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82. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much time he spends each week on duchy business.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : I spend approximately a quarter of my time carrying out my duties as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
85. Mr. Mans : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any plans to pay an official visit to the Wyre constituency in the county palatine.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : I have no plans to visit the Wyre constituency at present.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show (a) the total amount of outdoor playing space in Northern Ireland, (b) the amount of playing space by district council area, (c) the amount of playing space per head of the population in each council area, (d) the amount of such playing space in each council which is owned by (i) councils, (ii) schools, (iii) recognised sporting clubs and bodies and (iv) others, or as much of such information as is available to him.
Dr. Mawhinney : Play space at schools and higher education establishments is shown in the table. The other information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at a
Council |Controlled schools |Voluntary and maintained|Universities |Colleges of education |schools |area/hectares |area/hectares |acres |acres ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Antrim |36.73 |9.86 |- |- Armagh |18.07 |22.57 |- |- Ballymena |29.36 |25.13 |- |- Ballymoney |10.40 |8.04 |- |- Banbridge |17.85 |5.74 |- |- Belfast |85.10 |75.54 |74 |12.0 Carrickfergus |30.81 |2.51 |- |- Castlereagh |28.89 |6.70 |- |- Coleraine |28.44 |14.47 |60 |- Cookstown |12.77 |13.00 |- |- Craigavon |54.19 |24.94 |- |- Down |19.25 |34.42 |- |- Dungannon |23.10 |38.38 |- |- Fermanagh |15.81 |24.76 |- |- Larne |10.70 |7.22 |- |- Limavady |23.42 |7.97 |- |- Lisburn |39.86 |20.96 |- |- Londonderry |34.55 |41.19 |7 |- Magherafelt |10.32 |20.74 |- |- Moyle |7.65 |5.62 |- |- Newry and Mourne |19.90 |43.35 |- |- Newtownabbey |32.28 |18.58 |40 |- Newtownards |32.12 |3.61 |- |- North Down |16.91 |15.76 |- |- Omagh |18.06 |21.40 |- |- Strabane |20.07 |18.15 |- |-
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what are the statutory minimum standards for outdoor playing space in Northern Ireland ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the current level of provision of outdoor playing space in Northern Ireland.
Dr. Mawhinney : There are no general statutory minimum standards for outdoor playing space in Northern Ireland except for schools whose standards are laid down in the School Premises (Standards) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1973 (SR and O No. 491 (1973)). I have made no overall assessment of the levels of provision for outdoor playing space in Northern Ireland, but I am satisfied with the minimum standards laid down for schools in these regulations.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of young unemployed in the Province at the latest available date.
Mr. Needham : At 14 September 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, 31,593 unemployed claimants in Northern Ireland were under 25 years old, and 4,739 of these were aged 18 or under.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the unemployment figure among construction workers in the Province at the latest date.
Mr. Needham : At 14 September 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 17,549 unemployed construction workers in Northern Ireland.
Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has received from the Nature Conservancy Council regarding existing science and policy issues at a national level ; and whether he will place a copy of that advice in the Library.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend has received a variety of representations and advice about the Government's proposals to reorganise the conservation agencies, which were announced in July. Among these was a paper from the Nature Conservancy Council entitled "Proposed Reorganisation of NCC : Policy and Science Issues". With the agreement of the chairman of the council, copies of this paper will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses shortly.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he intends to take to encourage the use of biodegradable plastic containers.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Government are considering with industry and local authorities how to promote the most environmentally responsible means of dealing with plastics waste, including biodegradability, recycling and reuse. The long-term effects of biodegradable plastics on the environment is to be the subject of research which the Government will be monitoring closely.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to relocate his Department's offices to the north- west of England ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Patten : Over 1,500 posts in my Department (including the Property Services Agency) are already located in the north-west. Eleven posts in the Department's rent charges unit will shortly be transferred to Manchester. Information about the Department's review of the scope for further relocation was given in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran) on 26 July at column 785.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how he intends to ensure that Her Majesty's Government's contribution to the target figure of replanting the world's forests with 12 million hectares of trees each year from the turn of the century, agreed at Noordwijk, will be achieved.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Noordwijk declaration makes no apportionment of the suggested 12 million hectares target as between individual countries. However, the United Kingdom already has a creditable record on forestry. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in her speech to the United Nations, we intend to increase spending largely on the tropical forest action plan by £100 million over the next three years. This is in addition to the 125 forestry schemes worldwide already
Column 26being supported directly or jointly with a number of
non-governmental organisations. In the United Kingdom the farm woodland scheme has a target of 36,000 hectares of domestic tree planting over a three-year period and the Department of Transport is planting 1 million trees a year in conjunction with its roads programme.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on British participation at the CITES conference at Lausanne in relation to the American proposals on reviews of research proposals in relation to ivory, fur and reptile skins.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : None. I understand, however, that the Japanese Government have indicated that they fully support the decision of the CITES conference to transfer the African elephant from appendix II to appendix I of the convention, and have no intention of entering a reservation.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contacts he has had with Japan over the honouring of the CITES Lausanne agreement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The proposals were not discussed in any of the formal conference sessions. We will study the results of any such work with interest in consultation with our scientific advisers.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each planning authority the proportion of planning appeals upheld, categorised according to the reasons for appeal, in each of the last five years.
