|Previous Section||Home Page|
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the cost of the "Environment in Trust" leaflets published on 1 March ; how many have been printed ; and what was the total cost of the hire and use of the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on 1 March.
Mr. Ridley : The one-off costs of creative design and artwork for the "Environment in Trust" series of leaflets are £117,594. The initial print of 25,000 leaflets has cost £99,760. The cost of the hire and use of the accommodation at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre for the reception on 1 March 1989 was £2,571. This is remarkably good value for money.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what proposals exist within the North West water authority for mounting a pre-flotation advertising campaign ; what would be the budget for such a campaign ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what proposals exist within the nine water authorities other than North West water for mounting a pre-flotation advertising campaign ; what would be the total budget for such campaigns ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals exist within the Water Authorities Association to mount a national, centrally co-ordinated campaign before flotation ; what would be the budget for such a campaign ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has regarding the number of repossessions of properties purchased by ex-council tenants who have exercised their right to buy.
Mr. Trippier : The latest information on all building society and local authority repossessions is given in the table. Information separating repossession of ex-council houses from other repossessions is not available.
|c|Properties taken into possession in period|c| Building Societies Local authorities (United Kingdom) (England) Year |Number |Percentage of loans at|Year |Number |Percentage of loans at |end of period |end of period ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |2,530 |0.048 |1980-81 |1,000 |0.14 1980 |3,020 |0.056 |1981-82 |1,100 |0.16 1981 |4,240 |0.077 |1982-83 |950 |0.14 1982 |5,950 |0.105 |1983-84 |840 |0.13 1983 |7,320 |0.123 |1984-85 |570 |0.10 1984 |10,870 |0.171 |1985-86 |630 |0.13 1985 |16,770 |0.250 |1986-87 |490 |0.12 1986 |20,930 |0.296 |1987-88 |330 |0.10 1987 |22,930 |0.319 1988 |16,150 |0.216
|£ ------------------------------ 1980-81 |655,000 1981-82 |239,000 1982-83 |84,000 1983-84 |- 1984-85 |1,306,000 1985-86 |300,000 1986-87 |670,000 1987-88 |25,000 1988-89 |<1>75,000 <1> Provisional.
Mr. Ridley : The Ordnance Survey financial targets for the four years from 1986-87 to 1989-90 which were announced on 30 October 1986 have already been met, indicating the excellent achievements made by management and staff. In acknowledgement of the commitment to full cost recovery in the longer term, I have now set new targets for Ordnance Survey :
(1) To recover by the end of 1991-92 a minimum of 55 per cent. of the total annual cost of core activities.
(2) To recover the total cost of Public Sector repayment work at home and overseas.
(3) To maximise revenue on small scale and specialist products recovering not less than 110 per cent. of the total costs of that category.
I have today approved the Ordnance Survey plan for 1989-92 based on these targets and I shall arrange for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.
The draft sets out guidance on those planning matters which must be dealt with on a Londonwide basis, in order to assist the boroughs to prepare effective unitary development plans for their areas. Its aims are to facilitate development and employment ; regenerate rundown areas ; maintain the vitality and character of established town centres ; sustain the amenity of residential districts ; allow for a wide range of housing provision ; and accord high priority to the environment by maintaining the green belt and metropolitan open land, and by preserving fine views, conservation areas and surrounding countryside. The draft guidance includes the number of additional dwellings for which each borough should make provision in the 1990s. The proposals take account of the advice put forward by the London planning advisory committee, with the agreement of the boroughs. The boroughs will have discretion in their UDPs to identify suitable locations for housing development and to indicate densities and parking standards so as to ensure that such development can be accommodated without detriment to the local environment.
