issuing general guidance on the sort of noise problems which might constitute a statutory nuisance. Local authorities should be encouraged to provide services which respond to complaints outside working hours wherever such services are required. Local authorities should be encouraged to establish streamlined local arrangements for obtaining warrants to enter domestic premises to confiscate temporarily noise-making equipment or silence intruder alarms. Codes of good practice should be issued jointly by the professional representative bodies to police forces and local authorities to encourage effective local arrangements for dealing with noise complaints. A specific power of temporary confiscation of noise-making equipment (to provide a stronger legal base for existing practice) should be
The paper invites comments in particular on the options for creating a new criminal offence, including a direct noise offence based on the World Health Organisation guidelines of 35 dB(A) for acceptable indoor night noise levels. Such an offence has the potential to provide a swifter remedy than the current statutory nuisance regime for some of the most disturbing neighbour noise problems.
Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to all district, borough and island councils in England, Wales and Scotland, representative bodies for local authorities and the police, voluntary noise groups and a wide variety of other organisations. The consultation period lasts until 30 June.
Wherever possible, attempts should be made to resolve problems informally. However, it is vital that effective legislation is in place to deal with situations where a formal remedy is the correct course. I am grateful to the working party for producing what I believe is a worthwhile package of proposals which, if implemented, will strengthen current neighbour noise controls, improve the management of local authority noise services and improve liaison between local authorities and the police.
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