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Year |Traffic Flow (vehicles |per day) --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1981 |28,500 1982 |30,400 1983 |28,600 1984 |33,600 1985 |33,970 1986 |34,100 1987 |37,800 1988 |43,100
The information on earlier years is not readily available. The traffic flows substantiate the Department's proposals for widening to a dual three- lane carriageway.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Subject to the satisfactory completion of the outstanding statutory and other processes, we hope that these improvements can be completed in the mid-1990s. The works will need to be staged over a four-year period to limit the traffic disruption over this 16-mile stretch of road.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the inspector's report on the public inquiries held between 17 November and 11 December 1987 into orders 198 for the improvement of the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth was received in his office.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether tendered prices were received by contractors for previously proposed works of improvement to the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth under orders 198 ; and what was the cost of providing tender documents.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : This scheme has not been developed to a point where tenders could be invited. This is because the compulsory purchase order had still to be published before acquisition of the necessary land. No tender costs have, therefore, been incurred.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the dates orders 198 proposing improvements to the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth were published, the number of hours the public inquiries held between 17 November and 11 December 1987 were in session and the costs.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Draft orders were published for this scheme in May and July 1987. The public inquiry sat for approximately 98 hours. Details necessary to give the cost of the inquiry is not available.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the number and description of reported accidents on the length of the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth in each of the last 10 years.
Year |Fatal |Serious|Slight ---------------------------------------- 1981 |5 |23 |18 1982 |2 |22 |35 1983 |0 |21 |17 1984 |2 |17 |26 1985 |0 |24 |34 1986 |6 |20 |28 1987 |3 |23 |21 1988 |3 |13 |35
Information before that date is not readily available.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We have set targets for reducing the average time taken to progress a scheme from entering the road programme to opening for traffic by the order of a quarter. In introducing the changes we have taken care to ensure that the rights of interested parties will not be affected.
Responsibility for improving conditions for cyclists rests with individual highway authorities.
The Department offers technical advice on the design and construction of cycling facilities, based on a continuing programme of research.
Comprehensive guidance from the Department was contained in a local transport note published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in June. Entitled "Making Way for Cyclists" it covers a wide range of planning, design and legal issues.
Mr. Channon : Yes. The consultants for the scheme were asked to investigate whether there is an alternative design for the bridge which would be practicable, acceptable within the broad order of costs of the bridge originally proposed by the Department, would satisfy the objectives of the scheme and keep options open for the future use of London city airport. The consultants have recommended that a box girder bridge with a shorter main span of 240 metres would satisfy all these requirements. Having considered the consultants' report on the review which I
Column 463initiated, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I agree with their recommendation. A letter announcing this decision is being sent to interested parties. We take particular note of the Royal Fine Art Commission's comment that the design of this bridge should be of the highest quality. We shall be consulting the commission further on the design. The decision to review the bridge design followed our consideration of the report from the inspector who conducted the local inquiries between September 1985 and December 1986. The inspector considered that a dual three-lane standard would eventually be needed. With the bridge design originally proposed, it would not have been possible to provide three full- width lanes. With the new bridge design it will be possible to do so.
The inspector recommended that a cycleway be provided across the bridge. With the new bridge design this will be included. Objections were also received concerning the implications for the future use of London city airport of the height of the towers of the original bridge. The new bridge design should avoid this difficulty. Draft orders will shortly be published to put the new proposals into effect. There will be the usual opportunity for people to make representations or object to these proposals and if necessary a further public inquiry into the new bridge proposals will be held. Without prejudice to any decisions that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I may be called upon to take in the future, and subject to the completion of the statutory procedures, it is hoped the bridge will be in place by the mid-1990s.
Copies of the consultants' report on the review of the design of the bridge, together with our decision letter, are being placed in the Library.
Mr. Batiste : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many companies in receipt of a cash grant from his Department to establish a business in a particular place have discontinued such business within five years of establishment.
Mr. Trippier : Two companies who received urban development grants for the regeneration of inner-city sites have since ceased their business operations. This represents less than 1 per cent. of all completed schemes.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider lifting the ceiling on capital investment currently operating in the Yorkshire water authority in order to help it improve the quality of water supply to parts of north Sheffield ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has received no requests from the Yorkshire water authority to increase its capital ceiling for this year. The authority has a substantial investment programme aimed at improving the water supply to all its customers. One of the advantages of privatisation is that my right hon. Friend will no longer set any ceilings on
Column 464capital investments. Once in the private sector, Yorkshire Water will be able to spend whatever is needed to achieve the necessary standards for its customers.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the housing associations in the London area which have signed a programme agreement to go onto tariff arrangement ; and what assessment he has made of how the procedure is working.
Mr. Trippier : It is for the Housing Corporation to enter into such agreements, and I have asked it to provide the hon. Member with a list. It is too early to make a detailed assessment of the new procedures, but the corporation will continue to keep them under review.
