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Column 248the authority's Direct Service Organisation (DSO) and commenced on that date. The authority estimate that net savings of approximately £ million or 10 per cent. have been achieved ;
(b) cleaning of buildings--the date prescribed is 1 January 1991 and I understand that the authority is taking steps to ensure that competition is introduced in accordance with that timetable ; (
(c) other cleaning--the date prescribed is 1 August 1990. I understand that the authority is currently considering applications from persons wishing to be included on its select tendering list and intends to commence the contract in accordance with the timetable ; (
(d) catering for purposes of schools and welfare--the date prescribed is 1 January 1992. I understand that the authority is taking steps to ensure that competition is introduced in accordance with that timetable ;
(e) other catering--the date prescribed is 1 August 1991. I understand that the authority is taking steps to ensure that competition is introduced in accordance with that timetable ; (
(f) grounds maintenance--the regulations require that authorities should expose a first tranche of 20 per cent. of this work to competition by 1 January 1990, and subsequent tranches of 20 per cent. at six monthly intervals thereafter. I understand that the contract comprising the first 20 per cent. tranche was awarded to the authority's DSO and commenced on 1 January and that a further contract comprising an additional 20 per cent. tranche of work was also won by the DSO and will commence on 1 April. The authority estimate that no net savings will be achieved from those contracts ; (
(g) repair and maintenance of vehicles--the date prescribed in Regulations for competition was 1 August 1989. I understand that the contract was awarded to a private contractor and commenced on that date. The authority estimate that net savings of approximately £50k or 2 per cent. will be achieved.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the research projects commissioned by his Department in the past 10 years on rural matters, giving details of cost, publication and follow- up action on recommendations.
Mr. Trippier : Annual expenditure under the Department's countryside research programme and lists of publications resulting from it are given in the Department's periodic reports on research and development, published by HMSO, copies of which are in the Library. The individual research projects are listed in the annual surveys of research prepared for the countryside recreation research advisory group by the school for advanced urban studies at the university of Bristol, copies of which are obtainable from the school. It is usually left to the contractor to make the final report on a research project available to others on request. Such reports do not normally include recommendations for action.
Mr. Lee : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many employees of each of the recently privatised water companies became shareholders ; and what percentages of the total work forces this represented.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : A total of 37,488 employees, representing 85.57 per cent. of the eligible work force of the 10 companies, have successfully applied for shares in the companies under free and matching offers.
The figures for each company are as follows :
|Employees |Per cent. |of workforce ---------------------------------------------------- Anglian |3,723 |82.97 North West |6,379 |87.09 Northumbrian |1,298 |89.46 Severn Trent |6,486 |88.53 Southern |2,453 |80.56 South West |1,496 |82.15 Thames |6,778 |83.17 Welsh |3,280 |85.73 Wessex |1,495 |85.38 Yorkshire |4,100 |88.59
In addition, some of the small number of employees not eligible for the free and matching offers will have successfully applied for shares, but exact figures could not be provided without disproportionate cost.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to introduce a standard symbol to denote material which has been recycled ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend announced on 9 January that, following consultation, the Government are to set up an advisory group to develop an eco-labelling scheme to reflect the key characteristics of a product's environmental impact from design to disposal or "cradle to grave". Thus the extent to which a product includes recycled material and can itself be recycled will be taken fully into account.
Mr. Richard Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of profits and trading surpluses the unabated post-revaluation uniform business rate represents for each standard region.
Sir Charles Morrison : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the centenary of the Association of County Councils to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. David Hunt : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Services Committee, arrangements have been made with the authorities of the House for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 5 February to Friday 9 February.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he proposes to respond to the report of the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America in regard to the hazardous waste material which remains in Wath upon Dearne ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : Transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste into, out of or within the Community is subject to control under existing EC directives. Discussion is taking place in Brussels to revise these directives and to implement the Basel convention on transfrontier shipment. It is the Government's view that international waste movements should be reduced to the environmentally justified minimum and those that are necessary should be subject to effective monitoring and control.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) of 23 November 1989, Official Report, column 16, he will give the likely cost of creating a joint co-ordinating committee for the restyled nature conservancy bodies and the estimated annual cost of serving it ; and what is the overall annual impact on public expenditure of the proposed reorganisation.
