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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): For 2008, the quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme is 16,250. There are no plans to lift the current restrictions or allow an increase in the quota.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Rooker on 20 May (WA 113) and Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 May (WA 205), why, if the likelihood of BSE in sheep is near zero, it is necessary to remove the spinal cord for a non-existent health risk. [HL3940]
While bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has not been found in the United Kingdom sheep flock, and the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) has advised that the prevalence of BSE in the UK sheep flock may be zero and in the worst case that no more than 10 flocks would be affected, SEAC has also advised that maintenance of current surveillance levels and risk reduction measures such as the feed ban and specific risk material (SRM) controls would minimise the risk of an epidemic and risk to human health were BSE ever to enter the sheep flock. In addition, a possible human health risk from atypical scrapie cannot, at present, be ruled out. For these reasons, precautionary SRM controls on sheep and goats remain in place.
The requirement to remove sheep spinal cord as SRM is set out in directly applicable European Union legislation. Any potential changes to these controls would need to be supported by the European Commission and have the support of other member states and the European Parliament before they could be implemented in the UK.
How often the queues being monitored by staff of the Border Control Agency at Heathrow's immigration control exceed the European Economic Area (EEA) queuing benchmark time of 25 minutes; how often they exceed the non-EEA queuing benchmark time of 45 minutes; and what proportion of total queues monitored this represents. [HL1619]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The accompanying table shows the most recent queuing performance figures for Heathrow. The queuing averages are well within the benchmarks and we will continue to work on reducing the occasions where those figures are exceeded.
|Annex A: Most Recent Queue Performance Figures|
|Heathrow TN1||Heathrow TN2||Heathrow TN3||Heathrow TN4|
The figures provided do not constitute part of national statistics as they are based on internal management information. This information has not been quality assured under national statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Bowman combat infrastructure and platform (BCIP) 4F is currently being upgraded to BCIP 5 with the uplift beginning in FLEET. The Army will make a decision on the timing of the upgrade in July 2008.
There is currently no agreed programme post-BCIP 5 (ie, there is no BCIP 6), although the department is working to define plans for future capability releases which will be considered as part of the routine planning process.
The current BCIP 4F allows limited situational awareness which will be considerably enhanced by the BCIP 5 upgrade currently under way, allowing secure data and secure voice interoperability with allies.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The L-3 Wescam camera was installed on RAF Nimrod aircraft in 2003. The work was carried out by both RAF and BAE Systems personnel at RAF Kinloss; the installation took approximately four months to complete at a total cost of just under £2.7 million.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: RAYCHEM 55A-0813 and RAYCHEM 55A-0823 wiring was used in the installation of the L-3 Wescam camera on RAF Nimrod aircraft in accordance with MoD regulations governing the specification of wiring on RAF aircraft.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The consultation on the proposed aviation duty closed on 24 April 2008. This consultation considered all aspects of the duty, including basis and scope of the duty, possible exemptions, impact of the inclusion of freight and transit/transfer traffic and the operation of the duty.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 2 June (WA 3) regarding which parliamentarians have stayed at the British embassy in Bolivia this year why that Answer made no reference to the visit covered by the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Dr Kim Howells, on 8 January (Official Report, Commons, 443W). [HL4042]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My response of 2 June (Official Report, col. WA3) referred to the calendar year of 2008, during which time only one parliamentarian, my honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East, Kim Howells, has visited Bolivia. However, since June 2007, there has indeed been one other visit by a parliamentarianthe visit of the honourable Member Andrew Mitchellwho visited Bolivia from 19 to 20 November 2007, accompanied by the noble Lord, Lord Ashcroft. On both these occasions, the visiting parliamentarians stayed at our ambassador's official residence.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Sector associations, which manage climate change agreements on behalf of their industry members, have already been informed of the Government's intention to consult on the form and content of the new climate change agreements. Informal consultations have already taken place, and are continuing. A formal consultation document will be issued in the summer.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): As I made clear in the House on 3 June (Official Report, col. 79) we plan to sign the treaty in Oslo in December. Ratification will follow once both Houses have approved the necessary implementing legislation. We are committed to moving forward as speedily as possible.
What limitations will be imposed on the United Kingdom as a signatory to the convention on cluster munitions; and what descriptions of munitions of this kind the United Kingdom will continue to be permitted to manufacture and use. [HL3972]
Lord Malloch-Brown: Article 1 of the text of the convention adopted in Dublin on 30 May prohibits future states parties from using, developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling, retaining or transferring to anyone, whether directly or indirectly, cluster munitions. It also prohibits future states parties from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in prohibited activity. Article 19 prevents future states parties from entering reservations against the convention.
The text offers, for the first time, an internationally agreed definition of cluster munitions, based on certain physical and technical criteria. Munitions not falling under the definition of a cluster munition are outside the scope of the convention and are not subject to its provisions. One such munition is the ballistic sensor-fused munition, which is due to enter service with the UK Armed Forces in 2012. As I made clear in the House on 3 June (Official Report, col. 80), Dublin participants were satisfied that this weapon will serve its military purpose without contributing to the post-conflict humanitarian problems which the convention is designed to address.
What are the categories of, and the estimated number of, cluster munitions they need to destroy as a signatory to the convention on cluster munitions; and what is the book value of such munitions. [HL3973]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 20 May (WA 174), how they define a hate crime; and whether the term hate-crime (whether or not hyphenated) is in any Act of Parliament currently in force. [HL3921]
The law as it stands protects everybody from violence such as assault, criminal damage or harassment. It also protects people from incitement to any offence, including offences such as harassment and criminal damage as well as all forms of violence. Existing legislation ensures aggravated sentencing for any offence which is motivated by hostility on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and disability. Guidelines ensure that there are a range of further aggravating factors which the court must take into account when sentencing. These include the vulnerability of the victim, additional degradation of the victim, and the offenders working in a group or gang.
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