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Eurostar: Carriage of Pets

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Government have no plans at present to make further representations to the Eurostar Group on this issue. Representations made last year by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions led to an agreement by Eurostar to consider carrying recognised assistance dogs such as guide dogs for the blind. They are still considering their position but are in no doubt as to the Government's desire to see assistance dogs allowed on Eurostar trains. The decision whether or not to carry animals is one for the Eurostar Group (Eurostar UK Ltd, SNCF and SNCB) to make collectively. Eurotunnel allows pets to travel with their owners in private cars on its passenger shuttle services through the Channel Tunnel.

Methane

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The UK's climate change programme that was published in November 2000 sets out full details of the measures the Government are taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane emissions. Many of these measures are aimed at preventing emissions; others are designed to collect and use it as an energy source.

Methane emissions from landfills have been reduced by almost 40 per cent since 1990. Measures like the Landfill Directive and the landfill tax are aimed at cutting the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill. There has also been increased collection of landfill gas and its use as an energy source. Since 1990, over 140 landfill gas projects have been contracted under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation to supply electricity to the National Grid. The Government are continuing their support for the use of landfill gas, and also sewage gas, as energy sources through the Renewables Obligation and exemptions from the climate change levy. Methane emissions from landfill sites are projected to continue to decline to about 70 per cent below 1990 levels in 2010.

About one third of methane emissions from operational coal mines is currently captured and a

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third of this is used for energy recovery. This proportion is however expected to increase over the coming decade. The Government are working with industry to encourage and develop further use of methane from this source.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000: Regulations

Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the regulations to be made under Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 are yet available in draft: and when they propose to invite Parliament to approve them.[HL421]

Lord Whitty: Officials are currently drafting the regulations. Although we have a good overview of the provisions to be included, considerable work is needed on the detail. Provided no unforeseen problems arise, we expect to publish draft regulations for public consultation in March, and lay these before Parliament for approval in May.

Written Answer Content: Policy

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy towards the giving of factual information asked for by Lords in their Written Questions.[HL162]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Ministers should be open with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest, which should be decided in accordance with relevant statute and the Government's Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Northern Ireland: Nominations to Public Appointments

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the status of nominations from the government of the Irish Republic for public appointments in Northern Ireland.[HL129]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 30 November (Hansard, col. WA 161). Such nominations are not treated any differently than nominations received from other sources. All public appointments in Northern Ireland are made on the basis of merit.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those organisations representing victims' groups with which the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has consulted. [HL178]

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is for the Commission to decide with whom it consults. The Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of this letter will be placed in the Library.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which members of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are also members of the Committee for the Administration of Justice; and when they joined that Committee. [HL255]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 27 November 2000 (Official Report, col. WA 109).

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that having a majority of members of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission who are members of the Committee on the Administration of Justice is a fair representation of the Northern Ireland community as a whole.[HL283]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are satisfied that the Commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community in Northern Ireland.

Millennium Dome

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

    Whether provision has been made in the contracts to be signed with Legacy plc for the sale to them of the Millennium Dome site to provide the clawback of profits from Legacy plc if that company is deemed to have made excessive profits from the disposal or use of land at the Dome site at some date after contracts have been signed; and, if so, by what mechanism it is proposed that "excessive profits" will be defined.[HL325]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The issue of clawback and related matters is the subject of active negotiation between Legacy plc and the Competition Team. I can assure the noble Baroness that the Government are taking a strong line in seeking to protect public interests through the entire sale process, and will ensure that appropriate safeguards are built into any contract. Details of negotiations with Legacy plc are commercially confidential.

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

    What is the estimated cost of the setting up and running of the Millennium Show during the life-time of the Millennium Dome.[HL329]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The New Millennium Experience Company has advised that the total costs of the Millennium Show were £72.6 million. Expenditure on design, construction, fit-out and pre-opening training costs for the performers and

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technicians was £60.1 million. Staff costs, and running costs during the operational year were £12.5 million.

Cigarette Manufacturers: Secondments to Government Departments

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many employees each of British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher and Philip Morris since June 1997 have been seconded to the Prime Minister's Office, the Department of Health, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, HM Treasury, HM Customs & Excise, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Northern Ireland Office; and what role they play in the policy making and operations of each department.[HL221]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: As far as I am aware, since June 1997, the only instances have been two inward secondees from British American Tobacco to the Department of Trade and Industry. Both secondees worked as export promoters, promoting UK trade to other countries, and have no involvement in UK policy making.

Departments and agencies are encouraged to undertake a wide range of interchange opportunities, both inward and outward, and with all sectors of the economy.

Individuals on interchanges from other sectors are subject to the Official Secrets Act and are required to observe Civil Service and departmental or agency rules on conduct, including the duty of confidentiality, and security. Individuals attached to departments under the interchange initiative are required to ensure that in the course of their duty there is no conflict of interest that will cause embarrassment to their organisation, or to the department or agency. Indeed, great care is taken when arranging these opportunities to ensure that no conflicts of interest arise.


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