The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with Mr. Shevardnadze, the Soviet Foreign Minister.
Column 124competitive tenders for school cleaning when they wish to carry out this work using their own employees. The successful tenderer is required to perform the contract to the specification set by the authority and for the price quoted.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what percentage of total water shares has gone to (a) small investors, (b) United Kingdom institutions, (c) foreign investors and (d) others ;
(2) what provision was considered to ensure that small shareholders were allocated more than half the total water shares available.
Mr. Howard : Under the offer arrangements for the water offers, 26.55 per cent. of the available shares were initially allocated to the United Kingdom retail public offers (including shares reserved for employees and bonus shares), 54.95 per cent. of the available shares were allocated to the institutions ; and 18.5 per cent. were allocated to overseas offers in Japan, continental Europe, Canada and the USA.
In view of the heavy demand in the retail public offers, various clawback arrangements were triggered to increase the size of the retail public offers. As a result the final allocations were 46.875 per cent. to the retail public offers ; 39.25 per cent. to the institutions and 13.875 per cent. to the overseas offers. The retail public offers were significantly oversubscribed in each of the 10 offers and applications had to be scaled down. In deciding a basis for scaling down, preference was given first to employees, pensioners and customers of each company, with 2.4 per cent. of the retail public offers being allocated to employees and pensioners and 57.5 per cent. to customers. Preference was also given to small applications over large. For example, applicants in the retail offers at the minimum application band all received a 100 per cent. allocation. Applicants applying for 10,000 or more shares, in contrast, received from 6.4 per cent. to 40 per cent. of the shares they applied for and, in the case of one company, no allocation.
Mr. Howard : Algal blooms are a common occurrence in many waters during the summer although sampling results this year showed that toxic forms of algal blooms were present in a number of reservoirs, lakes and similar waters in England and Wales. The NRA, which is now responsible for monitoring such waters, informed site owners and appropriate environmental health officers. The problems have subsided with the onset of colder weather. The NRA is conducting investigations into the cause of the problems this year, and will be considering the need for measures to reduce the risk of their recurrence.
Column 125effectively applied in England, Scotland and Wales following the proposed fragmentation of the Nature Conservancy Council.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made in this House by the Secretary of State for the Environment on 23 November-- Official Report columns 17-18-- which set out the arrangements that will apply after the reorganisation of the NCC for a statutory joint committee dealing inter alia with issues that have an international dimension. I am confident that any future European Commission directive on habitats--if agreed by the Council of Ministers--could be applied effectively within this framework.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 7 December, Official Report, column 323, why there has been no lighting on the stairs leading from the Committee Corridor for the last 14 days.
Mr. Chope : From the limited description it is not possible to identify which of the five stairs to the Committee Corridor the hon. Member has in mind. A check on 13 December identified only two bulbs, each on separate stairs, which needed replacing, plus three emergency lights. But I hope the hon. Member understands that it is not necessary to use the formalities of a parliamentary question in order to have a light bulb replaced.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has on the future policy on effective control of hazardous toxic and dangerous wastes and their disposal ; what provisions are currently in force ; what are the penalties for illegal dumping of such wastes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Environmental Protection Bill contains measures to reform the whole of waste management legislation. The new duty of care on waste producers and the stronger powers for licensing authorities will apply to all wastes but will be especially relevant to those wastes which are dangerous or difficult to dispose of--known as special waste. Current provisions for licensing of disposal facilities will be greatly enhanced. The maximum penalty available on indictment for illegal deposit of special waste is five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. The Control of Pollution (Special Waste) Regulations 1980 SI 1709, which control the movement of special waste from producer to disposer are under review and a consultation paper will be issued shortly.
Mr. Thornton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities which have entered into swap and swap option contracts ; and if he will provide an estimate of the notional value of each local authority's involvement at the end of the financial year 1988 -89.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many posts remain vacant in Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution ; what are the reasons for the shortfall ; what steps he is taking to fill the vacancies ; and how many and which of the vacancies are in the senior management level of the inspectorate.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution staff complement was increased from 219 to 240 from 2 October 1989. Vacant posts at 1 November 1989 numbered 41, most of which were professional posts. It is difficult to establish precisely the reasons for the shortfall. It reflects, inter alia, the limited pool of necessary specialist skills and experience available, and market rates of pay. To fill the vacant posts Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution is undertaking a recruitment campaign offering exceptional salary increases of 28.5 per cent. over those offered in the last recruitment round. There is one vacancy currently at senior management level in the inspectorate.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps have been taken to ensure that Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has sufficient personnel fully to implement its responsibilities for the radiation monitoring network.
