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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Under the Montreal protocol and the implementing European legislation, production and consumption of CFCs must be reduced by 20 per cent. by 1994 and by a further 30 per cent. by 1999. On 2 March the EC Environment Council, in response to a United Kingdom initiative, called for the protocol to be strengthened so as to require a cut in production and consumption of CFCs of 85 per cent. as soon as possible, and their complete elimination by the end of the century.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Montreal protocol requires cuts in production and consumption of CFCs of 50 per cent. by 1999. Within the overall framework of the EC regulation implementing the protocol in the Community we are strongly encouraging industry to reduce use of CFCs to the maximum possible extent. As a result of the steps industry is taking on a voluntary basis the United Kingdom will more than halve its consumption of CFCs by the end of 1989, 10 years ahead of the protocol requirement. If, however, extra powers are needed to back up this voluntary action we shall take them. The United Kingdom and its EC partners have now called for CFC production and consumption to be cut by at least 85 per cent. as soon as possible with a view to their complete elimination by the end of the century, and for the protocol to be strengthened accordingly.
Column 631current month's London conference on the ozone layer indicated that they would sign the Montreal protocol on reducing chlorofluorocarbon consumption.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A total of 20 countries attending the "Saving the Ozone Layer" London conference indicated their firm intention of ratifying or acceding to the Montreal protocol. A further 14 countries stated that they would give serious consideration to becoming parties to the protocol
27. Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to seek to increase the penalties currently available to the courts for dealing with those who breach their consents to discharge into rivers.
Mr. Howard : The maximum penalties which may be imposed by magistrates for offences under section 32 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 are fines not exceeding £2,000 and terms of imprisonment of up to three months. On indictment in the Crown court there is no limit on the fine that may be imposed and terms of imprisonment can be up to two years. Penalties for pollution offences are kept under regular review but there are no immediate plans for increasing them.
Mr. Howard : As my hon. Friend will recall from the answer given on 27 January 1989 the further views of the parties are under consideration. A decision will be reached as soon as this process has been completed.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A total of 25,000 sets of "Environment in Trust" leaflets have been produced so far, at a print cost of £99, 760. In addition, the one-off costs of creative design and artwork are £117,594.
Column 632Community and have played a major role in securing the agreement to directives which cover the requirement for new cars to run on the fuel and its availability in Europe.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : In the month to mid-February, unleaded petrol accounted for 5.5 per cent. of the market. Demand has increased more than fiftyfold since figures were first made available in April 1987 when uptake stood at less than 0.1 per cent.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget raised the duty differential between 4-star leaded and unleaded fuel by an additional 4p a gallon. This should result in a price difference of about 10p per gallon at the pump. It is the second largest differential in the European Community. I am confident that it will ensure a continued rapid increase in take-up of unleaded fuel. The average motorist travelling 10,000 miles in a year stands to save about £35. The Chancellor has also increased the duty on 2-star leaded petrol which will encourage the switching of storage facilities to unleaded petrol, and ensure that the number of outlets continues to rise rapidly. The Government will continue to take steps to promote the widest possible use of unleaded petrol.
34. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps his Department is taking to ensure that water authorities are penalised for supplying polluted water as drinking water ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : Clause 51 of the Water Bill will make it an offence for a water undertaker to supply water unfit for human consumption. The penalty for an offence may take the form of a fine or imprisonment. Under clause 19 of the Bill my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be able to enforce compliance with drinking water quality standards set by regulations made under the Bill.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I met Lord Montagu on 28 February. English Heritage produced a very imaginative scheme for a new visitor centre some time ago. There has been a delay in taking it forward through the normal planning procedures because of the need to find a route for access to the centre which satisfactorily balances the Army's security and operational needs with the interests of visitors, other landowners and the local community. However, I very much hope that we are now close to a solution.
38. Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the Government expect to publish their response to the second report from the Environment Select Committee on toxic waste HC22-I.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Extended and strengthened controls over waste disposal were announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 29 June 1988 and I put forward supplementary proposals on 23 November 1988. In addition, on 24 January 1989 the Government issued a consultation paper, "The Role and Functions of Waste Disposal Authorities", proposing to separate those authorities' operational and regulatory functions and promote the more effective control of waste disposal. Legislation to enact these measures will be introduced as early as possible during this Parliament.
39. Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take to ensure that councils deal promptly with applications by their tenants to buy their homes.
Mr. Trippier : As I announced in my answer of 10 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) at column 699, provisions came into force on that date enabling tenants whose applications are delayed by the landlord to have rent payments put towards the purchase price.
Mr. Trippier : As I announced in my answers of 9 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) at column 672 and 10 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) at column 699 , we intend to increase the maximum value of discount from £35,000, and have brought into force new measures to help tenants whose applications are delayed by their landlord.
Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he will make to ensure an orderly interaction between tenants' choice and other mechanisms for transferring public housing to the private sector.
