Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 76/2007: Tuesday 29 May 2007
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Section E – Written questions lodged on 24 May 2007

Questions marked with a triangle (Δ) are initiated by the Scottish Executive in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

S3W-219 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive what the capital cost estimates are for the Edinburgh Airport rail link scheme.

S3W-220 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the delivery of the Borders railway will be under threat if the Edinburgh Airport rail link scheme, approved by the Parliament, progresses.

S3W-221 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with Network Rail concerning any threat to the Borders railway if the Edinburgh Airport link scheme, approved by the Parliament, progresses.

S3W-222 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will reaffirm its commitment to fund the Borders railway.

S3W-223 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will plan for further extensions to the Borders railway.

S3W-224 Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to prepare a case for the extension of the Borders railway to Hawick.

S3W-225 Stuart McMillan: To ask the Scottish Executive when the consultations on maternity services and laboratories by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will take place and whether the Executive will ensure that the status quo for services is one of the options available in the consultations.

S3W-226 Stuart McMillan: To ask the Scottish Executive what benefits the London Olympics will have for the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency.

S3W-227 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take to increase the supply of affordable homes (a) for rent and (b) to buy in each local authority area in the South of Scotland region.

S3W-228 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what proposals it has to upgrade the A9 north of Perth.

S3W-229 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how it proposes to upgrade the A96 from Aberdeen to Inverness.

S3W-230 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how it proposes to upgrade the A82.

S3W-231 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Elgin bypass will be built.

S3W-232 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has for a Nairn bypass.

S3W-233 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what support will be given to connect the A9 and A96 to the A82 in south Inverness.

S3W-234 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will increase funding to Moray Council for investment in flood alleviation measures.

S3W-235 Margo MacDonald: To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, further to the answer to question S2W-31152 by Kenny MacAskill on 29 January 2007, what stage has been reached in assessing the energy efficiency rating of the Parliament under the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC).

S3W-236 Trish Godman: To ask the Scottish Executive when there will be an announcement anent the placing of a contract to construct a passenger ferry vessel for Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd.

S3W-237 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress Transport Scotland has made in developing a combined footpath and cycleway linking Torlundy and Fort William and whether this development will be in place in advance of the World Mountain Bike Championships in September 2007.

S3W-238 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will undertake a detailed study of the costs and benefits for Scotland of the London Olympics, including the impact on lottery funding for sports, charities and the arts.

S3W-239 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what additional investment is being made in Scotland to prepare our athletes for the London Olympics.

S3W-240 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will set up a taskforce to consider the feasibility of establishing a Scottish Olympics team.

S3W-241 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any planned legislation to control the ship-to-ship transfer of oil in open waters, such as the Firth of Forth, will allow the continued ship-to-ship transfer of oil in sheltered harbours such as Sullom Voe.

S3W-242 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will take a decision on the rates of voluntary modulation for inclusion in the Rural Development Plan for 2007-13.

S3W-243 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Rural Development Plan for 2007-13 will be submitted to the European Commission.

S3W-244 Mary Mulligan: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to reinstate trauma orthopaedic surgery services at St John’s Hospital.

S3W-245 Mary Mulligan: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to return emergency surgical services, currently provided at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, to St John’s Hospital and what the timeframe will be for any such decision.

S3W-246 Mary Mulligan: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it will take to assist people from West Lothian with travel arrangements when they require to go to Edinburgh for hospital appointments or to visit family members who are in-patients at Edinburgh hospitals.

S3W-247 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how many and what percentage of local government employees were aged (a) 16 to 24, (b) 25 to 34, (c) 35 to 44, (d) 45 to 54 and (e) 55 to 64 in each of the last five years and what the most up-to-date figures are.

S3W-248 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how many and what percentage of its employees were aged (a) 16 to 24, (b) 25 to 34, (c) 35 to 44, (d) 45 to 54 and (e) 55 to 64 in each of the last five years and what the most up-to-date figures are.

S3W-249 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take to ensure that social and environmental criteria are specified in public sector procurement contracts.

S3W-250 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive when it intends to revise building standards.

S3W-251 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it intends to take to increase energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

S3W-252 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it intends to take to increase the use of microrenewable technologies.

S3W-253 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it intends to take to encourage flexi-working and homeworking.

S3W-254 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to introduce legislation on the statutory aggravation of hate crimes against disabled and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

S3W-255 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that electroshock Taser weapons should only be used by specially trained, authorised firearms officers.

