|Previous Section||Home Page|
Column 655(2) if she will meet the Wales Trade Union Congress in Cardiff to discuss Her Majesty's Government's industrial and regional policy ; and if she will make a statement.
Since 1987, Wales has attracted inward investment of nearly £1,450 million ; grants for regional industrial assistance total some £255 million, with an associated forecast of 68,000 new jobs. Seasonally adjusted unemployment has fallen for 34 consecutive months and by some 52,000 in the last two years. The Welsh Development Agency continues to maintain a high level of factory lettings with 2.3 million sq ft in 1988, the best year yet. Since 1979-80, over £1 billion has been spent on roads in Wales. Future plans are described in "Roads in Wales 1989" published on April 10 1989.
I see no need to meet the Wales TUC.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has had from (a) the Confederation of British Industry and (b) the Small Businesses Association to his criticisms of their submissions on the poll tax and business rate to hon. Members.
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to reduce air pollution from airliners flying into Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted ; and what powers are available to him to improve limits on the amount of aviation fuel airliners are enabled to jettison over land.
Column 656The Government introduced regulations in May 1986 to limit smoke emissions from aircraft. Regulations to limit the emission of unburned hydrocarbons came into effect in January 1989. These cover all airlines using United Kingdom airports. The United Kingdom is playing a full part in international discussions as to what further steps may be required.
The Air Navigation Order 1985, made under the Civil Aviation Act 1982, prohibits the jettisoning of fuel by aircraft over the United Kingdom, except in an emergency. In such an event air traffic controllers will recommend that the fuel be dumped over the sea if at all possible, or in excess of 10,000 ft above ground level, when the fuel would vaporise in the slipstream.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will amend the next edition of the booklet, "You and the Community Charge", to inform community charge payers that (a) the Secretary of State for Social Security can breach a duty of confidentiality in disclosing information to community charge officers and (b) the electoral registrar can take a copy of the community charge register and subsequently sell their names and addresses without their knowledge or consent.
Mr. Gummer : No, since neither is true. Regulations will specifically empower my right hon. Friend to pass information to registration officers without breaching any duty of confidentiality. Electoral registration officers may inspect community charges registers, but they have no power to copy and sell them.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, for each of the 10 national water authorities, how much has been spent to date on advertising purposes in respect of the water industry and its image ; what is the expected planned total expenditure for each water authority ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by year for the last 10 years the allocation of resources for programmes of radiological protection (a) from nuclear reprocessing plants and (b) from indoor exposure to radon ; what additional research and resources are being planned to reduce exposure from indoor radon gas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information in the form requested is not readily available. Expenditure figures for the Department over the past two years and planned expenditure for this financial year are as follows :
£ thousand |1987-88|1988-89|1989-90 ------------------------------------------------------------ Radiation monitoring programmes and associated research in respect of the Sellafield plant |480 |532 |340 Radon research and surveys |210 |250 |300
In addition, the Department will contribute to local authority costs in providing home improvement grants for radon remedial work.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations to date he has received from residents living in or near Doncaster metropolitan borough concerning the proposed toxic waste site application by Leigh Environmental at Kirk Sandell ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : My right hon. Friend has received 16 such representations. It would not be proper for me to comment on this proposal as the application could come before the Secretary of State for decision.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. We propose to ensure that authorities are accountable for their decisions to grant discretionary relief to non- profit-making sports clubs by requiring their community charge payers to bear a proportion of the cost.
Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many organisations have applied to the Housing Corporation to become approved landlords under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988 in the categories of (a) private landlords, (b) housing associations, (c) registered housing co-operatives, (d) trusts and (e) other categories ; and if he will list them.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on progress made in reviving the private rented sector of housing since the Housing Act 1988 came into force.
Mr. Trippier : The measures contained in part I of the Housing Act 1988 have been in force for less than three months, and it is therefore too soon to draw any firm conclusions as to their impact. Nevertheless, the initial response is encouraging. Recent research suggests that many owners of empty property regard the freedom to charge a market rent as a powerful incentive to let, and that a number of existing landlords are already expanding their rented property portfolios. It is further estimated tht over £300 million has so far been raised under the business expansion scheme which provides generous tax relief for those investing in property to be let on assured tenancies. We shall carry out detailed evaluations of their impact in due course.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the combined total cost of moneys paid to consultants and the cost to his Department in relation to proposed housing action trusts for the Loughborough and Angell Town estates.
Mr. Trippier : We expect that the costs in relation to the proposed Lambeth housing action trust will amount to less than £185,000. including VAT, when all bills have been paid. This figure covers consultants' fees and the costs of producing reports and leaflets about the proposals.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has received of the cost of the rehabilitation of Angell Town and Loughborough estates from his consultants on housing action trusts.
