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Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Rooker on 9 March (WA 168) and 17 May (WA 49), whether they are aware of any sexual assault on young girls by members of Community Restorative Justice; and whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland have any knowledge of such an incident.[HL6801]
How many fatalities and serious injuries there have been on the A1 in Northern Ireland between Sprucefield and the border with the Republic of Ireland in the periods (a) 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006; (b) 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005; and (c) 1996 to 2001.[HL6642]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The inspector's report on the A27 trunk road Southerham to Beddingham improvement scheme, which provides for the replacement of the level crossing at Beddingham by a bridge over the Lewes to Eastbourne railway line, was received on 1 March 2006. The Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced their joint decision on Wednesday 9 August 2006.
What was the reason for the delay of six months in the approval of the inspector's report on the A27 trunk road Southerham to Beddingham improvement, bearing in mind that the inspector concluded that there was a compelling case for the scheme to be implemented.[HL7329]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The local inquiry sat for 12 days between 6 September 2005 and 4 November 2005. The inspectors report was received on 1 March 2006 and the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government jointly, was made on 8 August 2006.
The decision on the inspectors report was delayed because of the need for the Highways Agency to carry out a detailed investigation into the reasons for the substantial increase in the estimated cost of delivering this scheme since the close of the inquiry and whether it still represented good value for money.
Further to the answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 27 April (HL Deb, col. 256), when they will report their findings on the registration of cyclists; and what methodology they are using in their examination of this issue.[HL7237]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 provides for the registration of mechanically propelled vehicles so it would not be possible to register bicycles or cyclists under that Act. To enable the Government to administer the registration of cyclists, changes in legislation would have to be considered along with extensive changes to computer systems.
There are more than 20 million bicycles in Great Britainmany of which change owners frequentlyand one in three adults owns a bicycle. To register them would entail the establishment of a system parallel to that presently existing for motor vehicles.
What role the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools has in the future of Saint Josephs High School, Plumbridge, County Tyrone; and who takes the decision in the event that the school is to be closed.[HL7301]
Lord Rooker: The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) has acted in its statutory role as an advisory body to the trustees of St Josephs High School, Plumbridge. This is a role that CCMS performs for all Catholic maintained schools. At the request of CCMS and on behalf of the school trustees, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) published Development Proposal No. 186 on 27 April 2006, proposing closure of St Josephs High School from 1 September 2007 or as soon as possible thereafter. My honourable friend Maria Eagle, the Minister with responsibility for education, takes the decision on the development proposal in light of all the information provided, and a decision to close the school was made on 22 September 2006.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The information requested is provided in the department's Press Notice 2006/0126. Copies have been placed in the Libraries. The schools inspection report was received by the department on 25 January 2006.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Her Majesty's Government have not asked the Charity Commission to examine the activities of the Jameah Islamiyah School. As the non-ministerial government department responsible for the regulation of charities in England and Wales, the Charity Commission decides independently whether to investigate charities. The Executive Director, Legal and Charity Services will write to the noble Lord and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library for the reference of noble Lords.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We do not collect prosecutions data under the Education Act 1996 by local education authority. However, data from the court proceedings database (held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform) for the Tyneside Local Justice Area show the number of prosecutions under the Education Act 1996 as: four in 2000, six in 2001, 36 in 2002, 17 in 2003 and 10 in 2004. There were no prosecutions recorded specifically under Sections 444(1) or 444(1A) of the Act though we consider the figures provided may include offences under Section 444. Prosecutions for truancy related to Section 7 are brought under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. Court proceedings data for 2005 will be available in Autumn 2006.
