Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Gummer : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 1 February by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, Official Report , column 611 .

Housing Association Grant

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria have been agreed by the Housing Corporation for the allocation of housing association grant to developing housing authorities.

Sir George Young : Housing Corporation resources are distributed on the basis of the housing needs index. The allocation of housing association grant to housing associations is made by the Housing Corporation in accordance with the following criteria : to meet the priority housing needs identified by local authorities in the most cost-effective way ; to achieve targets set by Ministers for programmes such as low-cost home ownership, rehabilitation and rural housing ; and, in choosing between bids to meet a particular objective, to achieve value for money in terms of the volume of housing to be delivered from a given HAG input subject to the performance of an association, its ability to deliver a good management service once the development is completed and any local authority views about the proposed development.

Council House Sales

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each London borough the total discounted value of houses and flats sold by them for each year since 1980.

Sir George Young : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 26 January 1994, Official Report , columns 242-244 , to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle).

Council Tax

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals have been lodged since the 1992 valuations of homes for the purpose of assessing council tax ; and how many of these cases have now received a final adjudication.

Mr. Baldry : During the eight-month period allowed for appeal, expiring on 30 November 1993, the Valuation Office agency received 860,305 proposals to alter the council tax bands of dwellings in England. Of these, 175,206 had been settled by 31 December 1993.

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department expects all the currently outstanding appeals against house valuations for the purposes of assessing council tax to have received a final adjudication.


Column 801

Mr. Baldry : The Valuation Office agency has six months from the date of its receipt to consider proposals to alter the council tax banding of dwellings. If not resolved at the end of this period, cases are referred as formal appeals to a valuation tribunal. The Valuation Office agency and the valuation tribunals are expected to have dealt with nearly 700,000 or 80 per cent. of cases in England by the end of 1994. This would be almost within a year of the end of the appeal period. Any remaining appeals will be settled as quickly as possible in 1995.

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether local authorities will be expected to repay with interest any overpayments received in council tax arising from wrong valuations of properties subsequently revised under the appeals system.

Mr. Baldry : There is no provision in the regulations on council tax appeals for the payment of interest when an appeal has been determined in the taxpayer's favour. The sums at stake in such appeals are generally modest and the cost of administering an interest payment scheme would be disproportionate.

Standard Spending Assessments

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people are employed within his Department investigating possible improvements to the standard spending assessment system.

Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. member to the reply my right hon Friend gave to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) on 28 January, Official Report , columns 433-34 .

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the representations made by Westminster city council to his Department prior to the current year's standard spending assessment allocation.

Mr. Baldry : Since March 1993 we have received a number of letters from Westminster dealing with a number of issues concerning the review of standard spending assessments and the proposals for 1994-95.

In addition, my right hon. Friend met the leader of Westminster city council on 13 October 1993 to discuss the review of standard spending assessments for 1994-95.

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the representations made by Wandsworth borough council to his Department prior to the current year's standard spending assessment allocation.

Mr. Baldry : Since March 1993 we have received two written representations from the London borough of Wandsworth on the calculation of standard spending assessments for 1994-95.

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the authorities that have made representations to his Department, supporting the use of day visitors as a method of measuring grant need.

Mr. Baldry : The following local authorities made representations in support of the use of data on day visitors in the calculation of standard spending assessments, during the review of standard spending assessments or during consultation on the provisional revenue support grant settlement for 1994-95 :


Column 802

Bath City Council

Birmingham City Council

London Borough of Brent

Brighton Borough Council

Chester City Council

Chester-le-Street District Council

Cleethorpes Borough Council

East Lindsey District Council

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Harrogate District Council

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

London Borough of Greenwich

High Peak Borough Council

North Norfolk District Council

Norwich City Council

Nottingham City Council

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Sheffield City Council

Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council

South Lakeland District Council

Southend-on-Sea District Council

Stoke on Trent City Council

Suffolk Coastal District Council

Tendring District Council

Thanet District Council

Thurrock Borough Council

Torbay Borough Council

Uttlesford District Council

London Borough of Westminster

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council

Woodspring District Council

We also received a joint representation from the seven west midlands metropolitan districts in support of the inclusion of day visitors in the calculation of standard spending assessments.

