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Mr. Chope : Those people who are on the youth training scheme and aged 18 or over are subject to the community charge. They will be able to apply for community charge benefit to help them with their payments.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the purposes for which a charging authority can use the information disclosed to it by a community charge registration officer for purposes other than those associated with the community charge ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the disclosure of anonymous poll tax data without the consent or knowledge of the poll tax payer ; whether he will summarise the representations and place them in the Library ; whether he plans to consult other organisations before introducing any regulation that allows for the disclosure of anonymous poll tax data ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The Office of the Data Protection Registrar has written seeking assurances about the disclosure of anonymous community charges register data and asking to be consulted on the regulations. Our intention is to consult other organisations before introducing any regulations allowing community charges registration officers to release non-personal data to third parties.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from local authorities on the need to disclose anonymous poll tax data ; whether he will place a copy of the representations in the Library ; what plans he has to ensure that the regulations that allow disclosure of anonymous poll tax data protect individuals from identification ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : One representation has been received on this subject from a local authority, making a case for allowing officers of the authority other than those involved in community charge registration to derive aggregate information from the register for planning and research purposes and for allowing the transfer of aggregate data to other authorities. The intention is that the regulation governing the release of data by community charges registration officers will enable them to release statistical data ; there is no intention to create a power that enables an individual's privacy to be breached.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether all local authorities on their community charge payment form are obliged to offer the facility of single payment by one member of the household, in accordance with former normal practice.
Mr. Chope : In order to increase the accountability of local authorities to their electorate, the community charge legislation requires every person who is liable to pay the personal community charge to be sent a demand notice. Where more than one person in a household receives a demand notice, it is a matter for members of that household to decide whether each individual should pay his or her own bill or whether to adopt some other arrangement.
Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total revenue which local authorities in Great Britain expect to receive from (a) community charge and (b) business rates in 1990-91 ; and what was the income from (c) personal rates, and (d) business rates in 1989-90 in actual terms and as a percentage of (a) and (b) respectively.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will name the nominating body for all those who so far have been appointed to the regional rivers advisory committees in (a) Yorkshire Water and (b) Severn Trent Water areas.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I am advised by the National Rivers Authority that the information requested as regards the regional rivers advisory committees for its Yorkshire and Severn Trent regions is as follows :
Member |Nominating Body ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Yorkshire Regional Rivers Advisory Committee Mr. J. Whitworth (Chairman) |- Mr. J. C. Cooke |Country Landowners Association Mr. R. Pigg |National Farmers Union Mr. J. Armitage |Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Ms S. Marsden |Eye on the Aire Dr. S. A. Bucknall |Countryside Commission Dr. P. Knights |Nature Conservancy Council Mr. P. Andrew |Confederation of British Industry Mr. M. Wright |Central Electricity Generating Board Councillor C. D. Swinglehurst |North Yorkshire County Council Mr. I. White |British Waterways Board Councillor R. Mitchell |Association of Metropolitan Authorities Mr. C. Hawkesworth |Sports Council Mr. G. A. Wilford |York Waterworks Company Dr. A. J. Shuttleworth |Yorkshire Water Plc Miss M. Rooker |Council for the Protection of Rural England Mr. J. N. Thompson |Peak District National Park Chairman Regional Flood Defence Committee-to be appointed Mr. J. A. Fawcett (Chairman Regional Fisheries Advisory Committee) Severn Trent Regional Rivers Advisory Committee Dr. H. Tebbutt (Chairman) |- Mr. D. Grigg |National Farmers Union Lord Guernsey |Country Landowners Association Mr. F. Walmsley |Countryside Commission Mr. J. Thompson |Nature Conservancy Council Mr. C. Nicholson |Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Mrs. V. Gillespie MBE |Council for the Protection of Rural England Mr. B. Scott |Severn Trent Water Plc Mr. M. White |Confederation of British Industry Mr. P. J. Mitchell |Confederation of British Industry Councillor Mrs. P. R. Merritt |Gloucestershire County Council Councillor Sir Richard Knowles |Birmingham City Council Councillor D. R. Jones |Montgomeryshire District Council Councillor P. E. Beeby |Rushcliffe District Council Mr. D. Pryor |Sports Council Mr. S. Sim |British Waterways Board Mr. J. Betteridge |National Federation of Anglers Mr. C. G. Hawthorne (Chairman Regional Flood Defence Committee) Mr. F. Jennings (Chairman Regional Fisheries Advisory Committee)
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 9 January by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King) ( Official Report, Vol. 164, columns 589-91 ).
Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any proposals to carry out research to determine the longevity of HIV AIDS virus carried in untreated sewage into the sea.
Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the cost of compliance with the proposed European Council directive Com(89)518 requiring the cessation of the disposal of sewage into the sea.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My Department has commissioned a study of the potential environmental benefits to the marine environment that may arise from treatment beyond the preliminary stage of sewage discharged to the sea ; and of the costs of such further treatment. The study is expected to be completed shortly.
76/160/European Community bathing water directive.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Water undertakers are responsible for monitoring the levels of pesticides in water supplies in accordance with the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 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 is responsible for ensuring that drinking water quality standards are met. The National Rivers Authority also monitors surface waters for those pesticides that are classified as European Community list I dangerous substances.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The environmental impact of pesticide use is routinely assessed as part of the approval process specified in the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 made under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. The agreement of the Ministers of six Departments is needed before a pesticide can be approved for use, and Ministers are required to consult the
Column 101independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides, which considers scientific information on all aspects of pesticide use, including the effect on agricultural and other land.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what specific financial, efficiency and quality of service targets he has approved for the Historic Royal Palaces Agency for the current year and for the longer term.
Mr. Chris Patten : Detailed performance measures and targets for the Historic Royal Palaces Agency's commercial and non-commercial operations will be set out in its first corporate plan, which will be submitted for my approval in March. The corporate plan will provide the basis for the agency's performance--oriented management regime in its first full year of operation--1990-91--and beyond.
For the remainder of the current financial year the agency has continued with the management arrangements inherited from the Department, with the specific financial target of increasing the agency's surplus on its commercial activities from £2.3 million in 1988-89 to £3.8 million in 1990-91.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures his Department is taking to ensure that there is adequate good quality housing suitable and available for disabled people ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Government's housing policies are aimed at securing decent housing provision for all our citizens, able bodied and disabled alike. Within the Housing Corporation programme, a place has always been found for spending to meet the needs of disabled people, and we have recently announced a doubling of that programme over the next three years. The new home renovation grant system, which will come into operation in April, will include special arrangements to facilitate works to enable disabled people to continue living in their own homes.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken about the recommendations of Sir John Badenoch's committee as to the result of interim conclusions ; and what response he has had from water undertakers, local authorities and health authorities in relation to cryptosporidium.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : To discharge the remit of the group of experts on cryptosporidium in water supplies to make an interim report by the end of July 1989, Sir John Badenoch wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health on 25 July setting out the group's preliminary conclusions on measures to safeguard water supplies and on public health aspects of infection with cryptosporidium. The letter, a copy of which was placed in the Library, made it clear that further substantive reports containing conclusions and recommendations on the control of cryptosporidium would be prepared in due course by the group.
Column 102My Department sent Sir John's letter to water undertakers in August 1989 and endorsed the main recommendations. Copies of the letter were also sent by the Department of Health to the chief environmental health officers of local authorities and to the district general managers of health authorities and to other interests.
A co-operative research programme has now been put in hand involving Government Departments, water undertakers, the Water Research Centre and the Foundation of Water Research to take forward the expert group's research recommendations.
Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what effect chlorination has on cryptosporidium ; and what steps are being taken to protect public health from cryptosporidial infections in domestic water supplies.