Mr. Howard : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 21 December last year, he is considering whether the planning inspectorate should become an executive agency. As an agency, the inspectorate would continue to be part of the Department of the Environment accountable to the Secretary of State. The change in status would not alter the inspectorate's functions nor the Secretary of State's statutory responsibilities for the planning system.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of planning appeals lodged each year since the implementation of sections 36 and 37 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.
Section 36 and 37 planning appeals Year |Number ---------------------- 1971 |9,818 1972 |14,408 1973 |18,326 1974 |13,324 1975 |11,690 1976 |11,656 1977 |10,833 1978 |11,609 1979 |12,990 1980 |16,208 1981 |16,637 1982 |13,900 1983 |13,699 1984 |16,192 1985 |17,053 1985-86 |17,839 1986-87 |19,856 1987-88 |22,482 1988-89 |28,659 Note: From April 1985 the Department's published figures on appeal performance have covered financial rather than calendar years.
Planning Appeals Year |Allowed |Dismissed ---------------------------------------- 1979 |2,602 |6,331 1980 |4,044 |9,086 1981 |4,721 |9,730 1982 |4,003 |8,912 1983 |3,633 |7,588 1984 |3,773 |7,870 1985 |5,477 |9,162 1985-86 |5,581 |8,549 1986-87 |6,208 |9,405 1987-88 |6,955 |11,519 1988-89 |7,734 |13,327 Note:-From April 1985 the Department's published figures on appeal performance have covered financial rather than calendar years.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received any representations concerning the definition of the word architect in the context of the Architects (Registration) Act 1931 and the Architects Registration Act 1938.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will initiate discussions with relevant parties, including the Office of Fair Trading with a view to reviewing the various Acts of Parliament under which architects can practice in the United Kingdom.
Column 466Practices" which proposes new legislation to prevent such practices. The new legislation would extend to professional bodies including those representing architects. My Department will co- operate fully with the Department of Trade and Industry and with the Office of Fair Trading in any review of the architectural profession.
Mr. Thornton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each financial year between 1983-84 and 1986-87 the number of local authority direct labour organisations which undertook (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.
Mr. Gummer : The number of local authority direct labour organisations which undertook each category of work between 1983-84 and 1986-87 is indicated in the following table. Authorities exempted from the legislation on de minimis grounds are excluded.
|I |II |III|IV ---------------------------- 1983-84 |268|72 |86 |301 1984-85 |280|67 |81 |320 1985-86 |290|84 |105|315 1986-87 |287|81 |98 |304 I - General Highways/Sewer Works II - New Construction over £50,000 III - New Construction under £50,000 IV - Building Maintenance
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions are taking place with Governments of eastern European countries to promote co-operation to protect the ozone layer ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : International co-operation to protect the ozone layer is primarily through the Vienna convention on the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. Although not all eastern European countries are parties to these agreements, all are invited to meetings of the parties, and all attended the recent Helsinki meeting of the parties to the Montreal protocol. They were invited to the saving the ozone layer conference in London in March, and all but one attended.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has made any study of the application of super-insulated houses developed in Canada and Scandinavia for construction in the United Kingdom.
cost-effectiveness of developments in low-energy housing in other countries, including Canada and Scandinavia. The use of very high levels of insulation in these countries is related both to the severe external climate and to the relatively high levels at which internal temperatures are normally maintained. In general, this would be unlikely to be cost- effective in the different conditions which exist in this country.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the governing council of the United Nations environment programme meeting held between 15 to 26 May in Nairobi, in terms of decisions which affect (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the European Community.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : At the governing council of UNEP in May the opening ministerial statement was made by my noble Friend the Minister for Housing, Environment and Countryside, who led the United Kingdom delegation. His calls for a framework convention on climate change and for the strengthening of UNEP to undertake this and other important global environmental tasks were generally endorsed by the other Ministers attending. A number of countries agreed to increase their financial support of UNEP following the lead of the United Kingdom which has more than doubled its contribution this year. The main governing council decisions of importance to both the United Kingdom and the European Community concerned future work on climate change, including our proposal for a framework convention, agreement on a convention to safeguard genetic diversity, an improved understanding of the concept of sustainable development, and constructive proposals to the General Assembly on preparations for a major United Nations conference on environment and development in 1992.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has for the total amounts raised by domestic rates in (a) Somerset, (b) Dorset, (c) Devon and (d) Wiltshire in the last three financial years for which comparable figures are available.