S3W-256 Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body when it will make progress on the appointment of the Scottish Commission for Human Rights.

S3W-257 David Stewart: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will review the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park.

S3W-258 David Stewart: To ask the Scottish Executive what recent estimate has been made of the cost of dualling the A9.

S3W-259 David Stewart: To ask the Scottish Executive what reports it has considered or commissioned on accident rates on the A9 and how these compare with rates on other trunk roads; what plans are in place to upgrade the A9, and what the timescale is for such improvements.

S3W-260 David Stewart: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans are in place to promote and develop the voluntary sector.

S3W-261 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive why there is no spinal assessment facility in Scotland for young people under the age of 14.

S3W-262 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to open a paediatric spinal assessment facility or recruit specialist staff to the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injury Unit at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow.

S3W-263 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what criteria were used in the decision that children younger than 14, as opposed to any other age, must be sent to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire for treatment of their spinal injuries.

S3W-264 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what the cost of sending young people under 14 years to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment was in the last financial year, including the cost of flights, meals and accommodation, and how much it would have cost to provide specialist paediatric staff at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injury Unit at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow.

S3W-265 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive how many children under 14 were sent to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2005 from Scotland.

S3W-266 Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what disruption it considers is caused to the families of children sent from Scotland to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for treatment.

S3W-267 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive how many farmers and crofters’ Rural Stewardship Scheme agreements will come to an end during 2007; what the cost to the Executive would be of these agreements being extended for one year, and what plans it has to extend such agreements until the Scottish Rural Development Plan is agreed.

S3W-268 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive how many farmers and crofters were successful in entering a Rural Stewardship Scheme agreement in 2006; how many applications under the scheme failed; what the cost to the Executive would have been had these failed applications succeeded, and what plans it has to increase financial allocations in future so as to increase the area of land managed under agri-environment schemes.

S3W-269 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average agri-environment payment was per hectare of utilisable agricultural land for the last year for which figures are available and what comparative information it has for (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) the European Union as a whole.

S3W-270 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive what the total area of utilisable agricultural land was in the most recent year for which figures are available; what percentage of this was subject to agri-environment agreements, and what the equivalent percentages were in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) the European Union as a whole.

S3W-271 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive what total area of Scotland is classified as a Special Protection Area or Special Area of Conservation under the EU birds or habitats directives; what percentage of this area benefits from management payments from (a) Scottish Natural Heritage’s Natural Care scheme and (b) the Executive’s agri-environment schemes, and what the respective costs are of these two schemes.

S3W-272 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive what percentage of features within Scotland’s Special Protection Areas or Special Areas of Conservation, classified under the EU birds or habitats directives, are in unfavourable condition; what steps it has taken to identify the management required to rectify this, and how much such measures are estimated to cost.

S3W-273 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive how many species or habitats, identified by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan process as requiring conservation action through agri-environment measures, there are in Scotland and, of these, what percentage are (a) increasing, (b) stable and (c) declining.

S3W-274 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive how many cases there are in Scotland where the European Commission has sought information or other material from the Executive in order to investigate alleged infractions of EU environmental directives or regulations.

S3W-275 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive what its best estimate is of the costs of (a) securing favourable conservation status for Scotland’s Special Protection Areas or Special Areas of Conservation classified under the EU birds or habitats directives and (b) meeting the objectives of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in Scotland and what percentage of these costs it estimates will be met as part of the Scottish Rural Development Plan.

S3W-276 Rhona Brankin: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is aware of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ guidance on the biodiversity duty under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and whether it intends to issue any parallel guidance in relation to the biodiversity duty under section 1 of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

S3W-277 Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will publish its strategy on fostering, following the previous administration’s consultation on the matter which ended in February 2007.

S3W-278 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how it plans to take forward the recommendations of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences in Scotland.

S3W-279 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what proposals it has to upgrade the A95.

S3W-280 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether, following the meeting of rural stakeholders held by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment on 21 May 2007, the Cabinet Secretary invited the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) to a further private discussion to hear its representations on the question of modulation and, if so, what representations were received; whether any such meeting represents a favoured relationship between the Cabinet Secretary and the NFUS and, if so, what effect this relationship will have on other stakeholders; to what extent particular representations from the NFUS will influence the Cabinet Secretary’s decision and what value the Executive attaches to that stakeholder group, and whether all stakeholders will be given equal access and their views given equal value by the Executive.

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