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Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply, Official Report , 25 May, column 673 , whether he will seek to amend the Football Supporters Bill so that police, security services, Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise cannot obtain personal data from the football membership scheme for purposes unconnected with the operation of the scheme.
Mr. Moynihan : No. The Data Protection Registrar has advised that section 28(3) of the Data Protection Act 1984 provides for the disclosure of information where the data user concerned is satisfied that this is necessary for crime prevention or tax collection purposes. As I explained to the hon. Member on 25 May at column 673 , I cannot envisage circumstances in which the Football Membership Authority--as the data user- -would be asked to disclose information about members of the national membership scheme for purposes unconnected with the scheme. I do not therefore see a case for amending the Football Spectators Bill as the hon. Member suggests.
Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give financial aid to the arena in Sheffield required for the world student games in 1991 ; and if he will reconsider the decision on the funding of Hyde park flats, Sheffield, to be used as student accommodation for the games.
Mr. Trippier : I have from the outset made it clear to Sheffield that the Government cannot provide any special additional funding for the world student games. I have said, however, that we are prepared to consider assisting though existing programmes any schemes which meet the normal programme criteria and provide good value for money.
Column 343We have been in close discussion with the promoters of the arena project in the lower Don valley and I am very hopeful that we shall be able to give the necessary support for the project to get under way. I have also recently agreed to consider a scheme for estate action funding of work on the Hyde park flats as part of a joint development programme involving the Housing Corporation and a private developer.
I am sure that both schemes would be a major boost to development in Sheffield and, as a by-product, would assist the city council's efforts in preparing for the world student games.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will tabulate what a single person living in the London borough of Waltham Forest would pay (a) in community charge and (b) in a system of capital value rates plus local income tax paid in proportions of 80 to 20, respectively, if the person earned (a) £10,000, (b) £15,000, (c) £20,000, (d) £25,000 and (e) £30,000 and lived in (i) rented accommodation, (ii) property owned by that person worth £60,000, and (iii) property owned by that person worth £90,000, making the same assumptions as in his reply to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Sir H. Rossi) on 22 March Official Report, column 626.
Illustrative annual liability in Waltham Forest under a system of capital value rates combined with local income tax, 1988-89 Single persons earnings |(i) + (ii) |(iii) |Property Value £60,000 |Property Value £90,000 £ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (a) 10,000 |665 |945 (b) 15,000 |740 |1,020 (c) 20,000 |810 |1,090 (d) 25,000 |880 |1,160 (e) 30,000 |950 |1,230
The liability of a person in rented accommodation would be the same as for a person living in property owned by that person of the same value. The figures are based on the illustrative tax rates placed in the Library on 23 June 1988 and are for 1988-89. It is assumed that the person lives alone and has no entitlement to rebates. Taxable income is taken as earnings less £2,605, the single person's allowance, in each case. The illustrative 1988-89 community charge in Waltham Forest is £269.
Mr. Trippier : It is not possible to estimate the number of homes that could in practice be built on such sites. At 31 May 1989, approximately 2,100 sites on the register had a planning indication for residential use.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Food and Environment Protection Act and the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 provide comprehensive controls over the sale, supply, storage, advertisement and use of pesticides, including wood preservatives. Products containing Lindane are currently permitted for agricultural and wood preservative use. It is an offence to use them in any way other than that stated on the label. The uses of Lindane are currently under review by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides.
Lindane is also present in some veterinary medicines used to control ectoparasites on animals. These are currently being reviewed as part of the overall review of veterinary medicines by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in accordance with the requirements of the European Community.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of planning appeal decisions which were (a) allowed, (b) dismissed, (c) withdrawn and (d) undetermined in each of the English national parks in 1974, 1979 and 1984 ; and if he will express the numbers allowed and dismissed as a percentage of those determined.
