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Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the final date for compliance with the 1981 school building regulations ; what is the extent of compliance to date in (a) Humberside, (b) West Sussex and (c) the Inner London education authority ; what will be the cost of full compliance in each ; what national funding is available for this work and what is his estimate of the impact on the community charge in each case necessary to comply if these costs fall on the local authority.
Column 167except for certain provisions which represent a marked change from the corresponding requirements of the 1972 regulations. In these cases the regulations provide that the operative date for existing buildings is 1 September 1991.
Under section 10(2) of the 1944 Education Act, it is the duty of LEAs to secure that their schools conform to the standards prescribed in the regulations. The Department does not maintain records on the nature of the building stock in individual local education authorities which would enable the community charge implications of compliance to be estimated.
Since 1981, capital expenditure on schools, including buildings, land, plant, machinery and equipment, has totalled £3,914 million (£4,775 million in 1989-90 terms). From April 1990, funding for capital expenditure at LEA schools will be available through local authority borrowing in respect of credit approvals announced by the Department of the Environment, from receipts from the disposal of capital assets, and from contributions from revenue expenditure. Capital grants are available for expenditure at voluntary-aided schools.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he has taken to ensure that there are sufficient teachers to teach the national curriculum ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he has taken to ensure that there are sufficient teachers to teach the national curriculum ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by water authority the action that is being taken by the National Rivers Authority to monitor water contaminated by toxic chemicals dis-charged into the sewerage system and recycled into the drinking water system and the toxic chemicals discovered.
Mr. Trippier : The National Rivers Authority undertakes regular monitoring of consented substances discharged from sewage treatment works. Routine monitoring of the receiving waters includes analyses for a wide range of substances. This information is entered on the public register held by each region. Water undertakers are responsible for monitoring water supplies in accordance with the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989.
Column 168permitted development rights for a range of telecommunications development. Any proposals for amending those rights as they relate to masts can be considered in that context.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he collects statistics relating to the allocation of discretionary grants made by local authorities for full-time vocational training ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment further to his reply of 14 December 1989, Official Report, column 751, if he will name the seven accountancy firms engaged by his Department ; what payments were made to them in 1988 and 1989 ; and what factors are taken into account in assessing firms' suitability to provide advice.
Mr. Patten : The seven accounting firms engaged by my Department during 1989-90 were, Spicer and Oppenheim, Price Waterhouse, Coopers and Lybrand, Deloitte Haskins and Sells, Peat, Marwick, McLintock, Touche Ross and Paul Anthony. It is not our policy to comment on aspects of individual contracts. As far as the suitability of these firms to provide advice, I can do no better than refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 December 1989.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department will be represented at the conference on policy regulation and technology applications for contaminated land to be held at the Royal Lancaster hotel, London on 22 and 23 February.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he now expects the Advisory Committee on Pesticides to report on the matter of lindane ; and whether it is considering this issue as a matter of urgency.
Mr. Trippier : The Advisory Committee on Pesticides is currently reviewing a number of pesticides. It is essential that this work is done thoroughly, and to the highest scientific standards. This necessarily takes time. I understand that the review of lindane will be completed by late 1990 or early 1991.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in what form Her Majesty's Government have responded to the requirements of the Commission of the European Economic Community consequent on the adoption of Council Directive 80/770 concerning the
Column 169quality of water supplied for human consumption ; and what information is available to Her Majesty's Government concerning comparable information supplied by Governments of other member states.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Government are wholeheartedly committed to complying with the requirements of the EC drinking water directive as quickly as possible taking account of practicalities and have always co- operated fully with the European Commission. In particular, we have sent them details of the programmes which water undertakers in England and Wales will be carrying out at a cost of £1.8 billion over the next five years in order to remedy current situations of non-compliance with the drinking water directive.
The Commission does not reveal what information other member states have supplied.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the authorities whose social services spending allocations for 1990-91 is (a) greater and (b) less than the grant-related expenditure allocation for 1988-90 ; what are the gains and losses in percentage and cost terms ; if he will list the child care gainers and losers on the same basis and what are the average net cash allocations for both.
