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Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The microbiological safety of food committee held its first meeting on 14 April, and has met at approximately weekly to fortnightly intervals since then. At the request of Ministers it has been looking at specific questions relating to the increasing incidence of microbiological illnesses of foodborne origin, particularly from salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. The committee has no role in the handling of acute emergencies such as the recent outbreak of botulism. Once the outbreak has been dealt with, the committee will be asked to consider and advise on its implications when formulating its recommendation on microbiological food safety.

Day Care

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish in the Official Report a table listing (a) the current number of day care places for the elderly per 1,000 of the population aged 65 years and over and (b) the number of day care places for the mentally handicapped per 10,000 of the population for each local authority.

Mr. Freeman : "Adult Training Centres for Mentally Handicapped People and Day Centres for Mentally Ill, Mentally Handicapped, Elderly and Younger Physically Handicapped People, at 31 March 1987--England" shows at tables A and C for each local authority, per 1,000 population of the relevant age groups, the most recent numbers of day centre places for the elderly and for the mentally handicapped and of adult training centre places for the mentally handicapped. A copy is in the Library.

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the number of day care places for mentally ill and mentally handicapped people in each year since 1979.

Mr. Freeman : The table shows the number of day care places provided by local authority social services departments in each of the years specified. In addition, day care places are provided by mental illness and mental handicap hospitals in England, but the number of such places is not centrally collected.


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Number of places provided by local authorities                          

Year              |Mental illness<1>|Mental handicap                    

------------------------------------------------------------------------

1979              |6,984            |42,061                             

1980              |7,242            |42,337                             

1981              |7,603            |43,627                             

1982              |7,887            |45,152                             

1983              |8,689            |46,558                             

1984              |8,919            |47,464                             

1985              |9,308            |48,824                             

1986              |9,216            |50,374                             

1987              |9,875            |51,732                             

<1> Including places made available to local authorities by voluntary   

or private organisations and estimates of places for mentally ill       

people in day centres for mixed client groups. 1987 figures are         

revised.                                                                

Salmonella (Derbyshire)

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the cases of salmonella poisoning reported in north Derbyshire during May.

Mr. Freeman [holding answer 13 June 1989] : We understand that 61 cases of salmonella poisoning have been reported in Chesterfield, north-east Derbyshire and Mansfield. The health authority is thoroughly investigating the source of the outbreak.

ENVIRONMENT

Housing Kirklees

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the estimated total payment of a couple on average earnings living in a house valued at (a) £60,000, (b) £30,000 in the area covered by Kirklees council in 1990-91 under a system of local income tax and rates based on capital values.

Mr. Gummer : The level of bills under a system of local income tax and rates based on capital values would depend primarily on the level of expenditure undertaken by Kirklees council and the amount of support available from Government grants and business rates. Such figures for 1990- 91 are not known. However, figures were placed in the Library on 23 June 1988 showing the tax rates which would have applied in 1988-89. Based on these figures, with capital value rates providing 80 per cent. of the total raised in local domestic taxes, a couple each earning average full-time wages, and with only the minimum tax allowance, would have paid £970 in a £60,000 house and £595 in a £30,000 house.

Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (Grants)

Mr. Hanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what grants in aid were received by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England for the maintenance and running costs of the three former Greater London council properties, Kenwood house, Rangers house and Marble Hill house during the financial years 1986-87 ; 1987-88 ; 1988-89 and 1989-90 in cash and real terms ; and how these grants were apportioned between the three properties.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The year 1986-87 was the only one in which a separately identifiable allocation of


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grant-in-aid was paid to the commission in respect of all the ex-GLC functions, including Kenwood house, Rangers house and Marble Hill house, for which it assumed responsibility ; this amounted to £7.75 million in total. For subsequent years, provision for these properties was subsumed in the total grant-in-aid provision, the allocation of which is for the commission to decide. I have asked the chairman of the commission to write to my hon. Friend with the details he requests for 1986 -87 and subsequent years.

Local Authority Direct Labour Organisations

Mr. Thornton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each financial year between 1983-84 and 1988-89 the number of local authority direct labour organisations which have failed to meet the required rate of return under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 on capital employed when undertaking (a) general highway works and works in connection with the construction or maintenance of a sewer, (b) new construction, other than general highway or sewer works, the cost of which in the estimation of the authority or development body exceeded £50,000, (c) new construction, other than general highway or sewer works, the cost of which in the estimation of the authority or development body did not exceed £50,000 and (d) building maintenance within the meaning of the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970, other than in connection with highways or the maintenance of a sewer.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The number of DLOs in England on which reports are submitted to the Department and which have failed to meet the required rate of return on capital employed under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 is indicated in the table.


        |I  |II |III|IV     

----------------------------

1983-84 |18 |22 |21 |43     

1984-85 |20 |23 |12 |44     

1985-86 |21 |18 |6  |36     

1986-87 |21 |8  |5  |13     

I   Highways.               

II  Major Construction (    

over £50,000).              

III Minor Construction (    

under £50,000).             

IV  Maintenance.            

The Department has not yet completed its examinations of DLO reports for 1987-88 and those for 1988-89 are not required to be received until 31 October 1989.

Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why he intends placing staff of his Department in valuation and community charge tribunal offices ; and what assessment he has made as to how these placements will affect the independence of the tribunal system.

