Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he intends to begin consultations on regulations concerning the proposed test of resources for disabled facilities grants under the Local Government and Housing Act 1988 ;
(2) which organisations he plans to consult on regulations concerning the proposed test of resources for disabled facilities grants under the Local Government and Housing Act 1988.
Mr. Chope : Draft regulations on the test of resources for the new disabled facilities grant are currently being prepared. I propose to consult the local authority associations, professional institutions interested in housing, and bodies representing the views of disabled people.
Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he anticipates that Peat Marwick McLintock will report on its study into the administrative costs of the community charge transitional relief scheme.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what steps he intends to take to ensure that registered commons in England and Wales, which have no registered common rights or only one right, are not deregistered ;
(2) whether he will introduce legislation to safeguard common land.
Mr. Chope : Following publication of our review of the homelessness legislation, we have continued to visit and consult voluntary organisations concerned with the relief and prevention of homelessness and the local authority associations. We have discussed the whole range of issues involved, but one of our main concerns has been to make progress with implementing the conclusions of our review.
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of planning regulations and rent controls on homelessness.
Mr. Chope : The Housing Act 1988 is designed to encourage the supply of privately rented accommodation through deregulation of new tenancies. At the same time the Government are committed to retaining the rights of existing tenants with regulated tenancies. We will commission any necessary research on the effects of the Act in due course and continue to investigate and consult on the effect of planning regulations.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Billericay of 14 December 1989, Official Report, column 754 if Her Majesty's Government intend to take additonal powers to require companies and individuals to provide information on environmental matters.
Mr. Trippier : In terms of the United Kingdom's contribution to the proposed European Environment Agency, Her Majesty's Government do not intend to take additional powers to require companies and individuals to provide information on environmental matters. The aim, shared by our Community partners, is to improve the co-ordination and comparability of existing information in a spirit of free co-operation to inform and support Community environmental policy. Any requests by the agency for new information will be subject to contractual agreements between the agency and the relevant contributors or individuals involved.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report those local authorities in England which have not submitted their waste disposal plans to his Department.
Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many waste disposal authorities in England have now deposited waste disposal plans with his Department, pursuant to the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and how many have not yet done so.
North London WA
City of London
City of Westminster
South London Waste Disposal Joint Committee
(London Borough of Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton)
Greater Manchester WDA
West Midlands Joint Committee
(Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton District Councils)
I am considering further steps to ensure completion of the remaining plans.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce his decision on the appeal by Rechem International against the licence conditions imposed by Hampshire county council.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received the report prepared by the National Association of Local Councils and the Association of District Councils, entitled "Closer to the People" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by location for (a) Severn-Trent Water and (b) Yorkshire Water, the number of subsidence claims that are outstanding with British Coal and the value of the claim against each location.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the output figures for (a) private industry and (b) public sector dwelling-units constructed in England and Wales for 1960, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1985 and 1988.
Thousands |Private |Housing |enterprise |associations|authorities, |new towns |and |government |departments ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1959 |146.5 |1.1 |101.8 1960 |162.1 |1.7 |105.5 1967 |192.9 |4.8 |165.2 1970 |162.1 |8.2 |136.9 1974 |129.6 |9.4 |102.1 1978 |134.6 |21.6 |97.8 1979 |125.3 |17.3 |78.1 1980 |115.9 |20.2 |78.5 1985 |140.6 |11.9 |24.4 1988 |170.6 |9.9 |16.8
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received any recent report on the contribution made to the greenhouse global warming effect from (a) leaks and (b) deliberate venting to the atmosphere of natural gas from the United Kingdom's domestic, commercial and industrial uses.
Mr. Trippier : Estimates of emissions of methane from gas leakage and oil and gas venting were formally made on a national basis for the first time in 1989 and will be published in the Department's annual "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics" early in 1990.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how he intends to review his procedures on the protection of archives in the light of the accidental destruction of 12,000 archive files held by his Department.
Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the special capital allocations set aside by his Department in order to deal with the problems of gassing landfill sites have so far been taken up by local authorites.
