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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 26 February 1991

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Tribunals (Legal Representation)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has had about tribunals where defendants do not have legal

representation.

The Attorney-General : I have received no representations about tribunals where defendants do not have legal representation. The Lord Chancellor has, however, received representations on this issue from Members, professional and other bodies and from members of the public.

Leybucht Bay

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Attorney-General who will be legally representing the Government at the final hearing of the Leybucht Bay case, European Commission v. German Federal Republic, at Luxembourg on 28 February 1991.

The Attorney-General : The hearing in European Court of Justice case 57/89, Commission v. Germany, took place on 16 October 1990. At its sitting on 28 February 1991 the court will simply deliver judgment and, in accordance with usual practice, the Government will not be represented.

WALES

Planning Applications, Wales

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of instances where his Department has ruled against the decisions of local councils in Wales on cases involving planning applications during 1990.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Among 514 planning appeals allowed against the refusal or failure of local planning authorities to grant planning permission, the following are representative examples : small residential developments of 1-12 houses,

single-storey extensions to dwellings,

alterations to dwellings/loft conversions/dormers,

residential homes for elderly/sheltered housing/nursing homes, conversion of agricultural buildings to residential

accommodation/holiday accommodation,

new agricultural accommodation,

removal of agricultural occupancy conditions,

farm diversifications schemes,

removal of conditions applied to planning permissions,

changes of use to tea shops, cafes, take-aways, offices, shops, flats, bed- sits,

formation of accesses and parking spaces,

increase in number of caravans, siting of new caravans and domestic garaging, garden sheds, store sheds, pigeon loft.


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Hospitals

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales in what form he proposes to announce his decision on the proposals by South Glamorgan health authority in respect of St. David's children's ear, nose and throat, and Glanely hospitals and the children's ward at the Prince of Wales orthopaedic hospital, Rhydlafar.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : By letter.

Road Repairs

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what amounts of funding have been allocated, per highways authority, for repairs and maintenance work to motorways, trunkroads and major road bridges in Wales, excluding the Severn bridge, in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The highway authority responsible for repairs and maintenance of motorways and trunk roads in Wales is the Welsh Office. The 1991 Welsh Office departmental report (CM 1516), published on 15 Feburary, gives the following information :


                      1990-91             1991-92            

                     |Plans    |Forecast |Plans              

                               |outturn                      

                     |£ million|£ million|£ million          

-------------------------------------------------------------

Structural renewal:                                          

  Bridges            |4.9      |4.9      |7.0                

  Roads              |19.1     |19.1     |27.0               

General maintenance: |18.0     |18.0     |19.9               

Plans for 1992-93 are broadly the same in real terms as for 1991-92.

Roads

Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales why there has been a delay in letting the contract for the bridge as part of the Lonlas-Baglan part of the M4 ; and how this will affect the date of the completion of the motorway.

Sir Wyn Roberts : "Roads in Wales : Progress and Plans for the 1990s", published in April 1989, gave a start of the M4 Briton Ferry to Earlswood scheme in the period April 1991 to March 1994. The 1991 Welsh Office departmental report published on 15 February confirmed plans to let this scheme before April 1992.

Sea Defences

Sir Anthony Meyer : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he is now in a position to respond to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee report on "The Breach of Sea Defences on 26/27 February along The North Wales Coast," published on 9 July 1990 (HC 426).

Mr. David Hunt : I am pleased to announce that the response has been published today.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish (a) the number of landfill sites in Wales and (b) a list of those sites that have been visited by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, together with the dates of those visits.


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Mr. Nicholas Bennett [ holding answer 25 February 1991] : On the basis of information held by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, there are some 240 licensed landfill sites in Wales. The information relating to visits is as follows :


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Date                            |Site name                      |Operator                       |Waste disposal authority                                       

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 8 April 1987                   |Bryn Posteg Site, Montgomery   |Montgomery DC                  |Montgomery DC                                                  

 9 April 1987                   |Bryn Posteg Site, Montgomery   |Montgomery DC                  |Montgomery DC                                                  

10 April 1987                   |Bryn Posteg Site, Montgomery   |Montgomery DC                  |Montgomery DC                                                  

13 April 1987                   |Tirpentwys, Pontypool          |Torfaen BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

 1 May 1987                     |Tirpentwys, Pontypool          |Torfawn BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