Mr. Trippier : The consultants produced an illustrative scheme for costing purposes which estimated the costs of improving the housing action trust area at between £54 million and £93 million approximately for Loughborough estate, and £39 million for Angell Town. Local residents will now be consulted about the proposals for their estates.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects council tenants to be able to benefit from the proposed increase in the maximum discount under the right-to-buy legislation.
Mr. Trippier : The maximum discount allowable in right-to-buy sales was increased to £50,000 by the Housing (Right to Buy) (Maximum Discount) Order 1989 which came into effect on 11 April. The increased limit applies to all right-to-buy sales in England and Wales completed from that date.
Sir Michael McNair Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 4 April to the hon. Member for Newbury, what are his reasons for not making inspection of loft roof, cavity wall and under floor insulation statutory requirements.
Mr. Trippier : The building regulations already require reasonable precautions to be taken to prevent toxic fumes from cavity insulation materials from permeating into the building. It is the statutory function of the relevant local authority to enforce this requirement. There are no similar requirements about how loft roof and under floor insulation work is carried out, because these operations are not thought to pose potential risks to the health and safety of subsequent users of the building. There are however requirements in the regulations relating to the thermal insulation of the exposed fabric of the building, and the enforcement of these requirements may involve the building control officer in the inspection of loft roof and underfloor insulation work.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he is giving to the London boroughs on the fringes of central London as to the priority they should give to housing and business development ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend's guidance proposes that the boroughs surrounding the City of London should make every effort to accommodate business development within the broader planning objectives for their areas. Boroughs may adopt policies to retain sites and buildings in residential use, but in so doing they should demonstrate that they have made reasonable provision to accommodate demand for business development within their area.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend accepted the figure of 260,000 extra dwellings on the advice of the London Planning Advisory Committee, with the agreement of the boroughs. It is for the boroughs to make provision in their unitary development plans.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what analysis he has carried out to estimate the need for additional shopping floorspace in London up to 2001 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The Department has not made such estimates. It is not the Government's policy to attempt to regulate volume changes in supply and demand for retail services. Guidance on how boroughs should take account of the implications of retail forecasts in their UDPs is given in PPG 6.
Mr. Chope : The London boroughs will produce unitary development plans in line with the Secretary of State's guidance. LDDC will be required to have regard to these plans in exercising its planning powers.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what figures have been used in the relevant public expenditure estimates for the utilisation of non-prescribed capital receipts by local authorities in their housing capital expenditure in the years 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989 -90 tabulated separately for district councils and metropolitan authorities, excluding London boroughs, inner London boroughs, and outer London boroughs.
Column 660public expenditure plans are made on a national basis and are not broken down by source of finance, by service, or by class of authority. The estimates of non-prescribed expenditure used in determining the total of capital allocations for England consistent with public expenditure plans for 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90 are given :
|£ million ------------------------------ 1987-88 |430 1988-89 |725 1989-90 |850
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what average percentage of the total housing stock of (a) councils, (b) housing associations and (c) private landlords was vacant at the last recorded date.
|Vacant dwellings as a |percentage of stock ------------------------------------------------------------------ Local authorities<1> |2.4 Housing associations |2.5 Private<2> |4.1 <1> Includes dwellings which are closed or have been acquired for demolition and dwellings on overspill estates. <2> Includes owner-occupied as well as private rented dwellings.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the average percentage of the net rent roll uncollected by (a) councils and (b) housing associations for the last recorded period.
Mr. Trippier : English local authorities reported cumulative rent arrears (including arrears of former tenants) of £226 million at 1 April 1988 : equivalent to 5.7 per cent. of rents collectable for 1987-88.
Information on rent arrears in respect of housing associations is available in chapter 5 of a report by the centre for housing research, university of Glasgow titled "The Nature and Effectiveness of Housing Management in England", a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the comparative costs of the repairs service for tenants of (a) housing associations and (b) councils ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : Information on the repairs services provided by housing associations and local authorities, including data on comparative costs, is contained in section 6 of "The Nature and Effectiveness of Housing Management in England", by the centre for housing research, university of Glasgow. Copies of the report, which was published earlier this year, are available in the Library.
Mr. Trippier : Under part I of the Housing Associations Act 1985, the securing of proper management in the affairs of registered housing associations is the responsibility of the Housing Corporation. I am therefore arranging for the corporation to write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what levels of new business floorspace and new industrial floorspace he is advising each borough should plan for in their unitary development plans for the year 2001.
