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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Government attach great importance to creating an extensive and competitive market in the provision of broadband services using a variety of technologies. We expect that there will be an increasing demand for faster and more symmetrical services over the next few years and that increased investment in fibre-optic networks is likely to be one of the outcomes of this progress in the market. Decisions on where and when networks will be deployed will be predominantly for the market. However, the Government will continue to encourage investment where they can; for example, aggregating the demand for public sector connectivity through the Broadband Aggregation Programme will create fresh opportunities for further investment by industry in infrastructure for high speed broadband.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK and other member states are required to transpose the WEEE and ROHS Directive by mid-August this year. The Government are therefore planning to lay regulations this summer.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): Along with high visibility and mounted patrols, these vehicle patrols comprise an important aspect of the Royal Parks policing strategy. They are very much in the interests of those using the footpaths as they reassure visitors and deter crime in the park.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The report prepared by Focus Consultancy was not a strategy report. It was a confidential review of a range of equality issues in the Drug Free Sport Directorate of UK Sport, designed to help to inform the organisation's equality and diversity strategy. As such it explores a number of internal matters and it is not appropriate that the report be published.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In light of the Pre-Budget Report projections, the UK continues to meet a prudent interpretation of the stability and growth pact that reflects low debt and long-term sustainability more generally, the need for public investment in the UK, and which takes into account the economic cycle.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): On 9 December 2003, the Government published a public consultation paper, Use of mechanically propelled vehicles on Rights of Way. We propose to develop a strategy to promote better use of the extensive powers that already exist to deal with vehicle misuse on rights of way. As a first step, we will issue shortly a government circular promoting good enforcement practice. In addition, we are proposing new legislation to limit the ability to claim motor vehicular rights over footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways.
Lord Whitty: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was created in June 2001. The number of permanent staff employed in the department was 7,970 in October 2001, 6,980 in April 2002 and 6,690 in April 2003.
Lord Whitty: The department has issued 222 consultations since its inception, of which 193 are complete. All responses to Defra consultation exercises are thoroughly analysed and taken into account in the development of policies and proposals. We do not hold information centrally on how many have resulted in a formal action programme, but many have led to proposals being changed in response to stakeholders' comments, or have contributed to the development of policies or UK negotiating lines.
Lord Whitty: Electronic identification boluses are currently being used as a component of the national scrapie plan. All field staff who administer boluses for the NSP, both SVS staff and local veterinary inspectors, undergo practical training in bolus administration which incorporates detailed guidance on the size of bolus to use for different weights of sheep. The size of bolus in use has been kept under review and changes to the bolus used have been made as the scheme has progressed based on experience gained. The most recent update to guidance was issued to all staff on 22 October 2003. In addition to the national scrapie plan use of bolus, the Government are anticipating the widespread use of this technology in the future and have just launched a pilot project on a minimum of 50 commercial sheep farms to assess how industry can make best use of electronic identification and to identify any issues that may arise. Feedback from both the national scrapie plan and the government trial will inform future guidance to the industry on the use of electronic identification including boluses.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: At 3 February, Ministers had appointed the following special advisers: The Prime Minister Jonathan Powell David Hill Sally Morgan Hilary Coffman Geoff Norris Roger Liddle Andrew Adonis Katy Kay David Bradshaw Kate Garvey Catherine Rimmer Liz Lloyd Alasdair McGowan Chris McShane Simon Stevens Carey Oppenheim Justin Russell Patrick Diamond Sarah Hunter Matthew Elson Arnab Banerjee Jo Gibbons Sara El Nusiari Julian Le Grand p/t Matthew Taylor p/t Angela Goodchild p/t John McTernan Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State Joan Hammell Ian McKenzie Paul Hackett p/t Chief Whip (Commons) Sue Jackson Fiona Gordon Chief Whip (Lords) Margaret Ounsley
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