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The city council has received 786 applications for assistance under the housing defects legislation and has discussed its statutory obligations in detail with my officials.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money has been spent from 1987 to the current year by Her Majesty's Government on monitoring air pollution by (a) nitrogen oxides and their reaction with hydrocarbons, (b) sulphur dioxide and (c) lead pollution ; and what information he has on the comparable expenditure of other European Community states.
Mr. Trippier : United Kingdom Government expenditure on monitoring nitrogen oxides (NOx) and the products of their reaction with gaseous hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide and lead between 1987-88 and 1989-90 was as follows :
£k. |1987-88|1988-89|1989-90 ------------------------------------------------------------ (a) Nitrogen oxides and their reaction with hydrocarbons NO2 directive network |131.0 |115.0 |117.5 Rural ozone-NOx network |538.2 |435.0 |435.0 |--- |--- |--- Total |669.2 |550.0 |552.5 (b) Sulphur dioxide SO2-smoke directive network |159.0 |164.0 |183.0 SO2 rural network |45.9 |48.8 |50.0 Acid deposition network |634.0 |496.0 |421.0 |--- |--- |--- Total |838.9 |708.8 |654.0 (c) Lead Total: all lead networks |44.2 |43.6 |44.2 (d) Preparation of emission inventories for NOx, volatile or |87.8 |98.0 |106.0 |--- |--- |--- Grand totals |1,640.1|1,400.4|1,356.7
There is no internationally agreed database on European Community expenditure for pollution monitoring.
Expenditure on a monitoring network is normally greater in the initial years while it is being established than later when it is operating routinely.
Mr. David Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the terms of the agreement reached by the industrial countries' meeting in Noordwijk, concerning emissions of carbon dioxide ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : I have today placed a copy of the Noordwijk declaration on atmospheric pollution and climate change in the Library. I am pleased that the United Kingdom was able to play a part in securing agreement on carbon dioxide emissions contained in the declaration, but this is only one of a number of important conclusions. I also very much welcome the unanimous commitment to the early negotiation of a framework convention on climate change.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he can give of the total reduction of British emissions of carbon dioxide which will be achieved as a result of the conference and agreement reached at Noordwijk.
Mr. Trippier : The agreement reached at Noordwijk was for a stabilisation of CO emissions as a first step by industrialised nations. The detailed basis for such a stabilisation, together with options for a longer-term target regime are to be considered at the second world climate conference in the light of the IPCC interim report.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Caerphilly of 1 November, Official Report, column 237, why he has decided to extend the open general licence to release chukar and hybrid partridges into the wild.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The decision to extend the open general licence to release chukar and hybrid partridges until the end of 1992 was based upon advice from the Government's species advisers, the Nature Conservancy Council, following the report from the Game Conservancy. No releases of chukars or their hybrids will be allowed beyond this date.
Column 131consultation document on 4 October, and comments may be made until 5 January 1990. My right hon. Friend intends to issue a new PPG3 early in the new year, as soon as he has had the chance to consider the responses to the consultation paper. It will then formally become Government policy, to be taken into account, along with other material considerations, in planning appeal decisions.
Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft guidelines he has issued to local authorities regarding non-domestic rates relief for sports and recreational clubs from April 1990.
Mr. Chope : The draft guidelines, which were issued as a consultation document, are being revised in the light of responses received. We intend to issue them shortly in the form of a practice note for charging authorities which will also be available to interested organisations. A copy of the practice note will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the terms of reference for the Nature Conservancy Council's current overview of areas meeting the criteria for designation under the European Community directive on the conservation of wild birds.
the proper protection, survival and requisition of species listed on Annex 1 of the EC Birds Directive throughout their natural range in Great Britain ;
the safeguard of important breeding, moulting, wintering and nesting sites of migratory birds not listed on Annex 1 ; particular attention being paid to wetlands and especially those of international importance.
Formal terms of reference were not provided.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Nature Conservancy Council's overview of special protection areas has delayed the designation of sites under the European Community directive on the conservation of wild birds ; and whether additional resources have been made available to the Nature Conservancy Council in order to conduct the study.
Mr. Trippier : The Government have continued consultations in respect of sites notified by the NCC as potential special protection areas in parallel with the NCC's production of the study. No additional resources were provided as the NCC took the view that the necessary expertise was available.
Mr. Chris Patten : So far this Session approximately 5,800 questions have been tabled to my Department. Of these 1,050 were tabled for oral answer and 133 actually received an oral reply. The remainder have received a written answer.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many written parliamentary questions he refused to answer in the parliamentary Session 1988-89. Mr. Chris Patten : It is the policy of my Department to answer all parliamentary questions except those involving disproportionate cost.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many written parliamentary questions received answers that the information (a) was not available, (b) was not separately recorded, (c) was not centrally recorded, (d) was not recorded in Government statistics or (e) could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Chris Patten : The statistics collected by all Government Departments are subject to regular and searching reviews, as a result of which some surveys are eliminated and many are substantially modified.
The following are the major published statistical series that have been dropped or introduced by my Department since 1979.