Lord Rooker: The actual number of pupils enrolling in schools in 2006-07 will not be available until after the annual October census data have been gathered and verified. The latest pupil projections produced by the Department of Education indicate that the number of pupils is expected to show a reduction by around 5,600 between this school year and the next. This change would not necessarily lead to a corresponding increase in surplus places, which are also affected by changes in the schools' estate in the intervening period through the school building programme and rationalisations.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 5 July (WA 78) concerning the Western Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland, when Maguiresbridge Primary School became a maintained school; and when the new school building was available for use. [HL6909]
Lord Rooker: As stated in my Written Answer on 6 July (Official Report, col. WA 78), Maguiresbridge Primary is a controlled school. The new school building was available for use in December 2005. Unfortunately due to a formatting error this was not immediately clear in the original signed copy of the Answer that was given to the noble Lord.
Whether the Minister in charge of education in Northern Ireland has met a delegation representing St Joseph's High School in Plumbridge or visited the school; and, if not, whether she will visit the school before a decision is made about its future.[HL7065]
Lord Rooker: The Minister in charge of education, Maria Eagle, has not received a request to meet a delegation representing the school or to visit the school. The two-month consultation period following the publication of the development proposal ended on 28 June 2006, and a decision on the development proposal will be made as soon as possible. There are no plans to visit the school.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The Government are committed to increasing the amount of physical education (PE) and sport in schools and are investing over £1.5 billion in the five years to 2008 to deliver the National School Sport Strategy. Cross-country is offered in schools as part of athletic activities within national curriculum for PE. The programme of study for PE does not prescribe which specific sports must be offered. This is a matter for schools to determine. The 2004-05 school sport survey found that 91 per cent of the 11,400 schools taking part in the survey offered pupils athletics (which can and often does include cross-country). A copy of the survey report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
How many (a) central government staff; (b) local government staff; (c) police officers; and (d) parliamentary staff have been re-vetted by the security services since September 2001, broken down by ethnic origin.[HL7257]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Individual government organisations are responsible for carrying out national security vetting and for granting clearances when the necessary criteria are met. Information is not collected centrally on numbers in each of the categories specified or by ethnic origin for the period in question.
What consultations the fisheries division of the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure engages in before sewage dumping takes place; who else is involved in consultation; and what measures they propose to protect the environment from leaching as a result of the dumping of sewage sludge.[HL7249]
Lord Rooker: The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure does not have responsibility for the disposal of sewage. The Environment and Heritage Service is the licensing body. EHS consults those whom it deems necessary on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the waste and activity proposed. Before a licence is granted for the spreading of sewage sludge, applicants must demonstrate that such work will result in benefit to agriculture and/or ecological improvement and will not cause excess concentration of certain listed substances in the soil.
When the licensing of the dumping of sewage sludge was introduced in Northern Ireland; where the licensed sites are located; whether the licensing includes injection into the ground; and what agreement exists between those licensed to dump sewage sludge and the Forest Service regarding the use of Forest Service land.[HL7250]
Lord Rooker: The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) has been responsible for waste management licensing, through which the application of sewage sludge is controlled, since the introduction in December 2003 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.
Ten sites in Northern Ireland have been registered as exempt for the purposes of land-spreading sewage sludges: Altarichard Plantation, Magherahoney, Ballymoney; two sites on the Culmore Road, Londonderry; three separate locations within the Baronscourt Woodlands, Duke of Abercorn's estate, County Tyrone; Curleyhill Road, Strabane; Corthill Farm, Backhill Road, Eglinton; Cortree Road, Drumahoe; and Spallan Road, Limavady.
Whether, since 2000, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has obtained or received a legal opinion concerning the discharge of raw sewage into the River Thames and compliance with the European Union Urban Waste Water Directive; and whether they will place a copy of any such opinion in the Library of the House.[HL7359]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Disclosure of information about whether legal advice has been obtained and, if so, what that advice is, would adversely affect the confidentiality of proceedings of government and the course of justice. This is because the request relates to the obtaining and (if obtained) substance of confidential legal advice, and the matter at issuedischarge of sewage to the River Thames and compliance with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directiveis subject to open infraction proceedings.
We consider that in the circumstances, the public interest in allowing the department to consult lawyers in confidence is great, and outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information requested.
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