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Mr. Atkins : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) on 25 November, Official Report, column 206. I regret to announce that since that date Mr. Christopher Haskins, chairman and chief executive of Northern Foods, has withdrawn from the committee due to other commitments.
Sir John Knill --Chairman
Director, Donaldson Associates.
Dr. Jack I. Abernethy
Member, Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists ; Total Quality Management Co-ordinator, Thorp Division, BNFL. Professor Gerald E. Adams
Director, Medical Research Council Radiobiology Unit, Chilton. Dr. Helen ApSimon
Reader in Air Pollution Studies, Imperial College, London. Professor Andrew Blowers
Professor of Social Sciences, Open University.
Professor Keith Boddy OBE
Head of Regional Medical Physics Department, Newcastle General Hospital, Northern Regional Health Authority.
Mr. Wilfred Cassidy MBE
Formerly Scientific Advisor and County Analyst, Somerset County Council.
Professor Roger H. Clarke
Director, National Radiological Protection Board ; and Chairman, International Commission on Radiological Protection.
Dr. Martin Courtis
Director of Environmental Services, Carlisle City Council. Dr. Ron H. Flowers
Nuclear Technology Consultant ; formerly Chief Technologist (Nuclear), AEA Technology.
Mr. Michael Folger
Managing Director, UK Nirex Ltd.
Dr. Eleanor James
Formerly Lecturer in Mathematics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth ; member of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales. Professor Gilbert Kelling
Professor of Geology, University of Keele.
Miss Angela M. Killick
Column 834Chairperson, Enfield Community Care NHS Trust.
Dr. John McKeown
Director of Projects, Scottish Nuclear Ltd.
Mr. George J. Medley OBE
Formerly Director, World Wide Fund for Nature UK.
Dr. Les A. Mitchell
Director of Technology, Nuclear Electric plc.
Dr. William L. Wilkinson CBE
Non-Executive Director, BNFL.
Professor David R. Williams OBE
Professor of Applied Chemistry, University of Wales.
Chief Commons Commissioner
Mr. Martin J. Roth
Mr. I. L. R. Romeer
Mr. D. M. Burton
(2) how many of the homes identified by the task force on empty homes have been made available to local authorities ;
(3) how many of the homes identified by the task force on empty homes have been sold to housing associations ;
(4) how many former empty homes identified by the task force are now occupied by previously homeless families.
Sir George Young : The task force on Government Departments' empty houses is expected to present its final report to Ministers shortly. I understand that the task force has agreed with the relevant Department's targets for the disposal or occupation of empty residential property. I expect the final report to include details of these targets, and of the number of properties brought back into use, but it is unlikely to identify categories of purchaser or occupier.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what effect the transfer to the new single regeneration budget will have on the future funding of estate action schemes currently in operation ;
(2) what effect the transfer to the new single regeneration budget will have on the future funding of housing action trusts currently in operation.
Sir George Young : The draft bidding guidance for the single regeneration budget, issued on 14 January, reaffirms that commitments under existing programmes, such as estate action and housing action trusts, for 1994-95 and future years will be met.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his departmental officials will assist the Isle of Wight's staff to prepare geological reports on the landslips and coastal stability problems on the Isle of Wight and to detail what exceptional grants may be available in view of the serious and extensive nature of the problem.
Mr. Baldry : The hon. Member is aware of my Department's earlier research on landslip potential assessment in part of Ventnor and Luccombe village. This has developed the techniques which I am pleased to see that the local authority have been taking forward in extending that work to other parts of Ventnor. It is for the local authority, rather than my Department, to continue to take that work forward in respect of areas which have not yet been covered in so far as it is necessary to do so.
Any requests which may be made by Isle of Wight local authorities for special financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme in relation to the recent landslides will be considered on their merits. However, there are no other statutory means by which exceptional grants can be made available to assist in the problems now being experienced. The landslips are natural phenomena and grant aid could be considered by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food only if the prime cause were found to be coastal erosion.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider applying the Bellwin rules to the problems facing the Isle of Wight local authorities following the extensive coastal landslips.
