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Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the potential carbon savings are in the EU as a result of the proposed energy performance of buildings directive expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The European Union Final Energy Demand by sector and by fuel in 1997 (Mtoe) indicated that 40.7 per cent. of final energy demand would come from buildings 1 . A further review by the European Union 2 reviewed existing energy efficiency measures and identified buildings as a priority action area for the short and medium term. An action plan 3 outlined ways to limit carbon dioxide emissions from buildings and to improve their energy efficiency.
In the UK, the residential and tertiary building sectors have been shown to be the largest overall end users of energy, mainly for heating, lighting, appliances and equipment. The energy consumed in buildings in the UK amounts to 46 per cent. of the national total (27 per cent. from the domestic sector and 19 per cent. from the
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non-domestic sector). This equates to about 235 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every yearor about 63.5 million tonnes of carbon per year (MtC/year).
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent meetings she has had with her EU counterparts to discuss regulation of GM crops; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State attended Environment Council in October 2001, at which the proposed regulations on traceability and labelling of food and feed products derived from genetically modified organisms were discussed. She also attended the Agriculture Council on 23 October, at which the proposed regulations for GM food and feed and the proposed regulations on traceability and labelling were discussed.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what bilateral meetings she and her officials have had with the United States Department of Agriculture at which the subject of GM crops was discussed; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State visited the USA in December 2001 and April 2002 and discussed GM crops in meetings with her counterparts. There have recently been discussions of an informal nature at official level with USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agricultural Research Service.
|Press releases issued|
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David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the cost to the Environment Agency and local authorities of sandbag deployment in areas experiencing and prone to flooding in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Morley: The cost of sandbag deployment is highly variable and is not recorded separately from other costs of dealing with flooding emergencies. For example, in emergency situations, bags can be supplied full or empty. They may be filled manually on site or by bagging machines, if access to the problem area is easy. Alternatively, they may be filled at a central depot and transported by road or air, as for example occurred in the north-east during autumn 2000.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures the Government are taking to ensure that international aid given to Zimbabwe is linked to (a) allowing UN observers into the country and (b) land reform. 
Clare Short: There are no links between our humanitarian aid, which is managed outside of Government channels, and land reform. The UN already has a large presence in Zimbabwe implementing emergency programmes. This includes the presence of food programme monitors in 19 districts. Our aid for Zimbabwe is confined to humanitarian assistance, and the prevention and mitigation of HIV/AIDS.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which resolutions were supported by the UK representatives at the recent annual session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. 
This year the Commission passed over 100 resolutions. The UK supported (through co-sponsorship and in votes) 72 resolutions including those on the death penalty, a draft optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture, rights of the child, freedom of expression, torture and the rights of persons with disabilities. We also co-sponsored initiatives on countries including Iraq, Burma, Sudan, Cuba, East Timor, Cambodia, Colombia and Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the outcome of the recent annual session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. 
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Promotion of human rights is at the heart of our foreign policy. The Commission on Human Rights is the UN's main human rights forum. The UK is committed to playing a major role at CHR, and has been one of its most active and committed members since its inception in 1946. The recent session adopted over 100 resolutions on human rights issues. The UK actively supported over 70 of these. Particular achievements were resolutions on a draft optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture, the death penalty, rights of people with disabilities and rights of the child, and the Commission's condemnation of human rights violations in Burma, Iraq, Sudan, Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were, however, disappointed by the lack of progress in some areas, including racism, and the reluctance of the Commission to condemn human rights violations in some parts of the world, including Zimbabwe, Iran and Chechnya. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs addressed the plenary of this year's Commission on 18 April. A copy of his speech can be found on the FCO website.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations she has made to the Governments of India and Pakistan regarding their policy on land mines. 
Since July 1998, when the United Kingdom became a state party to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti- Personnel Mines, we have lobbied all users of land mines, including India and Pakistan, to ratify the Convention. Both states claim political and defence reasons for not doing so.
The current franchise agreement expires in April 2005. The Strategic Rail Authority will put arrangements in place for awarding a new franchise, in good time and in the light of progress on the development of the proposed East Coast Main Line infrastructure upgrade.
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I understand that there are currently no certification bodies accredited by UKAS for railway specific purposes. UKAS will provide advice to the Strategic Rail Authority on the appointment of notified bodies under the Railways (Interoperability) (High-Speed) Regulations 2002.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list (a) the contractors and (b) sub-contractors responsible to Railtrack for maintenance of the track for each operating zone; what changes have taken place since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether (a) he and (b) his officials have met directors of Network Rail since they announced their bid for Railtrack. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether train operating companies' driving staff are required to carry, and complete when they judge necessary, report forms detailing irregularities, incidents and other matters related to safe operation of the railways which are the responsibility of rail companies, their contractors and their sub-contractors. 
Train operating companies have various reporting forms on which drivers record delays and other incidents as they occur. Drivers submit these written reports to their line management at the earliest opportunity and before signing off duty. These forms usually have a section that prompts action by the train operator's management to inform Railtrack of incidents as necessary.
Drivers are required to report to the signaller all incidents that have an immediate effect on the safety of train operation or on the operation of the line. Reports are made at the time of the incident by either cab secure radio or signal post telephone.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions (a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) his officials have had with the Solicitor-General on the case for a corporate manslaughter charge arising from the Paddington rail crash since 20 May. 
Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment (a) his Department and (b) the Strategic Rail Authority has undertaken of the ability of station operators to conform with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. 
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The Strategic Rail Authority published its code of practice "Train and Station Services For Disabled Passengers" on 6 February 2002. The Authority is currently reviewing each train operators Disabled People's Protection Policy (DPPP) against its code of practice and its DPPP guidance to identify where current facilities need to be improved.
Mr. Spellar: Following the High Court's decision to place Railtrack plc into administration last October, the Government wanted the development of railway policy to be based on a full understanding of the issues facing the rail industry. The Government therefore commissioned Mercer Management Consulting to manage a series of interviews with rail industry stakeholders to gather views about all aspects of the UK railways. Mercer kept the Government informed of the views expressed throughout the process and has now produced a report summarising the key messages heard. This has been made public today, and copies have been placed in the House Libraries.
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