Series Dropped Since 1979
Commercial and industrial floorspace statistics.
Private enterprise housing enquiry.
Local authority salary and wage statistics.
Local authority expenditure budget estimates (at November prices).
Local authority design work statistics.
Subcontracted construction output statistics.
EC state of trade enquiry (for construction).
Local authority funded housing association tender acceptance statistics.
Series Introduced Since 1979
Enterprise zone annual monitoring statistics.
Land use change statistics.
Renovation grants applications and approvals statistics. Expansion of council house sales statistics to cover right to buy' purchases.
Planning appeals statistics.
Column 133Information from local authorities on selective tendering. Carbon dioxide and ozone statistics.
Land registers computerised service.
Statistics under the tradeable information initiative.
Statistics on county councils planning decisions.
Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities have failed to comply with their statutory requirements to make up and balance their accounts within six months of the end of each financial year by more than (a) six months, (b) 12 months, (c) 18 months, (d) two years, (e) three years and (f) four years in arrears.
Mr. David Hunt : Such information is not held by the Department or centrally by the Audit Commission. However, the Audit Commission's 1987-88 report showed that 80 local authorities had not published their 1986-87 accounts by 31 December 1987, and of those, 45 had still not published by mid-March 1988. The Audit Commission's 1988-89 report showed that 32 local authorities had not published their 1987-88 accounts by 31 December 1988 and, of those, 12 had still not published by June 1989.
Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are open to him in respect of local authorities which have failed to comply with their statutory requirements to make up and balance their accounts within six months of the end of each financial year ; and what such steps he has taken.
Mr. David Hunt : Any person failing without reasonable excuse to comply with the statutory requirements is liable to prosecution. The auditor is best placed to judge whether such legal action would be warranted or be likely to succeed.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the consultation papers on local government finance he has issued to local authorities or local authority associations during 1989, giving for each the date on which it was issued and the date by which comments were requested.
Title |Date of issue |Response required by -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Non-Domestic Rating Local Rating Lists and Cross-Boundary Property |31 January 1989 |28 March 1989 Regulations Non-Domestic Rating: Transition |16 February 1989 |14 April 1989 Valuation of Composite Hereditaments |20 February 1989 |14 April 1989 Local Non-Domestic Rate (Collection and |21 February 1989 |24 April 1989 Enforcement) Regulations 1989 Payments into the Non-Domestic Rate Pool |20 March 1989 |12 May 1989 Valuation for Rating (Mines and Quarries) Regulations 1989 |23 March 1989 |19 May 1989 Rating Lists: Alterations and Appeals |28 March 1989 |26 May 1989 Non-Domestic Rating: Decapitalisation Rate |3 April 1989 |19 May 1989 Discretionary Rate Relief |4 April 1989 |26 May 1989 Rating Valuation of Public Utilities |14 July 1989 |12 September 1989 Duty of Charging Authorities to Consult |28 July 1989 |22 September 1989 Unoccupied Property Rates |25 September 1989 |31 October 1989 Central Rating Lists and the Prescription of |4 October 1989 |6 November 1989 Rateable Values Rate Demand Notice and Accompanying |4 October 1989 |6 November 1989 Information Charging Authority's Duty to Supply Information to |4 October 1989 |6 November 1989 the VO Leisure Caravan Parks |20 October 1989 |18 November 1989 Valuation and Community Charge Tribunal |27 October 1989 |24 November 1989 Regulations: Consultation Paper on Amendments to Cover Non-Domestic Rating Appeals Precepts and Levies Draft Collection Fund Regulations |30 August 1989 |20 October 1989 General Provisions for Levying Bodies |18 October 1989 |10 November 1989 Grant Revenue Support Grant 1990-91 |6 November 1989 |4 December 1989 Capital Finance Revised Block Borrowing Approval |14 February 1989 |16 March 1989 Specific Grants on Loan Charges |14 April 1989 |19 May 1989 Further paper on specific grants on Loan charges |25 August 1989 |29 September 1989 ERDF Grants |25 September 1989 |No date given Costs of credit arrangements |10 October 1989 |3 November 1989 Regulations to be made under Part IV of the Local |18 October 1989 |17 November 1989 Government and Housing Bill Approval Investments |19 October 1989 |24 November 1989 Further Proposals for Regulations |24 October 1989 |17 November 1989
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish full details of his planned advertising campaign to publicise the poll tax relief and rebate schemes, including the proposed start date for the campaign ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt : The Government have no plans to introduce a poll tax. We are, however, planning an information campaign to ensure that those eligible are aware of entitlement to community charge benefits and transitional relief, the details of which have not yet been settled.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which authority, and which data for local authorities, have occasioned the need for a rate support grant supplementary report for 1989-90, notified in a letter to local authorities on 7 November ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any proposals under consideration for the imposition of more stringent controls on industry to prevent discharges of metals into the sewerage system ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 9 November 1989] : We have announced our intention to bring forward proposals to introduce strict new integrated pollution controls over industrial sectors with the greatest pollution potential. These controls will cover the release of wastes to all media, including sewers.
