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18 May 1995 : Column WA41

Written Answers

Thursday, 18th May 1995.

Peking Conference on Women: Furtherance of Agreed Policy on Contraceptives

Lord Kilmarnock asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What efforts will be made to ensure that their policy of seeking to improve the availability of low-cost and effective condoms will be incorporated into the Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Through the overseas aid programme, the Government are enabling more people to have access to a good choice of safe, effective and affordable reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives such as condoms. This policy was endorsed by the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in September 1994. We are working hard, together with our European Union partners, to ensure that the Fourth World Conference on Women in Peking strongly endorses the Programme of Action agreed in Cairo.

No. 2 Marsham Street

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the National Audit Office to report on the situation concerning 2 Marsham Street referred to in a letter of 2nd March 1995 to Lord Sefton of Garston.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): The National Audit Office has yet to instigate an examination of 2 Marsham Street. It is likely that any such examination would follow decisions on the future use of the site which have still to be taken. However, the nature and timing of any report is a matter for the National Audit Office.

IACS: Number of Late Claim Penalties

Lord Carter asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many farmers in the United Kingdom were subject to penalty under the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) in 1994, and how many farmers were similarly penalised in other member states in the European Union.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): Two thousand one hundred and fourteen applications were subject to a late claim penalty under the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) in 1994 in the United Kingdom because their applications arrived after the deadline for submission of forms; 3,465 applications were penalised as a result of discrepancies found in land

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area. Final figures on applications subject to penalties in respect of discrepancies in the number of animals declared will be available during the summer and I will write to the noble Lord at that time.

Detailed figures on the application of penalties in all other member states of the European Union are not available. However, in general terms the proportion of applications subject to penalties in other member states appears to be similar to or higher than that in the United Kingdom.

Deer: Night Shooting

Lord Northfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What developments regarding night shooting of deer have taken place since the news release by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of 2nd February 1995; what constitutes "exceptional circumstances" and "substantial damage" mentioned in the release; and whether it is agreed that a "management group" is not the only effective method of deer control.

Earl Howe: There have been no developments regarding the night shooting of deer since the issue of a news release by MAFF on the 2nd February 1995. As announced in the news release, the ministry's policy is to encourage the formation of deer management groups for controlling wild deer. However, the conclusions of a three-year trial on the effectiveness of deer management groups showed that it may not always be possible to establish such groups and that other solutions, including night shooting, might need to be considered. Any notices allowing deer to be shot at night would be issued only in exceptional circumstances and would be subject to strict control; the circumstances would include, for example, the degree of agricultural damage directly attributable to the deer, the availability and use made of alternative means of control and the willingness of local landowners to participate in voluntary control. These circumstances would need to be considered on a case by case basis.

Rail Travel: Operators' Insurance Cover

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied that third party cover of £150 million is sufficient to compensate travellers and others who may be involved in an accident.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The licences of train and network operators require them to effect and maintain insurance cover in respect of legal liability for death or injury to any person, or loss of or damage to property, arising from activities relating to the licence. The level of cover is a matter for the independent judgment of the Rail Regulator. It is currently set at a minimum of £155 million for any single incident. That figure is based on an assessment of industry risk and historic experience.

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Buckingham Palace: New Traffic Management Scheme

Lord Fanshawe of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new traffic management scheme outside Buckingham Palace is causing constant delay and is therefore not a success, and whether action will be taken forthwith to revert to the previous familiar roundabout.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Viscount Astor): Responsibility for the subject of the Question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Fanshawe of Richmond from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, dated 17th May 1995:

I have been asked by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage to reply to

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your Question about the new traffic scheme outside Buckingham Palace.

I confirm that since the works were completed last month the new traffic arrangements are working well. Traffic generally moves quite easily through the area; there is a build-up of queues during guard change times but this was always the case.

The Agency is committed to carry out a review of the scheme within the next six months as this was a condition of Westminster City Council's approval.

Millennium Commission: Staffing

Lord Allen of Abbeydale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many staff are employed to help the Millennium Commission, and at what cost.

Viscount Astor: The number of staff employed at the Millennium Commission on 31st March 1995 was 28 and the 1994–95 salary costs for the commission were £284,290. The Millennium Commission expects to build up to a full staff complement of 36 in 1995–96 and the full year cost of this complement will be £1.05 million.



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