Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the report on the explosives incident at Vibroplant, Peterborough, will be published ; and if he will make a statement on the current position.
The HSE investigation into the incident concluded that the source of the fire and cause of the resulting explosion was a box of Cerium fusehead combs in transit to a local fireworks manufacturer. The combs were in unauthorised and unsafe packaging. On 11 April 1990, the company operating the vehicle was fined £250,000 at Peterborough Crown court.
In line with the undertaking given at the time by my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) the Health and Safety Commission's advisory committee on dangerous substances sub-committee considering the major hazard aspects of the transport of dangerous substances will study the report both for its general relevance to transport questions and its specific relevance to the safe transport of explosives.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many jobs offered by his Department to executive officer recruits offer above the adult minimum starting salaries ; what is the spine point that is offered in each case ; and whether they are offered in (a) London and the south-east or (b) elsewhere.
Mr. McLoughlin : The normal minimum starting salary for adult recruits (ie those who are 20 years or above) is minimum of the pay scale plus two spine points. The following figures show the starting salaries awarded to all adult direct entry EO recruits to the Department of Transport from April 1989, the date it split from the Department of the Environment, to the present.
DTp Civil Service Commission EO recruits: April 1989 to September 1990 Starting pay |London and |<1>Elsewhere|Total |South-East -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Minimum plus 2 spine points |110 |67 |177 Minimum plus 3 spine points |1 |- |1 Minimum plus 4 spine points |- |- |- Minimum plus 5 spine points |- |- |- Maximum |1 |- |1 |--- |--- |--- Total |112 |67 |179 <1> Including staff in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Vehicle Inspectorate Executive Agency, the Driving Standards Agency and the Vehicle Certification Agency.
Mr. Chope : Following the announcement to the House on 27 March at columns 222-24 by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of the intention to conduct a pilot scheme for a priority route network in London we have conducted an extensive consultation exercise on it through publications, public meetings, and site visits and discussions. This culminated in exhibitions of our initial proposals from 14 August to 28 September. A brochure and a leaflet were widely circulated and copies are in the Library. As a result of comments received we have accepted certain changes to the proposals largely aimed at increasing provision for loading and unloading to satisfy essential business needs. Plans of the final proposals are being made available to the boroughs concerned and a leaflet will be published for general interest.
We need now to make a start on the pilot scheme itself as soon as possible. We intend to bring the new signing and lining, including bus lanes, into force on the trunk road part of the route--the A1 from Highgate to the Angel--on 7 January. Preliminary works will take place during December. Further measures such as improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will follow as soon as possible. Implementation of measures on local roads will depend on the boroughs concerned. I hope that they will be able to introduce them quickly. Enforcement will be the key to the success of the pilot scheme, and the Metropolitan police have agreed the timetable for this start on 7 January.
Mr. Chope : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I have given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Summerson) on the implementation of the pilot scheme. Full implementation of the network depends on legislation which will be introduced at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received concerning the proposed red route from Highgate to the City ; if any of these have been in its favour ; and what replies he has sent.
Mr. Chope : As a result of the public exhibitions of proposals 343 responses were received. Other comments were made, some in favour and some against, at public meetings and numerous on-site discussions. In response to these representations, some of the detailed proposals have been changed.
Column 341Department of the introduction of priority routes in Paris ; and if he will make such information available to those currently involved in the consultation exercise about red routes.
Mr. Chope : Officials visited Paris earlier this month to obtain information. Axes rouges (red routes) were introduced last month on 27 km of roads in central Paris. Although it is too early to make a full assessment, a network of 100 km is planned. The initial effect has been to increase average speeds significantly with little increase in traffic.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the powers of London traffic commissioner ; to whom this person will report ; and what will be the involvement with London borough councils.
Mr. Summerson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the chairman of British Rail to discuss British Rail's compliance with its quality of service objectives in regard to (a) Network SouthEast services and (b) the Barking to Gospel Oak service.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list by year since 1980 to date (a) the number of bulk carrier ships that have sunk and (b) the number of crew lost ; and if he will show in his answer the number of British ships and crew involved.
Year |Number --------------------- 1980 |21 1981 |16 1982 |17 1983 |26 1984 |17 1985 |22 1986 |20 1987 |18 1988 |8 1989 |12
Only one ship was United Kingdom registered--the Derbyshire which sank in September 1980 with the loss of 44 lives.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what qualifications, other than a seagoing master's certificate, are required for masters of seagoing vessels loading ballast from land or from other vessels within the limits of the Port of London Authority and proceeding to discharge into places also within those limits ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : In addition to a seagoing master's certificate, required for masters of seagoing vessels loading ballast from land or from other vessels within the limits of the Port of London Authority, the masters or first mates of ships over 50 m in length would require a pilotage exemption certificate if they wished to navigate their ships through the compulsory pilotage area.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many shipping accidents there have been in the Pentland firth in each of the last 10 years that have involved collisions, groundings and sinkings ; and if he will specify the types of vessels involved.
175. Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those who have resigned from the employ of the London Docklands development corporation during the last three months.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to publish his proposed modifications to the Warwickshire structure plan early next year and, having considered any objections or representations, to issue his decision on the plan by the middle of next year.
Mr. Atkins : This information is not held centrally by my Department. Information about the location of British Coal Corporation opencast sites currently being worked and sites worked by operators under licences issued by the corporation can be obtained from the corporation's Opencast Executive.
Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the consultations will be completed on the revised code of guidance on housing and homeless persons under part III of the Housing Act 1985 ; and when the code will be issued.
Column 343Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the revised draft code of guidance to homelessness legislation will be published in England and Wales.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My officials have had a number of helpful meetings with the local authority associations about the revision of the code of guidance. We will be consulting the associations and others on a revised draft code shortly. We aim to complete the consultation process and publish a revised code early in the new year.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement listing those initiatives which he is currently undertaking or supporting which are intended to reduce the problem of homelessness in Cheshire ; and if he will indicate in each case the resources allocated to these initiatives.
Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 26 October 1990] : My right hon. Friend is currently supporting the Chester lodgings and support project which seeks to increase the supply of suitable accommodation for homeless and vulnerable people in Chester. A grant of up to a maximum of £14,530 has been earmarked to be paid this financial year.
In addition, homelessness is a factor which is taken into account in determining local authorities' annual housing investment allocations.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend has no information about any locations considered by Nirex for a radioactive waste repository accessed from an offshore structure. The Government have accepted Nirex's proposal that the repository should be in the form of a mine under the land, and site investigations are currently under way at Sellafield and Dounreay.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the monitoring his Department carries out into how local authorities are making all their property accessible to the disabled.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Local authorities when designing certain new buildings, including offices and public buildings, have a duty under the Building Regulations 1985 to make reasonable provision for access for disabled people. Elsewhere my Department does not monitor how local authorities make their property accessible to the disabled.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice his Department gives to local planning authorities on making private and public buildings accessible to the disabled ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 344policy note No. 16, "Access for the disabled". The approved document which accompanies the Building Regulations 1985 gives practical guidance on ways to meet the requirements of part M of the regulations, which requires reasonable provision to be made to enable disabled people to gain access to relevant premises of certain new buildings.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those species of flora and of fauna which are now protected as endangered species under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, formerly the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : This information is contained in schedules 1, 5 and 8 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended. A copy of the 1981 Act and subsequent amending orders are available in the Library of the House.
(2) if he will state the number of housing association starts in 1978 and so far in 1990.
Mr. Key : The latest estimates for starts by housing associations and local authorities, new towns and Government Departments, for 1980 to August 1990, appear in tables 1 and 2 of the housebuilding press release (No. 548) issued by the Department on 5 October. Corresponding figures for 1978 and 1979 appear in table 6.1 of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1978-1988 : Great Britain". Copies of both are in the Library.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, for each British region, all the sites at which evidence of eutrophication or the presence of algal blooms has been discovered this summer by the National Rivers Authority.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 24 October 1990] : I have asked the National Rivers Authority to send the hon. Member a list of the sites in England and Wales where blue-green algae have been identified this year.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many homes for rent have been owned by Congleton borough council in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 26 October 1990] : The numbers of council-owned dwellings reported by Congleton borough council in its annual housing investment programme returns (HIP1) are as follows :
Stock at 1 April each year |Number --------------------- 1981 |5,887 1982 |5,653 1983 |5,457 1984 |5,272 1985 |5,245 1986 |5,046 1987 |4,990 1988 |4,831 1989 |4,619 1990 |4,474
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has concerning (a) the average length of time currently taken by a local authority to re-let vacant homes and (b) the average length of time taken by the Congleton borough council to re-let vacant homes.
Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 26 October 1990] : The 1988 survey, "Empty Local Authority Dwellings in England at 1 October and Re-lets between 1 April and 30 September 1988", showed that--at that time-- the overall average re-let period for all authorities was eight weeks. The corresponding figure reported by Congleton borough council was six weeks, including vacant dwellings in modernisation programmes. A copy of the national report is in the Library.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funds have been made available by his Department in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available to Congleton borough council to assist with the provision of housing for rent.
Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 26 October 1990] : The Department makes housing investment programme (HIP) allocations to local authorities each year, which convey borrowing approval (under the new capital finance system, in the form of credit approvals). Thus housing capital expenditure is funded from borrowing, capital receipts and from revenue contributions. The Department does pay a general housing subsidy, but the costs of borrowing are only one element of this.
Within these totals it is for each local authority to decide how its resources should be spent.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has concerning the amount spent in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available by Congleton borough council on the provision of housing ; what percentage of total expenditure by the authority is represented by this figure in each of those years ; and what is the national average in the latest single year for which figures are available.
£ thousands per cent. |Housing |All services |Housing as a |percentage of |all services ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1981-82 |1,542 |2,245 |69 1982-83 |2,256 |3.132 |72 1983-84 |2,760 |3,378 |82 1984-85 |2,134 |2,615 |82 1985-86 |2,067 |2,613 |79 1986-87 |2,779 |3,342 |83 1987-88 |2,964 |4,014 |74 1988-89 |2,942 |3,197 |92 1989-90 |3,931 |4,703 |84
Nationally, housing capital expenditure is provisionally estimated to be 53 per cent. of capital expenditure on all local authority services in 1989-90 ; the equivalent figure for non-metropolitan district councils in England is 68 per cent.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of the judgment of 21 October, in the High Court on the granting of planning permission by Ealing borough council in 1987 for a mosque and town houses on the Northolt industrial site, he will bring forward proposals to amend the law relating to the restrictions of planning permission by local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what powers local authorities have to rescind planning permissions granted for the building of religious buildings and town houses on industrial estates ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 26 October 1990] : Under section 97 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, if it appears to the local planning authority that it is expedient to revoke or modify any permission to develop land granted on a planning application made under part III of the Act, the authority may by order revoke or modify the permission to such extent as it considers expedient.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which company is supplying the main door drive units at RAF Mawgan ; and whether extensive prototype tests have been carried out to the satisfaction of the Property Services Agency.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Pursuant to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Chope) on 3 July at column 505, subsequent investigation has shown that the units have been assembled from a variety of components from various sources by CIMOLAI, the steelwork sub- contractor, to designs developed from the earlier prototype tests. NEUERO'S involvement was restricted to giving limited advice on request to CIMOLAI.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information he has on the (a) number of church grants approved to date in 1990-91, (b) their value and (c) the sums remaining to be distributed in the current year ;
(2) what was the total sum available for church grants in 1990-91 ;
(3) how many applications he has received for funds under the church grant scheme.
Column 347buildings, and for holding data on the number of applications for such grants are matters for English Heritage. I have asked its chairman, Lord Montagu, to write to the hon. Member.
Mrs. Rumbold : Ford prison is an open establishment which occupies a 114 acre site and has no secure boundary. It may therefore be surveyed from many points within its grounds as well as from neighbouring properties, and despite all reasonable precautions taken by the governor and the police, certain prisoners were clearly photographed recently in this way. Furthermore, as prisoners have unlimited access to the telephone it is not possible to prevent them from communicating information.
Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any recommendations for improved surveillance by the use of video cameras at Her Majesty's prison Kingston (Portsmouth), have been rejected on the grounds of cost during the past year.
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further consideration is being given to providing at reduced cost television licences for pensioners where they are the sole occupiers residing in all types of housing accommodation.
Mr. John Patten : We are considering a range of options for improving the regulation of the private security industry. When consideration of this issue has been completed, we will decide what circulation to give to the working group's report.
Mr. Maxton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a regional breakdown of the increase in (a) violent crimes and (b) all crimes between 1979 and 1989 in percentage terms and also the percentage clear-up rates.
Mr. John Patten : The readily available regional information is published in table 8.1 of "Regional Trends 25", which shows the figures for 1981 and 1988. A copy of this publication is available in the Library.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Yes. A national publicity campaign will be launched early in 1991. Its purpose, over three years, is to enhance public awareness of the role and value of the special constabulary and to increase the number of special constables recruited locally.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if any officials specialising in civil defence protection will be attending the fifth international conference of nuclear-free zone local authorities, to be held in Glasgow on 8 to 12 November.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have been convicted of involvement in dog fighting during the last five years ; how many of these have been given custodial sentences ; and of the number convicted how many have been sentenced in respect of repeated offences.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to what investigations are being conducted in respect of the publication and distribution of the publication entitled "Holocaust News No. 2".