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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The legal status of the Ridgeway National Trail allows vehicles to use most of its western half. The Countryside Agency has responsibility (along with the local highway authorities) for implementing and protecting the trail and, in addition to the maintenance work that they carry out, they have developed a Code of Respect for the Trail. Among other things the code asks users of vehicles to:
Lord Whitty: My department is currently considering a proposal for funding to support the review and collation of information on deterioration, appraisal and repair performance and its comparison with current practice in car parks. The proposal has been made under the Construction Directorate's
Lord Whitty: I am advised that the Metropolitan Police are pursuing an inquiry into this incident. It was not reportable under the RIDDOR Regulations 1995 and the local HSE inspectors have not investigated it. At present, HSE proposes no further action in relation to this specific incident. HSE is currently carrying out a joint review with the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions of existing regulatory and enforcement regimes to determine whether adequate legislative cover is in place to ensure the continued structural stability of buildings for health and safety reasons. This will include car parks such as the Dingwell Road multi-storey car park.
Lord Whitty: These and other recommendations from the Standing Committee in Structural Safety (SCOSS) report are being considered as part of a current joint review of structural safety being undertaken by my department and the Health and Safety Executive.
Lord Whitty: The Environment Agency's application for this order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 raises complicated legal issues which have required very careful consideration. In addition, since the close of the inquiry, the Secretary of State has received a series of detailed representations from
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The UK Eurocontrol unit rate for 2000 is higher than the other states' rates for a number of reasons:
The pound has strengthened considerably against the euro, previously the ecu, in recent years. Restated at the 1997 published exchange rate, the UK Eurocontrol unit rate for 2000 would be euro 64.77--i.e. more than 20 per cent lower.
Under the Eurocontrol charging scheme, states recover the costs incurred in providing air navigation services. This is achieved through the operation of an adjustment mechanism whereby over- or under-recoveries arising in any year are taken into account two years later. Consequently, states' unit rates are affected by the over- or under-recoveries of earlier years. For 2000, the UK unit rate has been increased by 1.4 per cent as a result of returning an under-recovery from 1998, while most states' rates have been reduced by previous years' over-recoveries. In particular, the German rate is 8.7 per cent lower due to previous years' over-recoveries.
The UK interest charge is higher than that of other states, particularly those using the euro, due to higher capital employed and a higher cost of capital. Were the UK interest charge in line with states such as France and Germany, the 2000 rate would be a further 7 per cent or so lower.
The UK also continues to incur high levels of expenditure related to development of the new air traffic control centre at Swanwick. While some other states have recently developed smaller centres, the Swanwick centre will be one of the largest in Europe. The development of the Swanwick centre places the UK at a different point in the investment cycle when compared with other states, leading to an unfavourable comparison between cost bases.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): There are no anti-personnel mines as defined under the Ottawa Convention stocked by other governments or their armed forces, or on behalf of other governments and their armed forces, in the UK.
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