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Mr. Chope : Following publication of our review of the homelessness legislation we have made £250 million of extra resources available over the next two years for schemes to tackle homelessness in London and the south-east. My Department has written to all housing associations and local authorities in London and the south-east inviting them to submit schemes to use this money. We want in the first instance to reduce the number
Column 739of homeless families councils place in bed and breakfast accommodation. We have asked councils and associations to respond quickly.
Mr. Chope : On 20 December my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) announced significant increases in the Housing Corporation's approved development programme. At £1,220.5 million, gross provision in 1990-91 will be nearly 50 per cent. higher than this year's allocation and will rise even further to £1,563 million in 1991-92. These additional resources will be allocated by the Housing Corporation to those areas and individuals in greatest housing need, including, of course, the statutorily homeless.
Included within these figures are allocations of £36 million in 1990- 91 and £37 million in 1991-92 which form part of the Government's special homelessness programme announced in November last year. These resources will be used to finance projects in the pressure areas of London and the south-east aimed at making available, quickly, accommodation for the statutorily homeless.
100. Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on his response to the Association of London Authorities' proposals for alleviating acute homelessness.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend has written to the association, urging it to encourage member authorities to submit bids for a share of the additional £250 million we are making available specifically to reduce homelessness in London and the south-east.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The recycling of waste is a matter for each Department to arrange in the light of local circumstances and other requirements such as security. We are, through the interdepartmental committee on business and the environment, stressing to colleagues the need to review carefully their waste disposal arrangements in order to maximise the opportunities for recycling.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There is at present no comprehensive record of the levels of waste recycling achieved by waste disposal authorities. However, my Department is about to launch a survey of local authorities which will investigate, among other things, the current extent of recycling activity by local authorities. In addition, under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Bill, which received its Second Reading on 15 January, waste collection authorities will be required to prepare recycling plans to enable their performance in
Column 740recycling to be assessed and waste disposal authorities should have regard to the desirability of including in any contract for waste disposal terms or conditions designed to maximise the recycling of waste.
99. Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he intends to take to encourage local authorities to achieve targets of recycling 50 per cent. of household waste by the year 2000.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Local authorities will be encouraged through the provisions of the Environmental Protection Bill to improve their recycling performance. In particular, waste collection authorities will be given specific powers to facilitate recycling and will be required to prepare detailed recycling plans. Waste disposal authorities will be required to have regard to the desirability of including in any contract for the disposal of waste terms or conditions designed to maximise the recycling of waste, and waste regulation authorities will be required to give priority to recycling when considering disposal options. The provisions in the Bill will be followed up with detailed guidance to local authorities about means of encouraging recycling.
The Government are also supporting specific initiatives involving local authorities such as the recycling city project in Sheffield which is pioneering new methods of collecting and processing recyclables.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My Department, together with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), is funding a three-year research contract to monitor and evaluate the UK2000 recycling city project in Sheffield. A report on the first six months of that research is expected in March. While it is still early to make any conclusive assessment of the success of the project, it is already apparent that important progress has been made by the various industries involved in the provision of facilities to enable the public to recycle their waste and that the response to those facilities has been enthusiastic, with up to three quarters of the people served by the kerbside collection scheme taking an active part.
---------------------------------- 1. Brent<1> |8.1 |47 2. Lambeth |12.6|30 3. Southwark |19.0|29 4. Islington |9.8 |27 5. Hackney |8.4 |24 6. Haringey |4.1 |19 7. Liverpool |11.2|18 8. Waltham Forest |3.1 |16 9. Greenwich |4.8 |15 10. Camden |4.7 |15 <1>The figure reported by Brent ( £16.7 million) included rate arrears, and so on. The figure in the table is a DOE estimate on a pro rata basis (the basis apparently used by Brent in previous years).
Mr. David Hunt : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received a number of representations from individual businesses and business organisations on aspects of the new uniform business rate in England.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on the implications of the uniform business rate for small and large businesses in England and Wales.
76. Mr. Waller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, for the Bradford metropolitan district, he will state the average percentage change in rates payable in respect of industrial premises following revaluation and the introduction of the uniform business rate.