Year: 1 April 1984-31 March 1985 National Park Allowed Dismissed Withdrawn |Number |Per cent.|Number |Per cent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Peak District |6 |26.1 |17 |73.9 |3 Exmoor |4 |57.1 |3 |42.9 |0 Northumberland |0 |- |2 |100.0 |0 Dartmoor |6 |18.8 |26 |81.2 |2 Lake District |6 |35.3 |11 |64.7 |1 Yorkshire Dales |7 |31.8 |15 |68.2 |2 North Yorkshire Moors |8 |28.6 |20 |71.4 |3
Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to allow potential developers to buy out potential objectors' rights to object in advance of a disputed planning application.
Mr. Chope : No. There are no proposals to change the fundamental basis of United Kingdom land-use planning under which planning applications must be determined on their merits having regard to all material considerations.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether, in his consideration of the 7(1) development submissions for Grappenhall Heys and Appleton Thorn, he will take into account the importance of maintaining an adequate casement for the Shell pipeline traversing the area ;
(2) whether, in his consideration of the 7(1) development submissions for Grappenhall Heys and Appleton Thorn, he will take into account the preservation of overflight paths for civilian light aircraft.
Mr. Ridley : My Department has been kept in touch with the progress of the studies since their inception. Recent discussions with the Department of Transport have covered the inter-relationship between the studies and strategic planning guidance for London.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much has been paid to (a) Newcastle and (b) Gateshead Council in respect of rates otherwise payable to them in respect of properties within the Tyneside enterprise zone in each year since the enterprise zone's declaration ; and if he will distinguish between classes of property in each case.
Mr. Trippier : The amounts paid to Newcastle city council and Gateshead metropolitan borough council in respect of rate revenue forgone in each year are given in the following table. The payments cannot be broken down by class of property.
Rate revenue foregone in Tyneside enterprise zone |Gateshead|Newcastle |£ million|£ million ---------------------------------------- 1981-82 |0.9 |0.5 1982-83 |1.8 |1.1 1983-84 |2.0 |1.0 1984-85 |2.1 |1.1 1985-86 |2.6 |1.4 1986-87 |5.5 |1.4 1987-88 |7.8 |1.3 1988-89 |9.1 |1.4
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Davyhulme of 6 March, what is his best estimate of (a) the average cost per household and (b) the overall cost of installing individual water meters in each dwelling in England and Wales.
Mr. Howard : The programme of installing meters in the large-scale metering trials on the Isle of Wight is not expected to be completed until the end of March 1990. So it is still too early to draw any reliable conclusions on the cost of installing meters on a wide scale in England and Wales which will depend on a number of factors including the number of joint supplies and the siting of meters.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration has been given to the imposition of a standard per capita charge in respect of domestic water supplies, analogous to the community charge.
Mr. Howard : It will be for each of the new water services companies to decide what method of charging to adopt as a replacement for rateable value-based charges. Metering and a flat rate charge, possibly with extra charges for hose pipes and sprinklers, are the main options currently being considered by the industry.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the cost of water to the average domestic consumer in England and Wales in the current year, assuming that water undertakings had already been privatised and metering of individual households had been introduced.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce rebates following water privatisation to assist low-income families with their water bills ; and what estimate he has made of this as a charge on public funds.
Mr. Howard : There are no plans to introduce water charge rebates. Water undertakers operate budget payment plans to help customers pay their bills and the proposed conditions of appointment for the new companies will give additional encouragement to this practice. Income support is the appropriate way of helping those on low incomes to meet their outgoings, including water charges.
Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to introduce a green label scheme for products which are friendly to the environment ; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which such a scheme would encourage consumers to buy such products and organically grown food.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We have no present plans to introduce a national scheme of environmental labelling, although we are keeping the idea under review in the light of views expressed by consumers, retailers and producers. We welcome efforts by producers and retailers to give consumers information about the environmental effect of products. The impact of any national scheme on consumers' purchasing decisions would depend, among other things, on its scope. A system of environmental labelling--the Blue Angel scheme--has operated in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1978, but food products are excluded from its scope. As for organically grown food, the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards, set up at the instigation of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, announced on 2 May national standards and a national symbol relating to the production of organic foods.
Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he proposes for the financial management by local authorities of their arrears of rents and other income ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : The Local Government and Housing Bill provides that from 1 April 1990 local authorities will be able to cover their arrears of rents and other income by borrowing for six months after the end of the year in which the arrears arose. Having carefully considered the representations of the local authority associations, my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales now propose to extend this period to 12 months, but thereafter authorities must make provision in their budgets for any arrears remaining outstanding. We also propose that housing rent arrears will fall within the ring-fenced housing revenue account, and hence if not collected within the 12-month period will have to be paid for by the other tenants.
For the transition we propose that housing rent arrears outstanding at 31 March 1990 should be dealt with outside the ring-fenced HRA and hence if uncollected will be a charge on community chargepayers. We recognise that if these arrangements were immediately applied in full to
Column 348those few authorities which have irresponsibly allowed their arrears to escalate to very high levels, this could put very great burdens on their chargepayers. Accordingly, we are also proposing that an authority with high outstanding arrears at 31 March 1990 may apply to my right hon. Friends to enable them to spread over three to five years any budgetary provision for writing off these arrears. We intend to bring forward in another place appropriate amendments to the Local Government and Housing Bill to give effect to these proposals.
It is each authority's responsibility to collect efficiently the sums due to it. We believe that our proposals, including the transitional arrangements, are fair to housing tenants and chargepayers, and will mean that in future authorities in both England and Wales have greater incentives for efficient collection of their income.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has, during the last five years, including the current financial year, ever awarded less than a full year's funding, excluding start-up costs, under its grant-making powers contained in section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986 and section 73 of the Housing Act 1985.
Mr. Trippier : Yes. In 1987-88, the first year in which grants under section 16 were available, they were awarded for the latter part of that year. In 1988-89, some section 16 grants were for less than a full year. In the period in question, with the exception of the current year, grants under section 73 have all been for a full year.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many local authority properties have been vacant for (a) less than six months and (b) more than six months in (i) Greater Manchester metropolitan county, (ii) Westminster, (iii) Suffolk, Coastal and (iv) the Isles of Scilly ;
(2) if he will list the numbers of local authority properties which have been empty (a) for up to a year and (b) for more than a year in (i) Greater Manchester metropolitan county, (ii) Westminster, (iii) Suffolk, Coastal and (iv) the Isles of Scilly.
3/4 Local authority empty dwellings at April 1988 Number of dwellings empty for: |Six months or less |More than six months|All empty dwellings |A year or less |More than a year |All empty dwellings ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Greater Manchester metropolitan council<1> |8,716 |3,547 |12,263 |10,471 |1,792 |12,263 Westminster |332 |561 |893 |535 |358 |893 Suffolk Coastal |70 |12 |82 |81 |1 |82 Isles of Scilly |1 |0 |1 |1 |0 |1 <1> Comprises the 10 metropolitan districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Thameside, Trafford and Wigan.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to (a) announce the special provisions for non-domestic rating from 1990 onwards, following his consultation paper on the effects of revaluation of non-domestic property, and (b) inform individual non- domestic ratepayers of the new rateable values of their properties from 1 April 1990 following the revaluation of non-domestic property ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 21 June 1989] : I shall announce the Government's final proposals for phasing in the effect of the uniform business rate and the non-domestic revaluation as soon as we have completed our consideration of the responses to the consultation paper.
The Valuation Office will deposit with charging authorities draft lists showing new rateable values by 31 December 1989.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 to co- ordinate procedures for the award of public works contracts as set out in the European Community draft directive on public works contracts (COM(89)141) ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 22 June 1989] : The implications of the agreement reached in the internal market council on 14 June on a directive to amend the EC public works directive are currently being examined, but it would not appear at this stage that an amendment to section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 is required.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the level of community charge for spending at needs assessment which would apply in 1989-90 if the proposed local government finance system were in operation ; and what assumptions are made to arrive at that answer.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 22 June 1989] : The estimate is £240 per adult. This figure is calculated by deducting rate support grant, and the assumed yield of non-domestic rates from total grant-related expenditure, leaving the amount to be raised by the community charge. This figure underlay the information placed in the Library on 1 March.
