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Column 87distributed to their hospitals in line with national policy guidelines and their assessment of local needs and priorities.
Mr. Freeman : The Department will be evaluating the Cornwall service as part of a larger evaluation of helicopter ambulances. The evaluation, which will be undertaken by one of the Department's funded units will be adequately resourced and will begin in spring 1990 and run on to early 1994.
Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he has any plans to revise the evidence relating to deprivation payments given to the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body by his Department ; whether he intends submitting new evidence ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) whether he intends to remove deprivation payments from the remit of the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There is a long standing agreement between the parties concerned that the contents of the evidence to the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body are not made public before the Government have announced their decisions on the recommendations made by the review body.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body has been asked to report to my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in time for decisions to be announced before the start of the next financial year.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take steps to ensure that all public inquiries established by Her Majesty's Government publish as high a proportion as possible of their documents on recycled paper ; and if he will make a statement.
There are a number of technical constraints which currently prevent a wider application of recycled paper. To overcome these constraints, working groups representing Government Departments and individual suppliers have been established to draw up specification standards for recycled papers, particularly in high volume areas.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will raise the question of nylon monofilament nets and their effects on the populations of dolphins, porpoises and other cetaceans with other European Environment ministers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Measures to enable better protection of cetacean populations are among the topics being discussed in preparation for the third north sea conference in March 1990. Better information on interaction between fishing activity and cetaceans is one of the research needs identified, but I understand that there is no evidence at present to suggest that the use of monofilament fishing nets is posing a significant problem for cetacean populations in United Kingdom waters. The European Community is already pursuing a co-ordinated approach to the subject of pelagic drift netting on the high seas which has given rise to great concern.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he plans to establish a groundwork foundation and trust in Nottingham ; how it will be financed ; what is its purpose ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Groundwork Foundation is currently discussing with the local authorities in Nottingham the possibility of establishing a groundwork trust in the city. The proposal is still in its early stages and the area to be covered by the trust has not yet been decided. The core costs of groundwork trusts are funded by my Department, local authorities and the private sector. The Groundwork Foundation has allocated £40,000 in 190-91 to the proposed Nottingham groundwork trust from funds provided by the Department. I understand that the level of financial support from the local authorities and the private sector is still to be determined. The role of the trust will be to bring together the public, private and voluntary sectors in Nottingham to tackle the area's environmental problems for the long term benefit of the local community.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Following the incident of elevated ozone levels in the summer, the Government decided to make available the data collected on the Warren Spring laboratory ozone measurement network on a daily basis during incidents. We have now decided following recent adverse winter conditions that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO ), carbon monoxide (CO) and sulphur dioxide (SO ) collected in the same way will similarly be made available. A daily summary will be issued when any one of the WHO guidelines is exceeded. These are :
SO :122 parts per billion (ppb)
CO :25 parts per million (ppm)
NO :210 ppb.
This is a further example of our determination to improve public access to environmental information. Levels of these pollutants reached in the United Kingdom fortunately do not pose significant threats to human health and we do not, of course, want to alarm people unnecessarily. Nevertheless we believe that people should have the facts and judge for themselves.
We already have major action in hand to reduce these pollutants. Action on car exhaust emissions agreed in the European Council last June will drastically reduce emissions of CO and oxide of nitrogen from all new cars after the end of 1992 and will ensure a downward trend in the levels of these pollutants in towns and cities. The new standards will cost the motorist some £1.5 billion per year compared with current ones. We are pressing the Commission to bring forward new standards to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy diesel vehicles. We also have major commitments to reduce emissions of SO and oxides of nitrogen from power stations and are encouraging a few remaining local authorities who have not yet introduced smoke control programmes in affected areas to do so to ensure compliance, by April 1993 at the latest, with European directive limits on smoke and sulphur dioxide.
Air quality standards and criteria for monitoring them are set by European Community directives for smoke and SO , for NO , and for lead in air. Only one breach (outside derogation areas) has occurred this year. It is of the NO directive, for which the criterion is that a level half that of the WHO guideline must not be exceeded for more than 175 hours in a year. This breach occurred because an indoor source of NO interfered with the monitor in question. No other breach is anticipated.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy at the next Council of European Environment Ministers to propose that the European Commission produce an annual report on the state of the environment in the European Community, to be published in January each year, to be widely publicised and circulated.