Mr. Baldry : No applications have been received from Isle of Wight authorities for assistance under the Bellwin scheme in connection with the recent coastal landslips. Authorities have been informed that they should apply individually to the Department for assistance if they have incurred an undue financial burden as a result of dealing with an emergency. Each application which is received will be considered on its merits.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his advisers will visit the Isle of Wight to report on the extensive landslips and cliff erosion and to advise the local authorities.
Mr. Baldry : I am asking my officials to report to me on the recent landslips in the Isle of Wight within the next few weeks. I will write to the hon. Member when that report is received. However, I understand that the local authorities concerned have considerable expertise within their engineering departments and that they have also commissioned consulting engineers to advise them.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans there are for the Countryside Commission to send a team to the Isle of Wight to assess the loss of coastal footpaths and beach access and to see what assistance and advice they can give the island's local authorities in time for the Easter holiday visitors.
Mr. Atkins : The Countryside Commission has recently sent a team to the Isle of Wight, in the light of damage caused by the recent severe weather to the islands coastal paths and access to beaches. They discussed with council officials the possibility of assistance and the commission is now considering the council's formal application for grant aid for restoration.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the measures he intends to take to implement the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora in the United Kingdom, indicating whether they will be introduced through (a) primary legislation, (b) secondary legislation, (c) planning guidance notes or (d) some other means ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The Government set out their proposals for implementing the EC habitats directive in the consultation paper issued on 4 October 1993, a copy of which is in the Library. Final decisions will be taken when the responses to the consultation have been fully evaluated. We propose that the necessary measures will be introduced by a combination of regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972, official guidance notes and public policy statements.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to involve the voluntary nature conservation organisations in the selection of sites to be designated as special areas of conservation under the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : It is the function of the statutory nature conservation agencies to advise the Government on the selection of sites for inclusion on the United Kingdom's list of candidate SACs. The voluntary nature conservation organisations will be included in the consultation process which will commence before the list is submitted to the Commission.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to restore habitats to be protected under the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora in the United Kingdom to a favourable conservation status ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The directive intends the Natura 2000 network as a whole to enable the maintenance or, where appropriate, restoration of the natural habitat types and species listed in annexes I and II to a favourable conservation status. We are engaged in discussions with the Commission and other member states about what is necessary to ensure the network achieves this. The nature conservation agencies are currently engaged in evaluating the information and data they hold to advise the Government on the United Kingdom contribution to the network.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment has been made of the costs of implementing the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora to (a) the United Kingdom Government and (b) the European Union ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Until the nature conservation agencies have completed evaluation of the information they hold and drawn up their advice to Government on candidate sites for designation under the directive, it will not be possible to make a meaningful assessment of the costs of implementing the directive.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of the housing strategy documents submitted by the City of Westminster and Wandsworth councils to his regional office for each of the past seven years.
Sir George Young : The housing strategy statements submitted by housing authorities to my Department as part of the annual housing investment programmes are placed in the Library as a matter of course. Those for Westminster and Wandsworth for each of the past seven years are already in the Library.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of the forms HPI, HPI (supplement) and HP2, all revised 4/93, that were completed and submitted by the City of Westminster and Wandsworth councils to his regional office for 15 June 1993, together with the equivalent completed forms, HPI, HPI (supplement) and HP2 for each of the preceding six years.
Sir George Young : The housing investment programme forms submitted each year by housing authorities to my Department are, as a matter of course, placed in the Library together with the authorities' housing strategy statements. The HIP forms for Westminster and Wandsworth for each of the past seven years are already in the Library.
Mr. Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many planning appeals were successful in the last year for which figures are available ; what percentage this represents of the total number of appeals and what were the corresponding figures 10 years ago.
Mr. Baldry : The provision of information on planning appeals is the responsibility of the planning inspectorate. I have asked the inspectorate's chief executive, Mr. Stephen Crow, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from H. S. Crow to Mr. Robert Hicks, dated 19 January 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the outcome of planning appeals.
The information is set out below. The latest figures available are for the financial year ended 31 March 1993. Ten years ago this information was only kept by calendar year, I have therefore provided figures covering both 1982 and 1983.