Mr. Chope : I have today placed in the Library a table covering both children's and total social services, which shows 1989-90 GRE's, 1990-91 SSA's and the difference between the two in cash and percentage terms for each social services authority in England.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the reasons for gains and losses in (a) social services spending allocation 1990 and (b) child care allocation between different local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The new social services standard spending assessments are largely based on independent research evidence and were the subject of lengthy discussions with local authority representatives. The consequent changes in the method of calculating standard spending assessments (formerly grant-related expenditure assessments) between 1989-90 and 1990- 91, and the complexity of the previous formula, make it impossible to identify in detail the reasons for differences in either total social services or children's services allocations between different authorities.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the figures for (i) child abuse, (ii) domestic violence, (iii) proportion of lone parents, (iv) children at risk index and (v) the number of children in care for (a) Humberside and (b) the use national average as in his grant-related expenditure assessment and standard spending assessment for calculating social services expenditure.
Mr. Chope : Neither the grant-related expenditure nor the standard spending assessment formulae include information on child abuse, domestic violence or the number of children in care. The "children at risk index" is
Column 170part of the SSA formula, no comparable indicator was calculated for the GRE. The proportion of children living in lone-parent households is an indicator in both the GRE and SSA formulae. It is calculated using information from the 1981 census and is therefore the same for each assessment. The national average and the Humberside values for the "children at risk" and lone-parent indicators are as follows : (i) 'Children at risk'
National average per authority 4,516
(ii) Proportion of children living in lone parent households
Mr. Trippier : No national assessment has been made of the environmental impact of quarrying limestone for the limestone-gypsum flue gas desulphurisation process. My Department has commissioned a research project into high purity limestone resources and the demand for non- aggregate uses. The report will also discuss environmental and planning issues and will be published later this year. The CEGB has indicated that the complete 12GW retrofit programme would account for less than 2 million tonnes of limestone per year (less than 2 per cent. of current production).
The board also announced in August 1987 that it would not take limestone from quarries in national parks for the power stations selected for retrofitting with the flue gas desulphurisation process. The board went on to state that it hoped to follow a similar policy when obtaining limestone for new stations. That assessment was made in the knowledge of the Government's policy on mineral working in national parks set out in the statement by my then hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) on 9 April 1987 (HC 393/394). I understand that the board's policy towards limestone supply has not changed since its August 1987 announcement.
Mr. Moss : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by local authority (a) the number and type of immediate post-war prefabricated housing which still forms part of the housing stock, (b) the amount of grant aid for structural improvement allocated for such housing each year since 1979, (c) clarify those types of such housing which qualify for grant aid, and the reasons and (d) indicate whether he has any plans to extend the list of types that so qualify.
Mr. Chope : Information on the numbers and location of such housing, and the extent to which it has been the subject of grant aid, is not available. From next April any privately owned housing over 10 years old could be eligible for renovation grant aid : we have no plans for further changes.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Under section 112 and schedule 11 of the Water Act 1989, the National Rivers Authority has the power to propose that certain areas of land be designated as nitrate sensitive areas (NSAs) where it considers that the entry of nitrate into controlled waters as a result of the use of land for agricultural purposes should be prevented or controlled. In addition, section 106 of the Water Act 1989 also provides a general power for the National Rivers Authority to monitor pollution in controlled waters.
Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment who will represent his Department at the EC Council of Environment Ministers meetings on 22 March and 7 June ; and what the agenda will be for both meetings.
Mr. Chris Patten : Subject to parliamentary commitments, I shall represent the United Kingdom at the next two Environment Councils. The Irish Presidency has not yet confirmed the agenda for the meetings on 22 March and 7 June.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information his Department has gathered regarding the percentage of homeless people who (a) have no home or family to go back to, (b) were forced to leave home by an adult member of the family, (c) left home after being abused by another member of the family and (d) could go safely back to their families ; and what use he makes of this information in shaping his policies.
Mr. Chope : Local authorities in England report the number of households for whom they accept responsibility to secure accommodation under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act in a summary quarterly return. They provide a breakdown of these by immediate reasons for homelessness. The categories covered include "Parents, relatives or friends no longer able or willing to accommodate"; more detailed information is not available centrally. My Department has commissioned a programme of research on homelessness and the findings were considered carefully, together with the regular statistics, as part of the recently completed review of homelessness legislation.
