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Mr. Trippier : I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quinn) on 6 December at column 198.

Nirex

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he now expects to receive the report from Nirex on suitable sites for the disposal of nuclear wastes ; and what timetable he envisages for his decision.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to receive Nirex's proposals for a radioactive waste disposal facility shortly. The Government will respond to the proposals as quickly as possible.

Nationalised Industries (Rating)

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the annual rates bill, at the latest available date, levied on the nationalised industries ; and if he will make a statement on what arrangements he proposes for these industries following the reorganisation of local government finance.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information on nationalised industries' rate bills is not held centrally. These industries will continue to be rated on a basis comparable with the private sector under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. To the extent that rateable values are determined by statutory formula at present, this form of assessment will continue for the 1990 rating lists. The main exception will be the coal industry, all of whose property will be valued by conventional means from 1990.

Housing Act 1988

Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether an Italian national living in a council house will be eligible to vote under tenants' choice provisions made under the Housing Act 1988.

Mr. Trippier : Yes, as long as he or she meets the criteria laid down in the Act. British nationality is not a necessary qualification for voting under tenants' choice.

Domestic Water Supplies (Disconnections)

Mr. Rowlands : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many disconnections of domestic water supplies there have been in each English water authority in 1988.

Mr. Moynihan : I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) on 30 November at column 282.

Waste Disposal Sites

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications for planning permission for waste disposal sites have been made in the last five years by private sector companies ; how many were granted ; how many refusals were appealed against ; and how many such appeals were successful.

Mr. Chope : The Department does not have information about the number of planning applications for development involving waste disposal. The table gives information


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from the Department's records about appeals against refusal of planning permission for waste disposal sites since 1 April 1984 (the earliest date for which such information is available) :


                 |1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88        

---------------------------------------------------------

Appeals received |20     |26     |30     |34             

Appeals decided  |2      |14     |29     |21             

Appeals allowed  |0      |4      |13     |11             

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many deemed applications for planning permission for waste disposal sites have been made in the last five years by local authorities ; how many were granted ; how many refusals were appealed against ; and how many such appeals were successful.

Mr. Chope : Local authorities have powers to grant themselves deemed planning permission for such development ; although in certain circumstances they may be required to apply to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for permission. Statistics are not held centrally of the numbers of such permissions and applications.

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications have been made for waste disposal sites licences under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 in the last five years by private sector companies ; how many were granted ; how many refused ; and how many granted on appeal.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : From information held by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, the numbers of waste disposal site licences granted to private sector companies in England and Wales during the period 1983-87 are as follows :


       |Number       

---------------------

1983   |287          

1984   |344          

1985   |367          

1986   |334          

1987   |<1>362       

<1> 4 of these were  

granted on appeal.   

Figures for 1988 are 

not yet available.   

There is no centrally held information on the number of site licence applications refused by waste disposal authorities.

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many waste disposal sites occupied by waste disposal authorities have been authorised by a resolution of those authorities in the last five years.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : From information held by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, the numbers of waste disposal sites operated by waste disposal authorities in England and Wales and authorised during the period 1983-87 are as follows :


       |Number       

---------------------

1983   |39           

1984   |37           

1985   |34           

1986   |40           

1987   |40           

Figures for 1988 are not yet available.


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Community Charge (Registration)

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of the advice his Department has given to local authorities about drawing up a registration form for the poll tax.

Mr. Gummer : The Government have no plans to introduce a poll tax. Advice on community charge registration was contained in community charge practice note No. 8, copies of which were placed in the Library when it was published on 11 November 1988. The note includes a model registration form.

Planning Applications

Mr. Michael Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the public inquiry to begin its work in determining planning applications by Mr. J. Jackson which are being called in by his Department ; how long he expects the inquiry to last ; and when he hopes to be in a position to give his final decision on the application.

Mr. Chope : Arrangements are in hand for a public inquiry. I understand that the planning inspectorate will shortly be in touch with Mr. Jackson with dates when an inquiry might begin.

It is impossible at this stage to say how long the inquiry will last or indeed when the Secretary of State is likely to issue his decision. But I can assure my hon. Friend that all steps will be taken to ensure an early decision.

Local Authority Housing

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each year since 1978 the number of local authority homes sold to sitting tenants and the number of new local authority homes built (a) in England as a whole and (b) for each local authority in England.

