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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): United Kingdom negotiators have made clear that we think it essential that the coverage of the studies should be comprehensive and that they should be handled transparently, with all those concerned being given an opportunity to input. We have also pressed for the implications of the Commission's XEverything But Arms" proposal to be fully considered in the context of the current sugar reform discussions.
Baroness Hayman: A report published by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee in 1995 estimated the brown rat population in England at 5° million. No figures on trends over recent years are available. Information on the level of rodent infestation was collected as part of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' 1996 English House Condition Survey and published in January 2000. The results show that, in general, the level of rodent infestations is low, and is lower compared to a previous survey in 1993. Overall, the 1996 survey found that 1.7 per cent of properties had rats present outside and 0.4 per cent had rats inside. The detailed results are available in the report XRodent infestations in domestic properties in England", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Under the provisions of the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities are responsible, as far as is practicable, for keeping their district free of rodents. They also have powers to require occupiers of land to keep their land free from rodents.
Surveillance by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has shown that in some parts of the country rats are resistant to warfarin; however, stronger Xsecond generation" anticoagulant rodenticides are available for the control of warfarin-resistant rats. In addition to lethal methods of control, heavy emphasis is placed throughout the pest control industry on the need to maintain hygiene and to proof premises against the entry of rodents.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): No. SERPs and public service provisions increase in line with the Retail Prices Index. We have no plans to alter that arrangement.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Commission's request for member states to submit additional sites arose in the context of its general duty under Article 211 to ensure that the Treaty and legislation made thereunder is properly applied. Article 5 of the Treaty is not relevant in these circumstances.
Lord Whitty: The siting of all outdoor advertisements in England is controlled by the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Where agricultural land is included in Areas of Special Control of Advertisements (ASCAs) large advertisement hoardings are prohibited. In areas outside ASCAs, express consent to display a billboard is required from the local planning authority. In considering applications, authorities will need to have regard to government policy set out in Planning Policy Guidance 19 (Outdoor Advertisement Control). This says that Xposter advertising is out of place in the open countryside and should not normally be allowed". Responsibiltiy for these matters in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland rests with the devolved administrations.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The 16.57 Birmingham to Manchester train derailed at Stafford at 17.53 hours on 19 October. The derailment occurred within 5 yards of the main line to London and for safety reasons Railtrack stopped the main line services. As no passengers were injured it was agreed by the Staffordshire Fire Brigade, the British Transport Police (BTP) and the Rail Incident Officer present that they would remain on the train until road coaches arrived. They would then disembark in a safe and staged manner.
The evacuation commenced at 19.27, but the restricted access to the site meant that this was a long process. At 20.20, the BTP and the Rail Incident Officer agreed that trains on the main line could be run at caution once all passengers had been evacuated. Trains began running at approximately 21.30, some 4- hours after the derailment.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Class 92 locomotives in question were originally intended to be used for the European Sleeper services through the Channel Tunnel. In the event these services were not commercially viable and Eurostar (UK) Ltd has had no use for these assets ever since, and I therefore consented to their sale.
Although ultimately the final purchaser of these locomotives is a decision for Eurostar, I understand that these locomotives, having been designed specifically for use through the Channel Tunnel, are very powerful. They are, therefore, particularly suitable for freight use and for use in the Channel Tunnel.
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