For information about Wales and Scotland, I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and Scotland.
Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what responses he has received to his consultation document on cost recovery charging for Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's implementation of integrated pollution control ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : I received responses from 53 organisations and individuals. A list of these has been placed in the Library of the House. Copies of individual responses are available through the Library.
Respondents generally agreed the suggested basic structure of an initial charge for each application for an IPC authorisation and an annual charge thereafter. Respondents underlined that the system should be as simple and practicable as possible.
Respondents' comments have led us to reconsider the proposals in the consultation document for differential charges for different categories of authorisations. We now propose that there will be one flat rate initial charge per specified component of a process for each application for an authorisation.
There will also be a flat rate once-and-for-all charge for subsequent substantial changes in either the firm's operations or in pollution standards which require a fresh authorisation to be drawn up. There will be no charge for non-substantial changes that do not necessitate a fresh authorisation. There will be a lower flat rate charge in the case of the conversion of an existing statutory approval into an IPC authorisation. There will be an annual charge per component of an authorised process to cover costs of inspection, monitoring and enforcement.
This system, based on the number of components for a process, is simple, whilst also relating firms' charge payments to their scale of operations and Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's costs of regulation. Larger and more complex installations involve a larger number of components. For example, a steel works will typically involve 20 or more components, whereas a metal plating works may involve only one component and will pay correspondingly smaller charges.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will monitor its resources employed in dealing with different categories of authorisation to check for anomalies. The structure and level of the charges will then be reviewed in the light of experience. We will consider further developments as necessary, including the merits and practicalities of individual billing, which some respondents to the consultation paper favoured.
The charging system for IPC will be compatible with other charging systems, notably HMIP's charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 and those for the NRA. There will be a broadly compatible charging scheme in respect of the new local authority air pollution controls under part I of the Environmental Protection Bill. These proposals will cover operations in England and Wales. Comparable proposals are being considered for pollution controls in Scotland. Legislation for introducing integrated pollution control and a related charging system in Northern Ireland is being considered.
My officials will be consulting with industry and other interested parties as they work up the details of the charging scheme, with a view to its introduction in April 1991.
Column 173This new charging system will underline the Government's commitment to the principle that the polluter pays.
Mr. Moynihan : My Department has today issued a consultation paper to the local authority associations asking for their comments on our proposals for improving the operation of the urban programme management initiative. These proposals, most of which build on the existing best practices of the DOE and local authorities involved, are intended to maximise the impact of the resources dedicated to the urban programme by ensuring that inner area programmes are efficiently prepared, approved and delivered. I have laid a copy of this consultation paper in the Library of the House.
Mr. Chris Patten : Yes. I propose the following changes subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates. The non- voted cash limit DOE/HCI (capital expenditure by the Housing Corporation) will be increased by £120,000,000 from £694,250, 000 to £814,250,000. The capital resources available to the Housing Corporation in 1990-91 will be reduced correspondingly by £120,000, 000 from £1,105,500,000 (as announced in the Autumn Statement) to £985,500,000. This reflects a greater speeding up of housing schemes by housing associations than had previously been forecast. It is not expected to affect the total of resources available and houses provided over the two years taken together. The increase in 1989-90 provision will be charged to the Reserve.
The cash limit for class X, vote 2 (Central Environmental Services, etc) will be increased by £3,813,000 from £312,597,000 to £316,410, 000 to cover increased grant in aid of £3,943,000 to the National Rivers Authority to carry out capital works inherited from the former water authorities. This increase will be fully offset by a reduction in the exit external financing limit of the former authorities and minor savings within the vote.
There will be a token Supplementary Estimate for class X, vote 5 (Department of Environment : administration) and the running cost limit for my Department will be increased by £6,580,000 from £162,154,000 to £168,734,000 which reflects increased expenditure on additional staff and consultancy work and the recent transfer of inner cities work from the Cabinet Office and the Department of Trade and Industry to my Department.
There will also be a token Supplementary Estimate for class X, vote 9 (Sale of shares in the water holding companies, etc). There will be a further announcement soon to Parliament giving details of the costs of water privatisation.