Mr. Howard [pursuant to his reply, 20 December 1988, c. 195] : I am today placing copies of the latest draft of the model instrument of appointment for water and sewerage undertakers in the Library of both Houses, together with copies of a note of the main changes since the December model, also in the Library, and an explanatory note on interim determination of K, condition B, part IV.
7. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessment he has made of the effect of the price of carbon fuels on the production of greenhouse gases and the implications for Government policy.
Mr. Parkinson : Discussion of the problem of global warming is proceeding at international level. The effect of changes in the price of carbon fuels depends on the particular fuel considered, the way in which it is used and the availability of alternatives.
44. Dr. Goodson-Wickes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the quantities of greenhouse gases which would be released into the atmosphere if all the United Kingdom's current nuclear electricity generation was replaced by coal-fired stations.
Mr. Michael Spicer : If the electricity that was generated by nuclear power in the United Kingdom in 1987 had been generated by fossil fuel power stations an estimated additional 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been released into the atmosphere.
Mr. Peter Morrison : In addition to the continuing work of the Energy Efficiency Office to identify and bring to the attention of users cost-effective energy efficiency measures, my Department is making an assessment of the potential for further reduction of greenhouse gases via improved energy efficiency in the context of the work of the intergovernmental panel on climate change and of the European Community's energy programme. Energy efficiency is likely to be only one element of any response to the threat of climate change ; it will require a combination of technologies and other measures to meet the challenge posed by CO and other greenhouse gases.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Fifty-two exploration wells, of which eight are onshore, had been started by mid-June this year. This figure is already greater than that for the first halves of 1988 and 1987 when 40 and 36 wells were drilled respectively.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The programmes and initiatives of the Energy Efficiency Office are all designed to draw to the attention of energy users the financial and other benefits of cost-effective energy efficiency measures.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The Energy Efficiency Office will continue to promote energy efficiency vigorously. Furthermore, the Government's proposals for electricity privatisation will break new ground in promoting efficiency both within the industry and with consumers. Arrangements have also been agreed for close co-operation between the EEO and the Office of Electricity Regulation.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Manufacturers and consumer associations already publish energy consumption data for electrical appliances. My Energy Efficiency Office is considering how best to publish further information in order to draw attention to the energy consumption of appliances and thereby promote the selection of the most efficient.
42. Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether his Department has assessed the effectiveness of domestic and commercial electrical appliance efficiency standards such as those recently introduced in the United States of America.
Mr. Peter Morrison : My Energy Efficiency Office will be assessing the applicability of standards as part of a general survey of the energy efficiency of electrical appliances in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
19. Mr. Rost : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to bring forward amendments to the Electricity Bill, strengthening the obligation to promote energy efficiency in the supply and use of electricity, as a contribution to the reduction of CO release.
Mr. Parkinson : The Government are fully committed to energy efficiency. The Electricity Bill breaks new ground in promoting energy efficiency both within the industry and by those who use electricity.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The Department of Employment estimated that 25,400 persons were directly employed in the oil and gas industry in June 1989. There are no official figures on the much larger total number of jobs supported by the North sea oil industry.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The storage of AGR fuel rods at power stations is subject to stringent safety checks by the nuclear installations inspectorate which is satisfied that these arrangements are fully adequate.
Mr. Michael Spicer : I am aware of the electricity industry's interest in constructing a dry buffer store for spent AGR fuel at Heysham. I understand that the industry is currently carrying out site investigations and has yet to submit a planning application for the dry store.
Mr. Parkinson : We intend to privatise the coal industry as soon as possible after the next general election. The precise timing will depend on the decisions reached on the future structure of the industry and the terms under which operators will be able to mine coal.
23. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the tonnage level of purchases from British Coal by (a) National Power and (b) Power Gen in the calendar year 1990.