Mr. Gummer : A small number of staff with specialised computer skills are to assist the clerks of the valuation and community charge tribunals in the use of new computer systems. The independence of the tribunal system is not affected.


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Bed and Breakfast (London)

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many families were living in bed and breakfast accommodation in each of the London boroughs on 1 June 1989.

Mr. Trippier : The latest available figures, for the end of March 1989, appear in table 7 of "Local authorities' action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act : England. Results for the first quarter of 1989. Supplementary Tables", which is in the Library.

Rhinoceros Horn and Ivory

Mr. Nicholas Baker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to combat illegal trade in rhinoceros horn and ivory.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The United Kingdom implements the provisions of the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) under which commercial trade in rhinoceros and the Indian elephant is already prohibited. The European Council of Environment Ministers agreed on 8 June to support the extension of such a ban to the African elephant. A ban on imports of ivory into the United Kingdom came into force on 9 June. All these measures help prevent illegal trading.

Parliamentary Offices (Heating)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why the heating in the parliamentary offices in which hon. Members' secretaries work is not switched on when Parliament is not sitting ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : Because members and staff continue to use their offices the heating is not turned off automatically at the start of a recess. This year the heating was first turned off on 8 May during the period of warm weather.

Fauna and Flora

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will reconsider his opposition to the European Community directive on fauna, flora and habitats ; what steps he proposes to take or is taking to protect endangered species of fauna and flora ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) whether he will make it his policy to support attendance by non- governmental organisations at meetings convened to discuss the implementation and management of the European Community directive 8149/88, when it is adopted.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We are not opposed to the principle of Community action to protect Europe's natural heritage. However the European Commission's proposal for a directive on the protection of natural and semi -natural habitats and of fauna and flora (8149/88) was unanimously rejected by member states at the Environmental Council on 24 November 1988. Instead, there was agreement that Community action could most usefully be focussed on assisting member states, as necessary, to implement fully the existing international conventions. We remain ready to discuss any sensible and practicable proposals to secure this objective.


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Local Authority Dwellings

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the estimated total capital value of dwellings owned by local authorities in England and Wales and the estimated outstanding loan debt on such dwellings.

Mr. Gummer : Total outstanding loan debt on local authority owned dwellings in England and Wales at 31 March 1987 was approximately £25 billion. The Department does not collect information on the capital value of local authority dwellings. However, the 1986 English house condition survey estimated the total capital value of local authority stock in England and Wales at 1 November 1986 to be £123 billion, based on market value with vacant possession.

Offshore Mineral Dredging

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will outline the procedure that will be employed, under the recently announced review of licence applications for mineral dredging offshore to ensure that such activities are not damaging to the fish stocks, sea bird populations and marine mammals ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : The revised procedures for determining licence applications for minerals dredging issued earlier this year make provision for an environmental assessment (EA) to be undertaken into the application where the Crown Estate Commissioners judge this to be necessary.

Among the criteria used to assess the need for an EA are the potential impact of the dredging area on a marine nature reserve ; the inclusion in the dredging areas of an important fish (including shell fish) spawning area or nursery ground ; or whether the dredging area is within an area which supports a known important commercial fishery. A copy of the revised procedures is available in the Library.

These new procedures reflect the important role which marine sand and gravel play in maintaining supplies to the construction industry whilst recognising the need to safeguard sea fisheries and the marine environment.

Listed Buildings

Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to introduce new legislation to safeguard listed buildings where redevelopment is proposed.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. We are satisfied that existing legislation provides an adequate framework for the protection of listed buildings.

Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list those schemes in the City of London which he has approved since June 1987 which would allow developers to pull down listed buildings ;

(2) if he will list those schemes which he has approved since June 1987 which would allow developers to pull down five or more grade 2 listed buildings to enable redevelopment to go ahead.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I will write to the hon. Member.


Column 538

Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will set out the criteria he uses to determine whether listed buildings should be retained in applications for redevelopment ;

(2) if, in the light of his decision to allow redevelopment of the Mappin and Webb site in the City of London, he will make a statement on his policy as regards preserving listed buildings.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government's policy and criteria in respect of the protection of listed buildings are set out in DoE circular 8/87.

Immigrating Birds (Protected Species)

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to ensure the adequate protection of immigrating birds of protected species.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Wildlife and Countryside Act provides a statutory framework for the protection of all wild birds in Great Britain including those who migrate here from overseas. Where appropriate, further action is taken through the classification of special protection areas under article 4 of EC directive 79/409 EEC.

Endangered Species

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he follows in determining appeals against refusal for import licences under CITES ; how many such applications have been made in each of the last three years ; and of these how many were approved.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Applications for import licences are decided on their merits, in the light of advice from our scientific advisers and in accordance with the requirements of EC regulation 3626/82 which implements the convention on international Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) within the European Community. There is no statutory right of appeal against the refusal of an import licence, but if new evidence is presented the Department is normally willing to reconsider applications which have been refused. The Department has no record of the number of applications which have been reconsidered.

Submarine Base, Faslane

Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the length of delay in the construction of the ship lift in the Clyde submarine base at Faslane ; what penalty clauses exist in the contract ; and if any of these clauses have been invoked.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 9 June 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) on Tuesday 23 May at column 497. The contract does not contain penalty clauses, but liquidated damages may be invoked once a contract completion data has been passed. For commercial reasons it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.


 

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