 2 May 1987                     |Tirpentwys, Pontypool          |Torfaen BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

 7 May 1987                     |Consolidated Beryllium Ltd.    |Consolidated Beryllium Ltd.    |Preseli/Pembroke DC                                            

 7 May 1987                     |Underhills Site                |Dyfed Sludge Ltd.                                                                              

24 June 1987                    |BSC Site                       |Alyn and Deeside DC            |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

24 June 1987                    |Cape Insulation                |Alyn and Deeside DC            |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

25 June 1987                    |Sandycroft BSC                 |Pilkington                     |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

25 June 1987                    |Pilkington Insulation Products |Pilkington                     |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

25 June 1987                    |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

26 June 1987                    |Clwyd Waste Disposal, Rossett  |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

31 July 1987                    |Tirpentwys                     |Torfaen BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

13 August 1987                  |Dark Lane Site                 |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

14 August 1987                  |Old Bridge Inn, Padeswood      |A. Scarfo                      |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

14 August 1987                  |Scarfo                         |Alyn and Deeside DC            |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

27 August 1987                  |Municipal Site                 |Brecknock BC                   |Brecknock BC                                                   

25 September 1987               |Municipal Site                 |Wrexham Maelor BC              |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 6 January 1988                 |Municipal Site                 |Ynys Mon BC                    |Ynys Mon BC                                                    

22 January 1988                 |Municipal Site                 |Taff Ely BC                    |Taff Ely BC                                                    

 3 February 1988                |Municipal Site                 |Preseli/Pembroke BC            |Preseli/Pembroke BC                                            

12 February 1988                |Cwmrhydyceirw Quarry           |Cymrhydyceirw                  |Swansea CC                                                     

23 February 1988                |Municipal Site                 |Radnor DC                      |Radnor DC                                                      

 8 March 1988                   |Cwmrhydyceirw Quarry           |Swansea CC                     |Swansea CC                                                     

 9 March 1988                   |Ruthin W D                     |Glyndwr DC                     |Glyndwr DC                                                     

 9 March 1988                   |Municipal Site                 |Glyndwr DC                     |Glyndwr DC                                                     

11 March 1988                   |Municipal Site                 |Wrexham Maelor BC              |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

16 March 1988                   |Municipal Site                 |Rhymney Valley DC              |Rhymney Valley DC                                              

20 June 1988                    |Tirpentwys                     |Torfaen BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

24 June 1988                    |Cambrian Quarry                |Leigh Interests Ltd.           |Delyn BC                                                       

24 June 1988                    |Redland Aggregates Graig Quarry|Redland Aggregates             |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

24 June 1988                    |Dark Lane Waste Site           |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 8 July 1988                    |Dark Lane Waste Site           |Clwyd Waste Disposal Ltd.      |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

15 July 1988                    |Phurnacite                     |NSF                            |Cynon Valley BC                                                

22 July 1988                    |Briton Ferry Port              |Neath BC                       |Neath BC                                                       

10 August 1988                  |Borth Landfill Site            |Ceredigion DC                  |Ceredigion DC                                                  

10 August 1988                  |Rhydeino, Llanarth             |Ceredigion DC                  |Ceredigion DC                                                  

11 August 1988                  |Blaenau Ffestiniog             |Meirionnydd DC                 |Meirionnydd DC                                                 

11 August 1988                  |Ruthin Waste Disposal Site     |Meirionnydd DC                 |Meirionnydd DC                                                 

11 August 1988                  |Municipal Site                 |Meirionnydd DC                 |Meirionnydd DC                                                 

28 October 1988                 |Cwmrhydyceirw Quarry           |Swansea CC                     |Swansea CC                                                     

12 December 1988                |Municipal Site                 |Wrexham Maelor BC              |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

13 December 1988                |Municipal Site                 |Alyn and Deeside DC            |Alyn and Deeside DC                                            

14 December 1988                |Municipal Site                 |Montgomery DC                  |Montgomery DC                                                  

15 January 1989                 |Municipal Site                 |Llanelli BC                    |Llanelli BC                                                    

16 January 1989                 |Bird Shredded Products, Cardiff|Birds                          |Cardiff CC                                                     

19 January 1989                 |Llanstar Wimpey Waste          |Lanstar Wimpey                 |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

