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Mr. Trippier : Our aim is uncompromising--to eradicate the litter problem once and for all. In order to achieve this we propose to take action against those who drop litter and ensure that any litter which is dropped is speedily cleared up.
Our proposals include an increase in the maximum fine for littering from £400 to £1,000, an extension to all district and borough councils of the power to operate a fixed penalty scheme for littering, and the placing upon local authorities, some statutory undertakers and certain owners of other land, of a duty to keep their land clear of litter. We also propose to give aggrieved citizens the right to seek redress in the magistrates court if a body under the duty fails to discharge it. However, we realise that, ultimately, the only lasting solution to the problem lies in changing the attitudes of those who persist with their inconsiderate and dirty habits.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if it is his intention to publish full details of the distribution incidence and precise locations in relation to emissions of naturally occurring radon gas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The results of the survey of radon in houses, which is currently being carried out for the Department by the National Radiological Protection board, will be published in summary form on completion. Results for individual dwellings are confidential to the householder.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The London Pensions Fund Authority--the "London Pensions Fund"--will be formally established tomorrow by an order made under sections 67 and 101 of the Local Government Act 1985. The order transfers to the London Pensions Fund on 1
Column 80April 1990 the superannuation fund and associated functions, rights and liabilities which the London Residuary Body inherited on the abolition of the former Greater London Council.
The establishment of this independent superannuation administering body is based on proposals received from the LRB under section 67 of the 1985 act and follows extensive consultations with the London boroughs and other interested parties over the future of the former GLC fund. The fund is the second largest in England operating under the local government superannuation scheme, with assets of some £1.5 billion at the end of 1988-89. The LRB has successfully managed and administered the fund since abolition, and the establishment of this new body will continue to safeguard the interests of contributors and pensioners alike.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has today made the following appointments to the board members of the London Pensions Fund after consultations with organisations representing London local government :
Sir George Blunden (Chairman)
Mr. Michael Roberts (Deputy Chairman)
Sir Nigel Althaus
Councillor E. D. Barkway, OBE
Professor R. N. Franklin
Councillor A. King, JP
Councillor A. S. Lourie
Mr. C. J. Messer
One further appointment will be made as soon as possible which will represent local London government.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what research is sponsored by his Department at Cambridge university, in conjunction with the United States National Science Foundation, into the soil mechanics and stability of geological sites to assess the migration possibilities from toxic waste disposal sites.
Mr. Trippier : The Department is currently sponsoring research on radiochemical waste disposal at the University of Cambridge. It is understood that the United States army corps of engineers has sponsored research in the area described by the hon. Member.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what grants or other financial assistance developers may apply for to pay for providing road access to residential development sites ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 26 October 1989] : No such grants are generally available. In the 57 urban priority areas, however, city grant may be paid to assist developers with residential projects, and this may include the provision of access roads.
Column 81(Water Quality) Regulations as quickly as possible, having regard to practicalities. Those regulations incorporate the standards of the EC drinking water directive. Most supplies already comply with the requirements and the water companies in England and Wales will be spending £1,400 million over the next five years alone for dealing with current failures. Those water supplies which currently fail to comply with the directive's standards are nevertheless of a quality suitable for drinking. If this were not so, water companies would take remedial action immediately. It is widely accepted that full compliance with the directive is extremely difficult to achieve and we believe that in some respects the directive itself requires amendment. We understand that no other member state has complied fully with the directive or drawn up comprehensive compliance programmes in the way that we have.
Water supplies which at present regularly exceed the requirements of the regulations will be brought progressively into compliance by the end of 1995. It may take longer to achieve full compliance for some other supplies which marginally fail to meet those requirements. For example, a longer period will be needed in some places to achieve full compliance with the standards on pesticides while water companies investigate the opportunity for reducing pesticide usage in their catchments and develop appropriate technology for pesticide removal. Current pesticide levels represent minute exposures, far lower than any which would be likely to present a threat to health.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the memorandum of understanding with regard to the working relationship between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the National Rivers Authority.
Mr. Chris Patten [holding answer 25 October 1989] : Details of the working relationship between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the National Rivers Authority will be published when the memorandum of understanding has been completed.
Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing how many people were disconnected from their water supplies for each year between 1978-79 and the latest date available.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 23 October 1989] : The number of household supplies disconnected for non-payment of charges by the nine English water authorities since 1984-85 is shown in the following table. Information on the number of disconnections by water authorities made prior to 1984-85 and those to household supplies by statutory water companies is not held centrally.
|Total for England ------------------------------------------------------ 1984-85 |2,052 1985-86 |4,212 1986-87 |6,450 1987-88 |7,120 1988-89 |8,091
I believe that in the great majority of cases reconnections are made within 48 hours.
Mr. Chris Patten : Yes. I propose the following changes subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates. The cash limit for class X, vote 2 (central environmental services, etc.) will be increased by £32,174,000 from £280,423,000 to £312,597, 000 principally to cover additional grant in aid to the National Rivers Authority of £30,325,000, increased funding for the United Nations environment programme of £1,750,000, and increased grant in aid to the Sports Council of £600,000 in respect of take up of entitlement to carry forward underspending in 1988-89 under the end year flexibility scheme for capital expenditure.