Mr. Trippier : Preparatory work to establish the new conservation agencies, including the joint committee, is likely to cost £1.5 million in 1990-91. Some additional costs are likely to be incurred thereafter in operating the new agencies and servicing the committee. It is too early to give an estimate of these costs, as several issues, such as the staff complement of each agency and the programme of the joint committee, are still under detailed consideration by the Government and the Nature Conservancy Council.
Mr. Trippier : The siting of waste disposal facilities is determined by local planning authorities in dealing with relevant planning applications. Any planning appeal to my right hon. Friend would be considered in relation to the circumstances of the case.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce a decision concerning the appeal by Thomas Brown of Whinfield farm, Pennington, against revocation of his waste disposal licence by Cumbria county council, submitted in summer 1988.
Mr. Trippier : Written representations have been completed on this appeal, lodged on 16 September 1988, and an official from the Department will make a site visit on 20 February. The Secretary of State hopes to be able to determine the appeal once he has received the site visit report.
Column 251them, but it would not be right to speculate on the detailed operation of any charge-capping scheme which might be needed.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the measures announced by the Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities in October 1989 to limit the increase in the amount of the community charge to not more than £3 per week will apply to charge payers in the London borough of Hillingdon ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The community charge transitional relief scheme will apply in all charging authority areas. In properties containing one or two community charge payers, relief will be paid where there is a difference of £156 a year (£3 a week) or more between the assumed rates bill and the community charges which would be set if local authority spending were in line with the Government's assumptions for this purpose. For properties with more than two charge payers relief will be based on a comparison between the assumed rates bill and two assumed community charges and distributed equally among the chargepayers. Elderly and disabled people who were not former ratepayers or the partners of former ratepayers will be entitled to relief to reduce their assumed community charge to £156. As was made clear in the announcement, however, relief will not cover any excess of the actual community charge over the assumed community charge.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department is considering measures to ensure that his recommendation that seafarers out of the country for more than six months are eligible for exemption from community charge will be complied with ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 15 January 1990] : Guidance on the treatment of Royal Navy personnel was contained in the community charge practice note No. 9 "UK Service Personnel". This advised that married seagoers might be regarded as having their residence with their family except for continuous absences in excess of six months, that single seagoers who are householders might be treated in the same way, and that single seagoers with no permanent home address need not be registered for the personal community charge except during periods of shore leave in excess of 61 days. My Department issued further guidance which suggested that merchant seamen might be treated in broadly the same way as their service counterparts. It is for community charges registration officers to determine liability taking into account all the circumstances of any individual case. Anyone dissatisfied with a determination may appeal to a valuation and community charge tribunal.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 15 January 1990] : If each authority seeks to raise from its residents an amount consistent with its behaviour in 1989-90 and with total standard spending of £32.8 billion for 1990-91, its community charge will be that shown in table 2 of the revised exemplifications which my right hon. Friend laid in the Library on 11 January. In the case of Nottingham that would be £254.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish an up-to-date list of all the regulations in respect of the community charge setting out the area each regulation covers, the primary legislation giving rise to each regulation, the date each came into force, details of amendments to the regulations and the number of pages of each regulation.