19 January 1989                 |Cadishead, Manchester          |Wimpey Waste                   |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

25 January 1989                 |Dark Lane                      |Caird Environmental Ltd.       |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 2 February 1989                |Ferry Road                     |Cardiff CC                     |Cardiff CC                                                     

 6 February 1989                |Ferry Road                     |Cardiff CC                     |Cardiff CC                                                     

10 February 1989                |Rover Way Site                 |Cardiff CC                     |Cardiff CC                                                     

27 February 1989                |Briton Ferry                   |Neath BC                       |Neath BC                                                       

 1 March 1989                   |Municipal Site                 |Wrexham Maelor BC              |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 1 June 1989                    |Port Talbot                    |Wistech Plc.                   |Port Talbot BC                                                 

28 June 1989                    |Tirpentwys Site                |Torfaen BC                     |Torfaen BC                                                     

29 June 1989                    |Caldicot                       |Monmouth DC                    |Monmouth DC                                                    

29 June 1989                    |Abergarney                     |Monmouth DC                    |Monmouth DC                                                    

29 June 1989                    |Severn Tunnel Site             |Monmouth DC                    |Monmouth DC                                                    

 6 July 1989                    |Municipal Site                 |Taff Ely BC                    |Taff Ely BC                                                    

10 July 1989                    |Dark Lane                      |Caird Environmental Ltd.       |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 5 October 1989                 |Dark Lane                      |Caird Environmental Ltd.       |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 5 October 1989                 |Dark Lane                      |Wrexham Maelor BC              |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 5 October 1989                 |Garden Lodge Landfill Site     |Shanks and McEwan Plc.         |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 3 November 1989                |Llantrisant, Cardiff           |Cardiff CC                     |Cardiff CC                                                     

13 December 1989                |Motorway Remoulds, Knighton    |Motorway Remoulds              |Radnor DC                                                      

13 December 1989                |Castle Works (1), Flint        |Delyn BC                       |Delyn BC                                                       

13 December 1989                |Maes-y-Grug Quarry             |A. Mealor & Sons               |Delyn BC                                                       

20 December 1989                |Bryn Gwiog Quarry, Hendre      |Delyn BC                       |Delyn BC                                                       

20 December 1989                |Crown Chert Quarry, Trelogan   |Ellis Davies & Son             |Delyn BC                                                       

11 January 1990                 |Llanddullas, Colwyn Bay, Clwyd |Colwyn BC                      |Colwyn BC                                                      

16 February 1990                |Crown Chert Quarry, Trelogan   |Ellis Davies & Son             |Clwyd CC                                                       

 2 March 1990                   |J. A. Williams Site, Forden    |J. A. Williams                 |Montgomery DC                                                  

 2 March 1990                   |Potters Site, Pool Quay        |G. Potter                      |Montgomery DC                                                  

 5 March 1990                   |Caeya Farm, Overton            |T. Williams                    |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 5 March 1990                   |Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett     |Caird Environmental Ltd.       |Wrexham Maelor BC                                              

 7 November 1990                |Milford Haven                  |Consolidated Berlyllium Ltd.   |Preseli/Pembroke BC                                            

15 November 1990                |Cwmrhydyceirw                  |Max Recovery Ltd.              |Swansea CC                                                     

22 January 1991                 |Silent Valley                  |Blaenau Gwent BC               |Blaenau Gwent BC                                               

29 January 1991                 |Griffiths Crossing             |Ferodo Ltd.                    |Arfon BC                                                       

29 January 1991                 |Bryn Posteg, Llandeilo         |Montgomery DC                  |Montgomery DC                                                  

TRANSPORT

Railway Bridge, Osgodby

Mr. Alison : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what decisions or plans have been taken or made for the demolition of the redundant railway bridge on the A63 trunk road at Osgodby, near Selby, in North Yorkshire ; and when further action can be expected.

Mr. Chope : This scheme has been added to the Department's regional improvement programme. Preparation will take its turn with other schemes offering accident saving potential.

Red Routes

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish a full report on the operation of those red routes already in operation in Greater London ; and if he will include in such a report (a) changes in traffic flow arising from each scheme and (b) additional resources and expenditure occasioned by their operation.

Mr. Chope : The only red route in operation so far is that part of the pilot scheme on the A1 trunk road between Highgate and the Angel, Islington. The Transport and Road Research Laboratory will be conducting a monitoring exercise throughout 1991.