Column 91Community should be published by an agency every three years. Unanimous agreement on the three-year cycle for publishing such a report was reached at the last Council of European Environment Ministers in November.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to introduce legislation requiring planning consents for retail stores to include practicable provision for the collection of re-usable materials.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We do not at present propose to introduce such legislation but planning authorities should bear in mind the benefits to the local community in arranging for such facilities to be considered where practicable at an early stage in the planning of retail facilities.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to give effect to the undertaking given by the hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) concerning the laying of regulations under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We are committed to the implementation of the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 and as soon as practicable we will undertake consultation on the regulations necessary to bring the Act into force.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he has any plans to ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons as propellants in Christmas novelty sprays ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what information he has on the use of chlorofluorocarbons in novelty Christmas sprays ; and if he will advise consumers not to purchase such products.
Mr. Chris Patten : The Government are actively seeking international agreement to the phase out of all CFCs by the year 2000. I understand that the aerosol industry intends 90 per cent. of all its products to be CFC free by the end of the year. In the case of these Christmas novelties, I also understand that the alternative propellants available this Christmas are flammable. Because of the way these products are often used, safety factors prohibit the use of flammable material. It is proposed that one of the new generation propellants will be used in these products next year. British consumers have already shown that they can decide for themselves whether they wish to buy products which damage the ozone layer.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to require local planning authorities to consider design energy consumption of buildings when reaching planning decisions.
Mr. Howard : No. Where a tenant is not required by the terms of his lease to undertake works of repair or improvement the responsibility will rest with the landlord. It is therefore appropriate for the landlord to apply for grant and for any payment to be based on an assessment of his resources.
Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 11 December, Official Report, column 493, to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, concerning a complaint by Mr. R. Gorman of 14 Welby street, Manchester in which he states that a reply to a letter to him dated 31 July was sent on 14 October, he will investigate why this reply has never reached the right hon. Member ; and if he will now ensure that a reply does reach the right hon. Member.
Mr. Chris Patten : Investigations within my Department have shown that the letter was dispatched on 14 October. I apologise for any inconvenience and I am now sending the right hon. Member a copy of my letter.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will immediately notify the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America of the necessity for the toxic waste sent to the United Kingdom by or the behalf of the FMC Company of the United States of America to be returned from Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham, to that company ; and whether this action would be in accordance with the current and binding international agreement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Environmental Protection Agency is already aware of our view that the waste at Wath upon Dearne should be returned to the United States of America and are currently considering the scope for action under American legislation. There is no binding international agreement. Although the Basel convention could cover the particular circumstances of this case, it is not yet in force.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether at any time his Department or any public agency has considered the possibility of the disposal in the United Kingdom of the toxic waste bulk at Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : As part of its contingency planning Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has considered possible treatment facilities for the material at Wath upon Dearne. It however remains our policy that this material should be returned to the United States of America.
Column 93Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Details of all United Kingdom trade in CITES species, including but not separately identifying birds, are submitted annually to the European Commission and are included in the Commission's annual report on trade in endangered species. I have arranged for copies of the 1986 and 1987 reports to be placed in the Library of the House. The United Kingdom figures for 1988 have been submitted to the Commission, but have not yet been published by it.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria are applied by him in granting import licences under CITES ; and whether he takes into account the character of the applicant, as demonstrated by relevant criminal convictions concerning importation without a licence or the breaking of previous licences.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Applications for import licences are considered on their merits, in the light of advice from our scientific advisers and in accordance with the EC regulations which implement CITES within the European Community. Failure on the part of an applicant to comply with the conditions of a previous licence, or a conviction for offences under import or other relevant legislation, would be regarded as a relevant factor to be considered if further applications for import licences were submitted.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what conveniently available figures he has as to how often identification experts were called out in 1988 to pass judgment on mammals, birds, reptiles and fish in relation to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : At the request of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, my Department arrange for identification experts to be called out on four occasions in 1988 to inspect animals covered by the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976. However, in implementing the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, HM Customs and Excise may also seek assistance in identifying species direct from private consultants. Details of the number of such cases are not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what new measures he intends to introduce, following the proposal to break up the Nature Conservancy Council, to enable the United Kingdom Government to meet their obligations under the Berne convention on the conservation of european wildlife and natural habitats.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether in the last 10 years he or his predecessors, either by direction or informally, secured changes in the accounting conventions followed by water authorities, the Property Services Agency and the Crown Suppliers, respectively ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Patten : Since 1982-83 water authorities' historical cost accounts have been supplemented by Accounts prepared under the current cost convention. There have been no changes in the last 10 years in the accounting conventions followed by the Property Services Agency or the Crown Suppliers.