The non-voted cash limit DOE/UA1 (Urban aid and derelict land) will be reduced by £250,000 from £723,254,000 to £723,004,000 to cover a transfer from my Department to the Department of Transport to meet half
Column 174the cost of a £500,000 grant to Thames Line plc. A matching increase will be made to the Department of Transport's cash limit for class VIII, vote 2.
The cash limit for class IX, vote 2 (Miscellaneous housing administration and grants) will be reduced by £1,000,000 from £79,417,000 to £78,417,000 reflecting reduced forecast expenditure on housing and construction research.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the quality of marine life and water in the North sea, what proposals he has for their improvement ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 26 January 1990] : A full quality status report on the North sea was prepared for the second North sea conference held in 1987. As a result of a United Kingdom initiative at that conference, a North sea task force was established to co-ordinate North sea research, identify gaps in knowledge and prepare an updated and improved quality status report for the fourth conference which is expected to be held in 1995. Work on this is under way and in the meantime an update of scientific material will be submitted to the third North sea conference in March 1990, together with reports from the task force on sensitive issues such as seals and algal blooms.
The Department of the Environment is co-ordinating the United Kingdom's input to the task force together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and the National Rivers Authority. Additional research is being undertaken on a range of topics including fish disease, seabird breeding failures, the seal epidemic, the role of nutrients and transport of contaminants ; and there is a special Anglo-French study of the English channel.
I am confident that the third North sea conference to be held in March this year, primarily to review the work undertaken by member states in implementing the recommendations of the second conference, will also generate valuable new measures to improve protection of the North sea.
Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Eastbourne Water Company about the level of its charges for the year ending 31 March 1991 ; and whether he will make it his policy to consult the hon. Member for Eastbourne before he decides whether to instruct the company to abate its proposed charges.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 26 January 1990] : The Department's officials have had three meetings and detailed correspondence with the Eastbourne Water Company on this matter. Under the provisions of the Water Act 1989, the limits on charges must be set by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State at a level which enables each company to finance its functions but ensures that the interests of customers are properly safeguarded. There is no formal process of consultation with right hon. and hon. Members, but I am available to discuss the issues with those who wish to do so and would welcome a visit from the hon. Member for Eastbourne.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the report of the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit in relation to the shortage of expertise to identify suspect species being imported contrary to CITES regulations.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 29 January 1990] : When the WTMU report was published, we had already started work on the establishment of a panel of consultant expert identifiers to assist the Department's wildlife inspectorate, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise or the police with the identification of wildlife species. The wide range of expertise already available within the Department's wildlife inspectorate will be further extended by the establishment of the panel.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provisions are being made in all the offices and other places under his Department's control for the convenience and comfort of non-smokers ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy for non-smokers.
Mr. Chris Patten [holding answer 29 January 1990] : My Department's policy is to respond to the wishes of staff in developing policies on smoking in the offices and buildings which it administers and to prohibit smoking in places where it could be a safety hazard. With this in mind consultations are in hand to establish an agreement on the designation of "no smoking" areas within office buildings where this is wanted by staff and in individual offices where this is the choice of staff.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his most up-to-date estimates of the reductions in the level of sulphur dioxide emissions from Britain's electricity generating plant by the year 1995, 2000 and 2003.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 29 January 1990] : The Government have agreed to the European Community directive on large combustion plants. It commits us to reducing sulphur dioxide emissions from existing plants of this type, which includes electricity generating plants, by 20 per cent. by 1993, 40 per cent. by 1998 and 60 per cent. by 2003 from their 1980 base line. The details of the contributions to this reduction from different sectors of industry have yet to be decided.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 1990-91 revenue support grant entitlement per head of population, before safety net adjustments, for each borough and district council in Kent in descending order of magnitude.
Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 29 January 1990] : The information requested is set out in the table. For the purpose of this reply the population figures used are those for the relevant population of each council.
1990-91 revenue support grant entitlement per head of population, before safety net adjustments Council |£ -------------------------------------- Thanet |206.9 Rochester Upon Medway |205.8 Gillingham |199.3 Shepway |194.7 Canterbury |192.8 Gravesham |192.6 Ashford |190.6 Swale |190.6 Maidstone |188.4 Tunbridge Wells |188.4 Dartford |184.5 Tonbridge and Malling |176.4 Sevenoaks |173.2