Mr. Trippier : The Department of the Environment and the Housing Corporation have today issued a joint statement. This sets out detailed arrangements for ensuring a smooth and sensible interaction between tenants' choice on the one hand ; and voluntary disposals by local authorities and transfers by new town development corporations, the Commission for New Towns and housing action trusts on the other hand. The main principle proposed is that particular dwellings should be subject to only one transfer proposal at any one time, and that proposal should be allowed to run its course before any other transfer proposal affecting the same dwellings can be put in train. Copies of the statement have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
105. Mr. Patchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications have been received under the tenants' choice provisions of the Housing Act 1988 for transfer of the housing stock of local authorities ; and how many he has approved.
41. Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of sites, and their area, on land registers for each of the bodies listed in schedule 16 to the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, as amended.
47. Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many requests he has received to include specific vacant sites of under one acre to be listed on land registers under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.
Mr. Trippier : Land is removed from the land registers either when it is brought into use, or sold, or where part X of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 ceases to apply to the owning body. The large number of separate public bodies whose unused or underused land is entered on the registers and the variety of circumstances related to each site make any prediction as to the time taken for the land currently on the register to be removed meaningless. At the end of February 1989 there were 84,400 acres of land on the registers : in 1986 10,200 acres of land were removed ; in 1987 15,460 acres and in 1988 10,940.
87. Mr. Raffan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether all vacant, unused and underused land held by Government Departments is now included on land registers under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.
Mr. Trippier : From the time the first land registers were compiled, Departments have provided details of land that meets the criteria for entry on the registers of unused and underused publicly-owned land maintained by my right hon. Friend under part X of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. Generally, sites less than one acre in area are not entered on this register.
52. Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of sites, and their area, on land registers under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 owned by each Government Department.
Department |Number of sites |Total area (acres) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Department of health |230 |4,605 Department of the Environment |35 |1,005 Ministry of Defence |39 |699 Department of Transport |40 |382 Department of Energy |12 |140 Home Office |3 |5
42. Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the number of planning reports from his Department's inspectorate awaiting his decision, and if he will list them, giving the dates they were submitted by the inspectorate.
Column 636awaiting decision by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I will write to the hon. Member with details of these cases.
Mr. Moynihan : I met the chairman of the Sports Council on 20 March together with the chairmen of the regional councils of sport and recreation. We discussed a number of issues relating to sport and recreation. I also had a private dinner with the chairman of the Sports Council yesterday evening.
48. Mr. Bidwell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by urban development corporation the cash sums raised from land sales each year since designation ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : Of the 10 UDCs established in England, only London Docklands and Merseyside development corporations reported receipts from land sales up to the end of 1987-88. For the figures for London Docklands I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 21 February 1989, at column 569 to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon). Receipts reported for Merseyside development corporation are as follows :
Financial Year |£000 --------------------------------------------- 1982-83 |6 1983-84 |120 1984-85 |- 1985-86 |72 1986-87 |291 1987-88 |225
Mr. Trippier : The Secretary of State for the Environment last met the leader of Manchester city council, Mr. Graham Stringer, during a visit to the Central Manchester urban development corporation on 28 July 1988, which was the main topic of discussion.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Both United Kingdom manufacturers of chlorofluorocarbons, and some refrigeration companies, already offer a recycling service for used chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants free of charge.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The individual citizen can make a considerable contribution towards the reduction of pollution. The prevention of litter and the choice of environmentally friendly products-- for instance the use of lead-free petrol--are among the many examples of the action that can be taken.
53. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the further representations he has received from London borough representatives and others on overbuilding in outer London, including during the 23 February meeting at his Department and since that date.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend and I discussed several planning issues with hon. Members and councillors representing a number of the London boroughs at a meeting on 23 February. Those present have not made any further representations about overbuilding. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) on 8 March at column 525, which sets out the further advice we have given to local planning authorities in London about residential densities.
Mr. Moynihan : It is not possible to estimate the financial effects of the scheme until its details, particularly the technology to be employed, have been settled. I understand that a number of companies have said that with co-operation from the football authorities and proper marketing and management, the scheme could be set up and run at no cost to the clubs.
Column 638membership authority to draw up and submit to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment for approval. A central premise of the scheme is that membership cards will not be transferable.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend last visited the development corporation on 15 February this year. Matters discussed related to the regeneration of the corporation's area including major projects such as the propose Sandwell mall and the Black Country spine road.
58. Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the acceptable extent of party political activity by local government officers earning above £13,500.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Representations to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have concentrated on the appropriateness of applying political restrictions to the staff concerned rather than the extent of party political activity allowed to them. The representations have reinforced us in our view, that public political activity by such staff is unacceptable where it could conflict with the officers' duties. Our proposals in the Local Government and Housing Bill focus on those cases.
Column 639was summarised in the chairman's message prepared by my right hon. Friend. Copies of the message, together with a more detailed account by the conference rapporteur, have been placed in the Library.