(2) on what basis the Property Services Agency offered to rent vaults under Somerset house for £200 per annum or to buy them for £50,000 ;
(3) what guidance the London residuary body received from his Department concerning its future requirements for storage within the vaults below Somerset house ;
(4) when he intends to reply to letters concerning the sale of the Somerset house vaults from the hon. Member for Dagenham, the Quill Group and Mr. Ian Walmsley ;
(5) whether the London residuary body made any efforts to sell the vaults below Somerset house before offering them at auction ; (6) which officials of the Property Services Agency represented the Agency at the two auctions involving vaults beneath Somerset house ; (7) why his Department withdrew access to vaults below Somerset house from representatives of the Quill Group ;
(8) why officials of the Inland Revenue's accommodation department reversed an earlier assurance that they had no objections to the Quill Group obtaining access to vaults below Somerset House.
Mr. Chris Patten [holding answer 7 December 1989] : I understand that the Quill Group were the successful bidders at an auction in September, but failed to complete the contract with the London residuary body. No guidance was issued by my Department in connection with this sale.
In accordance with their normal practice for the disposal of surplus property the London residuary body entered into discussions with the occupying tenant. The Government have held a lease of these vaults for over 80 years. The Property Services Agency acts on my behalf as tenants. The lease is governed by the Landlord and Tenant Acts and the rent, fixed in 1907, is £185 a year.
In earlier negotiations with the London residuary body a PSA offer of £50,000 for the freehold interest was unsuccessful and both parties agreed that it would be in the best interests of both taxpayers and the London ratepayers, if the vaults were exposed for sale at public auction.
Following their successful purchase at auction in September the Quill Group instructed agents to open negotiations with the PSA for a new lease, the 1907 lease now having expired, seeking a rent of £90, 000 per annum.
On being advised by the auctioneers that the vaults were to be auctioned again on 4 December, the PSA's professional decision as prudent managers of the Government Estate was to take this further opportunity to purchase and, on this occasion, it was successful. Both auctions were attended by the professional head of the estates services branch of the PSA's London region estates division, accompanied by a principal grade estate surveyor.
Column 95I am writing to the hon. Member explaining these complex matters more fully and I shall also send him a copy of the letter which the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Chope) sent to Mr. Harris of the Quill Group on 30 November.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many houses and flats have been subjected to insulation measures under the home insulation scheme for each year since the home insulation scheme started and for each region and the United Kingdom as a whole.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 12 December 1989] : The number of grants paid under the homes insulation scheme for 1986, 1987, 1988 and the first two quarters of 1989 appear in table 2.21(d) of "Housing and Construction Statistics Part 2", No. 38 ; figures for earlier years are in table 7.9 of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1978-1988". Copies of these publications are in the Library.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many inspectors have left Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution (a) since its formation, (b) since 1 January 1988 and (c) since 1 January 1989.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many inspectors were employed by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution (a) at its formation, (b) on 1 January 1988, (c) on 1 January 1989 and (d) at the latest available date ; and what should be its establishment.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution employed 75 professional staff at its formation ; 90 on 1 January 1988 ; 100 on 1 January 1989 and 105 at present. The inspectorate's complement is 135 professional posts.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many of the inspectors at Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution have been employed by the inspectorate since its formation.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many of the inspectors now employed by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution are based in London ; and at what centres the other inspectors are based.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution employs 104 professional staff ; 46 professional staff are currently based in London but over half of these will be posted to the new
Column 96regional offices when they become operational next year. Other staff are based in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chester, Darlington, East Grinstead, Lancaster, Leeds, Lincoln, Luton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Preston and Sheffield.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many prosecutions have been instigated by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in 1987, 1988 and 1989 for (a) air pollution and (b) toxic waste disposal.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution undertook three successful prosecutions for air pollution in 1987-88 and two in 1988-89 (records are kept for financial years). HMIP has no regulatory powers under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 in relation to toxic waste disposal. Enforcement responsibility lies with waste disposal authorities.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : The report on Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution prepared for the Department's management information system (MINIS 10) was placed in the Library on 15 November.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : Staff in Her Majesty's Inspectorate are responding in positive and constructive ways to the demands placed on them at a time of fundamental organisational change. This was evident at the inspectors' conference held in late November, and is exemplified by a letter written by inspectors to a national newspaper on 11 December. I appreciate such efforts by staff to dissociate themselves from remarks attributed to unnamed inspectors in recent press reports. The committed professionalism of the staff in the inspectorate plays a vital role in maintaining and improving environmental standards.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's annual report 1988-89 to be published ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 13 December 1989] : The staff complement of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution was increased from 219 to 240 with effect from 2 October 1989. An additional 10 posts have already been approved for 1990-91 and the objectives of HMIP and the resources it needs to fulfil them effectively are being kept under close review.
Column 97Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effects of the recent reorganisation within Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution on his plans to introduce integrated pollution control.