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Northern Ireland Railways

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Translink has advised that the signalling system used by Northern Ireland Railways complies with the railways current network standards with the exception of Castlerock situated between Coleraine and Londonderry. However, Translink considers that the systems at this location, while not up to the precise standard of the rest of the network, are entirely safe.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Translink has advised that the following consultants' reports have been produced on Northern Ireland Railways activity since 1996.

Project/Title/DescriptionConsultantYear
State of Railway Infrastructure—TMG1996
Funding Comparisons of Bus and Rail Services in N Ireland—Steer Davies Gleave1998
Introduction of Automatic Warning Systems and Train Protection Warning Systems—QSS1999
Station Condition Report—W H Stephens1999
Accommodation Crossings—Brown & Root2000
Strategic Safety Review of NIR—A D Little2000
Implementing Risk Management—Deloitte & Touche2000
Report on Implications for Infrastructure of Introducing 23 Metre Rolling Stock—Ferguson McIlveen/Scott Wilson2001
Strategic Safety Review of NIR (Update)—A D Little2002
Condition Inspection & Appraisal of Railway Embankments & Cuttings—WS Atkins Ltd2002
Condition Assessment of Accommodation Overbridges—Doran Consulting2002
Rock Slope Inspections Report—Ferguson McIlveen2002–03
Review of N Ireland Railway Slope Management—Donaldson Associates Ltd2003
Bangor Line Stations Condition—W H Stephens2003

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Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985: Review

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the review of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 will be available.[HL4633]

Baroness Amos: The Department of the Environment (DOE) for Northern Ireland has commissioned a study of changes needed to the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985. The study, which is being carried out to complement aspects of the Northern Ireland biodiversity strategy and local species action plans, is required to identify potential changes in the legal status of certain species.

A draft report was received on 30 June with the final document expected shortly. It is intended to discuss the content of this report with interested parties, including the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, prior to subjecting recommendations to full consultation.

Iraq: UK Contribution to Reconstruction Costs

Lord Radice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial contribution they are making to the reconstruction of Iraq.[HL4796]

Baroness Amos: At the Donors' Conference on Iraq, in Madrid on 24 October, the UK will make a total financial commitment towards Iraq's reconstruction

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of £544 million for the three years from April 2003, including the funding that we have provided so far and our share of proposed European Community spending in Iraq: £248 million is humanitarian and reconstruction assistance already committed by DfID and other government departments (£9 million of which is our share of the EC commitment), and £296 million will be for the period up to March 2006 (£29 million of which is our share of currently proposed EC spending). We expect to channel a substantial proportion of this spending through Multi-Donor Trust Fund arrangements being established by the World Bank and the United Nations, and to continue to support bilateral and multilateral programmes in Iraq. This funding does not include the costs of maintaining security in Iraq, towards which we are making a major contribution. Nor will it involve any reduction in DfID's planned development expenditure for low income countries. We remain committed to deliver £1 billion of bilateral assistance for Africa in 2005–06, and to increase the proportion of bilateral spending on low income countries to 90 per cent by the same time.

Hutton Report

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for publishing Lord Hutton's report?[HL4906]

Baroness Amos: When the Government receive the report we shall publish it to Parliament and ministerial statements will be made by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor. The Government will also ensure that both Houses have an opportunity for a debate on the report once members have considered its content.

Guantanamo Bay: Prisoner Detainees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many suicide attempts there have been by prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba); and whether they are asking the United States authorities to improve conditions for all prisoners, in particular by giving them a minimum of one-hour exercise per day.[HL4655]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The British Government do not hold detailed information on non-British detainees at Guantanamo Bay. We understand, however, that 31 suicide attempts have been made at Guantanamo Bay, none of which has involved British detainees.

We believe that the detainees should be treated humanely. We have raised the question of exercise with the US Government on a number of occasions. One of the main objectives of visits by British officials to Guantanamo Bay is to check on the British

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detainees' welfare. The last visit in early September suggested that access to exercise had increased to a norm of 30 minutes a day.

Liberia: Child Soldiers

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy as regards the disarming of militants and criminals in Liberia; what plans they have for child soldiers to be rehabilitated and reintegrated with their families; and whether the experience of Caritas Makeni in Sierra Leone will be studied and applied.[HL4656]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK supported United Nations Security Council Resolution 1509, which gave a robust and comprehensive mandate to the UN force now deploying in Liberia. This mandate includes the creation of a disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration, and repatriation programme for all armed parties with particular attention to the special needs of child combatants and women.

We will draw on experiences learnt from Sierra Leone including the Caritas child combatant disarmament and repatriation programmes undertaken in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

Zimbabwe: British Nationals

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

    What diplomatic protection they have given to United Kingdom nationals whose farms and other properties in Zimbabwe have been unlawfully seized, occupied or damaged in breach of the domestic laws of Zimbabwe; and[HL4663]

    What assistance they have given to the United Kingdom nationals whose farms and other properties in Zimbabwe have been unlawfully seized, occupied or damaged in breach of the domestic laws of Zimbabwe to enable them to seek legal remedies, whether in the courts of Zimbabwe or internationally.[HL4664]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British High Commission in Harare offers guidance and assistance to all British nationals in Zimbabwe who request it. It is in regular contact with the resident British community on a range of issues, including personal safety. It runs a network of 92 wardens around the country, enabling it to maintain good communications with the resident British community. The High Commission assists any British national who believes that their safety is threatened. It also makes representations to the Zimbabwean authorities on behalf of British nationals, when requested to do so. In cases where it has been informed of a threat to a British farmer's physical safety, the High Commission has made representations to the local police, and the police have assisted.

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The British High Commission in Harare has a list of lawyers which it will share with any British national seeking legal assistance. This is normal practice for diplomatic missions around the world. No British farmer has asked for this list.

British Citizens in Prison in EU

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 6 June (WA 200), whether they will publish a similar table showing on 31 March 2002 the number of British citizens in prison in each country in the European Union; and how many, if any, in each country have been held in custody for:


    (a) longer than three months without being given bail; (b) longer than six months without being given bail; (c) longer than three months without being charged; (d) longer than six months without being charged; how many were subsequently released having been in jail longer than three months without standing trial; and how many were subsequently released having been in jail longer than six months without standing trial.[HL4677]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.


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