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Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on the differences between top and bottom currents at and around the likely areas of impact of the proposed long sea outfall discharge off the Fylde coast ;
(2) if the intended frequency of routine stormwater discharges from three short sea outfalls along the Fylde coast satisfies guidelines for disposal of sewage to the sea agreed in 1988 between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the water industry.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information is available to Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution on black, grey, or red list substances present in existing discharges to enable them to form a view on appropriate consent conditions for the proposed long sea outfall for the Fylde coast.
Mr. Howard : The North West water authority has provided information on the likely presence of various substances--including those in the black, grey and proposed red lists--as part of the applications for the
Column 487discharges making up the Fylde coast improvement scheme. This information will be considered by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and if the scheme is found to be acceptable, appropriate conditions will be included in any discharge consents granted.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide estimates of what proportion of sewage pollution experienced by Lytham St. Annes is due to bacterial levels in the river Ribble ; and what proportion is due to existing local discharges of sewage.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will revise his Department's estimate of the potential efficiency of conventional inland sewage treatment works in eliminating faecal bacteria from the aqueous phase of sewage.
Mr. Howard : Conventional inland sewage treatment works are designed primarily to reduce the biochemical oxygen demand and the suspended solids content of sewage. At the same time, treatment also substantially reduces the faecal bacteria count in the sewage effluent which is discharged. The efficiency with which bacteria are removed varies from works to works and, for this reason, the Department has made no overall estimate.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the effect on bacterial levels in the river Ribble of uprating the Clifton Marsh sewage treatment works to include full conventional treatment and disinfection using environmentally benign methods.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the guidelines for disposal of sewage to the sea agreed in 1988 between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the water industry.
Column 488(2) if his Department has any information on how dioxins find their way into human tissue ;
(3) what information he has on level of dioxin pollution present in air in the United Kingdom ;
(4) what information he has on the major source of dioxins resulting from industrial processes.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 14 February at columns 189-90 which made reference to the statement currently being prepared on the known source of dioxins, their possible health effects and the expected exposure of the public to them.
Information is available in the scientific literature and from measurements in the United Kingdom that dioxins may in some circumstances be formed during the manufacture of certain chemicals and pesticides and during the combustion of organic materials. As far as is known no measurements have been made in the United Kingdom on the levels of dioxins in ambient air.
Dioxins, if present in food, air or other products, may be absorbed into the body via the digestive system, via the respiratory system or by contact with the skin, respectively.
Information has been published in the scientific literature on the levels of dioxins found in certain paper products made from chlorine bleached wood pulp.
All these issues will be addressed in the forthcoming statement.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the level of inshore sea and beach pollution caused by used sanitary tampons and the plastic liners from sanitary towels.
Mr. Moynihan : Where there is visible evidence of sanitary towels and tampons it is usually attributable to discharges from short outfalls. These are being replaced as part of our programme to bring bathing waters up to EC standards. Many existing outfalls have screening and maceration facilities to break down such material into unrecognisable form. Design criteria for all new long sea outfalls provide for the removal of all solids retained by fine screening and their disposal by incineration or to landfill, and consequently, the effective disposal of sanitary towels and tampons. For these reasons, we believe pollution of inshore sea and beach areas from this source is a declining one.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to issue an invitation to the energy and environment research unit at the Open University to send observer delegates to the
Column 489forthcoming international conference on the ozone layer and environmental protection sponsored by Her Majesty's Government in London in March.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Participation in the "Saving the Ozone Layer" London conference on 5 to 7 March is for Governments only. Already over 90 countries have accepted our invitation, and we expect at least 75 delegations to be led at ministerial or equivalent level. A small number of scientists and industrialists will take part in specialist discussions. Relevant United Nations agencies have been invited to send observers, but, because of restrictions of space, it will not be possible to extend invitations to any other observers.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to conduct an environmental audit of the nuclear fuel cycle production and management process carried out by British Nuclear Fuels plc at its Springfields, Capenhurst, Calder and Windscale works at Sellafield and Chapel Cross facilities to ascertain the amounts of carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons gases released in processing and refrigeration.
Mr. Lord : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those interested and professional bodies he has consulted or plans to consult during the current review of the procedures covering preservation orders.
Association of District Councils
Association of County Councils
Association of Metropolitan Authorities
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
Countryside Commission for Scotland
Country Landowners Association
Council for the Protection of Rural England
Department of the Environment, South-East RegionalOffice Farmers Union of Wales
London Tree Officers
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Nature Conservancy Council
National Farmers Union
National Farmers Union of Scotland
National Trust for Scotland
Planning Aid for London
Royal Scottish Forestry Society
Scottish Wildlife and Countryside Link
Timber Growers UK
Some other bodies may be submitting written comments.
Mr. Lord : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what time has been allowed for consultation with interested parties during the current review of the procedures covering tree preservation orders ; and what representations he has received asking him to extend it.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It will be appropriate to carry out formal consultations if and when the Government put forward proposals for changes in the present legislation and procedures, and an adequate period of time would be allowed for that purpose. No representations have been received about the conduct of consultations.
Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will express at current prices total capital expenditure on water in England and Wales for each year since 1984-85 ; and if he will estimate planned capital expenditure on water in England and Wales for each year until 1990-91.
Mr. Moynihan : The capital expenditure for the English water authorities is set out in the table. Figures for the Welsh water authority are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. The remaining information requested by the hon. Member is not available.
|c|Capital expenditure England only|c| Year |Number ---------------------- 1984-85 |799 1985-86 |848 1986-87 |957 1987-88 |1,049 1988-89 |1,303 1. 1987-88 prices (£ million) deflated using the public works non-roads' ( PWNR) index. 2. 1988-89 figure provisional.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will discuss the future of the Croxteth country park with district councils on Merseyside in order to encourage support for its continued existence ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Consultations with the Merseyside district councils on the proposals by the Merseyside residuary body to transfer Croxteth hall and country park to Liverpool city council with an endowment of £3 million have already taken place. We hope to make an announcement shortly.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will extend the period of consultation for his consultation paper, "The Role and Functions of Waste Disposal Authorities" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government share the strong concern expressed by local authorities and others about the need to improve legislation on waste disposal at the earliest opportunity. Examining the role and functions of waste disposal authorities is a central element of the review that has been undertaken, and it is important to proceed as quickly as possible should an early opportunity for legislation arise. We hope authorities will be able to provide their views on the proposals within the consultation period of two months.
Column 491Majesty's inspector of pollution following his inspection of the Merseyside waste disposal authority ; and if he will take its evidence into account before proceeding with his proposals contained in the consultation paper, "The Role and Functions of Waste Disposal Authorities".
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We have yet to receive the report of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution on the performance of waste disposal authorities. The Secretary of State will take account of all relevant information and views in finalising his proposals to improve the law governing waste manangement.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provision will be made for water metering in the limit on charges to apply to water undertakings under the model instrument of appointment.
Mr. Ridley : The abolition of the domestic rating system means that water undertakers will have to introduce alternative means of charging. This is quite independent of the privatisation of the industry. Although the Government regard metering as potentially the fairest method of charging, it will be up to each undertaker to decide how it wishes to charge.
Each undertaker will want to take into account its own local circumstances and information on practicality, costs and effects of alternatives, before deciding whether to introduce widespread metering. Those decisions will be crucially important to customers and should be made on the best available information, over the next three years as a result of the metering trials which the industry is carrying out with Government financial assistance.
The trials are making good progress. Some preliminary findings are set out in the first interim report, which I am today placing in the House of Commons Library. However, neither these findings nor other data that may become available over the next few months will provide sufficient information to allow for the cost of introducing widespread water metering in the initial charges limit to be assigned to each water undertaker on their appointment later this year. Therefore, I propose to amend the model instrument of appointments to provide for these initial charges limits to be adjusted subsequently by the Director General of Water Services in order to cover the reasonable cost of introducing widespread metering.
I propose that each adjustment should be subject to an average cash ceiling per installation, to promote economy in the development of metering solutions. In setting this ceiling the director general would be able to take into account information on the cost of installing meters in the trial area, and later from each undertaker's metering programme. There would also be provisions to ensure that the additional revenue raised would be put towards metering and no other purpose.
The detailed licence provisions will be discussed with the water industry.
Column 492Discharges to the Morecambe bay area are controlled under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and the Public Health (Shellfish) Regulations 1934 provide adequate protection to the health of the public with regard to the consumption of shellfish.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his Department has responded to the advice of the Royal Commission on environmental pollution, 10th report, 1984, that competent authorities should use the provisions of part II of the Control of Pollution Act to designate more shellfish waters in the interests of public health and the protection of commercial shellfisheries.
Mr. Howard : The provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 have been used to extend control of all discharges to coastal waters. We have not considered it appropriate to designate more shellfish waters under the provisions of directive 79/923/EEC as the Public Health (Shellfish) Regulations 1934 provide adequate protection to the health of the public with regard to consumption of shellfish.
Mr. Andrew MacKay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the future relationship between English Heritage and the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in England.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The relationship between the royal commission (RCHME) and English Heritage has been looked at in the context of a policy review of the activities and functions of the commission and the equivalent bodies for Scotland and Wales. This review is being conducted jointly with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales. We shall be announcing conclusions in due course.
Meanwhile my right hon. Friend has decided that certain issues of principle can be settled now, in advance of the completion of the policy review. These are the question whether RCHME should be merged with English Heritage, and the suggestion in a consultancy report by Peat Marwick McLintock that consideration should be given to the transfer of some functions from English Heritage to the RCHME. Peat's conclusion from their study was that RCHME performed a distinctive role in maintaining the national archive of heritage information. We are persuaded by their analysis, and take the view that RCHME should continue as a separate body.
The arguments for transfer of functions were for the most part finely balanced. We have decided that RCHME should in future be recognised as the lead national body for oversight of the system of local sites and monuments records. In exercising this responsibility we have asked RCHME to ensure proper liaison with English Heritage, and to take into account their interest in SMRs as an input to the monument protection programme, to the decisions of local planning authorities, and to conservation generally.