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received to date on the operation of the red routes from the A1 at Highgate to the Angel, Islington ; if all those have had a reply ; how many supported the scheme and how many opposed it ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : About 100 letters have been received, commenting on the operation of the pilot scheme, most of which have now received a response. Some correspondents have expressed concern about the scheme ; others have supported it.

Road Accidents

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fatalities and injuries in road accidents in Great Britain in 1988, 1989 and 1990, resulted from motor vehicles which had been stolen or driven without the owners' consent ; how many resulted from motor vehicles being driven for other criminal purposes ; and how many involved vehicles driven by the police in connection with the performance of their duties.

Mr. Chope : The standard report form, STATS19, completed by the police for all road accidents involving personal injury, does not include the information requested.


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Details of police vehicles' involvement in accidents are published in chief constables' annual reports. This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 16 January 1991, Official Report, column 497, if any additional powers are to be made available in his proposed statutory red routes as proposed in the Road Traffic Bill.

Mr. Chope : No. The Road Traffic Bill provides for priority routes in London to be implemented through the exercise of existing Highways Act 1980 and Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 powers.

Street Lighting

Dr. Twinn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether highway authorities are eligible for a transport supplementary grant to bring their street lighting up to standard as a crime prevention measure.

Mr. Chope : Crime prevention is not one of the criteria for transport supplementary grant, but local authority capital expenditure on street lighting is eligible for transport supplementary grant on roads which are of more than local importance or where it is associated with local safety schemes. Street lighting can also be improved by the use of the local authority's block allocation of credit approvals.

Orange Badge Scheme

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to make the orange badge scheme for disabled drivers nationally acceptable by all local authorities.

Mr. Chope : The orange badge scheme is in operation throughout Great Britain except for the City of London, the city of Westminster, the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea and part of the London borough of Camden. Department of Transport officials met officers from these four authorities and members of the disabled persons transport advisory committee in September last year to explore the scope for applying some aspects of the orange badge scheme to central London. All four authorities agreed to consider the possibility of granting some concessions to badge holders, subject to the implementation of modifications to the scheme now under consideration and to changes in London boroughs' parking enforcement powers as envisaged in part II of the current Road Traffic Bill.


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London Underground

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has received from London Regional Transport concerning improvments to the Northern line ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : The modernisation of the Central and Northern lines was recommended in the central London rail study, as part of the major upgrading programme for the existing underground network. Work on the Central line is well advanced and is scheduled for completion in 1995. Work on the Northern line is not likely to commence until the Central line modernisation has been completed. The Government have not yet received from London Transport a formal request for approval of this investment.

In the meantime, London Transport is taking what steps it can within available resources to improve the quality and reliability of the existing service.

Seat Belts

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by seat belt use ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : No information is available as to the number of deaths and serious injuries that might have been caused by seat belt use, but we estimate that, since the introduction of compulsory front seat belt wearing in 1983, seat belts have prevented more than 1,500 deaths and 55,000 serious injuries.

Road Repairs

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what amounts of Government funding have been allocated to highway authorities for the repair of motorways, trunk roads and major road bridges in (a) England and (b) Wales in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 ;

(2) what percentage of overall costs in repairs to motorways, trunk roads and major road bridges in (a) England and (b) Wales was accounted for by remedial work undertaken to counteract the effects of concrete cancer on those roads and bridges ;

(3) what are the estimated costs (a) in England and (b) Wales of undertaking remedial work to counteract the effects of concrete cancer on structures associated with motorways, trunk roads and major road bridges in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93.

Mr. Chope : Allocations of funds to my Department's agents for the structural maintenance of motorways and trunk roads (including bridges) in England are :


           |£ million          

-------------------------------

<1>1990-91 |419                

1991-92    |444                

1992-93    |443                

<1>Estimated out-turn.         

The Department has a comprehensive 15-year programme for the rehabilitation of structures on motorways and all-purpose trunk roads in England. Within this programme, some £1.5 million has been allocated in each of the years 1990-91, 1991-92 and


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1992-93 to deal with problems caused by alkali-silica reaction, or concrete cancer. This represents 0.36 per cent., 0.34 per cent. and 0.34 per cent. of total capital maintenance allocations respectively.