Mr. Moynihan : This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Dicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those people who are neither hon. Members of Parliament, former Prime Ministers, nor civil servants who are entitled to use the Government car service, and the reason for their entitlement.
Mr. Chope : In addition to Members of Parliament and civil servants, entitlement to use the Government car service is extended, by reason of their official duties, to the chairmen or chief executives of certain national boards, judges, officials of the Houses of Parliament, No. 10 Downing street, and occasionally to visiting foreign Government officials and trade delegations.
Ms. Hilary Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 1990-91 standard assessment for (a) education, (b) under-fives education, (c) primary education, (d) secondary education, (e) post-16 education, and (f) other education, for each local education authority in England.
Mr. Chope : I have today placed in the Library a table showing provisional 1990-91 standard spending assessments for under-fives education, primary education,
Column 27secondary education, post-16 education, other education and all education services for each local education authority in England.
Ms. Hilary Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what elements of the standard spending assessment for each local education authority is attributable to the youth service expenditure ; and if he will list that element for each local education authority in England.
Mr. Chope : Allowance for the expenditure on youth related services is made within the other education sub-block of the education standard spending assessment. This sub-block also covers adult education. The proposed control total for this block in 1990-91 is £756 million.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will specify the guidance he has issued on the Government's policy, for the period after the abolition of domestic rates, towards rating of domestic property, when that property is used for a non- domestic purpose which does not materially detract from the domestic use.
Mr. Chope : The Inland Revenue valuation office will determine whether minor non-domestic use of domestic property should be assessed for rating purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. Guidance, in the form of a practice note, will be issued to all local authorities as soon as possible on the boundary between domestic and non-domestic property and will include details of the approach to be adopted by valuation officers in such cases.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total budget for urban programmes for the year 1989 -90 ; and what amounts of urban programme aid have been allocated to each of the 57 qualifying authorities for the year to date.
Mr. Moynihan : The total provision for the urban programme in 1989- 90 is £260 million. A total of £246 million was allocated to local authorities--and district health authorities within those areas. The remainder was topsliced for the Merseyside special allocation, residual traditional urban programme commitments, low attaining pupils programme and research. The local authority allocations are as follows :
1989-90 Total allocation |£ million ----------------------------------------- Northern Newcastle/Gateshead |17.061 Hartlepool |1.750 Langbaurgh |1.750 Middlesbrough |5.349 North Tyneside |3.400 South Tyneside |4.700 Stockton |1.368 Sunderland |5.019 North West Manchester/Salford |21.773 Blackburn |4.000 Bolton |3.625 Burnley |1.891 Oldham |3.583 Preston |2.120 Rochdale |3.545 Wigan |2.366 East Midlands Derby |1.480 Leicester |4.750 Nottingham |5.120 Yorkshire/Humberside Barnsley |1.598 Bradford |4.500 Doncaster |1.793 Hull |4.636 Kirklees |0.914 Leeds |4.315 Rotherham |1.794 Sheffield |5.059 Merseyside Liverpool |19.353 Halton |1.325 Knowsley |3.768 St. Helens |1.662 Sefton |1.429 Wirral |3.253 West Midlands Birmingham |23.000 Coventry |4.575 Dudley |1.340 Sandwell |4.407 Walsall |1.595 Wolverhampton |4.867 The Wrekin |0.680 South West Bristol |1.373 Plymouth |1.003 London Hackney |7.734 Islington |8.567 Lambeth |9.965 Brent |3.336 Greenwich |1.067 Hammersmith/Fulham |3.330 Haringey |2.650 Kensington/Chelsea |1.775 Lewisham |1.700 Newham |2.589 Southwark |2.494 Tower Hamlets |4.373 Wandsworth |3.256 |---- Total |245.725
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which organisations are to be granted funding under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 during the next financial year ; and what is the amount they will receive.