Copies of the draft guidance have been sent to all London MPs and placed in the Library of the House.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the implications for his policy on safe destruction of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the United Kingdom of the decision of European Community Ministers to eliminate most chlorofluorocarbon gases by the end of the century.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Policy on the destruction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is not affected by last week's Environment Council resolution agreeing that production and consumption of certain CFCs should be eliminated by the end of the century.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what allowance he has made in his Department's budget for each of the next five years to provide for the substitution of HCFC 22 for chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants covered by the Montreal protocol ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : As refrigeration and air conditioning systems in Government premises need replacing or servicing, full advantage will be taken of the best available alternatives to the Montreal protocol CFCs. This does not require any separate budgetary provision.
(2) what plans there are to minimise the risk of leaks of chlorofluorocarbons from refrigeration and air conditioning systems under his Department's control.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance is being given to rent officers in assessing eligible rent in (1) boarding accommodation and (2) supportive accommodation as a result of the changes being implemented in April of the current year.
Mr. Trippier : Where the rent paid by a housing benefit claimant includes an amount in respect of board, the local authority will make a deduction in respect of that amount in accordance with the housing benefit regulations before referring the rent for consideration by the rent officer. Any other services provided--including supportive services--will be identified by the local authority in its application to the rent officer. Under the draft orders now laid before Parliament the rent officer will be required to determine the value within the overall rent of any of those service items which are ineligible for housing benefit.
Following the initiative of the United Kingdom, the Council agreed on the need to reduce production and consumption of the CFCs controlled by the Montreal protocol by at least 85 per cent. as soon as possible with a view to phasing them out by the end of the century, and to strengthen the protocol accordingly. This represents substantial and welcome progress since the Environment Council 24 November. The agreement gave a clear signal to this week's "Saving the ozone layer" conference and to the first meeting of the parties to the protocol in Helsinki in May. It puts the European Community firmly in the lead in trying to convince the rest of the world that tougher international measures are needed.
I am pleased to report that the Council reached agreement on the municipal waste incineration directive, which sets sensible but appropriately rigorous standards for new municipal waste incinerators in line with the regime likely to be imposed for domestic reasons by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution when they come under its control at the end of March under regulations to be laid before the House within the next few days.
The Council had a further useful discussion of the proposal for a directive on the contained use of genetically modified
micro-organisms. A considerable number of points were resolved, and the proposal was referred back for further consideration of remaining issues.
A proposal to introduce controls over discharges of four dangerous substances to waste was also discussed.
The Council gave preliminary consideration to proposed technical amendments to the air quality directive on smoke and sulphur dioxide emission which do not affect the United Kingdom.
Column 433The Commission noted progress on the global transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste convention which is currently under negotiation under the auspices of the United Nations environment programme. A preliminary exchange of views took place on a communication from the Commission on measures to improve the conservation of the African elephant.
Ministers also discussed the conference to be held in The Hague on 11 March and agreed a declaration stating that any member state attending the conference would not be asked to enter into international commitments liable to affect the environment policy of the Community as a whole.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many staff within his Department in the category "intermediate", as defined by the Civil Service pay and conditions code, have permission to engage in local or national political activity.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 27 February 1989] : My Department operates a block permission scheme related to the types of work on which staff are engaged. The number of staff employed in these areas varies over time. In November 1987, a total of 11,801 posts in the PSA and 1,165 in DOE (Central) were covered by permissions. More recent figures are not available.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of (a) the report on water quality and (b) the operational response of the Thames water authority referred to in "Thames Water Board News" of 16 September 1988.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 2 March 1989] : No. I understand that the documents are internal papers of the Thames water authority which were submitted to the authority's board meeting in September 1988.
(2) if he will make a statement relating to the quarter ended 30 June 1988 and for subsequent quarters on the performance of the Thames water authority in relation to (a) the European Community directive on quality of water intended for human consumption, (b) his Department's report 71 on the bacteriological examination of drinking water supplied and (c) World Health Organisation guidelines for drinking water.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of (a) the average cost per household, and (b) the overall cost in England and Wales of installing individual water meters in each dwelling ; to what extent this is to be at the charge of (a) the Exchequer and (b) the consumer ; and what
Column 434estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of meter installations where the householder is in receipt of income support.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 3 March 1989] : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) on 20 February at column 495, it will be some time before the metering trials provide reliable estimates of the average cost of installing meters on a wide scale. This will depend on a number of factors including the extent of complex plumbing, the number of common supply pipes, the siting of meters and the type of meter technology used.