Allocations for roads in Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Global Warming

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the names and designations of his expert advisers on matters relating to global warming and the greenhouse effect.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer Monday 25 February 1991] : Professor Brian Hoskins of Reading university is our scientific adviser on this matter.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Ethiopia

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the £2 million of non-food assistance for Ethiopia, and the 25,000 tonnes for Ethiopia later in 1991, will be for the cross-border operation.

Mrs. Chalker : Of the £2 million non-food assistance, £1.3 million is for the cross-border relief effort. Allocation of the 25,000 tonnes of food has yet to be finalised.

EC Assistance

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs further to his reply of 15 February, Official Report, column 596 to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan, if he will list the (a) Asian and (b) Latin American countries receiving assistance from the European Community.

Mrs. Chalker : In 1989, the last year for which figures are available, new EC commitments were made to the following countries : In Asia--


Country       |Amount                     

              |(ECU million)              

------------------------------------------

Bangladesh    |13.50                      

China         |3.80                       

India         |73.25                      

Pakistan      |10.00                      

Philippines   |16.50                      

Thailand      |46.16                      

In Latin America--


Country       |Amount                     

              |(ECU million)              

------------------------------------------

Bolivia       |18.50                      

Costa Rica    |0.64                       

Haiti         |5.50                       

Peru          |1.20                       

In addition, countries in Latin America benefited from new commitments to regional bodies as follows :


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I

                                             |Amount                     

                                             |(ECU million)              

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andean Pact                                  |11.20                      

                                                                         

Central America regional payments system for                             

  reactivation of trade                      |43.50                      

                                                                         

BCIE (Central American Bank for Economic                                 

  Integration)                               |6.00                       

Debt

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Commissioner Marin's proposal to write off debt owed by ACP countries to the EC was last discussed at an EC Council meeting ; what decision was taken ; what position the United Kingdom took ; and when it will next be discussed.

Mrs. Chalker : The proposal on ACP debt was discussed at a meeting of the EC's Economic and Finance Council


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on 3 December 1990. The discussion was on procedure rather than the substance of the proposals and the United Kingdom was content with the outcome. It was agreed that further work should be done on the details of the proposals and that the issue would be considered at a future Economic and Finance Council meeting.

ENVIRONMENT

Local Government Expenditure

Sir Peter Hordern : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the figures for total expenditure by all local authorities in each of the last five years ; what was that expenditure as a proportion of gross domestic product ; and what proportion of that expenditure was met by (a) domestic rates or community charge, (b) non-domestic rates and (c) Government grant.

Mr. Portillo : The available information is as follows :


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                                                                       |1985-86   |1986-87   |1987-88   |1988-89   |1989-90              

                                                                       |£ million |£ million |£ million |£ million |£ million            

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Local authority expenditure in the United Kingdom (on a national                                                                         

  accounts basis)                                                      |42,320    |45,080    |48,700    |50,480    |56,210               

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                       |percentage|percentage|percentage|percentage|percentage           

Local authority expenditure as a percentage of GDP                     |11.7      |11.5      |11.3      |10.5      |10.7                 

Domestic rates (net of all rebates) as a percentage of local authority                                                                   

  expenditure<1>                                                       |13.6      |14.8      |15.1      |16.9      |16.6                 

Non-domestic rates (net of all rebates) as a percentage of local                                                                         

  authority expenditure                                                |19.1      |20.1      |20.1      |21.0      |20.3                 

Government grants as a percentage of local authority expenditure       |50.1      |51.1      |50.2      |48.8      |48.3                 

<1> Community charge income in Scotland in 1989-90.                                                                                      

The information is not yet available to allow a comparison to be made for 1990-91.

Assured Tenancies

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total number of assured tenancies let by housing associations during 1989 and 1990.

Mr. Yeo : It is estimated that some 54,000 assured tenancies were let by housing associations in England in 1989, and the provisional figure for 1990 is 61,000. In addition, in 1989 21,000 tenants converted to assured tenancies when ownership of their homes was transferred from local authorities or new towns to housing associations. The provisional estimate for 1990 is 30,000.

Disabled Access

Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many submissions he has received in response to his Department's consultation document on part M of the Building (Access for Disabled People) Regulations ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo : The closing date for comments on the proposals for amendments to part M of the Building (Access for Disabled People) Regulations 1985 was 31 January 1991. By 20 February 1991, some 134 responses had been received from a wide variety of different organisations, companies, access groups and individuals. These will be given careful consideration before final decisions are made.