Mr. Chope : No decisions have yet been taken on which voluntary organisations are to be funded under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 during the next financial year. An announcement will be made shortly.
Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the damaged floor tiles in the House will be replaced.
Mr. Chope : Temporary repairs to the damaged tiles were carried out earlier this year. Discussions are continuing with English Heritage to develop a programme for either the permanent repair or replacement of the damaged tiles in the Central Lobby, Lower Waiting Hall and St. Stephen's Hall. The parliamentary works office hopes to be able to put agreed proposals to the House in the new year.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received any proposals to demolish Battersea power station ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan : No. Listed building consent was given by Wandsworth borough council in June 1986 for a scheme that envisaged minor amounts of demolition. Consent for other works has been given by the council subsequently.
Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the effect of the introduction in March of the tenants' sanction procedures for right-to-buy applicants ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The tenants' sanction procedures were introduced by section 124 of the Housing Act 1988 and came into effect on 10 March 1989. The provisions provide for tenants who are exercising the right to buy their homes, but are being held up by delays on the part of the landlord, to require the rent they pay while the delay continues to be treated as an advance payment towards the purchase price, and to shorten by a corresponding period the time within which they are liable to repay discount if they resell their home. These measures therefore provide financial redress for tenants who suffer from delay, and penalise the local authorities who cause this delay. I am glad to be able to announce that there are signs of improved right-to-buy performance in London since the introduction of the tenants' sanction. But the Department continues to receive a large number of complaints about right-to-buy delays and it is clear that the most significant delays still occur in London where the Department currently monitor 12 boroughs of which four--Brent, Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark--have more than 1,000 cases delayed beyond the statutory time limits.
I have decided that it is now appropriate to review the performance of all London housing authorities in the light of the introduction of the delay procedures.
So as to determine the effect of the tenants' sanction provisions and the extent of right-to-buy delays in London, the Department has written to all London boroughs asking them to provide details of their right-to-buy caseload and the number of tenant's sanction notices which have been served on them. A copy of the letter to chief executives has been placed in the Library.
I will consider what further monitoring or other measures are necessary when I have the results of this exercise.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what income was received by the national loans fund in respect of interest payments by water authorities in the last financial year.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 10 November 1989] : This information will be presented to the House shortly when, in accordance with paragraph 35 of schedule 3 to the Water Act 1973, the national loans fund White Paper accounts for 1988-89 are published.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what further steps he proposes to take to encourage and assist local authorities to provide or expand schemes for the recycling of waste paper.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 10 November 1989] : In conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, my Department will shortly carry out a survey of local authorities to identify best practice in the recycling of waste paper and other waste streams. In addition, we will be closely monitoring the results of the recycling city project in Sheffield which, among other things, involves the kerbside collection of waste paper. I shall be opening the next phase of this project on 21 November.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he is taking to assist environmental initiatives by the British paper and board industry.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 10 November 1989] : My Department and the Department of Trade and Industry are in regular contact with individual paper and board manufacturers and relevant trade associations with a view to encouraging the use of recycled paper and board. The Government, with leading paper and board manufacturers, held a series of seminars earlier this year throughout the United Kingdom on recycling waste paper for use as newsprint, to which there has been a very positive response.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to commission a study of the eutrophication of ponds, lakes and waterways in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 9 November 1989] : I do not consider that such a study is required at present because eutrophication is not generally a problem in United Kingdom waters. The National Rivers Authority is responsible in England and Wales for the control of water pollution and the maintenance and improvement of the quality of controlled waters.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give a breakdown of the estimated price per gallon of water to be charged after household water meter installation.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 8 November 1989] : No. The charge per gallon will depend on the structure of the measured tariff fixed by each water undertaker under the conditions of its instrument of appointment.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities which have implemented one or more recycling initiatives within the past 12 months involving (a) paper, (b) aluminium or (c) glass.
Mr. Trippier : We do not at present hold such information centrally. However, I recently launched the National Directory of Recycling Information which lists recycling initiatives, available from Waste Watch, 26 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HU.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contribution British research is making to the European Community's effort to select the most practical and internationally acceptable options to conserve the tropical hardwood forests.