|Date of coming | into force ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Regulations made under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 1. The Personal Community Charge (Exemptions) Order 1989-2 pages |7 April 1989 -These cover persons in detention, the severely mentally impaired and patients in homes 2. Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals Regulations 1989-15 pages Regulations 4 to 8 and 11 |7 April 1989 All others |1 May 1989 -These establish new appeal procedures 3. Community Charges (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1989-51 pages All except Regulations 4 and 5 |7 April 1989 Regulations 4 and 5 |22 May 1989 -These define the detailed powers of authorities for registration, billing and collection of the charge 4. Valuation and Community Charge Tribunals (Transfer of Jurisdiction) Regulations 1989-10 pages |1 May 1989 -These transfer powers of Local Valuation Panels to the new Tribunals 5. Community Charges (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) 1989-1 page |19 May 1989 -This inserts a line of print missing from item 3 above 6. The Community Charge (Information Concerning Social Security) Regulations 1989-2 pages |22 May 1989 -These enable Social Security offices to supply CCROs with details on persons receiving income support 7. The Community Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1989-2 pages |21 July 1989 -This amends the wording of item 3 above on service of summonses and redefines co-owners 8. The Community Charge Benefits (Transitional) Order 1989-4 pages |30 August 1989 -These allow for the transition from Housing Benefit to a scheme of community charge benefits 9. The Community Charges (Cross-Border Information) Regulations 1989-1 page |1 Sepember 1989 -These allow for specific information to be supplied between CCROs in England and Wales and Scotland 10. The Personal Community Charge (Students) Regulations 1989-5 pages |1 October 1989 -These define full-time students and the functions of certification offices 11. The Collection Fund (England) Regulations 1989-7 pages |13 December 1989 -These provide for the payments to and transfers from collection funds of charging authorities 12. The Community Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Regulations 1989-7 pages |28 December 1989 -These provide for local authorities to offer discounts and amend regulations on billing and the standard charge 13. The Personal Community Charge (Relief) (England) Regulations 1990-10 pages |21 January 1990 -These provide for a transitional relief scheme Regulation made under the Social Security Act 1986 14. The Community Charge Benefits (General) Regulations 1989-61 pages Regulations 1, 59-63, 92, 93 |11 August 1989 All other regulations |1 April 1990 -These provide the operation of the community charge benefit system Regulations made under the National Health Service Act 1977 15. The National Health Service (General Medical and Pharmaceutical Services) Amendment Regulations 1989-3 pages |25 August 1989 -These provide a procedure to identify and exempt severely mental impaired people
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the sums raised by the London borough of Newham from its industrial and commercial ratepayers for the financial year 1989-90 (a) in total and (b) per expected payer of the community charge ; and what is the sum he expects to pay the borough in respect of the uniform business rate for the financial year 1990-91 (i) in total and (ii) per community charge payer.
Mr. Chope : I estimate that in 1989-90 industrial and commercial ratepayers will pay about £32.2 million in non-domestic rates to the London borough of Newham. This is £201.64 per community charge payer. Under our proposals for 1990-91 the share of the non-domestic rate pool paid to Newham will be £46.7 million. This is £292.51 per chargepayer. The two figures are not directly comparable. The relevant population calculation for Newham is 159,694.
Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken to ensure compliance with European Community quality objectives for list I dangerous substances in water ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Surface Waters (Dangerous Substances) (Classification) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 2286) came into force on 1 January 1990. These contain the quality standards for surface waters for each of the list I dangerous substances for which Communitywide standards have been set. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have now issued a notice to the National Rivers Authority under section 105 of the Water Act 1989 establishing these standards as statutory water quality objectives. They have also issued directions to the authority under section 146 of the Act requiring it, with
Column 254effect from 8 January, to implement the quality standards in the regulations, to undertake the necessary monitoring and to supply the Secretaries of State with the appropriate information. Copies of the notice and direction to the National Rivers Authority have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what grant gain has resulted for the London boroughs of (a) Brent and (b) Ealing as a consequence of the reduction in the standard spending assessment of those boroughs ; and on what basis the assessment was reduced.
Mr. Chope : The standard spending assessments (SSAs) for Brent and Ealing published on 11 January are lower overall than those published on 6 November 1989 primarily because of reductions in the highway maintenance SSA (in the case of Brent) and in the highway maintenance and capital financing SSAs (in the case of Ealing).