Column 685announced on 15 November by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Local authorities will shortly be invited to make bids. Five million pounds was also reserved for urgent remedial work in 1989-90 but was not taken up.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals have been made by the European Commission for the harmonisation of the systems of land tenure in the Community ; and what response Her Majesty's Government have given.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the recent ministerial meeting with representatives of Leicestershire county council to discuss the county's revenue support grant allocation ; what response the Under-Secretary of State made to the representations by the county council that the standard spending assessment was less than the uplifted grant-related expenditure assessments ; and what action he has taken since the meeting in that regard.
Mr. Chope : The representatives of Leicestershire county council were provided with an explanation of the factors which led to significant differences between the county's grant-related expenditure assessment and its proposed standard spending assessment for 1990-91. All the representations made have been carefully considered by my right hon. Friend before he took his decisions on the settlement.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in calculating the standard spending assessment for Leicestershire for the purposes of revenue support grant, he took account of the authorised increase in police manpower for the county in 1990-91 ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : Each authority's police component of its standard spending assessment (SSA) is its share of the total the Government are allowing nationally for the police service. In deciding this total my right hon. Friend took account of the increase in police manpower authorised for 1990-91. Each authority's share has been calculated in proportion to its police establishment as approved by the Home Secretary as available at 29 September 1989.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is (a) the estimated total cost and (b) the estimated cost to public funds of the review group for sport and active recreation provision in the inner cities including the cost of the report published in December 1989 ; and what is (i) the estimated total cost and (ii) the cost to public funds of the report.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 8 January 1990] : The estimated total cost of the review of sport and active recreation in the inner cities, including the cost of publishing the review report, is £80, 500, of which £62,500 will be met from public funds and £18,000 from private
Column 686sector sponsorship. The review group concluded that existing resources need to be targeted more effectively, with the private sector playing a greater role in partnership with the public and voluntary sectors. The Government will be giving careful consideration to appropriate follow-up action and are encouraging other organisations to do likewise. The cost implications of the report will depend on the way in which all these organisations decide to take forward implementation and are therefore not quantifiable at this stage.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the changes in responsibility and activity of local authorities in consequence of the EEC's 1992 measures.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 10 January 1990] : Local authorities will be affected across a wide range of their activities by the completion of the internal market in 1992, which is aimed at removing physical, technical and fiscal barriers to trade in goods, services, capital and the movement and employment of people.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contact he maintains with the Local Government International Bureau of 35 Great Smith street, London SW1 ; and if any public funds are made available by Her Majesty's Government and by the EEC to that body for its information programme on the 1992 programme or for any other purpose.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 10 January 1990] : My Department has frequent contacts with the Local Government International Bureau. Various central organisations serving local government, including the bureau, are part-funded by grants deducted from the total of revenue support grant which the Government make available to local authorities. I understand that the bureau also receives some European Community funds in support of its activities.
Mr. Chris Patten : MINIS provides an annual system for determining aims and objectives, setting targets and reviewing performace for each major activity undertaken by my Department. I shall be reviewing the performance targeted in Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution MINIS 10 in MINIS 11, which is now commencing.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide a list of all those documents belonging to English Heritage which have been destroyed as a result of a clerical error.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs further to his answer of 27 November, Official Report, column 91, if he will provide a breakdown of the use to which British aid to Malawi was put (a) in 1987 and (b) in 1988.