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretry of State for the Environment if he will list the authorities that have made representations to his Department supporting the use of homelessness figures as a method of measuring grant need.

Mr. Baldry : The following local authorities made representations in support of the use of data on homelessness in the calculation of SSAs, during the review of SSAs or during consultations on the provisional revenue support grant settlement for 1994-95 : London Borough of Barnet

London Borough of Brent

Brighton Borough Council

Broxtowe Borough Council

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council

London Borough of Ealing

East Hertfordshire District Council

Elmbridge Borough Council

London Borough of Enfield

Gloucester City Council

London Borough of Greenwich

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough of Haringey

London Borough of Harrow

Hartlepool Borough Council

London Borough of Hillingdon

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Lewisham

London Borough of Newham

Reading Borough Council

Thurrock Borough Council

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Westminster City Council


Column 803

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on how many occasions since 1982 in England a potentially damaging operation to a site of special scientific interest has been carried out following the failure to reach a management agreement as set out in section 29 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : I assume the hon. Member requests details of damage occurring to sites of special scientific interest--including those sites subject to a nature conservation order--after notice of a potentially damaging operation has been given by owners and occupiers. I regret that such information is not available in this form, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on damage to SSSIs and proposed SSSIs generally is contained in the annual reports of English Nature and of the former Nature Conservancy Council, copies of which are in the Library.

Local Government Finance

Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 21 January, Official Report, column 871-72, if he will publish a breakdown of the totals spent from usable capital receipts into areas of local authority spending

Mr. Curry : This information is not available. Local authorities' capital financing decisions are, in general, taken on a corporate basis covering the whole of their


Column 804

capital programme. Information on the financing of capital expenditure for individual services is not therefore collected by the Department.

Energy Efficiency Targets

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has had to his call in November for organisations to publish energy efficiency targets.

Mr. Gummer : I have called for a partnership between Government, business and the voluntary sector to help the United Kingdom meet its CO emission reduction targets. As part of that, I have urged all organisations to set up proper environmental and energy management systems, including the setting of clear targets and systems to monitor performance and report against those targets.

Much remains to be done both by business and the public sector in this area, but I welcome the lead given by the organisations listed which, as signatories of the marking a corporate commitment campaign, have published energy efficiency targets and are working to secure the commercial and environmental benefits that result from good energy management. I hope others will follow this lead.

The public sector is also playing its part. Central Government and health authorities and trusts are working to meet a 15 per cent. cut in energy consumption in the five years 1991-96 ; while the local authority associations are promoting similar aspirational targets for individual local authorities.


Published Targets                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Making a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

corporate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

commitment campaign                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

signatory targets                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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

3M:                                                                             |A global target of a 20 per cent. reduction in energy use to produce a                                                                                         

                                                                                |kilogram of good product from 1990 to 1995; and a 20 per cent. reduction                                                                                       

                                                                                |in the amount of energy required to support a square meter of non-                                                                                             

                                                                                |manufacturing space from 1990 to 1995;                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Allied Lyons plc:                                                               |Following significant earlier savings, the company has set energy, effluent                                                                                    

                                                                                |and water savings targets of around 2 per cent. per annum, over a three                                                                                        

                                                                                |to five-year time scale;                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

BAA plc:                                                                        |A 10 per cent. reduction in consumption in all airport operations by                                                                                           

                                                                                |December 1994, with the expectation of a further 5 per cent. saving in the                                                                                     

                                                                                |following four years; and an initial 10 per cent. improvement in non-                                                                                          

                                                                                |airport operations by January 1995;                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

BT plc:                                                                         |A 15 per cent. reduction in energy consumption over five years to 1997;                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Babcock Energy Ltd.:                                                            |A 10 per cent. reduction in energy costs in 1993-94;                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bank of England:                                                                |A 15 per cent. reduction in energy consumption over five years to 1998;                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Birmingham International Airport plc:                                           |As one of its energy targets, a further 5 per cent. reduction in kilowatt hours                                                                                

                                                                                |per passenger, based on the moving annual total;                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bowring Services Ltd.:                                                          |A minimum 5 per cent. annual reduction in energy costs;                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