Mr. Chope : It is for each borough to draw up its unitary development plan having regard to strategic guidance. The extent of new business and industrial floorspace is primarily an issue for individual boroughs.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has made of public and private resources required to fulfill the policies and proposals within his planning guidance for London.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend has taken account of the resource implications of the policies proposed in the draft guidance. The guidance will set the framework for the preparation of unitary development plans. In preparing these, the boroughs are required to have regard to the resources likely to be available to ensure that their policies are realistic.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what population level for Greater London in 2001 will result from the policies and proposals in his strategic guidance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to inform Chelmsford borough council of his decision on the King's Head Meadow pipeline scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department wrote to Chelmsford borough council on 21 February 1989 inviting a fresh application under the in-and- out scheme because the information contained in the original application had been made invalid by my right hon. Friend's decision on the associated compulsory purchase order. A revised application with up-to-date details was received by the Department on 10 April. A decision on this application will be made as soon as possible.
Mr. Jack Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the formula that was used to allocate to individual authorities the £15 million package for repairs to defective homes.
Mr. Trippier : As in previous years, the £15 million set aside for 1989-90 to help authorities meet their housing defects obligations was first divided between regions in proportion to the number of owners still eligible for assistance as at 1 April 1988. We then looked at the circumstances of individual authorities, and the proposals that they put forward.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what methods are being considered by water authorities to monitor drinking water supply for the presence of waterborne parasitic protozoa such as cryptosporidium ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : The Department's standing committee of analysts initiated work during 1988 on the development of methods for isolating, identifying and quantifying cryptosporidium in water supplies. These methods which have now been tested and other methods for similar waterborne parasitic protozoa are well advanced. When finalised they will be published by HMSO. The need for and form of monitoring by water undertakers for cryptosporidium in water supplies will be considered by the expert group being chaired by Sir John Badenoch which was announced in my reply of 2 March at column 286.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals exist for joint research projects with water authorities to examine risks posed by cryptosporidium in public water supplies.
Mr. Howard : The need for research projects is being examined by the group of experts established by the Government under the chairmanship of Sir John Badenoch to advise on cryptosporidia in water supplies. I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave on 2 March 1989 to my hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) at column 286.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to make a decision on the application for a research grant by Thames Water and the Robens Institute in relation to work on the parasitic protozoa cryptosporidium in the water supply ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 663for a three-year period commencing from 20 May 1989. I am delighted that Mr. Yarranton has accepted my invitation to become chairman and am sure that his many years of experience in the sporting world eminently qualify him for the task. I should like to thank John Smith, the outgoing chairman, for the valuable contribution that he has made to the work of the council over the past nine years. I know that this has been greatly appreciated by both members and staff of the council and by everyone involved in sport.
Sebastian Coe, who has been a member of the council since November 1983 and a vice-chairman since July 1986, has decided to resign from the council at the end of April to concentrate on a career in broadcasting. His international standing in the world of sport has been particularly valuable to the council and I am very grateful to him for the commitment he has shown throughout his appointment. I have also written today to Trevor Brooking to appoint him as a member of the Sports Council with effect from 20 May 1989. Mr. Brooking will bring to the council experience not only from his footballing career but also from his chairmanship of the Eastern Regional Council for Sport and Recreation and his more recent business career.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the statement made on 13 March, Official Report, column 168, to which general circulation models on climate the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Enfield, North (Mr. Eggar) was referring, pertaining to Amazonia, which do not allow us to predict regional change with certainty ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 10 April 1989] : The statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, North (Mr. Eggar) is true of all the general circulation models currently in use in the major climate change research centres of the world, including the Meteorological Office and various institutions in the United States. Developing the ability to make regional climate change prediction within reasonable limits of confidence is a principal research objective of general circulation modelling. The current status of research on this, and the possibilities for progress, are among the topics being reviewed by working group I of the UNEP/WMO intergovernmental panel on climate change, chaired by Dr. John Houghton of the Meteorological Office.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the cost of the Forestry Commission's planting operations in 1987-88 for the three counties of Yorkshire, in terms of (a) direct costs of the planting in the year and (b) supervisory costs and overheads related to that planting.
The information is as follows :
£ thousands |New planting|Restocking ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Direct (forest) costs |40 |217 Supervisory costs and Overheads |16 |89 |-- |-- Total costs |56 |306
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what areas of land the Forestry Commission proposed to newly plant in the year 1988-89 in the three counties of Yorkshire ; and if he will list, by Forestry Commission conservancies, the total area to be planted and the names and locations of the blocks over 100 hectares.
The Forestry Commission's North England Conservancy carried out a total of 31 hectares of new planting in Yorkshire in the year ended 31 March 1989.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East of 21 March, Official Report, column 517, he will publish in the Official Report a breakdown of all the costs borne by the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) of the recording of the song "Harmony" at the Giant's Causeway on Friday 10 March.