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Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assumptions were made about the increase in weekly council house rents for 1989-90 and the percentage increase in management and maintenance expenditure in 1989-90 compared with 1988-89 in the calculation of grant- related expenditure indicator E7, rate fund contributions to the housing revenue account, included in the exemplifications presented to members of the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance as paper CCLGF (88) 15.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 25 November 1988] : The E7 factor for 1989-90 included in the exemplifications produced for CCLGF assumed a rent increase of £1.65 per week and a 9 per cent. increase in management and maintenance expenditure. The rent increase was subsequently revised to £1.75 per week for the exemplifications in the consultation paper on the 1989-90 RSG settlement issued on 11 November.
The Council transmitted a draft declaration on the environment to the European Council in Rhodes on 2-3 December for endorsement by Heads of Government.
I am pleased to report that the Council confirmed the provisional agreement reached in June this year for a second stage limit for small car emissions at 8 grams per test of hydrocarbons plus oxides of nitrogen (HC NOX).
Ministers also reached agreement on proposals to harmonise national programmes for reducing pollution from the titanium dioxide industry. The provisions of the directive will lead to reductions in the amounts of pollutants discharged into North sea estuaries and will provide this important industry with a clear basis for planning its future investment. Council unanimously overruled the Commission recommendation for a legal base of article 100A of the Single European Act, in favour of article 130S.
The Council had a useful exchange of views on the draft directive on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms. The progress made was noted and it was recommended that further work be addressed as a matter of priority.
While almost all member states were prepared to contemplate Community action to help protect our natural heritage, the Commission's approach to a directive was unanimously rejected. There was general support for the United Kingdom's view that the Community could most usefully assist member states, where appropriate, to implement fully the Bern, Bonn and Ramsar conventions.
Progress was made in discussions on a draft directive on the prevention of air pollution from new municipal waste incineration plants.
The Council had an exchange of views on measures to protect the ozone layer. Most delegations supported the United Kingdom's proposal that the Community should call for the Montreal protocol to be strengthened by requiring an 85 per cent. reduction of world-wide emissions of chlorofluorocarbons by the turn of the century. Interest was shown in a Danish proposal for a workshop in September 1989 on following up the recommendations of the Brundtland report. Further consideration was given to a proposal for Community-wide programme of projects demonstrating how actions taken in the environmental field might contribute to employment creation. The Council agreed a resolution on exports of hazardous waste to third countries, supporting wider international agreements on transfrontier shipments of waste. The United Kingdom presented its own proposals which were received sympathetically and will now be further considered in detail with the Commission and other member states.
Column 201means to prevent emissions of harmful and offensive substances and to minimise the effects of any that cannot be prevented. Financial considerations are a factor in determining the best practicable means.
The Department produced a preliminary compliance cost assessment in November 1986, which rated the costs to industry of the proposed new controls as "tolerable".
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to permit a transitional period when the anticipated controls on emissions come into force to allow for the replacement of existing installations that do not conform to the higher standard.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We propose that plants undergoing substantial alteration would be required to meet the new standards immediately. Other existing plant would be allowed a transitional period during which they would be expected to be upgraded or replaced, as appropriate.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in recent negotiations towards a treaty to govern international trade in hazardous industrial waste in respect of (a) notification procedures in advance of shipments and (b) whether tacit or explicit acceptance is likely to be adopted ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Notification procedures under the global convention on the transboundary movement of hazardous waste currently being negotiated under the auspices of UNEP are likely to require prior notification by the exporter and explicit acceptance by the importing country before the shipment commences. We regard this as an essential element of effective control and is in line with the Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations 1988.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in recent negotiations towards a treaty to govern international trade in hazardous industrial waste with respect to controls on exporters ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There is broad agreement in the negotiations that exports of hazardous waste should be prohibited unless there is prior notification by exporters and authorisation by the importing country.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in recent negotiations towards a treaty to govern international trade in hazardous industrial waste with respect to the definitions of (a) hazardous waste, (b) ecotoxic, (c) concentration strengths and (d) substance conditions ; if such definitions are likely to be recognised internationally rather than depend on existing national definitions ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 202in hazardous industrial waste in respect of the passage of waste through territory other than the importing state in transit ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It has been generally accepted in the negotiations that the convention should require prior notification of any state through whose land area hazardous wastes are to be moved.
