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81. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is Her Majesty's Government's current policy on sporting links with South Africa.
Mr. Moynihan : Her Majesty's Government remain fully committed to the Commonwealth statement on apartheid in sport--the Gleneagles agreement.
24. Mr. Knapman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total estimated cost of the investment programme in the water industry over the next 10 years.
Mr. Moynihan : The estimated expenditure by the English water plcs, required by the programmes of which
Column 697account was taken by the Secretary of State in setting the initial level of K, is £22.8 billion in prices prevailing at November 1989.
25. Mr. Batiste : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether any measures were announced during the summer adjournment to ensure that low-cost rural housing association property remains available for local housing needs after the first occupants move on.
Mr. Howard : The Housing Corporation issued a consultation paper on 10 October on the way in which the repurchase scheme for shared ownership properties in rural areas would work.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress being made in providing affordable housing in rural areas to fulfil local needs.
Mr. Chope : The Government's policy on rural housing was set out in a statement of 5 July 1988, and in statements of 3 and 7 February this year, copies of which are in the Library. It will take some time for this initiative to have its full effect, but I am sure that in due course it will make a significant impact on availability of housing in rural areas.
26. Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on his policy regarding planning applications for development within green belt areas.
Mr. Moynihan : My right hon. Friend continues to be fully committed to upholding green belt policy as set out in planning policy guidance note 2.
57. Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether it remains Government policy that land vested in local authorities under the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938 including land occupied by tenanted properties will be treated as inalienable.
Mr. Chris Patten : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Chope) gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) on 24 July at column 469 . The Government remain committed to ensuring that all green belt land, including land held under the 1938 Act, continues to fulfil green belt objectives.
28. Mr. Waller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to enable him to reach his target of a substantial increase in recycled domestic waste by the year 2000.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : A substantial increase in the amount of domestic waste recycled can be achieved only by a combination of measures. First, by manufacturers designing recyclability into their products, cutting down on the amount of unnecessary packaging and pricing recycled products competitively. Secondly, by consumers knowing about and choosing recycled products and
Column 698making use of recycling facilities provided by local authorities, retailers and voluntary groups. Thirdly, by local authorities and retailers substantially increasing their commitment to providing recycling facilities so that the majority come up to the standard of the best. Fourthly, by Government creating the right waste management framework for an increase in recycling through measures which we intend to bring forward in the Environmental Protection Bill and through our support for major experiments such as Recycling City in Sheffield, intended to identify and apply best practice in recycling techniques.
31. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on the future of the County hall, London SE1.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The future of County hall is in part the subject of an appeal to the House of Lords against a judgment of the Court of Appeal given on 20 July, and in part the subject of planning applications considered at a public inquiry which closed on 6 November.
32. Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to take further measures to eliminate so-called acid house parties.
48. Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he proposes to take to tackle the noise problems associated with acid house parties.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Department and the Home Office are currently consulting local authorities and the police about the possible need to extend their powers to prevent or control acid house or similar parties. We will consider further action in the light of that consultation.
35. Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any proposals to regulate the labelling of ecologically friendly products.
62. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he intends to provide to consumers who wish to purchase products which do not damage the environment.
Mr. Trippier : We have announced our support for the establishment of an EC-wide scheme of eco-labelling in a discussion paper which I issued in August jointly with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. I am pleased to say that the Environment Council on 19 September asked the Commission to bring forward proposals as soon as possible.
36. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the Association of County Councils ; and what matters were discussed.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend last met the Association of County Councils and other local authority associations on 17 October to discuss the Government's proposals for the community charge transitional relief scheme.
37. Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the Minister for Sport next expects to meet his equivalent from the Dutch Government ; and what matters he expects to discuss.
Mr. Moynihan : I have no immediate plans to meet the new Dutch State Secretary for Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs, who has responsibility for sport. Officials from his Department and mine are members of the Council of Europe standing committee on the European convention on spectator violence. The committee is meeting today.
38. Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what help from the transitional relief scheme will be available to those people discharged from residential care into the community after 1 April 1990.
Mr. Chope : It is the Government's intention that the scheme for transitional relief should operate under rules that are as simple as possible so as to produce practicable arrangements which will enable authorities to issue community charge bills next April which reflect both transitional relief and rebates. As with other schemes it will be necessary to establish a qualification date for entitlement. We have proposed that in order for a person to qualify for relief at an address that person should be entered in the charging authority's community charges register for 31 March 1990 as living at that address.
