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Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received regarding retail development on industrial land in the west midlands ; whether he will meet a delegation from the West Midlands council's planning and transportation sub-committee to discuss the variations to the regional strategic guidance ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the contracts signed with the names of the successful contractors and the value of each of the contracts for those elements of the construction of the new facilities at the Clyde submarine base and the number and location of the jobs created by these contracts.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the dates and occasions when there has been a major breakdown in public water supply in each of the regional water authorities since their inception, together with a note concerning each relevant cause.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 26 July 1989] : This information is not held centrally at present. However, I expect the drinking water inspectorate, when established, to keep a record of major breakdowns in public water supply.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment under what powers Her Majesty's Government will require suppliers of water to retain a given proportion of storage, filtration and other machinery and plant as standby capacity for occasional use in the event of human, mechanical, or biological failures or accidents.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a schedule of plant or equipment, sometime in the ownership of Thames water authority, which, if in commission, could have ameliorated or prevented, the recent failures arising from difficulties at the Hampton treatment works, for what reasons such plant was made redundant ; and what steps that authority is now taking to reactivate such facilities or to install stand-by capacity.
Column 1185public water supplies and the remedial or preventative action subsequently taken ; and what future capital expenditure is contemplated by any regional water authoritiy to reduce risk of failures due to this cause.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 26 July 1989] : Midge fly infestation was a major cause of the failure of water supplies in south- east London recently, but I am not aware that such infestation has interrupted public water supplies previously.
Thames Water will be making a report to me on the recent incident and the report will be studied to see what lessons can be learnt for the future.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his answer of 20 June, Official Report, column 70, he will make copies of the decision letters available in the Library when he directs that environmental assessment is, or is not, required.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 27 July 1989] : Letters containing directions on whether or not environmental assessment is required for particular projects are placed on the appropriate local planning register where they are available for public inspection. My Department is making arrangements under which information about decisions on the need for environmental assessment will be made more widely available by being published in the Journal of Planning and Environment Law. If the hon. Member wishes to see any particular decision letter I would be happy to send it to her.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has ever received any applications from Halton borough council under the urban programme for assistance for street cleaning and anti- litter operations.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his answer on leaflets on 19 June, Official Report, column 51, he will publish an update of the letters he sent to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East on 23 June.
Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 27 July 1989] : Most of the information remains as set out in the letter of 23 June from my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer). In order to meet high demand, however, certain leaflets have subsequently been reprinted. The new figures for these are set out below.
Title |Print run |Production costs<1> |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You and the Community Charge: Your Step-by-Step Guide |1,950,000 |136,200 The Business Rate leaflet |235,000 |23,800 Exemptions leaflet |581,000 |34,000 Second Homes leaflet |240,000 |14,900 <1> All figures are rounded.
The final cost of the distribution of the short leaflet to all households is now likely to be approximately £565,000 rather than the estimated £560,000 quoted in the letter.
The cost of hiring display units in Crown post offices for the same leaflet has increased from £26,000 to £28,500 largely because of the extra costs incurred by the Post Office in temporarily withdrawing the leaflet during the court case initiated by Greenwich borough council.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement regarding Her Majesty's Government's response to the outcome of the second meeting of the CITES African elephant working group held in Botswana from 4 to 8 July.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions have taken place with the Hong Kong authorities in respect of CITES conference resolution 5.11 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 27 July 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to my recent answer-- Official Report, Volume 156, column 477 . Our discussions are continuing and will cover the full implications of appendix I listing.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to commission studies into the feasibility of transferring African elephants from countries with a surplus to those where elephants are endangered.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 27 July 1989] : A number of measures to counter football hooliganism have been taken over the past few years as a result of Government and public pressure. These include stronger police co-ordination both nationally and internationally, more co-operation between the police and football clubs, effective segregation of rival groups of supporters inside grounds and the introduction of closed-circuit television. The Government have also legislated to restrict the sale of alcohol at football grounds and to empower the courts to impose exclusion orders on convicted hooligans.
These measures have clearly contributed to the small rise in attendances at football matches over the last three seasons. The further anti-hooliganism measures proposed by the Football Spectators Bill offer the prospect of attracting back to football many more of the millions of spectators who have been deterred from attending matches since the 1960s.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all applicants for licences under CITES regulations to import products made from the Nile crocodile in the period 1 March to 30 April 1989 ; and if he will state the country of origin and port of entry in each case.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria he applied to veto investment by the Property Services Agency in an energy control system for the House of Commons as described in the recent report from the Energy Select Committee on the spending plans of the Department of Energy.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the proposed sale of former Greater London council playing fields at South Oxley, Hertfordshire ; and what action he is taking to ensure continued public access and use.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department has received two representations expressing concern about the future of the playing fields, which lie within the green belt. The London residuary body is discussing their future with Three Rivers district council. No action by my right hon. Friend is contemplated.
Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the London borough of Camden's housing policies, with particular reference to its rent arrears and its right-to-buy progress.
Mr. Howard : The Government want the planning system to be effective in its function of regulating the use of land in the public interest, and efficient in its operation so that it does not impose unwarranted delays on development. Many planning authorities are failing to deliver an efficient service. There is a clear need for reform of some aspects of the system, to ensure that it is better focused to deal with the more significant development proposals and that adequate resources are available to do a proper job. My right hon. Friend has published today a consultation paper "Efficient Planning" setting out a range of proposals which would improve the operation of the planning system.
Column 1188The Government believe that it is a sound principle that those who seek planning permission should meet the cost of considering their development proposals. The paper therefore sets out proposals for the introduction of fees for planning appeals, and for increased levels of planning application fees.
The paper also contains proposals for local planning authorities to be able to give general permissions for specified types of development, which could remove the requirement for planning applications ; and for planning permission to be granted automatically for development by householders if the local planning authority had not issued its decision in eight weeks.
Other proposals include a power enabling local planning authorities to turn away repetitious planning applications for developments substantially the same as schemes already rejected on appeal. There are also a number of proposals for minor changes to planning legislation which would improve its operation.
Most of the measures proposed would require primary legislation. The overall effect of the proposals would be to reduce the burden of development control procedures, and increase the resources available to operate the system effectively.
I am inviting views on these proposals by 29 September. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales will be consulting about the introduction of similar measures.
Mr. Howard : Sir John Badenoch, chairman of the group of experts, wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 25 July 1989 to present the group's interim report. Copies of the letter have been placed in the Library. The establishment of the group was announced on 2 March 1989, at column 286, and an interim report was requested by the end of July. The interim report says that the organism cryptosporidium has a worldwide distribution. Although it has long been recognised as a parasite of animals, it was not until 1976--a little over a decade ago--that it was shown to be capable of producing illness in man. Infected animals including man excrete the organism in their faeces in the form of minute oocysts which may cause infection if they are ingested.
In man, cryptosporidiosis is usually characterised by a self-limiting illness with diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and sometimes fever that resolves in one to three weeks. It can affect persons of any age but is most common in children between the ages of one and five years. In patients with AIDS, and others whose resistance to infection is impaired, it is much more serious and may lead to severe and lasting disability.
Because of the organism's widespread distribution, the group indicates that it must be assumed that, from time to time, oocysts will be present in all surface waters including springs and shallow wells. Current methods of water
Column 1189treatment and disinfection properly carried out cannot eliminate entirely the risk of cryptosporidium passing into the water supply. However, though the group recognises the potential that exists for giving rise to a very large number of cases through public water supplies it points out that an individual is much more likely to contract the infection if he comes into direct contact with the faeces of an infected person or animal.
The letter points to the need for high standards of maintenance and repair of water distribution systems, for extra monitoring at water treatment works in certain circumstances and for some modification of operating procedures should the organism be detected in significant numbers. Close collaboration between water undertakers, local authorities and health authorities is advocated. A co-ordinated programme of research is proposed for gathering information on the occurrence of crypto-sporidium and the capacity of water treatment works to remove it.
I am advised that the expert group has spent considerable time examining the more general public health aspects of cryptosporidiosis and will make a fuller report in due course. In its interim report it identifies those most as risk from contracting the disease and puts forward simple precautions for prevention.
My right hon. Friends welcome the interim report and are grateful to Sir John and his colleagues for the considerable effort they have made so far in undertaking this study. The Departments will draw the attention of water undertakers, local authorities, health authorities and other organisations to the interim conclusions and
recommendations. Ways of undertaking the proposed research are already under consideration.