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Loop System

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what positive measures he is taking to promote the installation of the loop system to aid the partially deaf in public buildings.

Mr. Yeo : A consultation paper on proposals for the revision of the requirements and guidance relating to part M of the Building (Access for Disabled People) Regulations 1985 was issued last October. It included a proposal that, in new public buildings, permanent aids to hearing such as the loop system should be incorporated in auditoriums and conference rooms in excess of 100 sq m in area. Responses to the consultation paper are currently being considered.

Building Regulations

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the legal status of building regulations ; and what legal penalties exist for local authority personnel who do not carry them out properly.

Sir George Young : Building regulations impose legally binding requirements relating to the design and construction of buildings. A person who is carrying out building work is under a duty to comply with these requirements, and a person who contravenes them can be prosecuted and fined. While local authorities have the function of enforcing the regulations in their areas, any


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failure to do so does not give rise to legal penalties, although other sanctions against the authority and its personnel may be available.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average level of community charge in England for 1990-91.

Mr. Key : It is £357.

Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the average level of community charge in England for 1990-91, if the amount of revenue support grant, or its equivalent, paid to local authorities had been maintained at its 1978-79 level in real terms.

Mr. Key : The rate support grant payable in 1978-79 is equivalent to £16,612 million in 1990-91 prices. If this amount had been paid as revenue support grant in 1990-91, other things being equal, the average community charge would have been £152. This estimate takes no account of changes in function since 1978-79, such as the transfer of polytechnics out of the local authority sector, and assumes that none of the benefit of the additional grant would go to non-domestic ratepayers.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether builders are liable to standard poll tax on properties on which completion certificates have not been issued and which do not meet the requirements of section 604 of the Housing and Local Government Act 1985 and public health regulations ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Key [holding answer 22 February 1991] : The standard community charge may be payable on domestic property which is not any person's sole or main residence. However, we have provided that no standard charge is payable, for example, on property whose erection is not substantially completed or which is undergoing structural alteration or when less than six months have elapsed since its erection or structural alteration was substantially completed. Furthermore, no standard charge is payable where a property is kept unoccupied because a local or public authority has prohibited its occupation.

Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the gross sum raised by the community charge in England ; and what is the amount in England raised locally for schools and further education.

Mr. Key [holding answer 22 February 1991] : The latest estimate of the amount which will be raised from the community charge in 1990-91 is £12.377 billion.

Income from the community charge is raised in support of local authority services generally. It is not possible to say what proportion is raised in support of particular services, but schools and further education account for 46 per cent. of budgeted net current expenditure by local authorities in 1990-91.

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the statutory provisions that relate to payments by a community charge payer in 1991-92 of payments for those who have defaulted on the 1990-91 charge ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Key [holding answer 25 February 1991] : Under section 89 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, every charging authority keeps a collection fund into which are paid community charges, non-domestic rates and grant, and from which are met precepts and charging authorities' own demands for revenues. Non-payment of the charge may result in a deficit on the collection fund at the year end. In setting an amount for its community charge for a year under section 37 of the Act, the charging authority must take account of such part of any deficit on the collection fund for the previous year as relates to charges that it estimates will be uncollectable. To the extent that it estimates that the charges for the previous year are collectable, the deficit on the collection fund can be made up by means of temporary borrowing under part IV of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and is not taken into account in setting the charge for the following year.

Environmental Assessment

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements are proposed for applying the requirements for environmental assessment in directive 85/337/EEC to private Bills as recommended by the Joint Select Committee on Private Bill Procedure.

Mr. Yeo : My Department, the Welsh Office and the House authorities here and in another place have been co-operating in devising arrangements to implement the recommendation of the Joint Select Committee on Private Bill Procedure that environmental assessment requirements should be applied to projects for which approval is sought in private Bills. I believe that this will be a valuable aid to the Committees which consider Bills for projects which may have significant environmental effects.

I am today issuing a consultation paper setting out the proposed arrangements. It includes a draft amendment to standing orders, which is expected to be tabled shortly, and invites comments on the administrative arrangements proposed for my Department to direct whether assessment is necessary in particular cases. I am placing a copy of the paper in the Library.


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