Mr. Trippier : Cryptosporidium is unaffected by chlorine in the concentrations that can be used to treat drinking water. Sir John Badenoch, chairman of the group of experts on cryptosporidium in water supplies, wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health on 25 July 1989 setting out the group's preliminary conclusions on measures to safeguard water supplies and on the public health aspects of infection with cryptosporidium. The letter, a copy of which was placed in the Library, made it clear that further substantive reports containing conclusions and
recommendations on the control of cryptosporidium would be prepared in due course by the group.
My Department sent Sir John's letter to water undertakers in August 1989 and endorsed the main recommendations. Copies of the letter were also sent by the Department of Health to the chief environmental health officers of local authorities and to the district general managers of health authorities and to other interests.
A co-operative research programme has now been put in hand involving Government Departments, water undertakers, the Water Research Centre and the Foundation of Water Research to take forward the expert group's research recommendations.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to evaluate the toxic pollution dangers of the use of (a) diacid ester hardeners, (b) acrylate, (c) silicate and aqua-reactive acrylic, (d) tanning/formaldehyde and (e) resoranol/formaldehyde grouts in tunnel construction in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Trippier : The Department of the Environment is not taking any specific action to evaluate the toxic pollution dangers of the materials listed in the question used as grouts in tunnel construction. There are general requirements in the Water Act 1989 to ensure that the use of substances, including chemical grouts, does not cause pollution of surface or ground waters. Substances in contact with water that is supplied for drinking, washing and cooking are subject to specific provisions in the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funds the Government are allocating to enable waste disposal authorities and other local authorities to locate and rehabilitate former landfill sites which now constitute a real or potential health hazard.
Mr. Trippier : Provision for credit approvals for local authority capital expenditure already reflects estimated expenditure needs to meet statutory responsibilities, including public health requirements to monitor and take action over potential hazards. For 1990-91 onwards, this will include specific provision for the capital cost of remedial works to deal with landfill gas on closed or completed sites. If a former landfill site is derelict, appropriate schemes may be eligible for reclamation under derelict land grant or through the urban programme.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures the Government are taking to ensure that a clear and comprehensive register is kept of types, quantities and locations of materials currently being deposited in landfill sites and falling under the definitions of materials covered by the special waste regulations.
Mr. Trippier : There is an existing requirement under the Control of Pollution (Special Waste) Regulations 1980 for landfill operators to keep a register containing details of the types and quantities of special waste received and to record the location of each deposit by reference to the register.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Complete and reliable information on landfill sites known to cause groundwater contamination is not held centrally. Waste disposal authorities and the NRA can advise on instances of groundwater contamination in their areas.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures the Government are taking to encourage the reduction of sulphurous and nitrous oxide emissions from oil refineries, manufacturing plants and coking plants.
Mr. Trippier : My Department issued a consultation paper on 31 August 1989 explaining in detail our proposals for implementing the EC Large Combustion Plants Directive, which applies to plants that are equal to or greater than 50MW thermal. Such plants are responsible for 85 per cent. of United Kingdom emissions of sulphur dioxide and about 40 per cent. of oxides of nitrogen. A copy of the paper is in the Library of the House.
The Environmental Protection Bill now before the House includes proposals to develop the current control regime operated by HMIP into a system of integrated pollution control. This will require major emitters to use best available techniques not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC) to minimise releases of all pollutants, including sulphurous and nitrous oxides.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Under sections 3 to 5 of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 local authorities have a duty to remove abandoned motor vehicles from any land in the open air provided that they have placed a notice on each vehicle 15 days previously and that the owner of the land raises no objection. In addition, they have powers to dispose of the vehicles and to recover expenses incurred.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his standard spending assessment for East Sussex county council has taken account of the recent pay rise of the council's chief executive ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt : The standard spending assessment for East Sussex county council will be calculated in accordance with the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England) laid before the House of Commons on 11 January.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if a new date has been announced for the postponed public inquiry into the Hylands park, Chelmsford planning application ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan : The public inquiry was postponed at the request of Chelmsford borough council to allow further negotiations to take place on these proposals. A new date will be arranged for the inquiry when those negotiations are completed.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action has been taken by his Department since 30 June 1989 to deal with the problems being experienced by members of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain in the home counties and in particular (i) the Plantation, Redhill, (ii) Salfords, Reigate and (iii) the Turning Wheel, Crawley.