Where a water undertaker decides to introduce compulsory metering of existing properties, the cost of installing meters will be met by the water undertaker and recovered, in so far as they are reasonable, through charges to its customers as a whole. The amount of costs which they will be able to recover in this way will be subject to an average cash ceiling per installation set by the director general. There will be no charge on public funds.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will require local authorities to fly red flags, or similar clear warnings of danger to be displayed, along all beaches where bathing may be hazardous to health, according to information available to him through the European Community or his own Department.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 3 March 1989] : A total of 67 per cent. of our bathing waters now meet the standards of the EC bathing water directive and water authorities are developing improvement programmes for the remaining waters. However, failure of a bathing water to meet these standards does not mean there is a serious health hazard. This would only arise in exceptional circumstances and it would then be for local environmental health officers to advice on appropriate action, including the provision of health warnings.
Mr. Ashton : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on proposals for the privatisation of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service research and development.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will expand the use of the set-aside scheme so as to assist the bee industry by returning fallow land to a flower-rich environment by seeding with nectar and pollen-bearing plants.
Mr. Ryder : Land left fallow under the scheme must be kept in good agricultural condition. The detailed management rules forbid the use of insecticides and fungicides and require the establishment of a green cover crop (such as clover, which is particularly attractive to
Column 435bees). Farmers may sow conservation or wildflower mixes and are advised to consider doing so in the scheme literature. There is thus already ample opportunity under the scheme for the creation of set-aside land of conditions attractive to bees and other wildlife.
Mr. Ryder : We recognise that honey bees play a significant role in pollinating some major agricultural and horticultural crops, but is it not possible to put a monetary value on this because of other factors involved.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his Department is doing to prevent the starvation of bees in the summer months in areas of intensive farming where pasture, woods and hedgerows have been eliminated as a source of nectar.
Mr. Ryder : Feeding of bees and similar matters of bee management are for individual beekeepers who can seek advice if necessary from the bee unit of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service. ADAS advice on conservation matters is generally freely available, and when giving commercial advice to farmers, advisers seek to achieve a reasonable balance between the interests of agriculture and conservation considerations. My Department also provides grant aid towards the cost of new hedge planting and farm woodlands.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson) of 27 February, what is the cost of his new programme of research and development into bovine spongiform encephalopathy ; and how this programme is being funded.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Decisions will be taken in relation to possible new areas of research into bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the light of advice received from the newly established research consultative committee.
Mr. Ryder : I regret that figures relating purely to hedge replanting are not available. Neither do we have details of hedge planting carried out without grant aid. Grant paid between October 1985 and September 1988 in the Ministry's northern region under the agriculture improvement scheme for hedge planting, hedge laying and associated gates and stiles amounted to £407,494 on eligible expenditure of £911,685. This broadly equates to 275 miles of hedge planting.
Column 436to replace the beef variable premium from 3 April, will be payable direct and in full to those engaged in finishing beef in the traditional manner.
Mr. MacGregor : The Community special premium for beef is payable to beef producers on up to 90 head of male animals per year at a rate of £28.42 per head. The detailed Community regulations implementing the decisions of the January Agriculture Council are currently being finalised. As we are required to apply the new scheme by 3 April, I have concluded in consultation with the Secretaries of State for Wales and Scotland that we should, at least in the first instance, make use in Great Britain of the option to apply the premium when cattle are sold at live markets for slaughter and at slaughterhouses, as we already have an administrative system for that in place. This will enable those finishing beef to continue to sell cattle through live markets and slaughterhouses and to receive the new premium at a similar marketing stage to the old variable premium.
