HL Deb 28 October 1996 vol 575 cc5-6WA
Lord Pym

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are taken by the Overseas Development Administration to ensure that all aid projects are assessed for their environmental sustainability.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey)

All projects are subject to environmental assessment according to the guidelines and procedures set out in the Manual of Environmental Appraisal. ODA has recently revised and updated the manual. It is accompanied by guidance on the major international environmental agreements and their implications for both aid donors and recipients. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library of the House.

Lord Pym

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they will provide details of the departmental minute which the Overseas Development Administration laid before the house on 20th August 1996.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

The departmental minute reported the assumption of contingent liabilities arising from tax indemnities given to the commercial banks which are making concessional loans to developing countries to finance the following projects:

Country Project Estimated Maximum Liability £
1 Indonesia Advancement of S1 Science and Technology 1,432,665
2 China Guangzhou Metro Ventilation Systems 416,051

It was necessary to give the indemnities urgently during the Parliamentary Recess to avoid delaying the start of these two projects.

The departmental minute also reported that the contingent liability for the China Guangzhou Metro Overhead Catenary System Project had been underestimated by £88,317 in the earlier departmental minute laid before the House on 16th April 1996. This project is already being implemented.

The financing agreement for this project will be increased. The contingent liability is now estimated to amount to a maximum of £916,354 instead of the £833,037 perviously notified.

These projects are being supported by the Overseas Development Administration under the Aid and Trade Provision soft loan financing arrangements which enable the banks to lend at concessional rates.

The departmental minute was placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 20th August and copies were sent to the Public Accounts Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.