HC Deb 15 December 1998 vol 322 cc417-8W
Mr. Charles Kennedy

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the(a) landing capabilities and (b) designated sites associated with his announcement of expansion to the Highlands and Islands air ambulance service; and if he will make a statement. [63309]

Mr. Galbraith

The announcement concerned the recent contract awards made by the Scottish Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which has secured the continuing provision of Patient Air Transport Services for the people of Scotland. In addition to sustaining the high quality Air Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance High Dependency Service, both of which traditionally use fixed wing aircraft, significant improvements have been made to the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.

The 2 new helicopters that are being commissioned into service are roomier, faster and quieter than their predecessors. Fully equipped for patient care, the aircraft are built for flying in more adverse weather conditions and in hours of darkness. Both will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with air crew supported by ambulance paramedics and technicians and will be capable of landing at any of the 226 Civil Aviation Authority approved airports, landing strips and other landing sites located across Scotland. Outwith hours of darkness helicopters can land at any site so long as it is safe to do so. I shall write to the hon. Member with a detailed list of all of these locations as soon as possible, and will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library.

Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the forecast payment from the European Union with regard to the Highlands and Islands Objective I area for(a) 1997–98 and (b) 1998–99; and if he will make a statement. [63152]

Mr. Macdonald

In 1997–98, the amounts received from the European Commission with regard to the Highlands and Islands Objective 1 area totalled £24.3 million, while the forecast receipts for 1998–99 amount to £78.9 million. These payments include those made for the purposes of the Highlands and Islands Objective 1 Programme as well as those made in pursuance of various Community Initiatives using the European Union Structural Funds. The amounts shown do not include certain payments made from the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund where separate information for the Highlands and Islands Objective 1 area could not be identified except at disproportionate cost. Nor, for the same reason, do they include any payments made by European institutions other than the European Commission.

The amounts received from the Commission as shown do not necessarily correspond in terms of their timing either with the commitment of funds or the payment of funds to individual projects under the Objective 1 Programme or with the Community Initiatives.

Forward to