(2) what is the term of the licence of Gloucester Slips car park to London Zoo.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A copy will be placed in the Library. The licence will follow the standard form used for all licences in the royal parks. Licences are normally renewed from year to year and I would expect that to be the case for this licence, but my right hon. Friend has no power to grant licences in perpetuity.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The licence to manage the Gloucester Slips coach and car park will be given under my right hon. Friend's powers of management and control of the royal parks under the Crown Lands Acts 1829 and 1851.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Building Research Establishment applied its own guidance which it gives to local authorities on the upgrading of district heating systems to itself in deciding to remove its own district heating system ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Ealing, North of 19 July, Official Report, column 210, on homelessness legislation, by what date he expects to publish his conclusions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : Latest estimates of households accepted as homeless in each London borough appear in table 7 of "Local Authorities' action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act : England", compiled by the Department. A copy is in the Library.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is reviewing the legislation and hopes to announce conclusions soon.
bed-and-breakfast accommodation for each of the past five years.
Mr. Chope : The numbers of households temporarily resident in bed and breakfast accommodation as reported by each London borough at the end of the five years 1984 to 1988 appear in respectively : table 7 of "Homeless Households Reported by Local Authorities in England : Results for Second Half 1984 : Supplementary Tables" ; the corresponding publication for the fourth quarter 1985 ; "Local Authorities' action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act : England. Results for the fourth quarter 1986. Supplementary Tables" ; and the corresponding publications for the fourth quarters of 1987 and 1988.
Latest reported numbers of households in bed and breakfast accommodation appear in table 7 of "Local authorities' action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act : England. Results for the first quarter 1989. Supplementary Tables". Copies of all these publications are in the Library.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has about (a) total land holdings, (b) annual land sales and (c) income generated from it for the Thames water authority in each of the last five years.
Column 119119,000 acres. Figures for proceeds from the sale of fixed assets are included in the published accounts of all water authorities, for years up to and including 1987-88. The unaudited accounts of the Thames water authority recently placed on public deposit included a figure for proceeds from sale of fixed assets in 1988-89 of £19.9 million. Figures for acreage of land sold in past years by Thames water authority are available from annual reports.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the special housing investment programme enhancements to local authorities to use for bringing empty properties into accommodation units for the homeless has been taken up by local authorities (a) in total and (b) by each local authority ; and how many units have been brought into use by the homeless as a result.
Mr. Chope : The additional resources, totalling £74.9 million, were fully taken up, and local authorities advise that as a result some 7, 700 units have been brought back into use for homeless people. For details of individual authorities' allocations, I refer the hon. Member to the announcements made on 20 January, 23 June and 18 July 1988.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the expected outcome of the additional housing investment programme enhancement in 1987-88 for bringing empty property into use by the homeless ; what are the revised figures for how many will be made available under the housing investment programme enhancements in the current year ; and if there are any plans for additional enhancements in the next financial year.
Mr. Chope : I refer the hon. Member to the announcement made on 20 January, 1988 which gives details of the numbers of units made available under this initiative in 1987-88. No additional allocations have been made in the current year, and no decisions have yet been taken for the next financial year.
Mr. Chope : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 24 May, Official Report, column 592.
Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which tenants, in addition to secure tenants already provided for in the Housing Act 1988, will be able to vote in a housing action trust ballot.
Mr. Barron : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he intends to consult interested associations about the draft formulation of the formula rating for combined heat and power plant designed to ensure equal rating treatment with the electricity supply industry ;
(2) when he intends to set out the new arrangements for the equal rating treatment of combined heat and power with district heating as against the electricity supply industry.
Mr. Chope : My officials are in discussion with the interested associations about a formula that will ensure the comparable rating assessment of all generators of electricity, including combined heat and power schemes from 1990, and we expect to announce our proposals for the new arrangements shortly.
Mr. Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider extending the Housing Act right to buy provisions to council- owned property let to the elderly on the basis that it must be sold back to the local authority at the current value when it is no longer required by the named occupant or their spouse.
Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many eviction orders there have been in the private rented sector among those tenancies with restricted landlord-tenant contracts since the introduction of the Housing Act 1980.
Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many organisations have been granted approved landlord status under the Housing Act 1980 to the latest available date ; how many had provided tenancies ; and of these how many were in sheltered housing-for-sale schemes.
Mr. Chope : A total of 370 organisations were approved under section 56 of the Housing Act 1980 before it was repealed. The Department carried out a monitoring exercise on the assured tenancy scheme last year, the results of which were placed in the Library. That exercise identified 76 approved bodies which were actually letting under assured tenancies. A substantial proportion of the accommodation provided is sheltered housing for the elderly--the Department does not have precise figures.
Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average number of dwellings demolished per year in England and Wales since 1979 ; and what proportion of these were private rented dwellings.