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Anti-personnel Mines

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are aware of only one case in the past 15 months where literature mentioning anti-personnel mines was allegedly displayed. This case involved a Romanian company allegedly listing for sale an anti-personnel mine at the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition at Chertsey on 14 to 17 September 1999. Romanian authorities have since contacted my department and admitted that, in error, the company had on its stand literature which mentioned an anti-personnel mine. They have informed us that they stopped manufacturing this item in 1990 but the company had not updated its equipment lists. We have received an apology from the Romanian authorities, but the Ministry of Defence Police is still investigating the matter and will submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in due course.

We are not aware of any other exhibitions in the UK which have been reported as promoting anti-personnel mines in the past 15 months.

Zinc Cadmium Sulphide Trials

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with respect to the proposed independent review of the zinc cadmium sulphide trials carried out in the UK by the former Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment between 1953 and 1964.[HL4673]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Professor Peter Lachmann, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, has agreed to lead an independent review of British trials which used zinc cadmium sulphide as an air movement tracer to assess the vulnerability of the UK to attack by biological weapons. It will concentrate on the question of whether these trials might have had harmful effects on public health. Professor Lachmann is being supported by a small team of experts to assist him. It is intended that this independent review will be completed within the next few months, and that a report will be published and a copy placed in the Library of the House.

Iraqi Opposition Groups

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United Kingdom is participating in the provision of military training and "surplus equipment" to Iraqi rebel leaders (as reported in the International Herald Tribune on 29 October); and what is the status of such assistance in international law.[HL4515]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK is not engaged in providing military training or equipment to Iraqi opposition groups.

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King Edward VII Convalescent Home

Lord Craigmyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Concerning the Orders in Council signed on 21 July 1998 altering the future of the King Edward VII Convalescent Home for Servicemen (and others): (a) how the order was published; and (b) how the order will assist the future of the home.[HL4624]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The order was not published. Orders in Council are only published in The London Gazette if their related Acts of Parliament specifically require it or if they have the status of statutory instruments. Neither applied in the case of the Osborne Estate Order 1998. Copies of the order are available from the Privy Council office on request.

The order widens eligibility to men and women of all ranks, serving or who have served in the Armed Services, to enjoy the facilities of the convalescent home at Osborne House, until such time as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport receives Parliament's approval to end his responsibility to maintain the convalescent home. Wider eligibility will also help to maintain the home's income for the period that it remains open.

Tourism Forum

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which organisations have been invited to attend the meeting of the Tourism Forum which will be held in December and will be chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.[HL4641]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the Tourism Forum now rests with the English Tourism Council (ETC). Invitations to the first meeting of the reconstituted forum, to be chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in December, have been sent to the following organisations:


    Arts Council of England


    Association of British Travel Agents


    Association of Leading Visitor Attractions


    Association of Recognised English Language Services


    BA Holidays Ltd


    Bournemouth Tourism


    British Airports Authority


    British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions


    British Holiday and Home Parks Association


    British Hospitality Association


    British Incoming Tour Operators Association


    British Resorts Association


    British Tourist Authority


    British Waterways

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    Business Tourism Partnership


    Caterer and Hotel Keeper


    Confederation of British Industry


    Confederation of Passenger Transport UK


    Council for Travel and Tourism


    Countryside Agency


    Countrywide Holidays Association


    Cumbria Tourist Board


    Department for Culture, Media and Sport


    English Association of Self Catering Operators


    English Heritage


    English Tourism Council


    Granada Group


    Heart of England Tourist Board


    Holiday Care Service


    Holiday Which? Consumers' Association


    Hospitality Training Foundation


    International Council on Monuments and Sites


    Local Government Association


    London Transport


    McGregor M/C Ltd


    Museums and Galleries Commission


    National Council of Hotel Associations


    National Trust


    New Millennium Experience Company


    North West Tourist Board


    Rank Group plc


    Seaview Hotel


    South East England Tourist Board


    South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd


    Springboard UK


    Sustrans


    Teesdale Traditional Taverns


    Telford and Wrekin Council


    The Marketing Department


    Tidy Britain Group


    Tourism Company


    Tourism Concern


    Tourism Enterprise and Management


    Tourism for All Consortium


    Tourism Management Institute


    Tourism Society


    Travel Channel


    Tussauds Group


    UK Sports Council


    University of Central Lancashire and Oxford Brookes University


    Virgin Rail Group


    West Cornwall Leader Project


    West Country Tourist Board


    Whitbread plc

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The forum is intended to be as representative as possible of the tourism industry. Other organisations may be invited as their interests are identified.

Stonehenge: World Heritage Site

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What commercial outlets are being envisaged by English Heritage for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site visitors centre.[HL4323]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is envisaged that the new Stonehenge visitor centre at Countess East will provide catering outlets and retail facilities of the highest quality. The planning brief for the site makes provision for fast food outlets, more traditional restaurants and beverage outlets. There will also be areas for English Heritage and the National Trust to sell their memberships.

Any proposals for additonal uses or facilities will be considered on their merits.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessments and what public consultations underpin English Heritage's decision that a large commercially operated visitors centre is appropriate for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.[HL4457]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The current visitor facilities at Stonehenge, which receive nearly 1 million visitors a year, were described by the National Audit Office in 1991 as "poor" with cramped and squalid facilities which were too small and frequently overcrowded. The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons in 1993 said that Stonehenge was a "national disgrace". The creation of a new visitor centre, located outside the boundaries of the World Heritage Site, is a direct response to those criticisms. It will be developed on the Countess East site within guidelines set out in the 1999 planning brief recently adopted by Salisbury District Council as supplementary planning guidance following full public consultation.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether English Heritage has been given carte blanche by Ministers to choose a commercial operator for a visitors centre for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site; and, if so, whether one has yet been chosen.[HL4458]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The preferred commercial operator will be chosen by the selection panel which is made up of commissioners and senior staff of English Heritage, council members and senior staff of the National Trust and a senior member of staff of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Short-listing of bidders has taken place and final bids are due back on 15 November, with selection taking place in January 2000.

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