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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will meet representatives of Save the Children to consider what action can be taken by the Government to reunite separated children with their families in the Afghanistan area. 
Clare Short: As part of our response to the current crisis, my Department is supporting Save the Children's work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which encompasses health, education and shelter in addition to child protection activities.
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Clare Short: Pakistan has been shouldering the burden of some 2 million refugees from Afghanistan for many years. This is in addition to the estimated 100,000 people who have moved into Pakistan from Afghanistan since 11 September. Over the last 20 years, these refugees have been hosted in camps or absorbed into communities. The majority of the camps in Pakistan pre-date the agreement of the international sphere standards.
We must of course do all we can to ensure that all refugees are properly cared for. And the international community must do more to give Pakistan all possible support in coping with this burden and making progress towards improving standards in camps.
So far my Department has committed £3 million to UNHCR's operations in response to the current crisis, to support its operations for refugees. We have also provided a specialist site planner to UNHCR in Pakistan to assist with the setting up of new refugee camp sites. In addition we have allocated £5 million to support NGOs, much of which will be directed towards Afghans in Pakistan.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of (a) the impact on British businesses of the proposed physical agents directive and (b) its cost to British business. 
Dr. Whitehead: Regulatory Impact Assessments of the common position on both proposed physical agents directives on vibration and noise have been prepared by the Health and Safety Executive. The RIA on the vibration directive has already been submitted to the European Scrutiny Committee and is available in the House of Commons Library; I will shortly submit the RIA on the noise directive and place it in the Library.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on compensation payable to residents for property blight arising from the construction of the Aston Clinton bypass. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency is able to confirm that two properties need to be acquired in order to construct the A41 London-Birmingham Trunk Road (Aston Clinton Bypass). They are being acquired under Compulsory Purchase Order (C.P.O) (No. SW14) 1997 and compensation for these properties will be at market value. Statutory property blight, which could require us to buy a property adversely affected by the announcement of a road scheme before a C.P.O is issued, did not apply in this instance because no request to purchase was received from the owner occupiers.
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Dr. Whitehead: Building control by approved inspectors is provided for under the Building Act 1984 and the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2000. People intending to carry out work subject to the building regulations may opt to engage an approved inspector as an alternative to asking the local authority to carry out building control. This competitive situation is widely regarded as a stimulus to better, more efficient building control services.
Following the events of 11 September security measures have been enhanced at all UK airports and for all flights from the UK. We are carrying out a fundamental review of aviation security to ensure that air travel is as safe from terrorist attacks as we can make it while, at the same time, balancing security with our freedom to travel.
Alongside increased security measures and intervention to provide the industry with third party war risk insurance, the Government are also actively involved in helping to restore confidence in air travel. As part of this I undertook a programme of visits to airports on 25 October, taking in Gatwick, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bristol, which gave me the opportunity to press home the message that we should not let the fear of terrorism undermine our freedom to fly.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the expenditure on Port Health was in each of the last five years and what the estimated outturn is for the next three years. 
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|Net current expenditure|
Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what European Union guidelines he uses in evaluating the environmental impact of proposed bypass schemes. 
Mr. Jamieson: When draft orders are prepared for a road scheme, including a bypass, where the land required exceeds one hectare an environmental statement assessing the environmental impact is required under European Community Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by Directive 97/11/EC. The EC Directive sets out the information specified in the environmental statement but guidelines on evaluating the environmental impact are matters for each member state.
Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what (a) action he is taking and (b) further plans he has to support the civil aviation industry following the terrorist attacks on 11 September; 
Mr. Jamieson: We have had discussions with airlines and other bodies connected with the aviation industry, including union representatives, to consider the economic consequences for the industry of the 11 September terrorist attacks. The Government have underwritten, on a temporary basis, third party war risk insurance for UK airlines and service providers to the aviation industry and are considering whether further support should be made available within European Commission guidelines.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what plans he has to increase the minimum distance between the seat back cushion and the back of the seat in front on all UK-registered aircraft over 5,700 kg MTWA which carry 20 passengers or more; 
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(4) what plans he has to increase the minimum distance between the seat base and back of the seat in front on all UK-registered aircraft over 5,700 kg MTWA which carry 20 passengers or more. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Anthropometric Study to Update Minimum Aircraft Seating Standards was initiated by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in order to examine how the most recent data on human dimensions may be used to assess the way passengers sit in their seats and their ability efficiently to evacuate an aircraft in an emergency. In addition some other aspects, such as the adoption of recommended brace positions, were also examined.
The study, commissioned by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on behalf of the JAA, was carried out by consultants ICE Ergonomics. It made a number of recommendations based on dimensions between seats and between seats and other structures.
The development and application of airworthiness requirements and operational procedures related to emergency evacuation is the responsibility of the Safety Regulation Group of the CAA. Currently the CAA is the only member of the JAA to set legal minimum requirements for seat spacing. The Authority will consider the study's recommendations in consultation with other members of the JAA and industry, and, if considered appropriate, proposals will be made for amending the airworthiness requirements.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to commission prospective research together with clinical and basic scientific support, into the incidence and cause of thrombo embolic disease among air travellers. 
Mr. Jamieson: The World Health Organisation has recently announced a global research project into a number of aspects of Deep Vein Thrombosis. This Department, together with the Department of Health, is considering the extent to which the Government should participate in this work and will shortly announce plans.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to introduce compulsory foldaway foot leg rests in all UK-registered aircraft over 5,700 keg MTWA which carry 20 passengers or more. 
Mr. Jamieson: Foot leg rests are already provided in many aircraft but not normally in economy class seats. Although their provision might improve the comfort of passengers, there is no evidence to suggest their absence represents a health risk. This is not therefore a matter for regulation but rather a commercial matter for airlines to decide what level of comfort to offer in a particular class of seating.
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