The cash limit for class X, vote 4 (royal palaces, royal parks, historic buildings, ancient monuments and the national heritage) will be increased by £430,000 from £103,437,000 to £103,867,000 towards a compensation payment by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission to the developers of the Rose theatre site, to enable preservation of the site for the public.
The cash limit for class X, vote 5 (Department of the Environment : administration) will be increased by £5,995,000 from £153,864,000 to £159,859,000 to provide for public information on lead-free petrol and further public information to increase awareness of the community charge system, in particular eligibility for community charge benefits and transitional relief.
The non-voted cash limit for DOE/UA1 (urban aid and derelict land reclamation) will be increased by £72,800,000 from £650,454,000 to £723,254,000 to cover increased grant-in-aid to London Docklands Development Corporation of £79,000,000 (of which £11,000,000 reflects the take up of entitlement to carry forward underspending in 1988- 89 under the end year flexibility scheme for capital expenditure). The cash limit increase includes £4,000,000 covering the transfer of responsibility for city action teams from the Department of Trade and Industry to my Department. This has been offset by an equal reduction in the cash limits for class V, vote 2. There are some offsetting savings within the cash block.
The non-voted cash limit for DOE/NTI (new towns) has been increased by £14,889,000 from minus £435,535,000 to minus £420,646,000 reflecting take up of entitlement to carry forward underspending in 1988-89 under the end year flexibility scheme for capital expenditure.
The above increases will be partly offset by decreases in cash limits.
The cash limit for class IX, vote 2, (miscellaneous housing administration and grants) will be reduced by £5,535,000 from £84,952,000 to £79,417,000 reflecting principally reduced expenditure on housing action trusts and grant to the Housing Corporation for the reclamation of land in Merseyside.
The cash limit for DOE/HCI (capital expenditure by the Housing Corporation) will be reduced by £6,750,000 from £701,000,000 to £694, 250,000. This includes full take up of entitlement to carry forward underspending in 1988-89 of £3,250,000 under the end year flexibility scheme for capital expenditure offset by a £10,000,000 reduction reflecting the fact that certain receipts formerly
Column 83surrendered to the Consolidated Fund will now be retained by the Housing Corporation. The cash limit reduction does not imply a reduction in planned gross expenditure.
The increases above will also be partly offset by decreases in non-cash- limited expenditure. The net increase in my Department's programmes will be charged to the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
I have also to announce on behalf of the director general of the Office of Water Services that the cash limit for class X, vote 10 (Office of Water Services) will be increased by £1,105,000 from £2, 334,000 to £3,439,000, and the running costs limit for the Office of Water Services will be increased by £575,000 from £2,200,000 to £2, 775,000. The increases will be charged to the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Mr. Atkins : The public inquiry into the orders for this scheme was held in May 1988. The inspector's report was received on 1 February. The Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport are considering it and hope to announce their decision as soon as possible.
Mr. Atkins : We are improving trunk roads and helping local road improvements financially. I have today announced an Industrial Development Act grant of up to £1.77 million towards a road scheme in Rotherham, which will open up land for development, providing a boost for the area and reducing local unemployment. We are also improving public transport infrastructure in London's docklands. We have approved grant towards phase I of Manchester's metrolink and are helping the development costs of a proposed light rail scheme in Sheffield.
|Number ------------------------ June |264 July |406 August |353 September |358
Mr. Portillo : I have no plans to amend the 1985 Act. Bus deregulation has encouraged a greater diversity of services, with more bus miles being provided by more operators at lower cost to local authorities.
Mr. Portillo : I have no plans to review the working of the Transport Act 1985. Bus deregulation has encouraged a greater diversity of services, with more bus miles being provided by more operators at lower cost to local authorities.
Our information about local authority expenditure on such schemes is not comprehensive. Information from the latest transport policy and programme submissions suggests that authorities plan to spend just over £10 million this year which is about the same as they did in 1988-89.
26. Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (a) the dates and number of fatal accidents along the route of the north Devon trunk road from Tiverton to Bideford bridge, indicating the number of prosecutions relating to these accidents and (b) the reported number of speeding incidents and prosecutions since its opening date.
Mr. Atkins : Four accidents, each resulting in one death, have occurred on the road since the first section was opened in November 1988. These were on 11 January, 5 May and 7 July, all in the Loxbeare area, west of Tiverton, and on 16 August at Bish Mill, east of South Molton. I understand that no prosecutions are pending in relation to these accidents.
Up to 1 September 1989, over 1,000 traffic offences have been reported by the police, which have resulted in either the issue of fixed penalties or prosecutions in the courts.
Mr. Atkins : A total of 173 schemes in the expanded trunk road programme are designated as bypasses or relief roads. A large number of other schemes, although not designated as bypasses, also help to take through traffic away from unsuitable roads.
Mr. Atkins : The Government's response to Dr. North's recommendations was set out in the White Paper "The Road User and the Law" (Cm. 576). It is proposed that certain road traffic offenders should be required to take an extended driving test before their licences are restored. The views of interested organisations are being sought on the details of the proposals. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Library.
Column 87two months. Representatives of Gwent county council attend both sets of meetings, while South Glamorgan and Mid- Glamorgan attend the former. The most recent meetings took place on 1 June and 20 September respectively.