Mr. Trippier : The information requested is as listed. The available information for each local authority has today been laid in the Library : this shows total local authority sales and local authority new building completions for each financial year from 1980-81 to 1987-88. The equivalent for England is as follows :


Local authorities: England: numbers of dwellings                                                        

                          |All sales                |Housebuilding completions                          

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1980-81                   |68,200                   |65,300                                             

1981-82                   |128,200                  |39,700                                             

1982-83                   |181,200                  |27,200                                             

1983-84                   |<1>122,000               |28,000                                             

1984-85                   |91,400                   |26,800                                             

1985-86                   |82,300                   |21,400                                             

1986-87                   |86,100                   |17,900                                             

1987-88                   |<2>110,300               |15,300                                             

<1> Includes 3,000 dwellings in Cantril Farm sold to Stockbridge Village Trust.                         

<2> Includes 5,500 dwellings sold by London Residuary Body to Thamesmead Town Ltd.                      

Water Supply

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 12 December, Official Report, column 410, if he will identify areas of


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London where drinking water supplies have, at any time, exceeded standards set in the European Community drinking water directive in each of the last three years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 10 Janauary 1989] : Some 250,000 analyses a year are carried out in the London area by the Thames water authority and occasionally an analysis will indicate that a standard has been exceeded. This is because of the inherent variability in the nature of water and its supply and the stringency of the standards.

Hazardous and Toxic Wastes (Barnsley)

Mr. Patchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the names and addresses of all sites in the Barnsley, East constituency which are used for the disposal and dumping of hazardous and toxic wastes.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 13 January 1989] : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) on 19 December 1988 at column 40 . Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has a record of 257 waste disposal facilities in south Yorkshire, of which 63 are located in the Barnsley local authority area. Its records do not allow for segregation at constituency level. I refer the hon. Member to the Waste Disposal Authority for details of which facilities are licensed to accept special wastes.

Watermead Country Park

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received any representations from Leicestershire county council about the proposed access to Watermead country park ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 16 January 1989] : The Department received representations from Leicestershire county council on 7 December against Leicester city council's proposal for a vehicular access to Watermead country park. The city council decided to deem itself planning consent on 5 December and subsequently sought the Department's views on the validity of that action. A reply to both authorities is in preparation.

Importers and Exporters (EC Regulations)

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department issued its advice supplementary notice to importers and exporters No. 6 on article 6 of the EEC regulation 3626/82 ; how many cases have been brought to his Department's attention before and since this advice ; and what has been the result of the investigations into those cases.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 16 January 1989] : Supplementary notice to importers and exporters No. 6, which superseded advice given in earlier notices to importers and exporters, was issued in April 1987. Comprehensive details of infractions of article 6 of EC regulation 3626/82 brought to the attention of the Department are not available. Since 7 November possible infractions have been brought to the notice of the Department ; five have been referred to the enforcement authorities for any appropriate action ; and two are under consideration within the Department.


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Libraries

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to require local authority libraries to charge for their services.

Mr. Luce [holding answer 12 January 1989] : As my consultative paper stated, the Government are committed to the continuing provision of a free basic public library service to individuals. Library authorities already have discretionary powers to charge for some services, and as my consultative paper made clear any additional powers which might be introduced would also be discretionary. As I said on 8 December in reply to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) at column 256 I shall make a statement shortly.

Maerdy Fish Hatchery

Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment is he will make a statement on his current plans for the future of the Maerdy fish hatchery in the Clwyd, South-West constituency since the hon. Member for Clwyd, South-West last wrote to him.

Mr. Peter Walker : I have been asked to reply. No decision has yet been taken on the future of the Maerdy fish hatchery.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. French : To ask the Attorney-General how many oral parliamentary questions he has answered by written reply because the question was not reached at Question Time, for the most recent year for which figures are available.

The Attorney-General : In 1988, of a total of 98 oral parliamentary questions, 55 were answered as written questions, because the question was not reached at Question Time.

Obscene Publications Act

Mr. Speller : To ask the Attorney-General if he will meet the Director of Public Presecutions to discuss possible action under the Obscene Publications Act in respect of newspaper photographs showing the corpse of a murder victim in Surrey in the week beginning 12 December.

The Attorney-General : The Crown Prosecution Service has considered possible action under the Obscene Publications Acts in respect of the photographs referred to but has concluded that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction for an offence under those Acts. I agree with that view.