Mr. Chope : The information is as follows. Total expenditure is defined as rate fund revenue account expenditure on services plus debt charges and net contributions to other accounts (such as the housing revenue account), less interest receipts and specific and supplementary grants.
Local Authorities whose total expenditure in 1987-88 exceeded £35 million |£ million ---------------------------------------------- Avon |392.6 Bedfordshire |234.0 Berkshire |283.4 Buckinghamshire |268.2 Cambridgeshire |238.1 Cheshire |435.6 Cleveland |301.1 Cornwall |181.7 Cumbria |225.3 Derbyshire |416.5 Devon |392.2 Dorset |230.8 Durham |257.8 East Sussex |249.5 Essex |599.1 Gloucestershire |207.8 Hampshire |578.8 Hereford and Worcester |251.8 Hertfordshire |365.2 Humberside |408.1 Isle of Wight |51.3 Kent |570.7 Lancashire |616.9 Leicestershire |383.7 Lincolnshire |220.1 Norfolk |273.6 Northamptonshire |237.8 Northumberland |127.7 North Yorkshire |278.5 Nottinghamshire |450.5 Oxfordshire |203.6 Shropshire |169.3 Somerset |181.6 Staffordshire |428.6 Suffolk |230.9 Surrey |334.3 Warwickshire |194.1 West Sussex |273.6 Wiltshire |216.2 Bolton |126.6 Bury |82.6 Manchester |316.5 Oldham |116.0 Rochdale |114.4 Salford |130.5 Stockport |119.9 Tameside |110.7 Trafford |92.4 Wigan |149.3 Knowsley |93.6 Liverpool |309.2 St. Helens |91.7 Sefton |130.8 Wirral |166.8 Barnsley |104.1 Doncaster |140.8 Rotherham |119.8 Sheffield |265.4 Gateshead |103.0 Newcastle-upon-Tyne |159.3 North Tyneside |100.4 South Tyneside |80.8 Sunderland |153.3 Coventry |159.9 Dudley |125.2 Sandwell |152.2 Solihull |80.3 Walsall |129.6 Wolverhampton |141.2 Bradford |254.6 Calderdale |97.2 Kirklees |196.6 Leeds |308.4 Wakefield |144.3 ILEA |975.4 City of London |71.7 Camden |156.7 Greenwich |93.3 Hackney |144.3 Hammersmith and Fulham |105.5 Islington |103.8 Kensington and Chelsea |49.3 Lambeth |152.7 Lewisham |120.2 Southwark |130.6 Tower Hamlets |125.8 Wandsworth |100.7 Westminster |91.6 Barking and Dagenham |75.2 Barnet |135.9 Bexley |101.6 Brent |184.8 Bromley |114.3 Croydon |144.2 Ealing |173.1 Enfield |128.9 Haringey |154.2 Harrow |100.2 Havering |104.8 Hillingdon |118.5 Hounslow |118.2 Kingston-upon-Thames |62.5 Merton |73.1 Newham |177.5 Redbridge |98.4 Richmond-upon-Thames |61.8 Sutton |78.0 Waltham Forest |154.5 Bristol |35.3 Leicester |36.6 Metropolitan Police |Police Authority |446.9 Greater Manchester Police Authority |88.1 Merseyside Police Authority |59.3 South Yorkshire Police Authority |35.3 Northumbria Police Authority |46.3 West Midlands Police Authority |84.4 West Yorkshire Police Authority |65.1 London Fire/CD Authority |180.2 Greater Manchester Fire |41.9 West Midlands Fire |40.1 Greater Manchester Transport |76.1 Merseyside Transport |62.4 South Yorkshire Transport |45.5 Tyne and Wear Transport |55.8 West Midlands Transport |55.5 West Yorkshire Transport |58.7
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the most specific detail available those people who are mentally or physically disabled who will be exempt from the community charge ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : Any physically disabled person who has his sole or main residence in an NHS hospital or a residential care home, a nursing home, a mental nursing home, a private hospital or a hostel and is receiving treatment there, will be exempt from the personal charge. So far as mental disability is concerned, any person who is in receipt of an invalidity pension, severe disablement allowance,
Column 129unemployability supplement, an unemployability allowance, an attendance allowance or a constant attendance allowance, and who has a certificate from a registered medical practitioner stating that his or her intelligence and social functioning is severely impaired will be exempt from the personal community charge. It is not possible to be specific about the particular disorders which may lead to such conditions being fulfilled.