Mr. Chope : At the national non-domestic poundage of 34.8p and taking account of the non-domestic revaluation, average rate bills for factories in the metropolitan district of Bradford would fall by 27.3 per cent. compared with 1989-90. However, both reductions and increases in bills will be subject to transitional arrangements. The purpose of these is to give businesses facing higher bills time to adjust and to ensure that the overall yield from business rate remains broadly the same in real terms in 1990-91 as in 1989-90.
64. Mr. Buckley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations were held with representatives of the business community and local authorities on the level of the uniform business rate prior to his recent announcement.
Mr. Chope : Wide consultations have been held with representatives of the business community and local authorities on all aspects of the new uniform business rate. The rate for 1990-91, which my right hon. Friend announced on 20 December, is pitched at the level necessary to meet the Government's commitment that businesses should pay broadly the same in real terms in the first year of the new system as in the last year of the old.
96. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has had from owners of small businesses in relation to his proposals for a national non-domestic rate.
Mr. Chope : I refer the hon. Members and the hon. and learned Member to the reply given to the hon. Members for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) and for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) on 13 December, Official Report, column 710.
27. Mr. Hague : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has received from the Housing Corporation for new projects since his announcement that the corporation's new-build programme is to be doubled.
Mr. Michael Spicer : In his statement of 20 December Official Report, column 327 announcing the doubling of the Housing Corporation's capital programme over the next three years my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) outlined the policy framework against which those funds were to be allocated in 1990-91. Within that framework it is for the Housing Corporation to decide which new projects are funded. I understand that the corporation hopes to have completed this process by the middle of March.
Column 74344. Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any new proposals concerning the financing of the Housing Corporation.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) announced details of the Housing Corporation's approved development programme for 1990-91 on 20 December 1989, Official Report, column 327, and said that the corporation's capital programme was planned to double over the next three years, rising to £1,736 million in 1992-93. I have nothing to add to that statement. Decisions on the level of grant for the administrative costs of the corporation will be announced shortly.
29. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what account local planning committees and his departmental inspectors are required to pay to local objections to individual planning applications ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 December 1989 to the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce), Official Report , column 706 . My Department continues to receive representations from interested parties covering a range of views.
33. Mr. Barron : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the numbers of job opportunities created by the assistance of the Rural Development Commission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The commission estimates that it assisted in the creation or retention of at least 5,000 job opportunities in the financial year 1988-89. Further benefits, as yet not quantifiable, will flow from the additional assistance to rural coalfield areas, including a substantial part of the hon. Member's constituency, announced on 9 January.
32. Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to issue any guidelines to councils about the availability of independent advice for tenants who may be transferred from the local authority to a new landlord.
117. Mr. McCartney : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any new proposals for ensuring that a full and fair consultation is held with tenants in areas where the council is proposing transfer of housing to another landlord.
Mr. Chope : Local authorities have a statutory obligation, under schedule 3A to the Housing Act 1985, to consult tenants about a proposed disposal of their homes to a new landlord. It is for the local authority concerned to ensure that it provides tenants with sufficient and accurate details of its proposal to enable them to take an informed view about it.
34. Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the current regulations concerning the importation and transit of toxic waste ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The Department has received representations on a number of aspects of the current regulations on the transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste. The EC directives that are implemented through these regulations are being revised both in the light of operational experience by member states and also to give effect to the Basel convention adopted last year. The Government have made clear their views on the need for strengthening and extending the Community's rules on transfrontier shipment and we are seeking powers in the Environmental Protection Bill to restrict or prohibit the import of any wastes, where this is necessary to prevent risk of pollution or harm to human health.
75. Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the amount in tonnes of toxic waste imported for incineration during 1988-89 ; and how much of this was of polychlorinated biphenyls or of materials contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls.
Mr. Trippier : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution estimates that approximately 52,000 tonnes of hazardous waste was imported during 1988-89. It is not possible to identify separately the quantity destined for incineration. Figures for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are available only since the introduction of the transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste regulations in October 1988 and from then until 31 March 1989 some 5,800 tonnes of
PCB-contaminated waste was imported for incineration.
Column 745Mr. Chope : I have not met representatives from the New Homes Environmental Group although my Department was an observer at their meetings.
37. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications for development in London's green belt have been permitted in each year following the abolition of the Greater London council (a) by the London boroughs and (b) by the county districts ; and if he will make a statement.
40. Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give figures for the total amount of London's green belt land lost to development in each year following the abolition of the Greater London council ; and if he will make a statement.
|Numbers --------------------------------- Anglian |274,167 Northumbrian |255,476 North West |244,491 Severn Trent |317,673 Southern |261,704 South West |129,064 Thames |680,816 Welsh |143,099 Wessex |188,541 Yorkshire |210,091 |--------- Total |2,705,122
These registers include corporate holdings as well as individuals. The offer also allowed for holdings by individuals in any or all of the 10 companies and therefore holders may appear on more than one register.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : A total of 34,208 employees representing 85.55 per cent. of the eligible work force of the nine companies have successfully applied for shares in the companies under free and matching offers. 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.
49. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the total value of the planned investment programmes of the privatised water and sewage businesses in England and Wales over the next 10 years.
39. Mr. Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has received from Bedfordshire county council as to its proposed level of spending for the year 1990-91 following his announcement of the revenue support grant ; what level of spending he estimates it should keep to ; by how much this differs from the proposed level of spending and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend has received no information from Bedfordshire county council on its proposed level of spending for 1990-91. Its standard spending assessment for 1990-91 is £277,308, 000. This is an appropriate amount consistent with the provision of a standard level of service. However, Bedfordshire's budget for 1990-91 will depend on its own decisions for which it will be accountable to its chargepayers.
42. Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now set up a special inquiry to investigate and report upon all aspects relating to the deaths of dogs and sheep around Rutland Water in September 1988.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I do not think that it is necessary to set up a special inquiry. The NRA will be compiling a report on its investigations into the causes of the toxic algal growth in 1989 at a number of sites in England, including Rutland Water. This report will address the circumstances surrounding the deaths of animals at Rutland Water.
Mr. Moynihan : During 1989 my Department continued to develop and implement a comprehensive range of programmes and initiatives directed at inner-city regeneration. Substantial progress was made during the year.
A new urban development corporation was established for Bristol to bring the number of third generation UDCs to four. Private investment committed across all UDC areas passed £7.3 billion.
City grant, introduced in the previous year, began to make a significant impact on the redevelopment of run-down urban areas. By the end of 1989, over 100 capital investment projects had received approval for a total of £85 million grant ; these will lead to private investment of £360 million and the creation of 13,500 jobs. The urban programme continued to support a wide range of projects to strengthen local economies, improve the environment and tackle social problems in deprived urban areas ; it is estimated that about £260 million was spent on a total of more than 10,000 projects.
Column 747Under the enterprise zone initiative, Sunderland borough council and the Tyne and Wear development corporation were invited to prepare planning schemes for an enterprise zone in Sunderland.
To encourage further the disposal of unused or underused land, new registers of such land, including inner-city sites, were made publicly available by public sector owners on 31 October under codes of practice issued by the Department.
The annual report on the Department's inner-city programmes for 1988-89 will be published shortly.
46. Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which organisations have submitted comments on paragraph 3 of annex A of the draft planning policy guidance note on the planning aspects of housing developments issued in October 1989 by his Department.
Mr. Moynihan : We have so far received over 400 responses to the draft guidance note ; a substantial number of them comment on the issue of low-cost housing for local needs. The consultation period ended on 5 January, and my officials are currently engaged on an analysis of the responses. When this is complete, I shall write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Moynihan : I will next meet the chairman of the Sports Council at the Commonwealth games in Auckland. I expect that we will discuss informally a range of current issues relating to sport and recreation-- including, I hope, British successes at the games.
48. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to increase the rate of provision of low- cost housing both to buy and for rent in rural areas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : Over the last two years the Government have announced a series of measures to promote provision of low-cost housing to rent and buy in rural areas. We have more than doubled public funding through the Housing Corporation for new investment by housing associations, so enabling the corporation to increase the targets for rented housing under its special rural programme to 1,500 a year by 1992-93 and identify a rural element within its low-cost home ownership programme. We have also made changes to the planning rules, to permit development of low-cost housing for local needs on sites not previously designated for housing, and introduced a repurchase scheme to ensure that shared ownership housing in rural areas remains available for local people. Taken together, and along with the steps we have taken to free the private
Column 748rented market, these measures should make a major contribution to increasing the supply of low-cost housing to meet local needs in rural areas.
Mr. Trippier : While my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not met representatives of the National Society for Clean Air, my hon. Friend the Minister for Health met representatives when she addressed the society's 90th anniversary celebrations on 15 May last year, when she was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment.