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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The United Kingdom permanent representative to the UN in New York deposited the United Kingdom's instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General on 13 February. We will be bound by all three protocols to the convention, which cover the use of non-detectable fragments, landmines and booby-traps, and incendiary weapons.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The United Kingdom was among the 21 Council of Europe member states which signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities when it opened for signature on 1 February 1995.
Baroness Blatch: I regret that the full information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. I have had placed in the Library the results of a comparative survey of dangerous dogs legislation recently carried out by the Israeli authorities. This indicates the position in a number of countries of the European Union.
Baroness Blatch: A survey of passenger cars offered for sale in the United Kingdom, conducted in May 1994 by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), revealed that visible vehicle identification numbers were provided on 43 per cent. of the 881 models surveyed. Of the aforementioned, 68 per cent. were on the structure of the vehicle, with the remainder etched into the window glass.
The Government are supporting the development, by the British Standards Institute, of a standard for visible vehicle identification numbers which may, in due course, be used as the basis of a UK Government proposal to the European Commission to amend the current EC directive on vehicle identification numbers.
The major manufacturers of trucks sold in the United Kingdom have, at the request of the police, Home Office and vehicle operators, recently agreed to move to increasing the security of their vehicles to help combat the problem of commercial vehicle theft. Included as one of the minimum measures to be progressively adopted is the fitment of visible vehicle identification numbers on chassis rails.
The construction industry has itself set up a number of voluntary registration schemes using serial, chassis, engine, transmission and other numbers, whose purpose is to assist the police in the identification of plant and equipment. The Vehicle Crime Prevention Group, a sub-committee of the National Board for Crime Prevention, has identified unique identification numbers for construction plant as an issue which needs to be addressed as a matter of some urgency and will be making recommendations to the Government on possible ways forward once it has given the matter close and careful consideration.
Following the publication of Home Office research in 1992 into this subject, Home Office Ministers met major car park operators in 1993 and 1994 to consider what could be done to make car parking facilities more secure and to keep up pressure on the parking industry. Ministers have been particularly keen to promote the police-backed "Secured Car Parks" scheme.
In October 1994 the chairman of the vehicle crime prevention sub-group of the national board, met car park operators to monitor what progress had been made. There was general support for the Secured Car Parks scheme at this meeting and operators are responding positively to the need to improve security.
To date, nearly 300 car parks in the United Kingdom have won awards under the Secured Car Parks scheme and there is evidence to suggest that it and the work of operators in improving security generally has helped reduce the incidence of car crime;
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): The Department of the Environment has today issued for public consultation draft special waste regulations and accompanying guidance, together with an assessment of compliance costs and a paper on charging proposals. Copies have been placed in the Library.
The existing regulations date from 1980, and set out additional controls over the most dangerous wastes designed to ensure that they are monitored and safely managed from "cradle to grave". The new proposals implement the 1991 Hazardous Waste Directive, and the EC list of hazardous wastes adopted by the Council of Ministers in December. They also introduce other desirable changes. The key details are:
Subject to the outcome of public consultation, our aim is to introduce the new regulations and associated guidance this summer. The Government believe that the proposals will introduce a useful measure of deregulation, with no diminution of the controls which help to minimise the risk that these wastes can pose to human health and the environment.
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