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Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: No data are readily available showing where and how many immunisations against anthrax were administered in 1991 prior to and during the Gulf Conflict but a proportion of immunisations were given in the United Kingdom as well as in theatre.

ISAF: UNSCR 1510 and Afghanistan

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Operations by the International Security Assistance Force outside of Kabul will form a part of the international community's wider efforts to enable the Afghan people to rebuild a stable, prosperous and secure country. As such, it should benefit all those who live and work in Afghanistan, including humanitarian workers.

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The United Kingdom is taking an active part in discussions within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on how to implement United Nations' Security Council Resolution 1510 to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) outside Kabul. The alliance has not yet finalised its military planning for ISAF expansion and it is too early to say what the future strength and disposition of the ISAF may be.

Gulf War 1990–91: Veterans' Illnesses

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: The Government are not convinced that a public inquiry would help to answer the basic question of why some Gulf veterans are ill. We have not ruled out the possibility that we may look at this again if circumstances were to change, but in the present circumstances it is only through the programme of independent scientific and medical research initiated by the Government that we are ever likely to be able to establish the causes of Gulf veterans' illnesses.

Regional Prime Contract: South West

Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the assessment phase for the Regional Prime Contract South West has been completed.[HL5322]

Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence has undertaken to make significant improvements to the Defence Estate through a restructuring of the service and construction delivery mechanisms. Regional prime contracting is a key element of that policy for which the south-west region represents the second of five regional contracts. The initiative aims to provide a better quality of service and greater value for money through a suitably incentivised contract awarded on "Smart Procurement" principles that encourages innovation and efficiency.

We are pleased to tell the House that the assessment phase is now complete. Revised bids have been received from three consortia and the bids have been evaluated against detailed criteria. The preferred bidder has been identified as Debut Services Ltd, a consortium of Bovis Lend Lease and Babcock Services Group International.

The South West Regional Prime Contract will provide for capital works, property maintenance and facilities management services throughout the MoD's estate in south-west England over the next seven years. The value of this contract is likely to be in excess of £500 million. It is expected that contract award will take place in spring next year.

House of Lords: Political Affiliations of Life Peers and 2001 General Election Votes

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the present numbers of Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat life Peers; what percentage each represents of the three-party total of life Peers; and what percentage the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties received of the total votes cast for these three parties at the 2001 general election.[HL5071]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The information requested is as follows:

Present number of life Peers Conservative 160 Labour 182 Liberal Democrat 59 Percentage share of the three-party total Conservative 40% Labour 45% Lib Dems 15% Percentage share of the total vote cast for these three parties at the 2001 general election Conservative 35% Labour 45% Lib Dems 20%

Magistrates' Courts Service: Chief Inspector's Annual Report 2002–03

Baroness Goudie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will lay the annual report of the Chief Inspector of the Magistrates' Courts Service Inspectorate before Parliament.[HL5323]

Lord Filkin: The annual report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of the Magistrates' Courts Service for 2002–03 has been laid before Parliament today. This document gives full details of the Magistrates' Court Service Inspectorate's performance for that year. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What revenue they expect to receive from the film company in return for unrestricted and sole access to the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner during the week beginning 20 October.[HL4139]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): English Heritage will receive £2,300 plus VAT for filming at Wellington Arch on 20 and 21 October 2003. The Arch is not open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the route across Hyde Park Corner through Wellington Arch is closed to cyclists but not to horses; and why no suitable safe alternative route was provided for cyclists.[HL5046]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The road running across Hyde Park Corner through Wellington Arch, which is known as Apsley Way, is Crown Land managed and

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maintained by Westminster City Council. It has not been "adopted" as public highway. I understand that for one day, 21 October, the normal route was closed, but that an adjacent alternative route was provided. For further information contact Tim Owen, Westminster's Head of Special Events at the following address:

    Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP.

Safety Camera Partnerships

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many safety camera partnerships are currently in place; and when each was established.[HL5120]

Lord Davies of Oldham: There are currently 42 safety camera partnerships in England, Scotland and Wales. Information on their locations and start dates is available in the Library of the House.

Heavy Lorries: Overnight Parking

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy in regard to the provision of secure and adequately serviced overnight parking for heavy lorries. [HL5146]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Our current policy is that provision of overnight parking for heavy lorries is primarily a matter for private sector developers and local planning authorities to take forward through normal planning procedures. In view of concerns about the lack of proper parking and other facilities for lorry drivers, my officials have met industry representatives and motorway service area operators. Operators are looking at ways they might improve facilities for lorry drivers at existing service areas. I have also asked my officials to investigate the feasibility of a jointly funded pilot scheme to address the needs of lorry drivers on roads off the motorway network.

Airlines: Overbooking

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider it to be in line with good commercial practice for airlines to deny boarding to passengers who have bought a valid ticket; and whether they will inquire into Air France's policy of overbooking on some of its flights from Newcastle. [HL5149]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Overbooking is an accepted practice among full-service scheduled airlines. On any particular flight there is likely to be a proportion of passengers, mainly from those holding flexible tickets, who do not check in. On the basis of statistical

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evidence from previous flights, airlines estimate the probable number of no-shows and overbook accordingly. On the great majority of flights no passengers are denied boarding, and by reducing the number of empty seats overbooking keeps fares lower than they would otherwise be. This practice is widely accepted by passenger organisations and by regulators as being in the best interests of consumers generally.

In the comparatively small proportion of cases where denied boarding occurs, existing Community legislation requires Community air carriers to provide prescribed minimum levels of financial compensation, in addition to offering passengers a choice between re-routeing and reimbursement. One of the aims of the legislation is to incentivise airlines to estimate the numbers of no-shows accurately. In December 2001 the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation to increase levels of compensation to passengers denied boarding, as well as to require the provision of assistance to travellers affected by cancellations for commercial reasons or delays. Political agreement on this proposal was reached at Transport Council in December 2002. Final amendments to the draft text were agreed during recent conciliation between the Council and the European Parliament. Subject to ratification of these amendments, the regulation will be published and, 12 months later, have direct application in all member states. It is not for the Government to inquire into Air France's booking practices.

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