ENERGY

Electricity Boards (Liabilities)

Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will identify separately the Central Electricity Generating Board's and the South of Scotland Electricity Board's provisions for (a) decommissioning, (b) reprocessing of irradiated fuel and (c) other liabilities at 1987-88 prices, up to 31 March 1988 ;


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(2) if he will give details of the provisions made by the Central Electricity Generating Board and the South of Scotland Electricity Board for (a) decommissioning, (b) reprocessing of irradiated fuel and (c) other liabilities, on an annual basis from 1977 until 1988.

Mr. Michael Spicer : This is a matter for the Central Electricity Generating Board and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member. The South of Scotland Electricity Board is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Private Coal Mines

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list by year for the last five years (a) the number of private deep coal mines, (b) their locations, (c) the number of miners employed therein and (d) the number of miners employed by British Coal for the same periods ; and what assessment he has made of the implications for private deep coal mines of the proposed privatisation of the electricity industry.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Points (a) to (d) are matters for British Coal, and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member. The privatisation of the electricity supply industry should provide new opportunities for the coal industry as a whole.

Electricity Supply Industry

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the level of capital expenditure in the electricity supply industry in 1987-88 ; and what is his estimate of the level of such capital expenditure in 1988 -89 and 1989-90.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Capital expenditure by the electricity supply industry in 1987-88 amounted to £1,089 million. Investment approval for 1988-89 and 1989-90 amounts to £1,474 million and £1,644 million respectively.

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what amount planned expenditure on capital investment to the electricity supply industry during 1988-89 was raised following his decision that electricity prices should be increased from April 1988.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The decision to raise the financial targets of the industry was taken in the light of the forecast disappearance of surplus capacity and the longer-term needs of the industry, not short-term changes in the industry's capital investment programme. The decision on the financial targets did not therefore lead to an increase in the planned capital investment of the industry in 1988-89.

Plutonium

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will provide in separate tabulated form in the Official Report figures for (a) the total annual amount of civil separated plutonium exported, (b) the total annual amount of civil separated plutonium imported, (c) the total annual amount of civil plutonium in spent fuel exported and (d) the total annual amount of civil plutonium in spent fuel imported for each year since May 1979 until the date for which the most recent records are available.


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Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 30 November 1988] : Total exports and imports of civil separated and unseparated plutonium in the period May 1979 to March 1988 were as follows :


(Kg)         |Imports|Exports        

-------------------------------------

Un-separated |13,720 |130            

Separated    |245    |2,865          

             |------ |------         

Total        |13,965 |2,995          

I regret that the total export figure of 2,960 kg given in my reply to the hon. Member on 8 November at column 116 should have read 2,995 kg.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

EC Price Agreement

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the National Farmers Union on the European Economic Community price agreement for 1989.

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of the National Farmers Union to discuss the European Community price agreement for 1989.

Mr. MacGregor : The Commission is expected to publish the 1989 price proposals shortly.

Bacon and Meat Industry (Self-regulation)

Mr. Gill : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will monitor the Bacon and Meat Manufacturers Association's mandatory scheme of self-regulation with a view to assessing its relevance to other sections of the food industry.

Mr. Ryder : I am aware of the initiative taken by members of the Bacon and Meat Manufacturers Association to self-regulate their activities. Each other sector of the food industry must, however, judge for itself the relevance of such a scheme.

Farm Animal Welfare Council

Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of the Farm Animal Welfare Council ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. Ryder : I met representatives of the Farm Animal Welfare Council on 17 May 1988 to discuss the council's three new studies which are :

(i) evaluation of new husbandry systems, techniques and equipments ;

(ii) enforcement of existing welfare legislation and compliance with the welfare codes ;

(iii) improvement of welfare by better promotion and education

Sheep Variable Premium

Mr. Pike : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the future of the sheep variable premium.

Mr. Donald Thompson : Proposals from the EC Commission for a review of the Community's sheepmeat regime include one to phase out the variable premium. Negotiations on these proposals have made little progress.


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Bovine Somatotropin

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received about separating milk from cows being treated with bovine somatotropin while field trials are carried out ; what replies he has given ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : I have received a number of representations. My replies have explained that the safety of BST was carefully established before certificates to hold the field trials were granted. Milk from cows treated with BST is entirely safe, so there is no reason for it to be treated differently.

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to receive the recommendations of the veterinary products committee on the possible licensing of bovine somatotropin.

Mr. Donald Thompson : The veterinary products committee will be in a position to make recommendations when the companies manufacturing bovine somatotropin have generated and submitted all data necessary to support their product licence applications and these have been assessed.

