Mr. Flynn : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what contribution on science and technology will be made by his Department to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June ; what has been the cost of preparation for UNCED by his Department, and previously at the Department of Education and Science.
Mr. Waldegrave : Preparation for UNCED is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. The Office of Science and Technology, the Department of Education and Science and the research councils have helped the Department of the Environment in these preparations, but the cost of this is not readily available.
Mr. Waldegrave : My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I represented Her Majesty's Government at the meeting of the Council of Ministers (Research) in Luxembourg on 29 April 1992. The Council adopted the two outstanding programmes under the third EC framework programme for research and development : measurement and testing, and the dissemination and exploitation of results. It also adopted the joint research centre's programme for 1992-94. The Council had a general discussion on the future shape of Community research and development, and invited the Commission to bring forward its proposals concerning the framework programme as soon as possible.
Mr. Maclean : Primary responsibility for maintaining public water supplies rests with the water companies. The National Rivers Authority (NRA) also has a general statutory responsibility for conserving, redistributing and augmenting water resources and securing their proper use. This responsibility extends, in particular, to protecting river and wetland environment. My Department has for some months been holding regular meetings with the NRA, the Office of Water Services and the water
Column 192companies to ensure necessary liaison and that we are aware of action (such as the consideration of applications for drought orders) that will be needed by the Department.
I am writing to all Members of Parliament in the areas which may be affected by water shortages this summer to explain the situation in greater detail.
Mr. Maclean : Following the noise review recommendation that the procedures for establishing noise abatement zones should be reviewed, my Department commissioned the Building Research Establishment to carry out a survey of local authorities which have established noise abatement zones.
Thirty-seven local authorities which have established, or attempted to establish, noise abatement zones have been consulted during this work. An interim report from BRE is due shortly.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the number of jobs which have been sited in the enterprise zone in the Isle of Dogs from its inception to the latest convenient date, together with the total transferred there from existing locations outside that zone, the numbers of jobs related to completely new enterprises founded in that zone and the approximate expenditure of public funds, including remissions, for each of the latter categories of job so created.
Mr. Squire : By December 1989 there were 9,600 jobs in the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone, an increase of 8,959 since the designation of the zone. It is not possible to state how many jobs have been transferred from outside the zone, nor how many relate to new enterprises in the zone. Consequently, public expenditure on jobs in either category cannot be estimated.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department will have any responsibility to promote (a) combined heat and power stations, (b) the use of combustible waste as fuel and (c) industrial energy efficiency programmes following the abolition of the Department of Energy.
Energy Efficiency Office programmes relevant to industry are : the best practice programme covering research, development, demonstration and dissemination of energy technologies in the industrial, commercial and buildings sectors, including the promotion of all types of combined heat and power plant ; the energy management assistance scheme (EMAS) for organisations with fewer than 500 employees ; and the "Making a Corporate Commitment" campaign which is aimed at chairman and directors in industry, commerce and public sector organisations.
Primary responsibility for the use of combustible waste as fuel now rests with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will institute a survey of the difference in the office rental levels available for government leasing between (a) routine property company transactions and (b) receivers or administrators thereof.
Mr. Baldry : No. It is already established practice within Government to negotiate the best available terms, including rental levels, for any new office lease requirement, regardless of who might be the landlord.
Mr. Maclean : The additional safeguards for sites of special scientific interest announced by this Government in September 1991 came into effect on 2 January 1992. Further details of the many steps we have taken to conserve our natural heritage, and how our policies on conservation are to be reflected in land use planning, are set out in a draft planning policy guidance note, which was issued for public consultation on 27 February. The response to that consultation exercise are now being considered.
Mr. Maclean : These are conveniently summarised on pages 42 to 44 of the White Paper, "This Common Inheritance--the First Year Report", published in September 1991. Twenty-three separate commitments to further action are listed.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received on the Local Government Boundary Commission's proposal to transfer Thamesmead East ward from the London borough of Bexley to the London borough of Greenwich ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Squire : Ninety-one representations from Members, local groups, members of the public and other interested persons have been received. We are considering all the points made and will make public our decision as soon as possible.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities which came within 1 per cent. of the expenditure criteria he laid down for charge capping for 1992-93.
Mr. Squire : There are 126 authorities--94 charging and 32 precepting authorities--which have set budgets for 1992-93 within 1 per cent. of the limit implied by the principles which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has adopted for community charge limitation for 1992-93. These are as follows :
Column 194Precepting authorities
Hereford and Worcester
Isle of Wight
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Thames