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85. Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received a copy of "A Practical Guide to Providing Affordable Rural Housing" by the national agricultural centre rural trust ; and if he will make a statemet.
Mr. Trippier : My noble Friend the Minister for Housing attended the launch of the guide and congratulated the rural trust on its production. He commended it to all village communities which think a rural housing association might help meet housing needs in their area.
88. Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied that sufficient rented housing is available in rural areas at rents which those working in such areas can afford.
Mr. Trippier : We accept that there is a need for more affordable rented housing in some rural areas. We have therefore increased funding to the Housing Corporation to enable it to quadruple its programme of housing for rent in small villages to 1,100 houses a year. Recent changes to planning guidance, and Budget changes in the tax treatment of land given to housing associations, will also help in increasing the supply of rural housing at moderate rents.
87. Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any information about changes in private sector rents since the introduction of assured tenancy provisions under the Housing Act 1988.
Mr. Trippier : A study was carried out in 1986-1987, The report, "An evaluation of the enterprise zone experiment", was published in December 1987. A series of annual monitoring reports is also available. The latest of these, "Enterprise Zone Information 1986-87", was published on 18 April. Copies of these have been placed in the Library. A final evaluation of the zones will be commissioned shortly.
90. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has been able to gauge the response by local authorities with planning responsibilities to his Department's recent encouragement towards more precisely delineated local development plans.
Mr. Chope : My general impression is that many planning authorities have responded very positively to the advice given in PPG12, and have work in hand on preparing or updating their local plans. But a period of preparation and public consultation is required before draft plans can be formally placed on deposit, and it is not possible at this stage to gauge the full impact of PPG12.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department of the Environment is co- operating with the Department of Trade and Industry in setting up a series of seminars, involving local authorities and others to encourage paper recycling where it is economically viable. The first is in London on 3 May. We also encourage local authorities and others to use recycled paper and to recycle their own waste where economically viable. This Department has used recycled letter headed paper for some years along with paper for many other purposes which is made wholly or partly from recycled fibre.
Column 589authorities on the effect of different forms of tenure on the availability of land for affordable housing developments in rural areas.
Mr. Trippier : No. My right hon. Friend made clear in his announcement of 3 February at columns 433-34 that planning conditions should not normally be used to impose restrictions on tenure. He emphasised that the details of arrangements to secure low cost housing for local needs are very much a matter for local decision, and that must include decisions as to what tenure or mix of tenures is appropriate to the particular circumstances of the area concerned.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the members of the Nature Conservancy Council, together with the bodies appointing them and details of any of their links with field sports.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Members of the Nature Conservancy Council are appointed by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Environment. Members are appointed to the council for the personal contribution they can make to its work. They have a wide range of expertise and interests. The current members of the council are as follows :
Sir William Wilkinson, Chairman
Sir John Burnett, Deputy Chairman
Professor John Allen
Professor David Bowen
Mr. John Cossins
The Earl of Dalkeith
Dr. Peter Evans
Professor John Knill
Miss Audrey Lees
Sir Hector Monro
Dr. Bill Mutch
Professor Gareth Owen
Mr. James Teacher
Mr. Alexander Trotter
Mr. Lindsay Waddell
Mr. William Wilder
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has issued to the Nature Conservancy Council about the conditions which should be fulfilled by the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Country Naturalist Trust for the issuing of grant-aid for the purchase of land.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has issued to local planning authorities in respect of considering planning applications or compulsory purchase orders affecting village greens.
Mr. Ridley : I have issued no planning guidance about village greens. Appendix G to my Department's circular 6/85 refers to compulsory purchase orders affecting commons and open spaces (which can include village greens). The Department also produces an advice note on compulsory acquisition of commons and open land.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the public inquiry reports submitted to him in the last five years, where a decision was made in (a) under three months, (b) under six months, (c) under one year and (d) over one year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ridley : Information in the form requested cannot readily be obtained. Since 1984, I and my predecessors have issued 1,711 decisions on planning appeals following a public local inquiry, and approximately 70 per cent. of those decisions were issued within three months of the inspector's report being received. In 1988-89, 81 per cent. of such decisions were issued within three months.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has now completed his research into the lighting of the Chamber prior to its reconstruction in the 1940s referred to in his answer to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) of 13 February, Official Report, column 30.
Mr. Chope : The research has established that, except for the first few months when gas chandeliers were used and found to be unsatisfactory, artificial light in Barry's Chamber was provided from panels in the ceiling. A report was provided last month to the Select Committee on the televising of the House and copies are being placed in the Library.
Mr. Chope : As foreshadowed in the reply on 4 July last year, by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales have today laid before Parliament amending Control of Advertisements
Column 591Regulations which modernise the present regulations and introduce some carefully considered de-regulatory provisions.
Among the new provisions two categories of illuminated advertisement are being permitted without first obtaining the local planning authority's prior consent. These are small signs on "business premises" and on commercial premises in "retail parks", where the sign consists of individual characters or letters, internally illuminated. Because illuminated signs on shops and other commercial premises can sometimes be garish and unsympathetic, or may confuse passers-by, safeguards will ensure that the advertisements permitted for display will not harm amenity or put vehicle drivers or pedestrians at risk. As an additional safeguard, this type of illuminated
Column 592sign will not be permitted in any conservation area, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty or area of special control of advertisements.
These regulations will provide some worthwhile relaxation of the present unnecessarily restrictive rules, while at the same time maintaining essential safeguards for the quality of the built environment.