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Europe: Human Rights

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): I have nothing to add to the Answers I gave on 16th April and 21st May.

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EC Human Rights Commission Report: Greece v UK

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the findings made by the European Commission of Human Rights in their report of 26th September 1958 in Application No. 176/56 Greece v United Kingdom; and

    Further to the Answer given by Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 16th May 1996 (col. WA 63), whether they will give their reasons for continuing to withhold their consent to the publication of the report of the European Commission of Human Rights of 26th September 1958 in Application No. 176/56 Greece v United Kingdom.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The FCO is not withholding its consent to the release of the report in question. But the report is not held in the FCO archives. We must make further searches in the Public Records Office before we can give a full Answer to the Question.

Turkey: Trial of 98 Intellectuals

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What report they have received from the observer sent by the British Embassy in Ankara to the trial of 98 writers and intellectuals which started in the Istanbul State Security Court on 31st May 1996, and whether they consider that this use of Article 162 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the re-publication of material which has previously been the subject of criminal proceedings under any of the provisions of Turkish law which restrict freedom of expression, is consistent with the undertaking given by the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Mesut Yilmaz, in his speech to the Turkish Grand National Assembly of 7th March 1996, that his government would "introduce extensive constitutional and legal amendments to further instil and expand freedom of speech, belief, religion, conscience and enterprise".

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: An official of our Consulate-General in Istanbul attended the trial of 98 intellectuals on 31st May. She reported on their lawyers' statements and the adjournment decision. These people are charged under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law which continues to be used to restrict freedom of expression in Turkey. We will look to the Turkish Government to sustain commitment to improvements in Turkey's human rights performance.

Baring Sea: Radioactive Waste

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many nuclear reactors there are in abandoned ex-Soviet submarines in the Baring Sea; what is their estimate of the dangers they pose; and what can be done to minimise those dangers.

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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The precise number of former Soviet reactors dumped at sea is known only to the Russians. The Government share international concern about the whole range of nuclear safety issues in Russia. HMG scientists are participating in a project organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency examining the extent of radioactive contamination in the Arctic Seas. The report, due at the end of the year, will include recommendations for remedial measures if these are considered necessary. The UK firm AEA Technology is part of a consortium working on the safer removal and storage of unstable nuclear fuel from a Russian ship in Murmansk harbour. We are encouraged by President Yeltsin's recent commitment that Russia will formally accept this year the 1993 amendment to the London Convention 1972 banning the dumping of all radioactive waste at sea.

Chechnya: Detainees

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Russian-backed authorities in Chechnya are preventing the International Red Cross from visiting detainees held in "filtration camps" in Grozny and elsewhere in Chechnya.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No. ICRC representatives visited detainees in Grozny on 22nd May.

Council of Europe: Local Government Charter

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to sign the Council of Europe's charter for local self-government; and if not, why not.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The Government have consistently supported the broad principles which the charter sets out--principles which are exemplified by the position of local government in this country. However, we have not seen that the organisation of local government needs international regulation, and we have not formally adopted the charter.

Water Reservoirs: Storage Capacity

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the present level of water reserves, expressed as a percentage of total capacity, in each water company in England and Wales and what were the comparable figures for 1995.

Earl Ferrers: Reserves of water stored, expressed as a percentage of reservoir capacity, as at 1st May 1996 and 1st May 1995 in the major reservoirs or groups of

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reservoirs in each of the former National Rivers Authority areas in England and Wales and which serve water companies are given in the following table:

Storage, percentage of capacity
Reservoir1 May 19961 May 1995
North West
Northern Command Zone group8086
Vyrnwy7089
Northumbria
Teesdale group8195
Kielder9389
Severn Trent
Clywedog9396
Derwent Valley group5497
Yorkshire
Washburn group7688
Bradford Supply group6089
Anglian
Grafham9596
Rutland9487
Thames
London group9595
Farmoor group9797
Southern
Bewl9497
Ardingly100100
Wessex
Clatworthy9485
Bristol West group9794
South West
Colliford6693
Roadford4192
Wimbleball8195
Stithians9786
Welsh
Celyn and Brenig group75100
Brianne10097
South Wales group9486
Elan Valley group9999

Heathrow Airport: Tunnels

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the value, purpose and recipient of government payments made in respect of additional tunnelling costs due to the collapse of the tunnels at Heathrow Central.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The Government made no payment in respect of costs due to the collapse of the tunnels at Heathrow Airport Central Terminal Area.

Heathrow Express Project

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list separately the contributions from Government and private sector funds for the various elements of the Heathrow Express project.

Viscount Goschen: Heathrow Express was initiated as a joint project by BAA plc and British Rail. The contributions made to the project by these two parties between the start of the project and 1995-96 are approximately as follows:


    BAA plc--£169 million;


    British Rail--£15 million.

BAA expect to put about £173 million into the project between 1995-96 and 1998-99. BR will make no further contributions to the project. The Heathrow Express services are planned to start in summer 1998.

Class 92 Locomotives: Track Work Funding

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the letter from Mr. John Watts MP, dated July 1994 and referred to on 8th May 1996 (H.L. Deb., col. 162), stated that they were committed to funding the track work necessary to enable Class 92 locomotives to operate between London and Dollands Moor via Tonbridge and Redhill, with the work being funded by British Rail through its external financing limit.

Viscount Goschen: No, the letter did not contain such a commitment from the Government.

Freight Facilities Grants: NAO Review

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Pursuant to the Answer given by Viscount Goschen on 22nd May (WA 97), when do they expect the National Audit Office to complete its study of freight facilities grants in England.

Viscount Goschen: This is a matter for the Comptroller and Auditor-General.



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