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Fishing Licences

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The national rod fishing licence was introduced in 1992, initially as an all-species licence. The present two-tier licence structure, introduced in 1994, does not include a licence specifically for stillwater trout and salmon.

Licence sales figures are:

Year (1)Coarse and Trout (1)Migratory Salmonid (1)

(1) 1 April to 31 March.

(1) The two tiers are: "Coarse and Trout" covers non-migratory trout, char, freshwater fish (coarse fish) and eels. "Migratory Salmonid" covers salmon and migratory trout (sea trout) plus all of the species covered by the coarse and trout licence.

(1) Provisional.

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Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many offences of fishing without a licence have been committed since the introduction of the national fishing licence in 1990; and how many persons have been charged with such offences.[HL2905]

Baroness Hayman: Figures are not available for the number of offences committed. The following table gives figures for the number of persons found to be fishing without a licence from 1996-97, when the data were first collected, and the number of prosecutions concluded for this offence in each year since the national rod fishing licence was introduced.

Year(1)Number of persons found to be fishing without a licenceNumber of prosecutions concluded
1999-2000Data not yet completed

(1)1 April to 31 March.

Chinook Helicopter Accident

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Regarding the inquiry into the crash of a Chinook helicopter on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994: (a) who legally represented the deceased pilots, and, if no one, why; (b) what standard of proof was required under Royal Air Force rules, and whether this was higher or lower than in a British criminal court; and (c) if the enquiry were to be re-opened under current rules, whether the deceased pilots could be found guilty of gross negligence, and, if not, why not. [HL2685]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): (a) The relevant procedures for RAF Boards of Inquiry at the time of the accident on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994 provided no right of representation on behalf of deceased aircrew.

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(b) A RAF Board of Inquiry at that time was primarily intended to identify the cause of an accident and was not directly comparable to a British criminal court. However, where the cause was found to be human error, the board was also required to assess such failings. The RAF Flight Safety Manual (AP3207) stated that the finding of negligence must only be made where there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

(c) One of the conclusions of a review of Board of Inquiry procedures in 1997 was that such inquiries should no longer attribute blame in reporting the causes of accidents. This conclusion has now been put into effect. The terms under which the inquiry may be re-opened, in the event that new evidence came to light which justified that course, would need to be considered at that time.

War Widows Pilgrimage Scheme

Lord Morris of Castle Morris asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recent representations they have received to extend the War Widows Pilgrimage Scheme.[HL2764]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Following a recent approach by The Royal British Legion, we have agreed to an extension of the War Widows Pilgrimage Scheme for a further two years, until 31 March 2003. The Government greatly appreciate the excellent work of The Royal British Legion, which administers this subsidised scheme on our behalf and which, to date, has enabled more than 4,000 widows to visit their husband's grave in many parts of the world.

Cultural Diversity Network

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 17 March (WA 235-236), whether the Cultural Diversity Network has reported to the Secretary of State regarding a specific programme of action to raise the representation of our multicultural society on and behind the television screen; and, if so, whether that report will be published; and[HL2750]

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 17 March (WA 235-236), what steps the Secretary of State has taken to monitor the progress of the Cultural Diversity Network.[HL2751]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I understand that the Cultural Diversity Network agreed a number of proposals at its last meeting on 25 May. These are being worked up into a formal action plan and timetable which will then be put to television broadcasters for consideration and agreement. Once finalised, the action plan will be published. The

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Department for Culture, Media and Sport is represented on the Network and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport hopes to meet representatives from the network shortly to review progress.

Channel 5

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will discuss with the Independent Television Commission whether Channel 5 is fulfilling the obligations on programme standards that it undertook to meet when awarded the franchise. [HL2778]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Channel 5's licence includes conditions relating to the provision and content of its broadcast service. Under the terms of the Broadcasting Act 1990, the monitoring of programme services and of licence conditions is solely a matter for the Independent Television Commission, which publishes an annual review of the performance of Channel 3, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Royal Parks Footpaths and Cycle Tracks: Use by Motor Vehicles

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What classes of motor vehicle, and for what purposes, are permitted to drive in the London Royal Parks on (a) footpaths; and (b) cycle tracks. [HL2765]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency. As its Chief Executive, William Weston, has not yet taken up his appointment, I have asked the agency's Head of Policy, Viviane Robertson, to reply on his behalf.

Letter to Lord Berkeley from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Viviane Robertson, dated 21 June 2000.

As the new Chief Executive does not take up his post until 10 July, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about vehicles using the footpaths in the Royal Parks, because this is an operational matter for which the agency is responsible.

The only motor vehicles allowed to use the footpaths in the Royal Parks are those used by park management, the agency's grounds maintenance contractors and the Royal Parks police in the course of carrying out their duties, plus any contractors doing work on behalf of the Royal Parks Agency, provided they have prior written permission. These are also the only vehicles allowed to use cycle routes on footpaths or the closed roads in Richmond Park, which are cycle routes only in the sense that they are routes on which people are allowed to cycle.

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Motor vehicles are not allowed to use the cycle tracks on North Carriage Drive.

In addition, the agency has agreed with Historic Royal Palaces that, for the time being, service deliveries may use Jubilee Walk in Kensington Gardens to obtain access to Kensington Palace.

NHS Religious Provision

Lord Patel of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What provision is made in the National Health Service for the practice of non-Christian religions, particularly in areas with considerable non-Christian populations; and how they ensure that all providers of health care make such provision.[HL2711]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The National Health Service takes an all-inclusive approach to the religious and spiritual needs of its patients and staff. NHS trusts have standing guidance in the form of Health Service Guidelines (92)2 Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Patients and Staff, encouraging the NHS to introduce local standards to ensure respect for the religious and cultural beliefs of each patient. In support of this, the NHS should make adequate provision for the spiritual needs of patients and staff. As far as reasonably possible, this provision should recognise the welfare needs of both Christians and non-Christians.

It is for hospital management to decide what arrangements should be made for co-ordinating the services of those meeting the spiritual needs of patients and staff. In deciding what facilities are appropriate for each group, hospitals should consider issues such as:

    the number of patients in that group;

    the nature of spiritual support and services appropriate to that belief; and

    local administrative and management arrangements.

Local administrative and religious organisations should be consulted, if necessary, to advise on these issues.

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