Farming and trade interests would, I know, see advantage in applying the premium on farm. I shall review in consultation with the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Scotland the practicability and cost-effectiveness of moving in due course to an on-farm basis. A separate announcement will be made shortly about the arrangements to apply in Northern Ireland.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how he expects the new beef special premium, due to come in on 3 April to replace the present beef variable premium will apply to the first 90 male animals in a herd only, compared with the present payment on all graded animals regardless of sex, to affect the specialist beef finisher ; and to what extent he expects the smaller finisher in the traditional manner will lose premium.
Mr. Donald Thompson : As my right hon. Friend explained in his reply to my hon. Friend today the new special premium is to be paid at the same marketing stage as the old variable premium. The rate of payment is £28.42 per head on male animals up to 90 head per producer. The old variable premium varies according to market circumstances and the weight of the beast with a typical value range of about £40 to £54 per beast. With a fixed rate for the new premium, beef finishers will be able to take it more predictably into account in their planning. They will also know that the quality standard which matters is not the certification standard imposed by scheme rules, but the demands which are imposed by market needs. I believe that beef finishers will find that the new premium will enable them to concentrate more on meeting the quality demands of the market. Finishers marketing less than 90 head of male animals per year will be able to claim the new premium on all of them and the payments they receive may well be higher than they would have received at times when the variable premium was paid at less than the maximum rate.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what response he is giving to the representations of the Animal Diseases Research Association regarding the need to continue funding research programmes into euzootic abortion, cryptosporidiosis listeriosis and toxoplasmosis.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will itemise which of the 17 measures he has announced to counter salmonella in poultry since December 1988 require (a) new primary legislation and (b) new secondary legislation before becoming operative ;
(2) when he intends to introduce (a) secondary or (b) primary legislation for each of the 17 measures he has announced to control salmonella.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make representations to the Republic of Ireland about the threat to salmon stocks caused by Irish fishermen in international waters ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Minister of State at the Scottish Office and I had informal discussions with our opposite number from the Irish Republic. The United Kingdom fisheries Departments regularly monitor the effects of the Irish salmon fishery and the relevant enforcement bodies of our respective countries, along with those of Northern Ireland, will continue to work in close co-operation against any illegal fishing for salmon.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will place in the Library the text of the advice given by the Veterinary Products Committee to his Department on an application by Monsanto to produce the genetically-engineered hormone bovine somatotropin to boost milk production in cows.
(2) what plans there are to minimise the risk of leaks of chlorofluorocarbons from refrigeration and air conditioning systems under his Department's control.
Sir David Price : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what effect the spread of the eutypiose fungus upon vine stocks is expected to have upon wine production in the European Community ; and what steps are being proposed to contain the spread.
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 2 March 1989] : Eutypa lata has been fairly widely distributed in the traditional wine producing countries for many years. I am not aware of any proposals from the European Commission specifically concerned with its treatment or containment. There have been no confirmed cases in which it has been identified in this country but ADAS horticultural advisers and plant pathologists have been alerted since 1987 to watch for possible signs of the disease.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, whether he will give details of the work which will be undertaken by the Agricultural and Food Research Council in its £5.4 million plan for co-operative research on agriculture and the environment.
The AFRC, in conjunction with Economic and Social Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council, will shortly start a programme of research on agriculture and the environment. Funds are divided equally between the three research councils. The AFRC will take the lead in supporting work on herbivore/plant interactions and vegetation dynamics.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will give details of the work which will be undertaken by the Agricultural and Food Research Council under its £3 million plan to expand its LINK scheme for collaborative research with the Department of Trade and Industry.
The AFRC will be co-sponsoring the control of plant metabolism and protein engineering programmes. It is also considering co-sponsoring the eukaryotic genetics, molecular recognition, molecular sensors and food sciences programmes.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will give details of the work to be undertaken by the Agricultural and Food Research Council in its £11 million plan to restructure the Institute for Animal Health ; and over what period such work will be carried out.
Plans are well advanced for the first phase of the restructuring of the AFRC's institute of animal health on to two sites. This will involve the relocation of poultry disease research from the Houghton laboratory to the Compton laboratory, requiring the provision of new poultry housing for experimental and production flocks as well as new laboratory accommodation for scientific staff.