Mr. Buckley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the outcome of the Council of Environment Ministers to discuss the draft flora, fauna and habitat directive on 24 November in Brussels ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The Housing Corporation's approved development programme for 1988-89 made provision for gross expenditure of £737 million after taking into account forecast receipts of £82 million. The Housing Corporation now estimates that receipts will reach a total of £122 million. This increase is mainly due to higher than expected receipts from the sale of housing under the corporation's low cost home ownership programme and from the recovery of housing association grant following sales of properties. I have decided that the corporation may use the excess receipts arising in the current financial year to supplement its development programme, thus enabling more housing to be provided for homeless families and others in housing need.
Mr. Bellingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received a copy of the University of East Anglia's report on the responses to Nirex's discussion document, "The Way Forward."
Mr. Trippier : On 22 July 1987 my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe) announced that 30 September 1989 had been set as the target wind-up date for the corporation. Consultations under section 41 of the New Towns Act 1981 with Cheshire county, Halton borough, and Warrington borough councils have been undertaken, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have considered the responses received. Having taken these into account, my right hon. Friend confirms
Column 203his intention to wind up Warrington and Runcorn development corporation on 30 September 1989. The necessary order will be made next year.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 28 November 1988] : The Department is funding three research projects in the Nottingham area. One at Loughborough university of technology is looking at the impact of acid deposition on the vegetation and freshwater biota of three catchments on Beacon hill in the Charnwood forest. A second project at the university of Nottingham school of agriculture is looking at the effects of air pollution, including acid deposition, on agricultural crops. Finally the Department's building research establishment is currently investigating the effects of acid deposition in the stone work of Bolsover castle. Results from these projects have been and will continue to be published in scientific and technical journals.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Forty-two of the 46 radiation monitors currently installed in the national radiation incident monitoring network (RIMNET) are at permanently manned meteorological stations. Periodic readings are taken at the other four sites.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of the areas of open land in Greater London identified for possible use as mass burial sites in the event of war ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 25 November 1988] : The location of graves would be a matter for local decision at the time having regard to a number of factors which are set out in the emergency planning guidance to local authorities issued by the Home Office.
Under the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, county councils and the London fire and civil defence authority are responsible for preparing plans for certain civil defence emergencies including providing "facilities for the disposal of human remains". The Home Office monitors the preparation and content of the plans. The "Emergency Planning Guidance to Local Authorities" issued by the Home Office contains the following paragraph headed "Disposal of Dead". Depending upon the immediate effect of the attack in their area, one of the priority tasks for districts or boroughs could be the burial or cremation of those killed. The
Column 204location of graves and the method of disposal would be a local decision at the time, having regard to the availability of peacetime facilities, the location of the bodies, the availability of suitable temporary sites and the importance of avoiding contamination of water supplies. Temporary sites used for cremation or interment could be closed as soon as other permanent burial facilities could be brought into use. Wherever possible the name, sex, approximate age, place found and place buried or cremated should be recorded and passed to the nearest information centre or the emergency centre.
Garlic Production (England and Wales) |Area (ha)|Tonnage ---------------------------------------- 1983 |27 |135 1984 |50 |250 1985 |50 |250 1986 |50 |300 1987 |55 |330 Source: ADAS estimates published in Prod Facts by the British Food Information Services.
Mr. Ryder : The best way of encouraging greater use of cereals in animal feed is to reduce the price, and we continue to press for lower market prices for cereals. We also seek to manage the market in the United Kingdom in a way which will encourage the use of cereals by the feed industry, and this season we have obtained the release of 350,000 tonnes of feedwheat on to the domestic market.
Mr. Redwood : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those categories of manufactured food products which will be required to be harmonised in order to comply with regulations drawn up for the internal market.
Mr. Ryder : The programme for harmonisation of food law in the European Community is covering the horizontal areas of food labelling, food safety and food hygiene which are relevant to all foodstuffs. There are no proposals to be developed in the area of compositional law for specific foodstuffs.
Mr. Donald Thompson : In July fisheries departments issued a consultation paper on possible amendments to the United Kingdom's licensing system for fishing vessels. We received a total of 32 written responses to that paper.
Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what response he has had from coastal authorities to his recent announcement on expenditure on sea defences ; and which areas will benefit most immediately from this announcement.
Mr. Ryder : Coastal authorities, like their counterparts inland, have welcomed the recent announcement of increased funding for a long-term programme of inland and sea defence works, which was the result of a comprehensive review of national flood defence needs. The additional funding of £25 million a year will allow much-needed improvement to the coastal and flood defence on the east coast and in other areas where schemes will provide protection to lives, buildings, and industry.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received on the proposals to end the variable beef and variable sheep premiums ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I continue to receive a number of representations on the Commission's proposals for the reform of the beef and sheepmeat regimes. Discussions on them in the Council of Ministers are at an early stage.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what reasons it was decided that the use of the insecticide Nuvan 500 EC should be controlled under the Medicines Act 1968 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : None. The only approved marine incineration site is in the North sea. The Government committed themselves last year to phase out this method of disposal by the end of 1994 and have undertaken not to transfer waste for incineration in other sea areas in the meantime.
