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Science and Innovation White Paper

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I am today publishing the White Paper Excellence and Opportunity, a science and innovation policy for the 21st century. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Circle Line Suspensions

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): This is an operational matter for London Underground which has supplied details of suspensions due to recordable incidents of more than one hour on the Circle Line as set out in the table below.

DateLocationCause
19.1.00Edgware Road sidingsTrain derailment
20.1.00Aldgate East/Tower HillBlockjoint earthing on track
20.1.00Baker Street/Edgware RoadAsset damaged
26.1.00Baker StreetComputer system failure
7.2.00Edgware Road/PaddingtonInfrastructure damaged
10.2.00Edgware RoadTrain derailment
13.2.00AldgateTrain derailment
8.3.00AldgateTrain derailment
10.3.00Aldgate/Liverpool St.Computer system failure
21.3.00Aldgate/Liverpool St.Points failure
23.3.00Blackfriars/TempleFlooding
29.3.00Aldgate/Liverpool St.Track circuit failure
30.3.00S. Ken/Gloucester RoadTrack circuit failure
1.4.00Gloucester RoadSignal problems
7.4.00Gt. Portland St.Train stalled
9.4.00Aldgate/Liverpool St.Points failure
13.4.00Aldgate/Liverpool St.Points failure
4.5.00Moorgate/BarbicanTrack circuit failure
15.5.00AldgateTrack circuit failure
17.5.00Edgware Rd.Possession overrun
4.6.00Edgware Rd.Police request
26.6.00Westminster/St. James's ParkTrack circuit failure

Note: Recorded incidents exclude suspensions when a decision has been made to withdraw services to enable through services to keep running.


26 Jul 2000 : Column WA61

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied that London Underground is providing a satisfactory service on the Circle Line; and, if not, what action they propose to take to see that it is improved. [HL3542]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Circle Line, like other parts of the Underground, has suffered historic under-investment. We are aware that the service provided on the Circle Line has encountered problems arising from this under-investment but are satisfied that these problems are in the process of being rectified in the short term. In the medium and long term problems such as this will be resolved by the large-scale investment that will be drawn into the system by the public/private partnership.

Carbon Emissions

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their long-term plans for a co-ordinated approach to combating the globally adverse economic and social effects of existing levels of carbon emissions; and whether taxation policies, investment in energy conservation, effective encouragement of renewable energy resources and support for research into the conversion of solar radiation into electricity will be part of such plans. [HL3373]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): As a result of existing levels of emissions, all countries will need to adapt to the effects of climate change. The UK is playing an active part in discussions about adaptation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At present, the priority for most countries is to assess their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and to begin preparing for adaptation. Funding is available for these purposes through the Global Environment Facility. Further funds for adaptation will become available from the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. The Government are also encouraging developing countries to take into account climate change impacts when considering their future development needs.

The Government believe that developed countries should take the lead in taking action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Programmes are likely to provide for more sustainable use of energy resources, research and investment into low carbon technologies, development of renewable sources of energy and the introduction of fiscal incentives that encourage people and organisations to be more energy efficient. Policies like these will have a significant role to play in any long-term response to climate change and were included in the UK's draft climate change programme which was published in March 2000. The final programme will be published later this year.

26 Jul 2000 : Column WA62

Canoeists: Access to Water

Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any proposals to improve and define the availability of access to rivers and canals for bona fide canoeists, including members of canoeing clubs and of educational courses.[HL3509]

Lord Whitty: The Government have been investigating concerns about access to water for canoeists and others. We expect to make an announcement shortly on the next steps following a meeting in May with a range of interest groups, including boaters, anglers and landowners.

We are already promoting greater voluntary access for canoeists. The Environment Agency, in consultation with the angling and canoeing liaison group, has published a guide to developing voluntary agreements. We have issued a code of practice on conservation, access and recreation for the Environment Agency and for water and sewerage companies.

Abnormal Load Movement

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress the Highways Agency has made in its study to identify the legal, fiscal and institutional issues involved in making changes to abnormal load movement procedures on the trunk road network.[HL3532]

Lord Whitty: The Highways Agency is keen to ensure that any changes to abnormal load movement procedures on the trunk road network do not disadvantage the safety and free flow of traffic on the network. The agency responded to the Home Office's consultation in January 1999 concerning the use of private escorts, supporting the principle. However it pointed out that suitable arrangements would need to be made where it would be necessary to switch from private to police escorts, most noticeably at motorway interchanges.

Farm Scale Evaluation

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are any circumstances in which the use of agricultural land for farm scale evaluation would require planning permission from the relevant local authority.[HL3497]

Lord Whitty: The application of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to farm scale evaluation of genetically modified crops would depend upon whether the use of agricultural land for such evaluations would involve a "material change of use" constituting development for the purpose of that legislation. This would involve the consideration of a

26 Jul 2000 : Column WA63

number of factors, including whether the use of farm scale evaluation would fall within the definition of "agriculture" and not constitute development. In any event each case would have to be considered on its own merits.

The Government are unable to give an authoritative interpretation of the legislation, this being a matter for the courts.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government;

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 6 July (WA 148) which cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency are for the use of Ministers and senior officials in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions; and what is the number, type and make of each vehicle.[HL3384]

Lord Whitty: I refer my noble friend to the reply given by my noble and learned friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) on Monday 24 July, (Official Report, Col. WA 16).

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 June (WA 11-14), which cars are supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency for the use of Ministers and senior officials; and whether they will list them by number, type and make.[HL3313]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I refer my noble friend to the reply given by my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 24 July at Cols. WA 15-16. The Government Car and Despatch Agency is operated by the Cabinet Office on behalf of all government departments.


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