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations Her Majesty's Government have had from the veterinary products committee about the use of certain BST products on cows ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : I have referred to the veterinary products committee several applications from companies interested in developing and marketing BST products for use in milk production. Following the committee's advice that the data relating to the products' safety and quality are satisfactory, permission for field trials has been granted.

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he has received about the health consequences of the use of BST in milk production ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : The advice that I have received is that BST is safe for use in milk production.

Listeria

Mr. Gregory : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action his Department is taking to deal with the problem of listeria in food.

Mr. MacGregor : My Department is jointly responsible with the Department of Health for regulations under the Food Act. The Department of Health has already issued a statement on 12 January 1989 on the evidence available to it from routine monitoring of human cases of listeriosis.

As part of our continuing review of the impact of new technology on the safety of food, MAFF has in hand work which we have commissioned on the cooking conditions required to kill listeria monocyctogenes in poultry meat. A major study, jointly funded by industry, on physical aspects of microwave cooking is also under way.

I can assure my hon. Friend that as soon as the appropriate scientific information is available from these studies, we will immediately consider with the Department


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of Health what further action is required if any is revealed to be necessary. We shall also take into account evidence from other outside studies.

Meanwhile my Department, together with the Department of Health, and industry representatives, is considering current food processing, distribution, retailing and labelling of cooked and chilled ready-to-eat products to ensure that safety margins are satisfactory.

Animal Feedstuffs

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what organisations he is consulting in his preparation of the code of practice on the production of animal feedstuffs containing processed animal products ; and when he intends making his code of practice public.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 16 January 1989] : Proposals for the code of practice on the production of animal feedingstuffs will be discussed with those organisations whose members will be affected. Officials have already discussed the matter with the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association (UKASTA) and will consult others, including the British Poultry Federation (BPF) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Parallel discussions are also being conducted with other organisations to consider a code of practice for manufacturers of animal protein used in animal feedingstuffs. The codes will be published when the consultations have been completed and the points made in those consultations have been properly assessed.

Tuberculosis

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (a) how many animals and (b) what types of animals have been subject to movement restrictions applied under article 15 of the Tuberculosis (England and Wales) and (Scotland) Orders 1984 for each year since 1984 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 16 January 1989] : Under articles 15 in both the Tuberculosis (England and Wales) Order 1984 and the Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 1984 notices may be served on occupiers of premises where animals are or may be infected with tuberculosis. Details of the numbers of notices served and types of animals to which they applied for each of the last five years are as follows :


                       |<1>Number of notices  |Types of animals                             

                       |served on occupiers of                                              

                       |premises                                                            

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1984                   |Nil                   |-                                            

1985                   |5                     |Deer                                         

1986                   |Nil                   |-                                            

1987                   |Nil                   |-                                            

1988                   |12                    |Deer                                         

                       |1                     |Alpacas and                                  

                                              |Guanocos                                     

<1> As notices served can apply to a number of animals it is not possible to say how many   

animals were involved.                                                                      

Protein Processing Plants (Salmonella)

Mr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon.


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Member for South Shields of 14 December, Official Report , columns 579-80, what statutory restrictions there are on the release of the identity of the 21 protein processing plants that were found to contain salmonella in 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 16 January 1989] : There is no statutory prohibition on the release of the information. However details about protein processing plants are collected by my Department in order to carry out inspections as provided for under the Diseases of Animals (Protein Processing) Order 1981. It would be wrong to disclose such data for purposes other than those for which they were collected.

SCOTLAND

Dornoch Rail Bridge

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will reassess the Dornoch rail bridge project as a result of recent developments in possible financial support.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : No. Rail investment is a matter for British Rail. However, the Government's commitments to improved transport in the area are shown by the substantial investment of over £100 million in improving the A9 north of Inverness. British Rail's commitment to the rail line is shown by new signalling investment and the introduction of sprinter units.

Health Boards (Delegation of Functions)

Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland under what statutory authority health boards delegate functions to their committees.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Section 2(10) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 and paragraph 11 of part II of schedule 1 to that Act ; and regulation 8 of the National Health Service (Health Boards : Membership, Procedure and Payment of Subscriptions) (Scotland) Regulations 1975 (SI 1975 No. 197 (S 16)).

Water

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people resident in Scotland live in areas of Scotland which receive their water services from an authority based in England.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : No part of Scotland receives water services from an authority based in England.


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