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Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of completions of (a) house and (b) flat sales by local authorities, by each region in England and in England as a whole during each year from 1980-81 to 1988-89, for (1) full ownership and (2) shared ownership.
Mr. Bellingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultation procedure is carried out for the licensing of dredgings dump sites in intertidal areas ; which statutory and non-statutory authorities are consulted ; whether licences are registered with the relevant local authorities ; and at which stage landowners are likely to be affected by spoil disposal and are consulted.
The disposal of dredgings at sea, including sites in intertidal areas, is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under part II of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. In considering whether to establish a new marine disposal site the Ministry consults bodies understood to have an interest. These would include landowners, local authorities, the Crown Estates Commission, conservation bodies, including where relevant the Nature Conservancy Council, fisheries organisations, the Department of Transport, recreational and other local interests.
Where an application is made to use an existing disposal site in an area designated as a site of special scientific Interest, the Ministry also consults the Nature Conservancy Council.
Licences under part II of the Act are not registered with local authorities, but are available for inspection on a public register kept by the Ministry.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the gross payments on new house building construction by each region in England and for England as a whole during (a) 1980-81, (b) 1981- 82, (c) 1982-83, (d) 1983-84, (e) 1984-85, (f) 1985-86, (g) 1986-87, (h) 1987-88 and (i) 1988-89, for (i) housing revenue accounts rent and (ii) sales.
Gross payments on new housebuilding England £ million |For HRA rent|For sale ---------------------------------------------------- 1980-81 <1>965.2 1981-82 <1>719.8 1982-83 |685.2 |14.6 1983-84 |682.4 |15.7 1984-85 |729.5 |22.4 1985-86 |578.8 |14.7 1986-87 |<2>457.5 |24.0 1987-88 |<2>456.8 |23.2 <3>1988-89 |505.0 |23.0 <1> Separate figures of build for sale not available for 1980-81 and 1981-82. <2> Include LA demolition of dwellings. <3> Provisional
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the number of council- owned properties in unlicensed occupation for each local authority in Northamptonshire at the latest convenient date.
Mr. Trippier : According to local authorities' housing investment programme returns (HIP1) there were no council dwellings in unlicensed occupation in Northamptonshire at April 1988. Returns for April 1989 are not yet available.
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the number of local authority-owned properties vacant at the most recent date for each local authority in Northamptonshire together with the number, by local authority vacant for (a) six months or more, (b) 12 months or more, (c) 24 months and (d) 36 months.
Mr. Trippier : Information for April 1988 was reported by local authorities in their annual housing investment programme returns (HIP1) and appears in columns A108, A118 and A128 of "HIP1 Items Print (1988)". A copy of this document is in the Library.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received arising from the meeting of African Environment Ministers, held in Nairobi between 11 and 13 May in the current year,
Column 105concerning (a) United Kingdom developed environmental protection technologies and (b) proposals to dispose of United Kingdom toxic waste in Africa ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No representations have been received by the Department of the Environment arising from this meeting of African Environment Ministers. Aid for the provision of environmental protection technologies is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Overseas Development. Any export of United Kingdom hazardous waste to Africa would be subject to the prior approval of the Secretary of State for the Environment under the Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations 1988. No such approvals have been granted.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend last visited the Building Research Establishment on 5 August 1987. On that occasion, he saw several of the establishment's research projects, and discussed progress in implementing the recommendations of the report by Lord Chilver and Sir Peter Harrop on the future role and operations of the BRE. Since then, he has announced that it is a candidate for executive agency status within his Department.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to visit the Building Research Establishment in the near future to discuss research on low-energy housing and advanced insulation techniques ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to visit the Building Research Establishment. The Building Research Establishment's research into the thermal performance of buildings and other aspects of thermal insulation contributed substantially to the proposed changes in building regulations which were announced on 11 July. The Building Research Establishment will be publishing guidance to assist designers and builders to meet the new regulations.
Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what volumes of depleted uranium and uranium scrap have been monitored and licensed by (a) Her Majesty's pollution inspectorate and (b) the nuclear installations inspectorate at the British Nuclear Fuels sites at (i) Springfields, (ii) Capenhurst, (iii) Sellafield and (iv) Chapel Cross.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy on 27 June 1989 to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn), Official Report, column 387, which refers to civil depleted uranium and civil uranium to be recycled within the production process.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution is responsible jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Column 106Food for the authorisation of radioactive waste disposals, including uranium waste products, from nuclear sites under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. Responsibility for the licensing of nuclear sites lies with the nuclear installations inspectorate under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.
Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what progress has been made on overcoming problems associated with cowboy builders following the publication of the Department's special working party report in 1987 ;
(2) whether he is considering legislation to deal with cowboy builders.
Mr. Trippier : There are no plans for legislation. The Government made clear in their response to the report of the "Beat the Cowboys" working party that the industry must take the lead in setting up an assessment and approval scheme for insurance-backed guarantees which will increase customer recognition of the reputable builder. The industry has not yet decided which body should undertake this task. Criteria for the assessment of guarantee schemes and a model "fair deal" contract for use in small building works are being developed by the Office of Fair Trading.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how the tenancies of tenants of Southwark council in Gloucester grove and north Peckham estates will change in the event of a housing action trust being created in Southwark ;
(2) whether the terms of the new tenancy agreements in any housing action trust established in Southwark will be subject to change by the housing action trust.
Mr. Trippier : If secure tenants of Southwark council transferred to a housing action trust, their existing tenancy agreements with the council would also be transferred without change to the trust and their status as secure tenants under the Housing Act 1985 would be unaffected. A trust, like the council, could vary only any non-statutory terms included in tenancy agreements. To do this, the trust would be required to follow the procedures in sections 102 and 103 of the Housing Act 1985.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the options of postal and personal voting will be available to all tenants in any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : The Electoral Reform Society has agreed to conduct housing action trust ballots. Under the terms of section 61(3)(a) of the Housing Act 1988 the society will be responsible for making the detailed ballot arrangements
"in such manner as seems best to them".
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in the event of a housing action trust being established in Southwark, what proportion of current rent arrears will be left (a) to Southwark council to recover and (b) made the responsibility of the housing action trust.
Column 107housing action trusts. In the meantime, the local authorities concerned remain responsible for the proper and efficient collection of rents that are due, for the benefit of all their tenants and rate or community charge payers. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government announced proposals on 26 June, Official Report, column 345, for the financial management by local authorities of their rent arrears from 1 April 1990.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the minimum interval he will set between any votes to establish a housing action trust in Southwark in the event of a negative vote ;
(2) what will be the outcome of conflicting results in any ballot on the establishment of a housing action trust in (a) the North Peckham estate and (b) the Gloucester Grove estate.
Mr. Trippier : Any housing action trust set up in Southwark would have exactly the same powers as Southwark council to secure possession of dwellings occupied by tenants. The grounds for possession of dwellings let under secure tenancies are in schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps will be taken to ensure that the register of tenants eligible to vote in any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark has been compiled correctly.
Mr. Trippier : Section 61(2) of the Housing Act 1988 requires the Secretary of State to use his best endeavours to secure that notice of any proposal he is considering to designate an area as a housing action trust area is given to all tenants of houses in the area who are secure tenants or who are tenants of such description as may be prescribed by regulations. We shall seek the assistance of the local authority, using the powers available under section 90 as necessary, in carrying out our duty under section 61. I am sure that local authorities will want to co-operate in providing the necessary information so that all eligible tenants have a proper opportunity to express their views in a ballot.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the relationship between any housing action trust and those tenants who had exercised their right to buy in the event of a housing action trust being created in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : If a housing action trust were set up in Southwark the ownership of the freehold of properties whose owners had bought a long lease from the council would pass to the trust. The position of any owners who have bought the freehold of their homes would not change.
Column 108will receive subsidy on housing benefit paid up to the level of market rents. Rents charged by housing action trusts will be linked, after improvements have been carried out, to council rents for similar properties in the area. Since we are not proposing that council rents should be set at market levels, the rents charged by any trust set up in Southwark should not be above the level at which housing benefit would be paid.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the tenancies of residents of Gloucester grove and north Peckham estates will be statutorily secure (a) during the duration of any housing action trust and (b) after the winding-up of any housing action trust.
Mr. Trippier : Secure tenants of Southwark council who transferred to a trust would become secure tenants of the trust. Once the trust had carried out improvements tenants might transfer back to the council and become secure tenants again. Alternatively they might opt to become assured tenants of a landlord, such as a housing association or co-operative, that is approved by the Housing Corporation and, therefore, subscribes to the principles in the tenants' guarantee.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will use powers under the Caravan Sites Act 1968 to require Calderdale local authority to provide travellers' sites ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : I have no plans at present to direct the metropolitan borough of Calderdale to provide travellers' sites. I am aware of the need for gipsy accommodation in the area and my Department is encouraging the local authority to define the level of need and to implement an appropriate programme of provision.
Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now in a position to announce details of the proposed review of the arrangements for preserving redundant Church of England churches.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The redundant churches fund has now been in existence for 20 years. During that time it has done an excellent job in preserving and caring for some 250 historic churches no longer in pastoral use. The fund is jointly financed by the Church Commissioners and the Department of the Environment. Over the years the costs, to Church and state, have increased steadily, with the state meeting an increasing proportion (now standing at 70 per cent.) of those costs.
In moving the consideration in Standing Committee on 8 February last of the draft Grants to the Redundant
Column 109Churches Fund Order 1988, I announced that we had decided, in consultation with the Church Commissioners, to review the fund's current arrangements and to consider whether they were still appropriate for present and likely future needs.
I am pleased to announce that Mr. Richard Wilding, former head of the Office of Arts and Libraries, has agreed to carry out a review of the current arrangements for the operation and financing of the redundant churches fund.
The review will be carried out for the Department and the Church Commissioners. Mr. Wilding will start work in September this year and aims to report to the Secretary of State and to the Church Commissioners by April 1990. He would welcome views and comments, which should be sent to him at the offices of the Church Commissioners, 1 Millbank, London SW1.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how much was loaned to housing associations by local authorities for new house building (a) for shared ownership and (b) for others in each region in England and for England as a whole during each year from 1980-81 to 1988 -89 ;
(2) what was the value of the loans to housing associations by local authorities for the purchase of existing dwellings (a) under the improvement for sale scheme and (b) other sales schemes, by each region in England and for England as a whole during each year from 1980-81 to 1988- 89.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what was the number of dwellings transferred from existing stock under the improvement for sale scheme by each region in England and for England as a whole during each year from 1980-81 to 1988-89 ; (2) what was the value of the outstanding loan debt on local authority dwellings transferred from existing stock by each region in England and for England as a whole during each year from 1980-81 to 1988-89.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 10 July 1989] : The available information is listed in the table. Regional and national estimates of outstanding loan debt on dwellings transferred under improvement for sale schemes are not available.
Transfers under the improvement sale scheme: Dwellings transferred from existing stock Department of the |1986-87 |1987-88 |1988-89 Environment region ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern |43 |44 |149 Yorkshire and Humberside |12 |- |39 East Midlands |777 |85 |50 Eastern |15 |- |25 London |- |- |- South East |- |- |- South West |30 |- |886 West Midlands |74 |- |- North West<1> |4 |7 |39 |------- |------- |------- England |955 |136 |1,188 <1>Includes Cumbria.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he has replied to the European Commission's request for clarification on the compatibility of the Government's plans for the privatisation of the water authorities and European Community directive on water quality, with particular regard to bodies responsible for monitoring compliance of drinking water ; (2) if he has replied to the European Commission's request for clarification on the compatibility of the Government's plans for the privatisation of the water authorities and European Community directive on water quality, with particular regard as to whether there will be an independent body monitoring the disposal of sewage sludge to agricultural land in accordance with directive 86/278/EEC ;
(3) if he has replied to the European Commission's request for clarification on the compatibility of the Government's plans for the privatisation of the water authorities and European Community directive on water quality, with particular regard to those circumstances in which water undertakings may be permitted to continue to supply drinking water which does not conform with the parameters laid down in directive 80/778/EEC ;
(4) if he has replied to the European Commission's request for clarification on the compatibility of the Government's plans for privatisation of the water authorities and European Community directive on water quality, with particular regard as to which pollution control functions of the National Rivers Authority are considered by the Government to be suitable for contracting out ; (5) if he has replied to the European Commission's request for clarification on the compatibility of the Government's plans for the privatisation of the water authorities and European Community directives on water quality with particular regard to whether the Government's relaxation of sewage works discharge consents prior to privatisation is consistent with article 2 of directive 76/464/EEC on dangerous substances.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 13 July 1989] : Discussions have taken place with the European Commission on the drinking water quality provisions which are now incorporated in the Water Act 1989. I am not aware of any outstanding points on these provisions to be clarified with the Commission. A reply was sent to the Commission on 11 January 1989 clarifying the other points raised.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all those sewage works for which a relaxation of discharge consent has been granted at the latest available date for each water authority region.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 13 July 1989] : A list of the sewage treatment works for which applications have been made by water authorities for time-limited discharge consents has been placed in the Library. These applications are being advertised. Representations received by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in response to these advertisements will be fully considered in determining the applications. No time-limited consents have so far been issued.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 13 July 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply which my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Water and Planning gave to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) on 2 May, Official Report, column 57. The European Commission has agreed to continue to consider applications for aid from the European regional development fund in respect of investments in infrastructure by privatised water undertakers. We are in discussion with the Commission over its detailed requirements.