£ million |1987-88|1988-89|1989-90 ------------------------------------------ Somerset |67 |76 |85 Dorset |109 |120 |129 Devon |135 |154 |172 Wiltshire |78 |86 |95 Note: Figures are net of rate relief grant and gross of rebates. The figures for 1989-90 are based on budgets.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether there have been any changes to Government policy on the provision of permanent sites for gipsies and travellers since his answer to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Sir H. Rossi) of 6 February, Official Report, columns 856-58 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : No. We are concerned to assist and encourage authorities to fulfil their duties under the Caravan Sites Act 1968. In two cases, Hertfordshire and Surrey, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has used his powers under the Act to direct that such provision should be made as quickly as possible.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what element of the poll tax in Lambeth would represent rent arrears assuming no change in the current level of rent arrears in Lambeth and assuming repayment of those housing rent arrears from the general rate fund will spread over a period of five years.
Mr. Gummer : I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the community charge. The latest available information from the council shows its housing rent arrears were some £12.6 million at 31 March 1988. It is the authority's responsibility to collect those arrears. But if it does not, we estimate the cost to the community charge payer would be some £13 per annum if spread over five years.
Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to enable local authorities to purchase recycled paper at a price higher than that for equivalent non-recycled paper without incurring financial or other penalties.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. Local authorities have a duty to their ratepayers to obtain the best value for money in their purchasing of all supplies, including paper. This duty does not preclude them from purchasing recycled paper, or paper with a significant proportion of recycled fibre. Many people who have changed to them have found
Column 469that such products fully meet their requirements and are cheaper, or no more expensive, than those which they used before.
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the total rent arrears at the latest convenient date, and the number of current and former tenants in arrears in the districts of (a) Corby and (b) East Northamptonshire.
Mr. Trippier : A list of local authorities showing reported cumulative rent arrears at 31 March 1988 was placed in the Library on 1 March 1989. Corresponding information for the position at 31 March 1989 is not yet available.
Information about the number of current and former tenants in arrears with rent, rates or other charges, where reported, is contained in the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy publication "Housing Rents Statistics at April 1988", a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of accepted right-to-buy applications being dealt with, but not yet completed, at the end of March in the districts of (a) Corby and (b) East Northamptonshire.
Mr. Trippier : The latest return received from Corby district shows 1,075 applications in the pipeline at the end of June 1988 ; East Northamptonshire has reported 182 such applications at the end of March 1989.
Sir Rhodes Boyson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) on 19 April, Official Report, columns 36-7, he will indicate the policy he now intends to apply when considering applications from local authorities under section 5 of the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938 for his consent to their disposal of property held under that Act in cases where disposal arises under other legislation.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 21 July 1989] : Since 1984 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's policy on the use of his powers under the 1938 Act has been based on a statement made in November 1984 by the former Secretary of State for the Environment about the future ownership of land held under the 1938 Act by the former Greater London council.
At the time of the 1984 statement, the Secretary of State considered that transfer of a 1938 Act property from local authority to private ownership under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, and subsequently of the Housing Act 1985, did not require his consent under
Column 470section 5 of the 1938 Act. In March 1988, however, the High Court ruled that the provisions of section 5 continued to operate notwithstanding that other legislation also applied to the transfer. My right hon. Friend has reconsidered the policy expressed in the 1984 statement in the light of the High Court judgment and of his further experience in the consideration of applications under the 1938 Act.
My right hon. Friend now takes the view that the policy of enabling council tenants to buy their own homes, as given effect by the Housing Acts, is a matter which he can properly take into account when considering applications under section 5 of the 1938 Act. He takes the same view in respect of the right of leaseholders to acquire the freehold of their homes under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
In determining applications under the 1938 Act my right hon. Friend's primary concern will continue to be to ensure that the land concerned continues to fulfil the objectives of the 1938 Act and of green belt policy as set out in planning policy guidance note 2. Bearing in mind the safeguards provided by strict planning controls over development in the green belt, and the need to consider each case on its individual merits, my right hon. Friend is confident that his ability to secure these objectives will be unaffected by his acceptance that the aims of right-to-buy and leasehold reform legislation may contribute to the factors that he will accept as justifying the granting of his consent under section 5 of the 1938 Act.
I have received a number of representations about the extent of information requested by registration officers in compiling their community charges registers. It is clear that many registration officers have not followed the detailed advice sent to them on this matter. This may well require some change to their procedures if they are to comply with the Data Protection Act 1985. I have every confidence that the community charge arrangements fully protect the personal privacy of all citizens.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities currently in process of transferring their housing stock to housing associations under the Housing Act 1985.
I understand that Newbury district council and South Wight borough council have conducted ballots of their tenants about proposals to transfer housing to housing associations, but we have not received applications from those authorities. I am also aware that Medina borough council and Rochester-upon -Medway city council are in the process of balloting their tenants about proposals to transfer housing, in the latter case to an industrial and provident society.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities currently in process of transferring their housing stock under the tenants' choice provisions of the Housing Act 1985.
Mr. Trippier : Since April, one tenants' choice application has been served, on Westminster city council. Many other tenants' groups and potential new landlords are in preliminary discussions with the Housing Corporation.
Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) of 19 July, concerning illustrative figures on the community charge, what was the cost of compiling the figures under (a), (b) and (c).