We have concluded that the existing statutory arrangements under which English Heritage provides advice to the Department on the listing of buildings of special architectural or historic interest and scheduling of
Column 493ancient monuments remain appopriate. The main purpose of listing and scheduling is to identify buildings and monuments which should be given special consideration in the planning and development control process. Listing and scheduling are, therefore, linked to considerations of conservation rather than of record, and for that reason we conclude that it is more appropriate for English Heritage to continue to provide advice to us on these issues. But in doing so, we have stressed that it must make effective use of RCHME's expertise in the architectural and historic qualities of buildings and monuments.
Finally on the funding of rescue archaeology, we feel that there are good policy and practical arguments for the same agency handling all aspects of archaeology casework--scheduled monument consent, negotiations with developers, and rescue archaeology if that proves to be necessary. Accordingly we believe that it is best for English Heritage to continue to deal with rescue archaeology. But, again, we have stressed the need for RCHME's expertise to be fed into the running of the rescue archaeology programme. With these issues of principle resolved, we consider that there is now a very satisfactory basis for a supportive and constructive future relationship between the Royal Commission and English Heritage. We have written to their chairmen to inform them of our conclusions.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received a report from Government researchers based at Warren Spring on lead in the air in Cardiff ; what significance he places on the latest available figures for Cardiff ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 494Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Grist) on Friday 17 February 1989.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which Government Departments use his Department's list of programme and partnership authorities for the allocation of resources and in what ways ; and if he will list in the Official Report the allocations made to such authorities in 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88.
The list of 57 urban programme areas is used by the Government in a variety of ways to help target a range of measures which come within their Action for Cities initiative. In many cases this does not involve allocation of resources to local authorities ; more often it is used to inform the selection of locations for new initiatives or as a guide to assessing eligibility for certain grant schemes.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will construct a table showing for each police authority what the bid was for increases in establishment in the latest allocation ; when each bid was received in writing by the Department ; what award he made in the case of each bid ; and what percentage that award represents of the bid.
Police authority |Number of posts requested|<1>Date of application |<2>Posts approved |Percentage posts approved |1989-90 |from application ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Avon and Somerset |35 |8 November 1988 |20 |57 Bedfordshire |24 |18 January 1989 |16 |67 Cambridgeshire |40 |18 September 1987 |18 |45 Cheshire |10 |2 June 1987 |8 |80 Cleveland |20 |12 July 1988 |15 |75 Cumbria |62 |4 October 1988 |12 |19 Devon and Cornwall |32 |15 September 1986 |19 |59 Dorset |40 |18 September 1987 |22 |55 Durham<3> |16 |24 March 1988 |18 |113 Essex |85 |14 December 1988 |23 |27 |5 November 1987 Greater Manchester |258 |and 22 November 1988 |45 |17 Gwent |33 |5 February 1987 |12 |36 Hampshire |47 |28 April 1988 |20 |43 Hertfordshire |70 |28 November 1988 |20 |29 Humberside |83 |22 October 1987 |20 |24 |2 October 1987 Kent |66 |and 22 June 1988 |27 |41 Lancashire<4> |96 |<4>- |15 |16 Leicestershire |89 |8 September 1988 |27 |30 Merseyside |35 |30 November 1987 |22 |63 Norfolk |50 |17 November 1988 |24 |48 Northamptonshire |26 |6 October 1988 |15 |58 |15 October 1987 Northumbria |84 |and 14 November 1988 |30 |36 North Wales |31 |5 November 1987 |4 |13 North Yorkshire |50 |12 October 1987 |15 |30 Nottinghamshire |88 |27 June 1988 |24 |27 |5 October 1987 South Wales |77 |and 26 October 1988 |28 |36 South Yorkshire |50 |14 October 1987 |27 |54 |9 December 1987 Staffordshire |90 |and 9 December 1988 |22 |24 Surrey<5> |64 |24 August 1988 |10 |16 Sussex |122 |27 October 1988 |17 |14 |7 January 1987 Thames Valley |209 |and 22 September 1988 |44 |21 Warwickshire |14 |12 April 1988 |11 |79 West Mercia |40 |25 October 1988 |28 |70 West Midlands |350 |24 November 1988 |62 |18 West Yorkshire |237 |27 November 1987 |32 |14 Wiltshire |36 |20 September 1988 |11 |31 |---- |---- |---- Totals |2,759 |783 |28 <1>In some cases increases for police forces were considered on the basis of posts unmet from previous applications, always subject to the authority's confirmation that funding was available. <2>Includes posts for which Home Secretary indicated approval in principle if application was made. <3>14 out of 16 posts applied for were approved plus indication of agreement in principle for four training posts if authority made application. <4>No written application received. Increases considered on basis of information obtained from the authority about a provisional application. <5>Application for 127 posts over 1989-90 and 1990-91. Assumption that 64 intended for 1989-90.