Since 1981 the Government have been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging the recycling of glass and paper, from both the collection and processing aspects.
In July 1986 a commitment conference was held at DTI on glass recycling at which central and local government, retailers and the glass industry made a commitment to double the number of bottle banks in the five years up to 1991. Good progress is being made towards reaching this target. Following the conference, the Department of Environment held a series of seminars in each region at which local authorities discussed the benefits of glass recycling. Ministers and officials from both DTI and DOE have attended several events to promote glass recycling, including the launch of bottle bank schemes.
In January 1987, my Department organised a waste paper recycling commitment conference (printings and writings) which led to the creation of a working group to consider the formulation of specifications which would lead to increased use of recycled fibre in the printings and writings sector, particularly continuous stationery, educational wove and photocopying paper. Specifications have been formulated in these first two areas ; work is continuing in the latter.
Between May and August 1989, my Department is organising a series of seminars, "Wastepaper Into Newsprint--The Case for a National Wastepaper Collection Drive", aimed at averting a perceived future shortfall in the supply of waste newspapers used as a raw material in the production of newsprint in the United Kingdom.
The DTI is taking a lead in Government in trying to encourage other Departments to use recycled paper and has recently introduced a recycled letterhead for Ministers. The DTI is also encouraging the recycling of materials including glass and paper through the educational literature it has produced for schools. These actions are part of an integrated Government approach to encourage the recycling of all materials wherever it is economically viable to do so.
126. Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he collects as a result of participation on employment training schemes ; and if he will give a breakdown for Scotland.
Table 1 Employment training-Scotland Programme statistics Category |Latest information|Numbers --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Filled places at training managers |30 June |23,200 Starts at training managers |30 June |41,600 Referrals from Employment Service to training agents |30 June |127,200 Action plans completed at training agents |30 June |59,800 Contracted places as at |May |34,900 Estimated project placements as at |30 June |14,500 Estimated employer placements as at |30 June |4,800 Child care allowances during April |28 April |349
Table 2 Employment training-Scotland Trainee characteristics Category |Latest information|Percentage ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sex |30 April Male |72.0 Female |28.0 Duration of unemployment |30 April 0- 5 months |13.0 6-12 months |35.0 13-23 months |15.0 24 months |37.0 Ethnic origin<1> |30 April 1 |95.0 2 |<0.5 3 |<0.5 4 |<0.5 5 |3.0 People with disabilities<2> |31 March |11.0 <1> Ethnic origin: 1 White. 2 Black/African/Caribbean. 3 Indian/Pakistan/Bangladeshi/Sri Lankan. 4 None of these. 5 I prefer not to say. <2> Those trainees answering whether they had a long-term health problem or disability which affected the type of work they could do. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.
124. Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that existing training schemes in Scotland will not be prejudiced by the proposed training and enterprise councils system.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Marland) on 21 June, Official Report, column 129, about proposed extensions to the less favoured areas in the United Kingdom, when he expects to place the relevant maps for Scotland in the Library.
Mr. Bill Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce measures to name general medical and dental practitioners who have been found to be in breach of their terms of service.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will instruct the Forestry Commission to ensure that the current reviews of pinewoods and broadleaves' policies are fully compatible ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the Prison Officers' Association to discuss the incidence of AIDS amongst the Scottish prison population ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend last met the trade union side of the Scottish prison service, including representatives of the Scottish Prison Officers' Association, in December 1988. The incidence of AIDS amongst the Scottish prison population was not discussed. AIDS-related issues have been discussed regularly by officials with the trade union side, most recently at the annual meeting of the Whitley Council in May.
As regards figures for the incidence of AIDS amongst the Scottish prison population I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 5 July at column 206.