The increase in the estimated revenue support grant entitlements for Brent and Ealing for 1990-91 (before safety net adjustments) flowing from the reports laid on 11 January as compared with our 6 November proposals is £1.004 million and £5.763 million respectively. This is primarily attributable to changes in our figures for estimated population and for the Metropolitan police budget.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to make an assessment of the noise impact upon the Palace of Westminster arising from helicopter movements using the proposed City of London heliport ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Janman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy in respect of grant aiding future research into refuse- derived fuel and refuse-derived humus ; and what priority will be given to industry-led and funded research.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 15 January 1990] : A substantial programme funded by my Department of research into combustion of refuse derived fuel is drawing to a close. Industry has developed techniques for solid waste composting. The reclamation and recycling group set up by my Department and the Department of Trade and Industry is currently looking at barriers to the increased use of recycled compostibles.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 15 January 1990] : Over 2.7 million applications for shares in the 10 water plcs were received. The public offers were nearly 5.7 times oversubscribed. After clawback of shares from institutional and overseas offers, almost 47 per cent. of the shares available were allocated to the public. Nearly 1.35 million registered customers applied for incentives and preference in their local company. We allocated to registered customers 57.5 per cent. of the shares available to the public. The response from the public represents the second -highest level of applications for any privatisation. This is a privatisation that will bring benefits for the environment, for customers and for the 10 water plcs.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 15 January 1990] : The NRA fully assumed its responsibilities on 1 September 1989. Since then regional rivers advisory committees, regional fisheries advisory committees and regional flood defence committees have been established in the 10 NRA regions together with regional advisory boards chaired by the regional board members. Priorities for future action are currently being set by the authority and will be set out in its corporate plan. The authority has already embarked on a number of reviews of policy areas. In addition, the authority has successfully prosecuted a number of offenders under its pollution control powers against offenders.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of times per year since 1979 that Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution officials have inspected each of the following waste disposal sites (a) Rechem Incinerator, Pontypool, (b) Leigh Interest, Stubbers Green, Walsall, (c) Leigh Interests, Lumshill quarry, Matlock and (d) Leigh Interests, Killamarsh, Sheffield.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 15 January 1990] : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and its predecessors have inspected the Rechem incinerator at Pontypool at least 12 times in 1981 and in 1982 and between 15 and 18 times in each subsequent year. No inspections have been made of Lumshill quarry, Matlock by the inspectorate. The sites at Killamarsh and Walsall were inspected as follows :
|Killamarsh|Walsall -------------------------------------------- 1981 |23 |- 1982 |20 |- 1983 |8 |1 1984 |14 |- 1985 |30 |- 1986 |9 |1 1987 |13 |- 1988 |39 |- 1989 |26 |1
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received regarding the plan by Leigh Interests plc to build a toxic waste incinerator at Kirk Sandall.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 15 January 1990] : Various representations have been received from hon. Members and the public about this proposal which is to be the subject of a public local inquiry in April.
Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what are the products of combustion from thermally stable plastics used in the medical industry during combustion in hospital-type incinerators ;
(2) what studies have been carried out by his Department of the problems experienced by the combustion of plastic clinical waste in hospital incinerators within the United Kingdom ;
(3) whether there is a requirement placed upon the suppliers of thermally stable plastics to provide a thermal analysis of their products to enable the combustion characteristics of such plastics to be understood.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 16 January 1990] : The products will include carbon dioxide and water and may include hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide, metal oxides and halides and a range of organic materials. Some of these chemicals may be removed from the exhaust gases by scrubbing equipment. Because the quantities of plastics used in the medical industry are increasing and the compositions are changing, my Department has placed a research contract with the Warren Spring Laboratory to study combustion of them. The chemical compositions of these plastics are well known and no purpose would be served by requiring suppliers to provide thermal analyses.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will consider prohibiting mixing of metals in tin cans where consumer safety does not require it, in order to allow recycling.
No. The mixed composition of some cans does not inhibit their recycling. Indeed, the aluminium contained in the ends of certain steel cans is beneficial to current reprocessing operations.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list in rank order, by number of questions, the 20 right hon. and hon. Members who asked the most parliamentary questions during the 1988-89 Session.
------------------------------------ 1. Mr. Ron Davies |775 2. Dr. Dafydd Elis Thomas |717 3. Mr. Graham Allen |707 4. Mr. Martin Redmond |699 5. Mr. Harry Cohen |661 6. Mr. Tony Banks |613 7. Mr. Paul Flynn |519 8. Dr. David Clark |483 9. Mr. Jack Ashley |456 10. Mr. Austin Mitchell |445 11. Mr. Archy Kirkwood |443 12. Mr. Frank Dobson |439 13. Mr. Nicholas Bennett |426 14. Mr. David Hinchliffe |398 15. Mr. Jim Sillars |368 16. Mr. Henry McLeish |347 17. Mr. Jimmy Wray |342 18. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn |337 19. Mr. Barry Jones |327 20. Mr. Tam Dalyell |326 Note: The figures include oral, written and private notice questions but exclude supplementary questions and unreached oral questions asking the Prime Minister to list her engagements.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the the Lord President of the Council what extra seating facilities for the general public are being made available, following the admission of television cameras to Select Committee meetings ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : The arrangements for televising Select Committees are at an experimental stage and I understand that the two temporary camera stands can take up space for some eight seats previously available to the general public. Every effort is made to make maximum use of space for those persons wishing to attend sittings of Select Committees and I understand that, in some cases, Chairmen have agreed to make available for the public parts of the Committee Room previously available to hon. Members.
