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Lord Dixon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Simon of Highbury: I understand from the Post Office that the percentages of mail from Newcastle

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delivered on the next working day for the period from 6 April 1998 to 28 March 1999 were as follows:

OverallWithin Newcastle postcode areaTo neighbouring postcode areasTo distant areas
90%94%93%84%

These figures are produced by independent all year round monitoring.

Royal Mail aims to deliver first class mail on the next working day after posting but this service has never guaranteed a next-day delivery.


Lord Dixon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of first class mail from London is delivered the following day.[HL2649]

Lord Simon of Highbury: I understand from the Post Office that the percentages of mail from London delivered on the next working day for the period from 6 April 1998 to 28 March 1999 were as follows:

OverallWithin London postcodes areasTo neighbouring postcode areasTo distant areas
87.3%90.3%88.3%83.5%

These figures are produced by independent all year round monitoring.

Royal Mail aims to deliver first class mail on the next working day after posting but this service has never guaranteed a next-day delivery.


Journalists' Sources of Information

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

    What position they have taken in relation to the drafting of a Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Member States on the rights of journalists not to disclose their sources of information.[HL2414]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government support the principle on a Recommendation, but have not taken a final position on the text, which is still being drafted. We expect the final text of the Recommendation to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers early next year.

Antiquities: Illegal Export

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the scale of the High Court settlement in Northampton v. Allen & Overy, which was reported

7 Jun 1999 : Column WA128

    in The Times of 8 May to have been over £15 million, what action they will now take to discourage the sale in this country of looted or unprovenanced antiquities.[HL2451]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As the noble Lord is aware, the Government are currently considering whether to sign and implement the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on the international return of stolen or illegally exported cultural objects. I would also draw attention to the various codes of practice adopted by members of the UK art trade under which they undertake not to trade in objects of dubious provenance.

Museums, Libraries and Archives Design Group

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who were the members of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Design Group.[HL2670]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The membership of the Design Group was as follows:


    Chairman


    Paul Wright, Head of Museums and Galleries, Libraries and Heritage Group, Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


    Design Group Members


    Chris Batt, Director of Leisure Services, Croydon Borough Council


    Patrick Conway, Director of Arts, Libraries and Museums, Durham County Council


    Sir Neil Cossons, Director, National Museums of Science and Industry


    Matthew Evans, Chairman of the Library and Information Commission


    Richard Foster, Director, National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside


    Kathy Gee, Director, West Midlands Regional Museums Council


    Patrick Greene, President of the Museums Association


    Loyd Grossman, Commissioner, Museums and Galleries Commission


    James Joll, Chairman of the Museums and Galleries Commission


    Brian Lang, Chief Executive of the British Library


    Ross Shimmon, Chief Executive of the Library Association


    Sarah Tyacke, Chief Executive of the Public Record Office

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    Secretariat


    Michael Helston, Head of Cultural Property Unit, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Secretary to the Design Group)


    Cliff Wilkes, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Assistant Secretary to the Design Group)

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, and, if so when, they will publish the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Design Group's recommendations; and whether they will place a copy in the Library of the House.[HL2671]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The report of the Design Group will be published very soon. Copies of the report will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, preceding implementation, further comments on the design of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council will be invited; and, if so, how this will proceed.[HL2672]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport would be happy to receive any views from interested parties about the report as it proceeds with the establishment of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. The Government will make this clear in publishing the report of the Museums, Galleries and Archives Council Design Group.

Royal Parks Agency: Funding

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What have been the annual grants which they have made to the Royal Parks Agency since 1992, and within those to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; whether the agency publishes detailed accounts; and, if so, whether they will place a copy of the accounts in the Library of the House.HL2610

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, David Welch, and I have therefore asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson, dated 28 May 1999.

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about the annual grants the Royal Parks Agency has received from the Government since 1992 and the amounts allocated to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens each year.

The amounts are set out below, in £millions.

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Royal Parks Agency £ millionsHyde Park £ millionsKensington Gardens £ millions
1992-9320.973.031.44
1993-9422.912.361.47
1994-9523.873.971.56
1995-9624.693.941.61
1996-9723.242.55(1)2.20(1)
1997-9821.702.25(1)1.45(1)
1998-9920.952.57(1)1.67(1)
1999-200026.393.69(1), (2)1.63(2),(2)

(1) Excludes salary costs, as these held centrally since 1996-97.

(1)(2) Excludes funds to be spent on projects to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, as the two projects are being managed centrally by Headquarters.

The agency publishes its annual report and accounts every year, a copy of which is placed in the Library of the House.


Royal Parks: Visitor Surveys

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How visitor satisfaction over the Royal Parks is measured, how the visitors who rate the Royal Parks are chosen and by whom; what questions are put to them; how many visitors are interrogated and on what days of the year and in what weather; and what is "soft landscape presentation" for which the Royal Parks Agency is being required to maintain an average score of at least 85 per cent. compared with a score of 84 per cent. in 1998-99[HL2612]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson, dated 28 May 1999.

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about how visitor surveys are carried in the Royal Parks.

The Royal Parks Agency has appointed a firm of contractors, WS Atkins, to carry out interviews with visitors to the Royal Parks to find out what their views are on a number of subjects. Each year visitors are asked to rate both the overall quality and the cleanliness of the parks. The results form two of the key targets set each year by the Secretary of State to measure the agency's performance.

In addition, a number of different questions are asked each year based on issues that have arisen during the preceding 12 months or on subjects that are of particular relevance to park managers or the Royal Parks Constabulary. We also find out information about our visitors, for instance where they have come from and their reasons for visiting the parks.

Interviewers are stationed in a number of different areas in each park where visitors are most likely to be found. Visitors are chosen at random and approximately 500 are interviewed in each park, making a total of

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4,500 per year. Interviews are carried out on between 11 and 20 days in two periods each year--March/April and July/August. The interviews are carried out in all but the wettest weathers, when the number of people visiting the parks would not justify the cost of employing the interviewers. A record is kept of the weather on the days that interviewing takes place.

The soft landscape quality is assessed twice a year by an independent horticultural expert in six categories: grass and tree management, ornamental beds, shrubberies, hedge and water features. It also includes an assessment of the overall presentation of each park. This is one of the ways of monitoring the work undertaken by our contractors and ensuring high horticultural standards in the Royal Parks are maintained.


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