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Written Answers

Wednesday, 6th March 1996.

Natural Resources Institute

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What further progress there has been in deciding the future ownership of the Natural Resources Institute.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): I announced on 14th December that final bids for NRI were being invited from three groups. Two final bids were received. Following detailed consideration of these in relation to the Government's objectives for the transfer, I have decided to give preferred bidder status to a Consortium of the University of Edinburgh, University of Greenwich, Imperial College of Science and Technology and Medicine and Wye College of the University of London. Subject to the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations, I intend that NRI should transfer to the new owners as soon as practicable.

Mr. Yasar Kemal

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consult within the European Union, with a view to joint monitoring of the trial in the Istanbul State Security Court of the writer Yasar Kemal on 7th March, on charges under Article 312 of the Penal Code and Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, the grounds for which includes an article by Mr. Kemal, The dark cloud over Turkey, published in Index on Censorship 1 1995; and how this trial can be reconciled with the Turkish government's assurances, at the time when the decision of the European Parliament on Turkey's entry into the customs union was awaited, that continued progress would be made towards greater freedom of expression in Turkey.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: An official of our Consulate-General in Istanbul will attend the trial of Yasar Kemal on 7th March. We shall follow the proceedings closely. The Turkish Prime Minister assured Members of the European Parliament in December 1995 of a commitment to continuing reform and to progress towards the fullest possible political rights and liberties, and acknowledged that further progress was needed. We will urge the new government, when it is in place, to sustain this commitment, and act to encourage greater freedom of expression in Turkey.

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Bosnia: Military Equipment and Training

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Dayton Accords stipulated that, if no agreement were reached on Sub-Regional Arms Control by a certain date, arrangements such as those for training and equipping the Bosnians Muslim forces could go ahead, and what information they have concerning arrangements by others for training and equipping Bosnian Orthodox or Catholic forces.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Dayton Agreement permits training of Bosnian forces to begin at any time. Non-lethal equipment and light arms may be supplied to them after March 14th; heavy equipment may be supplied after June 12th. The types and quantities of equipment which the parties may hold will be governed by the outcome of the negotiations on sub-regional arms control under Article IV of the Dayton Agreement. In the absence of agreement by June 6th, the ratios laid down in Article IV governing the holding of certain categories of heavy equipment will come into effect.

The US-led equip and train programme, which will be directed at the Bosniac-Croat Federation, is the only such programme of which we are aware.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any of the European NATO allies welcome the United States intention to organise the training and arming of the Bosnian Muslim forces and to have this done in Turkey.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We cannot answer for members of NATO on this subject.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether arrangements between the United States and the then Turkish Government, and between the then Turkish and the Bosnian Governments, concerning the American project to equip and train the Bosnian armed forces in Turkey have been discussed and approved within NATO, and if not why not, given the responsibilities that NATO has undertaken in Bosnia.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The US project to equip and train forces of the Bosniac-Croat Federation will be entirely separate from NATO and the responsibilities of the NATO-led Implementation Force. NATO approval is therefore not needed.

Bosnia and Turkey

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the opinion expressed by "a US official" in the International Herald Tribune on 22nd December 1995 that "Turkey provides an excellent role model for Bosnia".

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is not for Her Majesty's Government to comment on remarks attributed by the media to US officials.

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Former Yugoslavia: War Crimes Investigation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What roles have been allotted to the United States Central Intelligence Agency and to the United States Defence Intelligence Agency with regard to the identification of war criminals in ex-Yugoslavia, and whether these two organisations are under NATO, or under exclusive United States, command.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The United States, like the United Kingdom, has provided a substantial quantity of information to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. However, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom divulges the sources of the information it provides.

The command structures of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency are a matter for the United States authorities.

Prevention of Illegal Working: Consultation Responses

Lord McIntosh of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the period for consultation on prevention of illegal working is now complete; and, if so, whether they will now place their summary of responses, and the responses themselves, in the Library of the House.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Organisations were requested to submit by 31st January written responses to the Government's consultation document on the prevention of illegal working. Responses received since then have also been considered. I have placed in the Library a list of those who had responded in writing to the consultation document by noon on 20th February, together with a summary of the main points made in those responses. It is for those who responded to decide whether to make their submissions public.

Family Separation

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many reviews of family separation cases have so far been made, following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights; and who conducts such reviews.

Baroness Blatch: No such reviews have been made. If the noble Lord would like to let me have details of the decision to which he refers, I will see what further information I can provide.

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Patient Information: Protection and Use

Lord Lane of Horsell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish guidance to the NHS on the protection and use of patient information.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): We will be issuing guidance to the National Health Service and other interested bodies tomorrow. Copies will be placed in the Library. The guidance will emphasise the legal duty of all NHS bodies and staff to protect patient confidentiality, as well as the importance of informing patients of the essential uses to which personal information, anonymised wherever possible, may be put.

Ordnance Survey: Performance Targets

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What performance targets have been set for the Ordnance Survey Executive Agency in the year 1996-97.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The following performance targets have been set for Ordnance Survey in 1996-97:

1. To recover at least 83 per cent. of the costs incurred by the agency.

2. To ensure that by 31st March 1997, 96 per cent. of existing major details is surveyed and available to customers in the National Topographic Database at any one time. The target will increase to 99 per cent. by the year 2000.

3. In order to provide a quality service to customers, to despatch products in response to orders as follows:

    95 per cent. of all Land-Line digital map units within six working days;

    90 per cent. of small scale maps within five working days.

4. To increase by 5 per cent. the annual revenue earned per member of staff employed.

These targets, some of which are being incrementally increased, are closely associated with the key corporate aims of Ordnance Survey and demonstrate the agency's continuing commitment to customers and to improved value for money for all its stakeholders.

Passenger Rolling Stock: Slam Door Fatalities

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will state:

    (a) the number of Mark I slam door passenger rolling stock and the number of other types of passenger rolling stock currently in use;

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    (b) the estimated date when all Mark I slam door stock will have been withdrawn from service; and

    (c) the number of fatalities involving accidents in or connected with Mark I slam door rolling stock and with other types of passenger stock for the period 1985 to 1995, broken down into railway staff and passengers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): These are now matters for the three rolling stock leasing companies, Angel Train Contracts, Eversholt Leasing Limited and Porterbrook Leasing. However, I understand that:

    (a) as of 1st April 1995 the then British Rail leasing companies owned 2,757 Mark I vehicles and the number of other passenger rolling stock totalled 7,908.

    (b) during the five years to 1st April 2000, 1,447 Mark I vehicles are scheduled to come off lease; at 1st April 2002 a further 744 Mark I vehicles are scheduled to come off lease, with leases on the remainder scheduled to terminate on 1st April 2004.

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    (c) the number of fatalities involving accidents to passengers and railway staff in or connected with Mark I slam door and other rolling stock for the period 1985 to 1995 is set out in the following table:



    1. From 1985 to 1990 the period covered is the calendar year 1st January to 31st December.

    2. In 1991, the period covered is 1st January 1991 to 31st March 1991.

    3. From 1991-92 to 1994-95, the periods covered are the financial years 1st April to 31st March.

    The figures represent all train and movement fatalities to passengers and railway staff.

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