Mr. Trippier : The United Kingdom has an extensive bilateral programme of assistance on tropical forests which, as the Prime Minister announced on 8 November, has recently been enhanced by a further £100 million. Our principal contribution to EC efforts has been to second a forestry expert to the Commission's development directorate. We of course take a full part in discussions on forestry within the Community, and at the meeting of European Environment Ministers in June 1989 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State supported the redeployment of resources within the Commission towards forestry.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total budget for city grant for the year 1989-90 ; and if he will publish a table showing what schemes have been approved in the year to date, giving the authority receiving the grant, for what scheme and what proportion of the total cost of the scheme was represented by the grant.
Mr. David Hunt : I will write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will seek powers to give the same remuneration to war widows from world war one and world war two as is paid to Falklands campaign widows.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : War widows receive those pensions to which they are eligible under the provisions of appropriate schemes. All war widows receive a war widow's pension under the war pensions scheme administered by the Department of Social Security. Pensions may also be payable under the terms of the occupational scheme for the armed forces. The widows of
Column 32men who died during, or as a result of, the Falklands campaign are eligible for an attributable forces family pension under that scheme as the result of improvements which were introduced from 31 March 1973 and applied only to those personnel who gave service on or after that date. There are no plans to extend eligibility to those whose service ended before that date.
Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what benefits payable to war widows under the contributory pension scheme are covered by contributions ; and to what extent they are financed by other forms of revenue.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The armed forces pension scheme is non- contributory. The cost of forces family pensions, paid to those war widows who are eligible, is met from the funds allocated to the appropriate defence vote. However, subsequent to the appointment of the Review Body on Armed Forces Pay in September 1971, it has been the practice of that body to make an adjustment, within the process of determining recommended rates of pay for the armed forces, which takes into account differences in superannuation benefits between those of the armed forces scheme and those of comparators' schemes.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Harrier GR7 aircraft are being brought into service in the next five years ; how many aircrews will be trained to fly at low level at night ; and how many night-hours each aircrew will be required to fly each year to maintain the required RAF levels of proficiency ; (2) how many hours at low flying at night have been undertaken in each of the past five years ; and what level of increase is anticipated after the Harrier GR7 aircraft is brought into service ; (3) how many hours of low flying at night were planned to occur in West Germany prior to the West German decision to ban low flying training at night ;
(4) if he will list in the Official Report the areas of the United Kingdom that will be used to train air crews engaged in low level night-time flying exercises in Harrier GR7 aircraft ; (5) whether the specifications of the Harrier GR7 aircraft requires low level night time training exercises to be undertaken in the area of the Spadeadam Royal Air Force base.
Mr. Neubert : My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of the investigation by the joint air-miss working group into the incident involving a military aircraft and a civil passenger flight over Tranent on the evening of 2 August.
Mr. Neubert : The official report of the investigation into this incident is not yet available.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will order an investigation into the circumstances in which polyethylene glycol was released
Column 33from a Royal Air Force aircraft over the town of Amesbury on an occasion in October ; and if he will make it his policy to publish the results ;
(2) what is the damage to private property caused by the release of polyethylene glycol by a Royal Air Force aircraft over the town of Amesbury ;
(3) what was the purpose of spraying troops with polyethylene glycol on the occasion in October when a quantity of this chemical was released over the town of Amesbury ;
(4) what were the chemical constituents of the liquid released by a Royal Air Force aircraft over the town of Amesbury on an occasion in October.
Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) on 10 November 1989 at columns 798-99.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the chemical formulae of the substances that are used during chemical weapons training.
Mr. Neubert : The MOD does not undertake chemical weapons training. The only materials released from the air as stimulants for chemical and biological defence training are water and polythylene glycol 300.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what health and safety measures are taken to ensure the health of those service personnel involved in chemical weapons training ; (2) what steps are taken to monitor the health of those service personnel involved in chemical weapons training.
Mr. Neubert : All equipment and simulants used for training purposes go through a thorough scrutiny and approval procedure before being cleared for service use, and there is, therefore, no specific reason to monitor service men's health following chemical and biological defence training. However, the health of service personnel is routinely monitored.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the chemical formula of the substance that was discharged by an aircraft operating from the aircraft and armaments establishment at Boscombe Down on 25 October.
Mr. Neubert : The chemical training agent discharged from an aircraft operated by A and AEE Boscombe Down on 25 October was polyethylene glycol 300. Its chemical formula is CH (OH).(CH O CH )m.CH OH, where m may be a 5 or 6.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there have been any (a) injuries or fatalities recorded on and (b) injuries, illnesses or fatalities that have resulted from chemical weapons training.
Mr. Neubert : There are no recorded illnesses, injuries or fatalities resulting directly from the use of simulants in chemical and biological defence training.