United Kingdom aid to Malawi 1987 and 1988 £'000 |1987 |1988 --------------------------------------------- Project Aid |2,342 |6,144 Aid and Trade Provision |1,657 |1,410 Programme Aid |5,699 |10,273 Debt Relief |1,874 |1,822 Food Aid |- |883 Disaster Relief |11 |295 Technical Cooperation |8,004 |9,934 |------|------ |19,587|30,761 Source: British Aid Statistics.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on the referral to the review committee on the export of works of art of the case of the 340 million-year-old Bathgate paleontological finds.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 8 January 1990] : The Bathgate fossil, popularly known as "Lizzie the Lizard", was referred to the reviewing committee on 8 December 1989. However, it was subsequently decided that fossils are not covered by the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1987 (SI 1987 No. 2070) and the Department of Trade and Industry notified the interested parties on 21 December to this effect.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the accident which caused a spillage of cooling liquid from the nuclear submarine HMS Talent at the VSEL shipyard in Barrow on 4 December ; what volume of radioactive liquids were released ; and what were the health implications for Royal Naval personnel and the general public in south Cumbria.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the spillage of contaminated cooling liquid from HMS Talent at the VSEL shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness ; what precautions were taken ; what health risks arose ; and whether any civilian or service personnel were treated in hospital.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : There was a leak of coolant water from HMS Talent at Barrow, at 4.40 am on 4 December. The level of radioactivity in the water was extremely low. The coolant was being pumped to an external tank when a pipe split and approximately 140 litres were released into the dock. There was no danger to the submarine's reactor. Monitoring of the water in the dock failied to detect any radiation above the normal background and there are no health implications for either Royal Navy personnel or the general public. The incident has been fully investigated and appropriate action taken.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces ambulances based overseas have been withdrawn from service, and used in the ambulance dispute in the United Kingdom ; what countries they came from ; and where they were deployed.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from members of the public and local organisations about the transport of nuclear weapons through the Doncaster metropolitan borough council area ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will institute an inquiry into the incident on 3 January when a search and rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet diverted to Glasgow in the course of a rescue mission in order to pick up a television crew before proceeding to the search area.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The circumstances of the incident have been investigated. On Thursday 4 January, a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet was asked to assist a mountain rescue team with a preplanned search operation for three civilians lost on Ben Nevis. Shortly before departure, an ITN camera team asked HMS Gannet if they could be picked up at Glasgow airport and be taken along to film the search. Since Glasgow was on the direct flight path from HMS Gannet to Ben Nevis, authority for this was given with the agreement of the rescue co-ordination centre at Pitreavie on the conditions that carrying the camera team would in no way prejudice the helicopter's ability to carry out its task and that its rendezvous with the mountain rescue team at Fort William would not be delayed beyond the agreed time of 0830. There was considered to be sufficient flexibility in the flight plan for this to be possible and the commitment to pick up the ITN crew was undertaken on this basis.
Column 689However, in the event, a radio breakdown delayed the departure from HMS Gannet and the helicopter was some 45 minutes late on arriving at Fort William. The embarkation of the ITN crew at Glasgow airport added only marginally to the delay as weather conditions on the route taken were significantly better than on the normal, coastal route to Ben Nevis. The search was successful and the three civilians were recovered by the helicopter.
The base was specially developed in 1985-87 to house the ground-launched cruise missiles of the 303rd tactical missile wing. Both the military and domestic infrastructure remain in excellent condition and there are a number of specialist facilities on the base which it would be difficult and expensive to remove. Some of these facilities are subject to inspection by the Soviet Union for the next 11 years under the terms of the INF treaty. However, the INF treaty does not prohibit the use of former GLCM bases for other military purposes.
The Government have been discussing with the United States and NATO authorities alternative military roles for RAF Molesworth which would make good use of the existing facilities while remaining consistent with the terms of the INF treaty. As a result of these discussions the Government have agreed that, subject to the normal planning procedures, the United States European Command may develop the site as its joint analysis centre. The role of this unit is to process and analyse military information from a variety of sources for the benefit of the United States, the United Kingdom and NATO. The joint analysis centre will be constructed on a fresh site within the base at RAF Molesworth and will not be subject to Soviet inspection. Major construction work is planned to start in 1991 and completed in 1995. In addition, many of the existing facilities at the base will be modified to support the joint analysis centre and this work is planned to start shortly.
Eventually some 700 United States personnel, some of whom are currently located at RAF Alconbury and some in West Germany, will be assigned to Molesworth. This is a similar number to those stationed at the base with the 303rd tactical missile wing.
In addition, certain buildings at RAF Molesworth will be converted to accommodate the Northern region command centre, the wartime headquarters for the United States Third Air Force, while other buildings will be used for administrative purposes as an annex to RAF Alconbury. The Government consider that these