Mr. Moynihan : My Department has been preparing a consultation paper on measures designed to ease the problems experienced by travelling showpeople in obtaining planning permission for sites from which to base their operations. The sites mentioned by the hon. Member have been the subject of enforcement action, including appeals to the Secretary of State, which have been decided. My right hon. Friend has recently received an appeal against a refusal of planning permission for the use of land at the Plantation, Redhill ; that will be the subject of a public local inquiry.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the revaluation of commercial properties since the publication of the details of the revaluations.
Column 105Mr. Chope : I have received a number of representations from hon. Members and from other sources. A non-domestic revaluation is now essential in order to remove the distortions caused by using values that are 17 years old. Any property tax, such as rates, must be based on up-to-date values if it is to be fair. The revaluation will, of course, reflect the level of market rents.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The existing network of 140,000 miles of rights of way in England and Wales already provides extensive opportunities for access to all types of countryside. Local authorities also have the power to enter into agreements with landowners where necessary to secure additional access to areas of open country, including moorland.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he is having with his counterparts in overseas countries concerning the Montreal protocol and the limitations of chlorofluorocarbon ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : Revisions to the Montreal protocol have recently been discussed by the European Community Environment Council. The protocol is to be revised at the second meeting of its parties to be held in London in June. The United Kingdom Government will be calling for the complete phasing out of CFCs. We are working for the general adoption of this position and to enlarge the numbers of signatories to the protocol.
Mr. Trippier : Emissions to atmosphere from toxic waste incinerators are closely controlled by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution under the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The Environmental Protection Bill currently before the House will strengthen those controls by requiring operators of prescribed processes to use the best available techniques, not entailing excessive costs, to minimise releases of prescribed pollutants.
My Department is promoting awareness of low-waste or clean technology through the environmental protection technology (EPT) scheme. A booklet on clean technology was published in November 1989 describing examples where British industry has successfully introduced new cleaner technology to bring about environmental and economic benefits. My Department will also be hosting in September a three-day seminar on the subject of "Cleaner Production" to promote the exchange and dissemination of information about clean technology at the international level.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to make the submission of a detailed waste minimisation plan a pre-condition for the issue of every waste disposal site licence.
Mr. Trippier : Waste disposal licences generally control activites at the point of waste disposal, not of waste production. Consequently, it would be inappropriate to require waste licence holders to produce waste minimisation plans.
(2) if he will list the amount spent by his Department for each year since 1979 on research into pollution prevention.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1979-80 |12.6 1980-81 |18.3 1981-82 |18.3 1982-83 |17.5 1983-84 |17.2 1984-85 |16.4 1985-86 |20.3 1986-87 |21.5 1987-88 |23.4 1988-89 |22.6
The reports of the studies supported by this expenditure covering the years 1984-88 are listed in the DoE biennial R and D reports, copies of which are held in the Library of the House. The list for 1989 is in preparation and will be published in the next DoE R and D report.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The recycling of plastics is currently being specifically addressed by an expert working group consisting of representatives from Government, local authorities, industry and the voluntary sector with the aim of improving the rate of plastics recycling.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 6 December 1989, Official Report, column 211, why he has decided not to publish a further edition of the leakage control policy and practice report.
Mr. Moynihan : The expanded road programme announced in the White Paper, "Roads for Prosperity", took account of all relevant factors including environmental effects. Individual road projects are subject to environmental appraisal.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from Leigh Interests regarding the Environmental Protection Bill ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what account has been taken, in deciding the standard spending assessment figure, of the number of retired residents within the Thanet district council area ;