Mr. David Hunt : The Department has sent out today a letter to all charging authorities which encloses draft regulations which would provide for the final form of the bill and the explanatory notes which will accompany the bill. The purpose of sending this material out now is to enable authorities to arrange for the printing of these documents forthwith, if they wish. A copy of the letter and enclosures have been placed in the Library. I expect to lay the regulations in January.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he intends to give to those people, nominated as responsible individuals, who are in receipt of community charge changes of circumstances forms ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt : Changes of circumstances forms are a convenient way of helping people to comply with their statutory duty to inform the community charges registration officer of any change in circumstances which affects their register entry. The responsibility for ensuring that they comply with the appropriate regulations lies with registration officers.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to monitor the issuing of changes of circumstances forms by community charge registration officers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt : Every individual has a duty to inform the community charges registration officer of any change of circumstances which affects his or her register entry. There is, however, no duty to volunteer such information about any other person. A responsible individual has a duty to provide information about people other than him or herself only in response to a specific request from the registration officer.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the percentage of income represented by rate support grant for (a) the City of Durham and (b) Basildon for (i) 1978-79 and (ii) 1988-89.
Rate support grant as percentage of rate fund revenue account income ------------------------ City of Durham |64|29 Basildon |52|16
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the division of responsibility for controlling water pollution between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the National Rivers Authority.
Mr. Howard : Currently the National Rivers Authority has responsibility for controlling water pollution under powers in the Water Act 1989, although additional controls are exercised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, advised by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, to limit inputs of certain dangerous substances to sewers.
Under our proposals for integrated pollution control wastes released to all environmental media from certain industrial processes would be controlled by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. The National Rivers Authority would, however, have powers to ensure that these controls were exercised so as to protect the aquatic environment. The authority would continue to have primary responsibility for discharges to water from all other sources. These arrangements were announced by my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) on 28 February following extensive consultation. They will be introduced through the Environmental Protection Bill which we shall shortly be introducing. They will entail close co- operation between the two regulatory bodies, and a memorandum of understanding will be drawn up to cover the detailed interface of their respective responsibilities.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he has received any representations from the National Association of Waste Disposal Contractors on environmental pollution matters ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) when he last met the waste disposal organisation NAWDC ; and what was discussed.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We have regular contact with NAWDC at all levels on environmental matters concerning waste management. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside last met it on 25 September to discuss, in particular, legislative proposals.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The world conservation monitoring centre is funded jointly by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature, and the United Nations Environment Programme from their respective subscription incomes, including those from the United Kingdom Government and private sources. The centre also earns income from providing services to customers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. My Department does not at present directly fund any work at the centre.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment upon what dates since April 1988 inspectors from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission visited Stocken hall, Rutland, to inspect the condition of the buildings ; what similar visits have been paid by officials of his Department since January ; and what action has subsequently been taken.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : An inspector from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission last visited Stocken hall in April 1988. Officials from my Department carried out a brief external inspection in April 1989. On learning in October that a proposed sale of the hall had fallen through, my Department asked the commission to inquire into its condition.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment upon what date the planning appeal by Endersby Developments Ltd. regarding Stocken hall, Rutland, was withdrawn ; and whether his Department has received details of any subsequent planning applications relating to this building.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken since 12 April to bring about the immediate protection of Stocken hall, Rutland ; whether he has yet authorised the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission to serve a notice under section 101 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The owners have done some urgent repairs to weatherproof the hall. My Department has therefore not yet authorised the commission to serve a notice under section 101, but has asked it to monitor the situation closely.
Mr. Chope : Information on the total spending on the homes insulation scheme in 1986, 1987, 1988 and the first half of 1989 appears in table 2.21 of "Housing and Construction Statistics part 2", No. 38. Figures for earlier years appear in table 7.7 of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1978-1988". Copies of these publications are available in the Library.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether inclusion of the homes insulation scheme within the home improvement grant scheme will make it more or less difficult to retain the same priority for loft insulation work.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The new system of renovation grants to be introduced under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 will enable local authorities to assist householders to carry out a wide range of measures to improve the energy efficiency of their
Column 132properties. It will be a matter for individual authorities to decide on the particular priority for loft insulation work within these measures. Additionally, the Secretary of State for Energy proposes to introduce a scheme of grants for basic insulation measures through community insulation services for low-income householders in the forthcoming Social Security Bill.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the details of the means-testing for the new improvement grants payable from 1 April 1990.
Mr. Faulds : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why he decided not to exercise his powers with regard to the demolition order on the grade II listed building the Theatre Royal, Chatham, for which a privately developed complex of uses is being planned locally.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : An application for listed building consent to demolish the Theatre Royal, Chatham was referred to my right hon. Friend by Rochester upon Medway city council to give him the opportunity of calling in the application for his own decision. Having obtained expert advice from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage) my right hon. Friend decided that, in view of the poor condition of the building and the fact that the site was included in proposed shopping redevelopment for the improvement of Chatham town centre, he would not be justified in taking the matter out of the hands of the local planning authority.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he still proposes to take legislative action to amend the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to enable the correction of errors on definitive maps.