British Gas plc:                                                                |A 15 per cent. saving over five years;                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society:                                     |Twin goals to reduce energy costs by 10 per cent. within two years and                                                                                         

                                                                                |energy consumption by 10 per cent. by the end of 1996;                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

DHL International:                                                              |An improvement in fuel efficiency of 15 per cent. over three years                                                                                             

                                                                                |commencing with a target of 8 per cent. in the year October 1993-94, and                                                                                       

                                                                                |a 15 per cent. iprovement in energy use at operational sites by the end of                                                                                     

                                                                                |1994, rising to 20 per cent. in 1995 and 25 per cent. in 1996;                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Eley Ltd.:                                                                      |A 5 per cent. reduction in energy consumption in 1993, taking production                                                                                       

                                                                                |volume changes into account;                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

English Nature:                                                                 |A 15 per cent. reduction in energy consumption over five years;                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Fina plc:                                                                       |A performance improvement target for energy costs of 10 per cent. and a                                                                                        

                                                                                |5 per cent. reduction in energy consumption for individual areas of the                                                                                        

                                                                                |company over a two-year period ending December 1994;                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Forte:                                                                          |An initial target to reduce energy and water consumption by 10 per cent.                                                                                       

                                                                                |without reducing the level of service, quality or customer comfort;                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

IBM:                                                                            |A worldwide corporate goal of implementing energy efficient improvement                                                                                        

                                                                                |projects to achieve 4 per cent. savings year on year;                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

J. Sainsbury plc:                                                               |A target of a 5 per cent. annual saving on the difference between actual                                                                                       

                                                                                |energy used and the predicted energy which should have been if utilised                                                                                        

                                                                                |in the most efficient manner;                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Nationwide Building Society:                                                    |A 15 per cent. target over five years with the expectation that this could be                                                                                  

                                                                                |increased to 20 to 25 per cent. in the longer term;                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

National Westminster Bank plc:                                                  |A 15 per cent. reduction in energy consumption by the end of 1995;                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Rockware Glass Ltd.:                                                            |CO2 emissions in 2000 will not exceed 1992 values;                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Rover Group:                                                                    |A 5 per cent. per annum reduction in 1991 energy and CO2 levels adjusted                                                                                       

                                                                                |for the number of standard production hours worked and degree days                                                                                             

                                                                                |during the year;                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Safeway Stores plc:                                                             |A real saving of at least 10 per cent. over five years;                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Sterling Organics:                                                              |A programme of improvement projects which will reduce energy                                                                                                   

                                                                                |consumption by 6 per cent. in the two years ending 1994, against a                                                                                             

                                                                                |baseline of 1992;                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Tesco plc:                                                                      |A further 5 per cent. reduction in energy use in each of the next two years;                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Texaco Ltd.:                                                                    |Improve the energy index at its Pembroke refinery by 1 per cent. each year                                                                                     

                                                                                |over the next five years; and save 15 per cent. of its energy consumption                                                                                      

                                                                                |in its headquarters building in 1994;                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Toshiba                                                                         |A 16 per cent. improvement in energy use by 1995;                                                                                                              

(Manufacturing Operations)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Warwick International Ltd.:                                                     |A 20 per cent. improvement in energy use per unit of product produced in                                                                                       

                                                                                |1993 and 1994;                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

University College London:                                                      |A 15 per cent. reduction in effective energy use over five years to 1998.                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Electricity Companies                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Manweb plc:                                                                     |A 10 per cent. reduction in own electricity use in the three years to 1994 95;                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Norweb plc:                                                                     |A 15 per cent. reduction in own electricity consumption over five years to                                                                                     

1996;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Northern Electric plc:                                                          |To reduce own energy usage by one third over the next five years;                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Nuclear Electric plc:                                                           |A 5 per cent. reduction in overall energy bill in 1993;                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Southern Electric plc:                                                          |A 20 per cent. reduction in energy consumption in office buildings over the                                                                                    

                                                                                |next five years.                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Local Authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Basingstoke and Dean Borough:                                                   |15 per cent. reduction in effective energy use in five years to 1998;                                                                                          

