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Criminal Justice System and Ethnicity

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

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government believe that rights under Article 14 attach to the right to a fair trial and not to a certain sort of trial. This does not affect the Government's determination to ensure that criminal justice legislation does not discriminate on the grounds of race or ethnic origin.

Probation Service: Change of Name

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The change of name is one of a number of changes involved in the Government's plans for creating a unified service for England and Wales. These include structural changes which will involve the amalgamation of some area services and will make all of them more accountable for my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. The cost of changing the name is of itself expected to be minimal in this wider context.

7 Feb 2000 : Column WA64

Racial Equality Commission

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who they are appointing as the new Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality.[HL925]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is very glad to announce that he appointed Gurbux Singh as Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality on 4 February.

Gurbux Singh is currently the chief executive of the London Borough of Haringey and a member of the Race Relations Forum. The appointment is for four years initially.

Crime Fighting Fund

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce the results of the bids which police forces in England and Wales have made for money from the Crime Fighting Fund to fund the recruitment of police officers.[HL926]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is currently considering the bids which forces have made. He will be announcing the results next week.

Religious Discrimination: University ofDerby Project

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress there has been in the University of Derby's research project into religious discrimination which it commissioned in April 1999.[HL927]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The interim report of the University of Derby's research project into religious discrimination was published on 31 January. Copies are available in the Library or from the research project's website at www.multifaithnet.org.

The interim report is useful in beginning to develop a better understanding of the complex issues around religious discrimination. We hope it will inform the debate in advance of the publication of the research project's full findings, due this autumn.

It is important to remember that this is an interim report only (based on a literature review and consultation with relevant organisations); it does not yet include any information from the research project's own data collection, which is continuing. The final report will inform the development of policy in this important and sensitive area.

7 Feb 2000 : Column WA65

Broadcasting and Telecommunications Convergence

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans, if any, they have for legislation on broadcasting and telecommunications convergence.[HL718]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 3 February that he and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport propose to publish a White Paper later this year setting out the Government's proposals for reform of communications legislation. This will include proposals for changing both the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Acts as a basis for legislation when parliamentary time allows.

SMEs: Websites

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many United Kingdom-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had websites on the Internet on (a) 1 May 1997, (b) 1 May 1998; and (c) 1 May 1999.[HL719]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Information available within the department shows that there has been a steady increase in the number of UK companies with websites over the past three years. DTI research indicates that 150,000 SMEs had websites in spring 1997. This figure rose to 175,000 in spring 1998; and 450,000 in spring 1999.

Utilities Bill: Draft Guidance

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the draft guidance provided for under Clauses 9, 13 and 90 of the Utilities Bill will be published.[HL928]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government have today published preliminary drafts of the social and environmental guidance to the energy and telecoms regulators provided for under Clauses 9, 13 and 90 of the Utilities Bill. Copies of these drafts have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Beacon Councils: Modernisation of Political Management Structures

Baroness Hamwee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which local authorities awarded beacon status for one or more services have taken steps to introduce "modernised" structures to move towards

7 Feb 2000 : Column WA66

    the new structures (including an executive/security split) envisaged in the Local Government Bill or in the Green or White Papers preceding it. [HL706]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): All beacon councils provided evidence during the selection process that they were addressing the need to modernise their political management structures.

Lead Shot

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the advice which they have issued to police forces in England for the enforcement of the Environment Protection (Restriction on the use of lead shot) (England) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2170)[HL652]

Lord Whitty: I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave him on 10 November 1999 (Official Report, col. WA 168).

Hedgerow Protection

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will define the word "important" in their consideration of hedgerow protection.[HL777]

Lord Whitty: The powers available to the Government under the Environment Act 1995 are to protect "important" hedgerows. The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 define an important hedgerow as one that has existed for 30 years or more and satisfies at least one of the criteria listed in the regulations. The Government are considering whether the criteria should be revised as part of their review of the regulations.

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the protection of hedgerows provided by pre-1840 enclosure awards remains in force.[HL778]

Lord Whitty: The protection afforded to hedgerows by local enclosure Acts and awards may still be enforceable through the courts, depending on the terms of the relevant Act and the particular circumstances of the case.

Trunk Road Improvement

Lord Haskel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many schemes in the targeted programme of trunk road improvements will start in 2000-01.[HL900]

7 Feb 2000 : Column WA67

Lord Whitty: A start will be made in 2000-01 on 13 of the 37 schemes in the targeted programme of improvements announced in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England--six more than previously planned. The acceleration of six schemes by bringing their starts forward from 2001-02 reflects our commitment to modernising the country's transport system. All the schemes in the targeted programme were assessed using the new approach to appraisal against our criteria of safety, environmental impact, economy, accessibility and integration.

The full list of starts now planned for 2000-01 is as follows:


    A1: Willowburn-Denwick Improvement, Northumberland


    A6: Great Glen Bypass, Leicestershire


    A6: Clapham Bypass, Bedfordshire*


    A11: Roudham Heath-Attleborough, Dualling, Norfolk*


    A27: Polegate Bypass, East Sussex


    A41: Aston Clinton Bypass, Buckinghamshire


    A43: Whitfield Turn, Brackley Hatch Improvement, Northants


    A43: Silverstone Bypass, Northants


    A43: M40-B4031 Dualling, Oxon/Northants*


    A66: Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass, Cumbria*


    A500: Basford, Hough, Shavington Bypass, Cheshire*


    A650: Bingley Relief Road, Bradford*


    A1033: Hedon Road Improvement, Hull.


    * Start previously planned for 2001-02.

In addition to these 13 schemes, work is planned to start later this year on the privately financed Birmingham northern relief road and we are at the final stages of letting the design, build finance and operate contract for improvements to the A13 in east London. Work will also start soon on widening the M2 between the A2 at Cobham and junction 4 at Rochester.


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