The Select Committee on Televising of Proceedings of the House will consider the availability of seating in Committee Rooms during its review of the experimental period.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make it his policy to give a favourable response to any application by a local authority for his fiat to a relator action in pursuance of its statutory duty to enforce the Shops Act 1950.
The Attorney-General : The statutory duty of local authorities to enforce the Shops Act 1950 is not subject to the consent of the Attorney- General. Local authorities act independently in the exercise of the duty.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Attorney-General what (a) assistance or (b) guidance he is proposing to give local authorities on the taking of measures to secure compliance with the Shops Act 1950 in the light of the recent decision of the European Court of Justice on 23 November.
Column 258provisions of the Act. That duty has not been altered by the judgment of the European Court of Justice in case 145/88.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received from the chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign on the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 in the light of the European Court decision on 23 November ; if he will publish his response in the Official Report ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General : The chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign asked to see me with a group of trade representatives from the retail trade. I found the meeting helpful. It was useful to hear at first hand the problems of the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 as they are perceived by some members of the trade.
It is now for the domestic courts to apply the judgment of the European Court of Justice in case 145/88. Parliament has conferred the responsibility for enforcing the legislation on local authorities and I am not persuaded that it is appropriate for me to take an initiative on either a local or a national basis at present.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list by category the United Kingdom's accident compensation payment laws ; when they were last brought up to date in line with inflation ; and if he intends a further update in line with the current rate of inflation.
The Attorney-General : With the exception of the statutory provisions relating to damages for bereavement under the Administration of Justice Act 1982, which apply in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, it is not clear to what provisions the hon. Member may be referring, and there is, therefore, no further specific information which I am able to give. As to the position in relation to bereavement damages, I refer him to the reply which I gave to a question from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 12 January 1990 at column 774.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has received any complaints about flooding at the rear gardens of dwellings at Four Winds park, Castlereagh ; what proposals he has to remove the cause of this flooding ; what works were carried out at the location of this flooding during the month of December 1989 ; what assessment he has made of the dangers to young children living at Four Winds park due to this flooding ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 259Mr. Peter Bottomley : A complaint was received by the Department of Agriculture on 16 December 1989. Flooding was caused by an obstruction in a culverted section of the watercourse to the rear of the dwellings and the Department deployed pumps to alleviate the flooding and removed debris from the entrance to the culvert. Responsibility for the efficiency of the watercourse lies with riparian occupiers. The culvert, which in any case is inadequate to discharge storm flows, was installed without the consent of the Department and in 1986 residents were asked to have it upgraded in size : householders will again be advised of their responsibilities.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what groups comprise the task force established in April 1989 by the Department of Economic Development to promote awareness of, and stimulate demand for, the new telecommunications services as a result of the launch of the STAR programme ;
(2) what steps have been taken by the task force established in April 1989 by the Department of Economic Development to promote awareness of and stimulate demand for the new telecommunications services as a result of the launch of the STAR programme.
Mr. Needham : The STAR task force comprises representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Industrial Development Board, the Local Enterprise Development Unit, the Technology Board for Northern Ireland, Queen's university of Belfast and the university of Ulster. To date £328,360 of grant aid from the European regional development fund has been committed to 10 projects in Northern Ireland aimed at promoting awareness and use of the new telecommunications infrastructure. These cover promotional seminars, feasibility studies and demonstration projects. Additional projects are being developed.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans the Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Services has to establish an institute for those suffering from cystic fibrosis similar to the one in Peto in Hungary.
However, the Government have agreed to contribute to the funding of a new international institute to be established in Hungary. Detailed discussions with the Hungarian Government on this project are continuing and it would not be appropriate to take decisions on proposals for similar provision in Northern Ireland until those discussions are concluded.