Council                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bedfordshire County Council:                                                    |15 per cent. reduction in energy costs over five years to 1991 and then 10                                                                                     

                                                                                |per cent. by 2000;                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Cleveland County Council:                                                       |7.5 per cent. for educational establishments while Cleveland police authority                                                                                  

                                                                                |has set a target of 10 per cent. over one year for its buildings;                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Cotswold District Council:                                                      |15 per cent. over five years to 1997;                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Ipswich Borough Council:                                                        |15 per cent. over five years to 1998;                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Leicester City Council:                                                         |To complement a 14 per cent. reduction in CO2 emissions over the past five                                                                                     

                                                                                |years, the council intend to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent. of the                                                                                       

                                                                                |1990 level by the year 2025;                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

London Borough of Hounslow:                                                     |To reduce 1992 energy consumption by 20 per cent. by the end of 1997,                                                                                          

                                                                                |with consequent CO2 emission reductions in excess of 20 per cent., by                                                                                          

                                                                                |investing 10 per cent. of the annual energy budget in a programme of                                                                                           

                                                                                |building and plant improvements, and by encouraging and implementing                                                                                           

                                                                                |responsible energy management measures;                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

London Fire and Civil Defence:                                                  |A 10 per cent. reduction in energy consumption over five years to 1994-95.                                                                                     

Authority                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

London Borough of Sutton:                                                       |4 per cent. energy savings in this financial year and a 15 per cent. saving                                                                                    

                                                                                |over 10 years.                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Northamptonshire County:                                                        |To reduce energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions by a further                                                                                          

Council                                                                         |15 per cent. over five years commencing April 1994;                                                                                                            

Nottingham City Council:                                                        |A 10 per cent. reduction in energy consumption by 1994-95; a further 5 per                                                                                     

                                                                                |cent. by 1996-97 with up to a 50 per cent. reduction by the year 2027;                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Oxfordshire County Council:                                                     |On course to reduce their energy use in council buildings by 15 per cent.                                                                                      

                                                                                |over the five years to 1998;                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Redditch Borough Council:                                                       |A 15 per cent. reduction in energy costs over three years to 1995;                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Stratford on Avon District:                                                     |A 5 per cent. reduction in the 1992-93 level of normalised energy                                                                                              

Council                                                                         |consumption by March 1995;                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Suffolk Coastal District Council:                                               |Following cumulative reductions to date of some 5,000 tonnes of CO2                                                                                            

                                                                                |emissions, the council intends to reduce energy consumption by a further                                                                                       

                                                                                |10 per cent. in the five years to 1998;                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

West Sussex County Council:                                                     |A CO2 reduction target of 50,000 tonnes per year by 2000;                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Woking Borough Council:                                                         |A 20 per cent. reduction in energy consumption in five years to 1998.                                                                                          

Northumberland Special Protection Area

Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that English Nature extend the period of consultation of the proposed special protection area for the coast of Northumberland.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 1 February 1994] : The consultation period has already been extended to 10 weeks, two and a half times the period normally given for such consultations. I see no reason for a further extension.

EU Habitats Directive

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to make additional financial resources available to implement 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 [holding answer 1 February 1994] : The Secretary of State for the Environment has asked his advisers on nature conservation, English Nature, to give implementation of the habitats directive the highest


Column 808

priority for resources. Grants in aid to English nature for the financial year 1994-95 will be £40.405 million, an increase of 6.56 per cent. over the current year.

Fraud

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is his Department's policy for dealing with employees found guilty of fraud ;

(2) how many employees were judged to be guilty of fraud in his Department in each year since 1989; and how many were dismissed.

Mr. Gummer [holding answer 1 February 1994] : Disciplinary action is always taken, with dismissal as the ultimate sanction when the evidence justifies it.

The table sets out the number of employees disciplined for fraud and the number ultimately dismissed in the years from April 1989--Property Services Agency in brackets.


      EmployeeEmployees  

      disciplidismissed  

      fraud              

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

1989 |1      |-          

1990 |1  |(2)|-  |(2)    

1991 |3  |(1)|3  |(1)    

1992 |5  |(2)|1  |(1)    

1993 |2      |-          


 

  Home Page