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31 Jan 2001 : Column WA57

Written Answers

Wednesday, 31st January 2001.

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Report

Lord Thomson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the November 2000 Report of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom entitled United Kingdom Tracer Study: Initial Findings.[HL356]

Baroness Amos: Yes. Copies will be placed in the Library of each House.

Naval Vessels Under Repair

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of Her Majesty's ships are available for operations; and how many ships by type are undergoing extensive inspection, second line repair or long-term modifications and maintenance.[HL397]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): As at 22 January 2001, 71 surface ships and four submarines (including three Vanguard class) were available for operations and of these 12 were undergoing short-term assisted upkeep, which is similar in nature to second line repair. These were, broken down by type, as follows:


    Frigates and Destroyers: 8


    Mine Counter Measures Vessels: 3


    Survey Vessel: 1

A further 11 surface ships and 11 submarines were undergoing periods of combined long-term modifications, maintenance and inspection. These numbers, which include those Swiftsure and Trafalgar Class submarines undergoing repair for the surge line pintle defect, are as follows:


    Aircraft Carrier: 1


    Landing Platform Docking: 1


    Landing Platform Helicopter: 1


    Frigates and Destroyers: 4


    Survey Vessel: 1


    Mine Counter Measures Vessels: 2


    Offshore Patrol Vessel: 1


    Submarines: 11

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EU Military Operations and NATO Assets

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With reference to the Presidency report to the Nice Council on European Union Security and Defence Policy, whether NATO intelligence is included in the list of NATO assets to which the European Union would have assured access in mounting a military expedition led by the European Union. [HL404]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In the French Presidency report to the Nice European Council, assured or guaranteed access refers only to NATO planning capabilities for EU-led operations.

British Defence Industry Catalogue

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are any conditions attached to the release and distribution of the British Defence Equipment Catalogues published since 1980; and[HL470]

    Whether they believe that the intelligence agencies of all potential military opponents of the Government have copies of British Defence Equipment Catalogues published since 1980. [HL471]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British Defence Industry Catalogue is a commercial publication containing only unclassified information that companies wish to publish about their products and capabilities. It is endorsed by the Defence Export Services Organisation as a valuable tool in promoting UK defence exports. The supply of any equipment or services described in the catalogue remains subject to normal export licensing requirements. Given the unclassified status of the catalogue, there is no reason for the Government to place any restrictions on its circulation. While it is possible that foreign intelligence organisations may acquire copies, publication of the information it contains, which is available also from other public sources such as company websites, has no implications for our national security.

Hatfield Rail Crash

Lord Dixon-Smith asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the cause of the Hatfield rail crash is now sufficiently defined so that there can be confidence in the remedial measures that are being put in place. [HL483]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): On 23 January the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a second interim technical report setting out what happened on

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the day of the accident. HSE's investigation team is continuing its work into the underlying causes of the incident and will make recommendations in due course.

HSE has identified that the cause of the derailment at Hatfield was due to a broken rail. HSE has also made assessments of the remedial measures taken by Railtrack, and is satisfied that these measures are appropriate to the risk identified. Further work is under way to improve understanding of gauge corner cracking and the best methods of dealing with it.

Royal Parks: Cleansing of Footpaths and Cycle-ways

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the safety and public health reasons for the Royal Parks management providing mechanical sweepers to follow horses on road carriageways while providing no similar cleaning up facilities on cycle-ways and footpaths.[HL423]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this Question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, William Weston. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter to Lord Berkeley from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr William Weston, dated 31 January 2001.

I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about the arrangements made for cleaning horse manure from the cycle-ways and footpaths of the Royal Parks because this is an operational matter for which the agency is responsible.

We use mechanical road sweepers to clean the cycle-ways and footpaths in the Royal Parks, as we do on the roads, because this is the most efficient method of cleaning them. However, in order to deploy our resources most efficiently, the frequency with which we clean any particular path or cycle-way depends on how heavily it is used.

We only arrange for a mechanical sweeper to follow the mounted troops involved in the guard changes in St James's Park. This is because the roads in the park are particularly heavily used and because we know the timing of the troop movements. In other parks, horses are generally confined to the horse rides. The only horses that use the footpaths and cycle ways are the Royal Parks Constabulary mounted officers. Because they do not patrol regular routes at regular times we cannot arrange for contractors to clean up behind them in the same way, even if it were cost-effective to do so. We cannot legislate for those riders who occasionally use the roads and paths instead of the horse rides.

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Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which organisations are responsible for street cleaning the footpath and cycle-way connecting Green Park and Constitution Hill and Hyde Park.[HL422]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this Question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, William Weston. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter to Lord Berkeley from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr William Weston, dated 31 January 2001.

I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about the arrangements for cleaning the cycle-ways and footpaths connecting Green Park and Constitution Hill and Hyde Park.

I understand that the responsibility for cleaning this area lies with Westminster City Council.

Internet Service Providers: Communications Data Provision to Police

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ensure that police officers, when requesting information from Internet service providers, are adequately aware of the nature of information available in technical terms and appropriately authorised to obtain the confidential data; and[HL412]

    Whether they support the proposal from Internet service providers that there should be a list detailing what Internet service providers will tell law enforcement agencies about their customers under criminal investigation; and whether the Internet service providers have indicated how much they will charge for the information.[HL413]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Law enforcement agencies meet regularly, through working groups, with communication service providers (CSPs) to discuss issues such as the capability of the CSP to provide different types of communications data. A new more controlled regime to access such data is being introduced through Chapter II of Part I of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).

These provisions describe the kind of data that may be required to be disclosed in response to a properly authorised notice and the statutory tests to be fulfilled before any such authorisation can be given. The provisions are subject to a statutory code of practice, a draft of which will be published for public consultation shortly. Agreements are in place between CSPs and law enforcement agencies that provide for cost recovery where a CSP is called upon to provide communications data. The agreements have been

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reached independently of the Government and take account of the fact that a requirement to provide communications data places operational and financial burdens on the CSP.


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