Mr. Chris Patten : The judgment in the Court of Appeal on 23 November in the case of R v Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte Simms and Burrows, has confirmed that the Act already includes the power to make orders to correct errors or mistakes, as Parliament intended. There is therefore no need for amending legislation ; we will be issuing further advice to surveying authorities as soon as possible.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the contribution made by the federal and state governments in Germany to the building of new publicly owned housing in the latest year for which figures are available ; and what is the net contribution made by central Government in the United Kingdom.
Column 133Most dwellings in Germany (Federal Republic) that have been built with public subsidy are owned by non-profit-making bodies or by private companies and individuals. Some are owner-occupied. Total public expenditure for "social" dwellings (the German term) was estimated at 5,130 million DM in 1986. Separate figures for the share in this total of federal and state governments are not immediately available. In the United Kingdom central Government housing subsidies paid to local authorities are not divided into financing new building and other categories of expenditure. Central Government subsidies in 1986-87 to local authorities and public corporations were £811 million. This does not include subsidies to housing associations.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his Department monitors the operation of rules laid down in respect of the assigning of contracts, the sale of assets, or the partnership arrangements for implementing development plans, by urban development corporations ; if he has any plans to improve these arrangements ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 12 December 1989] : Urban development corporations are subject to annual audit by external auditors appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Auditors are required, inter alia, to report on whether corporations have complied with normal public sector procedures for letting contracts, disposing of assets and partnership arrangements. The Department liaises closely with UDCs on their progress ; this includes appropriate guidance, monitoring, and approval of projects under financial delegation arrangements.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he is taking to ensure that drinking water meets the standards laid down in the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 14 December 1989] : In addition to the continuing role of local authorities in checking the quality of water supplies in their areas, the new drinking water inspectorate, shortly to be established by my right hon. Friend, will seek to ensure that drinking water standards are met.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will issue guidance that the practice of back-washing blue-green algae, filtered from reservoirs, into streams, be discontinued and safer methods of disposal be introduced ; (2) if he will list the reports he has received of poisoning of people, domestic and farm animals that have been linked with the contamination of reservoirs and streams with toxins produced by blue-green algae ;
(3) what changes he proposes in farming practices to reduce the growth of blue-green algae in lakes and reservoirs ;
(4) what proposals he has to discourage the formation and to reduce the growth of blue-green algae in lakes and reservoirs.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 15 December 1989] : These are primarily matters for the NRA which is responsible for monitoring the quality of inland waters in England and Wales. Sampling of waters this year established that toxic forms of blue green algae were present in a number of reservoirs, lakes and similar waters. With the onset of colder weather, the problems have subsided. The NRA is conducting investigations into the cause of this year's problems with a view to establishing the need for possible preventive measures to be taken in the future.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) families and (b) individuals he estimates will spend the 1989 Christmas holiday period in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in England and Wales other than as tourists.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The latest estimate of households accepted as homeless under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act and living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in England is 11,880 at end September 1989. No estimate is available either of the number of individuals this represents or the number in bed-and-breakfast accommodation at later dates.
For Welsh figures I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) families and (b) people he estimates spent the Christmas holiday in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in England and Wales in each of the years 1983 to 1988, inclusive, other than as tourists.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : Estimates for England of the number of households accepted as homeless under the homelessness provisions of the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977 and the 1985 Housing Act and living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation at 31 December in each of the years 1983 to 1988 inclusive are as follows :
Year |Number of |households --------------------------------- 1983 |2,700 1984 |3,670 1985 |5,360 1986 |8,990 1987 |10,370 1988 |10,970
No estimates are made of the number of people this represented. For Welsh figures I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Column 135Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many children he estimates spent the Christmas holiday period in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in England and Wales other than as tourists during each of the years 1983 to 1988.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The number of children among the homeless households in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in England are not reported by local authorities and my Department has no estimates.
For information about Wales I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Barron : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give for each year since 1978 (a) the spending by local authorities under the energy conservation programme and (b) the number of dwellings thereby receiving energy efficiency improvements.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : Information on activity under the energy conservation programme in 1986, 1987, 1988 and the first quarter of 1989 appears in table 2.21 of "Housing and Construction Statistics", No. 38. Figures for earlier years appear in table 7.7 of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1978-1988". Copies of these publications are available in the Library.
The table relates to activity where the only work carried out to the dwelling is under the energy conservation programme. Local authority dwellings may also be insulated when other general renovation work is carried out, but these cases cannot be separately identified.