Column 206The Council agreed the guide prices for 1989. We secured a significant change with the introduction, for 1989, of a seasonal adjustment in the guide price for herring. This together with the inclusion of herring in the carry-over premium scheme which we secured in October is a substantial improvement. It should enable our industry to take advantage of the EC market support mechanisms which they have been unable to do this year, so as to achieve more orderly marketing. For other products of interest to the United Kingdom the price adjustments, where made, are marginal.
The Council also had a preliminary exchange of views on the Commission's proposals for total allowable catches and quotas for 1989.
Mr. Chapman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy towards the protection from development of (a) the best and most versatile agricultural land and (b) other agricultural land.
The Government's policy on development involving agricultural land is set out in my Department's Circular 16/87, issued in May 1987, and in planning policy guidance note 7 "Rural Enterprise and Development", issued in January 1988. Copies of both are in the Library. In summary, the best and most versatile agricultural land is a national resource which should in general be protected from irreversible development and should not be built on unless there is no other site available for the purpose. This does not mean that all other agricultural land is freed for development ; in deciding any application for planning permission that affects it, the agricultural implications must be considered together with the environmental and economic aspects.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Our primary concern is with encouraging safer cycling by reducing the scope for conflict with other road users. We have a continuous programme of research and application studies from which we are able to develop publicity, technical advice and engineering standards. We have a well-established series of technical publications, which are available in the Library. I shall arrange for a set to be sent to the hon. Member direct. We are just about to consult local authorities and other organisations on a further local transport note. This aims to draw together the results of much of our recent work.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the recent representations he has received regarding the electrification of the midland main line and the Channel tunnel interchange to serve the east midlands.
Column 207public (two of them from the same individual), five from Members of Parliament (including an early-day motion) and four from local authorities (including one letter on behalf of 17 councils).
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a progress report on the construction of the Iwade bypass ; when he expects to announce the draft orders for this route ; and what are the reasons for slippage in the programme.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The next step is publication of draft orders. Timing is dependent on finalising the arrangements for a junction with Kent county council's Staplehurst road link. This is taking a little longer than expected. We hope to publish draft orders by about the middle of next year.
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give a progress report on the plans for dualling the A249 from the Stockbury viaduct to Key street between the M2 junctions and the A2 junctions ; when he expects to announce the draft orders ; and what are the reasons for slippage.
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will investigate and report on the number of incidents in recent months which have caused major holdups on the A249 single carriageway route from Key street to Sheerness.
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive the appraisal from Kent county council of the need for improvements to the A249 from Kingsferry bridge to Sheerness, including the adequacy of the existing crossing of the Swale.
Column 208(2) when he expects to place the contracts for the M20 link between Hollingbourne and Ashford and the Maidstone bypass expansion.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We expect to let two contracts for the completion of the M20 between Hollingbourne and Ashford before the end of this year and in the spring, for completion in 1991. Timing of the Maidstone bypass widening will depend on the outcome of the statutory procedures. We hope that it will be completed by the time the Channel tunnel opens.
Mr. Snape : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received details of the incident involving the leakage of nitric acid from a road tanker on the A41 West Bromwich expressway on Monday 14 October.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Preparatory work for the M1-M6 interchange with the link road is halted as a result of an appeal by the Society for the Preservation of the Field of the Battle of Naseby against a High Court decision earlier this year in favour of the Department's line for the adjacent Catthorpe to Rothwell section of the scheme. Construction of the interchange could start by the end of 1989 if statutory procedures are completed satisfactorily.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many inspectors are available for port state control ; what is their location ; and what are the ports for which they are responsible.
|Number -------------------------------------------------------------------- West of Scotland and Northern Ireland district (from the Scottish border to Cape Wrath, including Northern Ireland) |19 East of Scotland district (from Cape Wrath to the Scottish border near Berwick on Tweed) |16 North-Eastern England district (from the Scottish border to Fosdyke inclusive) |29 London district (from Fosdyke exclusive to Bognor Regis inclusive) |18 South and South-West England district (from Bognor Regis exclusive to Bull Point) |20 Bristol Channel and South Wales district (from Bull Point to South of Fairbourne near Barmouth) |11 Liverpool district (from Fairbourne near Barmouth to the Scottish border) |11
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to assessments of the impact of the Severn bridge on the economy of Cardiff and south Glamorgan in determining his policy in regard to (a) tolls and (b) the need for a second crossing.