40. Mr. McCartney : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has agreed any definition of an affordable rent or a market rent.
Mr. Chope : Section 14 of the Housing Act 1988 sets out how a rent assessment committee should determine a market rent.
41. Mr. John Carlisle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next expects to meet the chairman of the Sports Council ; and what matters will be discussed.
Mr. Moynihan : I will next meet the chairman of the Sports Council on 16 November when we will discuss current issues in sport.
43. Mr. Jessel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review encroachment fees charged by his Department in relation to the fringes of royal parks.
Mr. Trippier : Encroachment licences are essential to control developments on the boundaries of the royal parks. Encroachment fees are normally reviewed every five years but in some cases there has been a considerably longer period without review. There is an element of catching- up in some of the increases.
44. Mr. Andrew MacKay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of planning appeals have been allowed during the latest 12 months for which figures are available.
Mr. Moynihan : In the 12 months to 31 August 1989, 35.4 per cent. of planning appeals were allowed.
Mr. Mills : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many local authority planning appeals referred to him were agreed by him in 1979, 1984 and 1989 ;
(2) how many local authority planning appeals referred to him were subject to a change in the inspector recommendation in 1979, 1984 and 1989 ;
(3) what was the number of appeals against planning permissions to local authorities which were referred to him for 1979, 1984 and 1989.
Mr. Moynihan : The information requested is given in the table.
M Planning appeals Secretary of State's decision contrary to inspector's recommendation Year Received Decided Allowed |Number |Percentage ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |12,990 |8,933 |2,602 |29.1 |17 1984 |16,192 |11,643 |3,773 |32.4 |16 1988-89 |28,659 |21,061 |7,734 |36.7 |19
46. Mr. Yeo : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent representations he has received regarding the process for determining planning applications.
Mr. Moynihan : My right hon. Friend receives a number of representations about the operation of the development control system. In particular, more than 400 individuals and organisations have responded to a consultation paper entitled "Efficient Planning" which we issued on 28 July.
45. Mr. John Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to improve the supply of low-cost housing for rent and shared ownership.
54. Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress his Department is making in its policy of increasing the supply of affordable housing.
61. Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to increase the supply of affordable housing.
Mr. Chope : We have planned for an increase of more than 60 per cent. between 1989-90 and 1991-92 in public support through the Housing Corporation to housing associations, which are now the main providers of new subsidised housing ; associations' output will increase further as a result of their enhanced capacitity to use private finance. Deregulation of the private rented sector will stimulate new investment in housing to rent. We have also announced a series of measures to promote supply of affordable housing for rent and sale, including shared ownership sale, in rural areas. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Autumn Statement will set out the Government's revised plans for expenditure on subsidised housing rolled forward to 1992-93.
47. Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on progress towards the removal of pollution from inland coastal waters ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : I refer the hon. Member to the investment plans that I have announced for improvements to sewage treatment works Official Report , 7 December 1988, cols. 199-200 and to bathing waters, Official Report , 20 October 1989, cols. 261-2 . These programmes are the biggest of their kind, and will bring about substantial improvements to the quality of our estuarial and coastal waters.
49. Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has made to the letter dated 14 July from the chairman of the three local authority associations about members' allowances.
Mr. Chope : The Government have introduced amendments in another place to the Local Government and Housing Bill which will give power to implement a new system of councillors' allowance on the lines supported by the chairmen of the three local authority associations concerned.
50. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to reduce the level of nitrates in public water supplies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : Water undertakers have prepared firm programmes to achieve compliance as quickly as practicable with the nitrate standard of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 which is the same value as that set by the EC drinking water directive. Some water undertakers are already blending water that has a high nitrate concentration with water that has a low nitrate concentration in order to meet the standard. Investigation is also proceeding of treatment processes, such as ion exchange and biological de-nitrification. In addition, agricultural measures to prevent pollution will be introduced under a pilot scheme in nitrate sensitive areas.
51. Mr. Hague : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to legislate on waste recycling.
Mr. Trippier : We hope to bring forward provisions to promote recycling in the Environmental Protection Bill.
52. Miss Hoey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what policies his Department has to encourage sport for schoolchildren outside school hours.
Mr. Moynihan : The Government are committed to promoting participation in sport for schoolchildren both in and out of school hours.
The Sports Council's initiatives aimed at increasing young people's participation in sport, include the "Ever thought of Sport?" and What's your Sport?" campaigns. The Government are currently considering the recommendations of the School Sport Forum ; our response will be published shortly.
53. Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he plans to introduce changes to planning laws relating to stop notices.
Mr. Moynihan : As soon as parliamentary time permits.
55. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list any official engagements he has between the present time and the end of November with environmental groups.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given earlier today by my right hon. Friend to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing).
56. Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to extend compulsory competitive tendering to the management of local authority sports and recreation facilities.
Mr. Moynihan : The draft order requiring competition in the management of local authority sports and leisure facilities was laid before Parliament on 25 October. Subject to parliamentary approval, implementation in England will take place in three stages between 1 January 1992 and 1 January 1993.
58. Mrs. Peacock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest figure he has for unleaded petrol sales.
67. Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of petrol sold in the United Kingdom is unleaded.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I refer the hon. Members to the answer that I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Arbuthnot).
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if any vehicles belonging to or used by his Department run on leaded petrol.
Mr. Chope : The exact answer can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Wherever possible all vehicles that can be run on unleaded fuel do so. Those vehicles which can run only on leaded fuels are being replaced.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if any Government ministerial cars run on leaded petrol.
Mr. Chope : Most ministerial allocated cars run on unleaded petrol. It is our intention to move the rest of the Government car fleet to unleaded petrol as the vehicles fall due for replacement.
59. Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the Association of District Councils report, "A Time to Take Stock".
Mr. Chope : The report makes a useful contribution to the discussions we shall be having about the details of the new local authority capital finance system and the new renovation grant system that remain to be settled. We shall be discussing points raised in their report with the Association of District Councils and other local authority associations when the Housing Consultative Council meets at the end of this month.
60. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the impact of different fuel brands and of petrol, lead-free petrol and diesel, respectively, on the environment.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The composition of motor fuels sold in the United Kingdom is controlled and no assessment is made of the environmental effects of different brands. The reduction in lead content of petrol in 1986 and the growth in sales of unleaded petrol have more than halved the concentration of lead in the air. However, it is now estimated that some 80 per cent. of lead in air still comes from petrol vehicle emissions. Diesel fuel has no lead added to it. The impacts on the environment of other materials emitted from vehicles are given in the report of the Department's terrestrial effects review group, acid rain review group, and building effects review group. The proportions of total emissions of these materials which come from diesel and petrol vehicles are given in the Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics. Copies of review group reports and the digest are in the Library of the House.
63. Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to visit the London borough of Hackney to discuss housing finance.
Mr. Chope : No, but the Department has regular contacts with the borough and has recently held a meeting with the council in the current housing investment programme round.
64. Mr. Lord : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received any representations on the draft PPG3 planning guidance note.
Mr. Moynihan : My right hon. Friend has not so far received many formal responses to our draft planning
Column 704policy guidance note, "Housing". He has, however, received a number of informal responses which indicate a generally favourable reaction to the new draft guidance.
Comments may be made on the draft guidance until 5 January 1990.
65. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he supports the creation of a planet protection fund ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We do not need new international institutions to tackle the environmental problems facing the world today. Instead, we support the use of the existing bilateral and multilateral channels for environmental assistance, adapting or improving those channels as necessary. In her statement in the House on 26 October my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister drew attention to the support expressed in the Langkawi declaration on the environment for existing international environmental organisations, especially the United Nations environment programme. We consider that any additional resources should not go towards creating new bureaucracies but directly to measures to protect and improve the environment.
68. Mr. William Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to take any action to ensure that tenants have the right to receive information on their council's effectiveness in housing policy.
Mr. Chope : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave on 1 November to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, South (Mr. Yeo).
72. Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance his Department plans to offer to local authorities which are obliged to house people made homeless as a result of mortgage arrears.
Mr. Chope : We will announce the conclusions of our review of the homelessness legislation very shortly.
73. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has made any estimate of the total amount needed to tackle housing disrepair in England and Wales.
Mr. Chope : The most recent English house condition survey estimated that the average cost of repair of all dwellings was, in 1986, £950 which sums to £17.9 billion for the housing stock in England as a whole. Against this should be set the same survey's estimate of the annual value of work undertaken on the repair and improvement of the stock which was, in 1986, £17.3 billion. Figures relating to Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
75. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has since his appointment visited any housing projects funded by Estate Action.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend has not done so but he hopes to do so in future. My hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning visited Holmewood estate, Bradford, at the end of September and last week I visited Marlborough Road estate in Derby where Estate Action funding has totalled more than £2.1 million last year and this.