Meanwhile, the Water Act 1989 and the Trade Effluents (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1989, which came into force on 1 September, introduced new controls over discharges to sewer of a number of priority substances, including several groups of metal compounds. Proposals for new or altered discharges to sewer containing these substances must be referred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who also has powers to review existing consents. In exercising his powers of determination in such cases my right hon. Friend will be guided by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution as to the best available technology not entailing excessive cost for reducing inputs of these substances to a minimum. In addition, Department of the Environment circular 7/89, issued earlier this year, set environmental quality standards in rivers and marine waters for a range of metals. Where these standards are not met, the National Rivers Authority is required to undertake programmes for pollution reduction, which may in some cases entail tighter controls on discharges from sewers and sewage treatment works, and hence on trade effluent inputs to the sewerage system.
Column 136recently prepared following an inspection by an inspecting engineer drawn from a panel appointed by his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 10 November 1989] : The Secretary of State has no power to direct the publication of reports to reservoir owners by panel engineers. Enforcement of the requirements of the Reservoir Act 1975 is the responsibility of county and metropolitan district councils, to which engineers have to send copies of their reports.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what implications the Forestry Commission's research into the storage of carbon in trees and timber has for future environmental policy in Great Britain.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 November 1989] : Better figures for carbon fixation will help in evaluating the role forestry might play in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the value of further encouraging forestry in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list the percentage of water lost in the process of distribution from the reservoir onwards by each of the water companies in England and Wales ;
(2) if he will publish a table showing the percentage of water lost in the course of distribution and the comparable figure for each of the past five years for each of the water companies in England and Wales.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 13 November 1989] : This information is not held centrally. Water companies can however make broad estimates of unaccounted for water and the latest figures available for the water service companies within the water groups about to be privatised are contained in the "Pathfinder Prospectus", a copy of which is available in the Library.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the statutory provisions which relate to his powers in relation to the conservation of water by water companies in England and Wales and the methods of conservation to which they relate.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 13 November 1989] : Under section 37 of the Water Act 1989, water undertakers have a duty to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system of water supply within their area. This duty is enforceable by the Secretary of State under section 20 of the Act. The Secretary of State also has powers under sections 131 and 132 of the Act to make orders, on application by the National Rivers Authority or by water undertakers, authorising the taking of steps to meet deficiencies in the supply of water arising from exceptional shortage of rain.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what target he has set for each of the water companies in England and Wales to achieve in order to reduce the percentage loss of water during the course of distribution ; and by what date he requires them to reach that target.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 13 November 1989] : My right hon. Friend sets no such targets. However, all the water service companies within the water groups which are about to be privatised have programmes to reduce water losses and some have set specific targets, which are set out in the "Pathfinder Prospectus", a copy of which is available in the Library.
Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the number of persons receiving rate rebate in (a) 1979 and (b) 1989 and the number of total persons who will either be (i) exempt from or (ii) paying less than the full community charge for their district.
The information requested concerning rate rebates is shown in the table as follows :
Estimated numbers receiving rate rebates-Great Britain |Million ------------------------ 1979-80 |3.065 1989-90 |5.5 Notes: 1. Before 1982-83 assistance with rates was through the supplementary benefit scheme run by the Department and the rate rebate scheme run by the Department of the Environment. Assistance with housing costs was harmonised into a single scheme when housing benefit was introduced for some supplementary benefit claimants from November 1982. Full implementation for all claimants followed from April 1983. The information for 1979-80 represents the numbers receiving rate rebates through the rate rebate scheme only; the number receiving assistance through supplementary benefit is not available. 2. The figure for 1989-90 includes community charge rebates in Scotland, which, in the case of couples, are counted as one rebate.
Latest estimates are that 620,000 people in Great Britain will be exempt from the community charge and that between a quarter and a third of those liable for the full charge will receive community charge benefit.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Electricity Council regarding the impact of the privatisation of the electricity supply industry on the level of electricity prices to the domestic consumer.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the director-general of the Office of Electricity Regulation regarding the effect on consumer electricity prices of the privatisation of the electricity supply industry.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend and I have had a number of meetings with the Director-General of Electricity Supply to discuss a range of subjects relating to the privatisation of the electricity industry.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board about the public inquiry into the proposed Hinkley Point C pressurised water reactor nuclear power station.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend has asked the CEGB to consider urgently what action it wishes to take with respect to its application for his consent to build a PWR station at Hinkley Point C in the light of his statement to the House on Thursday 9 November 1989 at columns 1175-76.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his most up-to-date estimate of the public Exchequer contribution to the cost of decommissioning and reprocessing of the nuclear power stations of (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland under schedule 12 to the Electricity Act.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The way in which schedule 12 will be used will be reviewed in the light of the setting up of separate nuclear companies. However, the company holding the nuclear stations presently owned by the CEGB is expected to have a cash surplus from its first years of operation, and I understand from my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland that the position is expected to be similar there.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) on what date the Government recognised that nuclear power is more costly than power from fossil-fuelled generating stations ; and what are the current respective estimated costs ;
(2) what was the source of the information that led his Department to recognise that nuclear power was more expensive than power from conventional stations.