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Mr. Atkins : The Department's Waste Management Paper No. 26 gives guidance on the suitability of different types of waste for landfilling. A copy is available in the Library. The Department is currently reviewing policy in this area, taking account of the best practicable environmental option for the disposal of particular waste types, and will be issuing revised guidance in due course.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what differences there are between the regulations governing the transport of dangerous and hazardous materials and dangerous and hazardous wastes.
Mr. Atkins : The various modal--road, rail, air and sea--regulations referring to the transport of dangerous goods are intended to ensure that dangerous goods are classified, packaged, labelled and transported safely during national and international journeys. Waste products are classified under their appropriate class of dangerous goods as set out in the UN classification system.
The 1980 special waste regulations provide a national tracking procedure, based on consignment notes, for the movement of the most harmful wastes and are intended to ensure proper disposal. In addition all who handle waste are subject to a statutory duty of care.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of appeals against council tax (a) received, (b) conceded, (c) rejected and (d) outstanding by valuation district since the introduction of the tax.
Mr. Baldry : I am placing in the Library a table which sets out, by valuation office region, and by billing authority, the number of proposals to alter the valuation list which were received by the end of the initial appeal period on 30 November 1993, the number settled by 31 January 1994, and the number outstanding. Details of the number of settlements in each area which were reached by agreement and the number of proposals which were withdrawn are not collected centrally.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is (a) the number of appeals received month by month since April 1993, (b) the total number of appeals allowed, (c) the total number of appeals rejected, (d) the total number of appeals outstanding and (e) the estimated time needed to clear the outstanding appeals in respect of council tax valuations in Doncaster.
|Number -------------------------- April |1,025 May |230 June |93 July |73 August |55 September |77 October |88 November |320 December |10 January |20 |------- |1,991
A total of 517 cases have been resolved by agreement and 87 have been withdrawn. The remaining 1,387 are unresolved. Those which are not settled by agreement or are not withdrawn will need to be decided by the local valuation tribunal.
As I announced on 11 January, nationally we expect four out of five appeals to be dealt with before the end of 1994 and the remainder to be settled as rapidly as possible thereafter.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance to local authorities concerning the housing provisions of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993, issued as a supplement to the current edition of the homelessness code of guidance for local authorities.
Sir George Young : I have placed in the Library of the House today a copy of the supplement to the homelessness code of guidance to local authorities which has been issued by my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales under section 71 of the Housing Act 1985. The supplement explains local authorities' responsibilities towards asylum seekers who apply to them for assistance under the homelessness legislation, in the light of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993. The supplement also clarifies the duties of local authorities which receive applications under the homelessness legislation from persons who have entered the United Kingdom illegally, following the Court of Appeal's judgment in the case of R v. Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Copies of the supplement are being sent to all local housing authorities in England and Wales and to the main organisations which responded to last year's consultation about a draft of this supplement.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many times, and at which sites, the World Health Organisation one-hour air quality guideline for sulphur dioxide was breached in the United Kingdom in (a) 1990, (b) 1991, (c) 1992 and (d) 1993 ; and what evaluation his Department has undertaken of the potential effect of regulations to ban the sale of high sulphur solid fuel and to control the sale of unauthorised fuels in smoke control areas, to reduce levels of sulphur dioxide to meet World Health Organisation one-hour guidelines.
Mr. Atkins : The potential effect of regulations to ban the sale of high sulphur solid fuels and to control the sale of unauthorised fuels in smoke control areas has been considered against the statutory air quality standards for smoke and sulphur dioxide under the EC directive 80/779/EEC, and provisions of the Clean Air Act 1993. Since 1990, only one site in the United Kingdom has breached the directive's limit value for sulphur dioxide. Over the same period, exceedances of the lower World
Column 969Health Organisation one-hour guideline, which is a management indicator, not a statutory limit, were as follows :
Number of hours > 122 parts per billion Site |1990 |1991 |1992 |<1>1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Stevenage |1 |1 Central London |1 Cromwell Road, London |26 |15 |16 |8 Bridge Place, London |2 |6 |15 |7 Ladybower, Derbyshire |7 |12 |12 Belfast, East |173 |271 |213 |146 Bircotes, Nottinghamshire |27 |15 Featherstone, W. Yorkshire |8 |18 Rugeley, Staffordshire |28 |34 Barnsley |75 |166 |213 Sunderland |5 |1 Bloomsbury, London |9 |11 Edinburgh |4 Cardiff |2 |1 Belfast, Centre |53 |73 Birmingham |5 |6 Newcastle |6 |1 Leeds |8 Bristol |1 Liverpool |19 <1>Provisional data.
Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) basic credit approvals, (b) supplementary credit approvals and (c) capital grants for housing, transport, education, personal social services, other services, protective services and urban programmes for each authority and for England for each year from 1990-91 to 1994-95.
Mr. Baldry : Basic credit approvals, supplementary credit approvals and capital grants are issued by a number of Government Departments. The total amounts of credit approvals and capital grants for the various services for local authorities in England are published annually by HM Treasury at the conclusion of each public expenditure survey. Outturn information for the years 1990-91 to 1993-94 and the latest plans for 1994- 95 will be published at the end of this month in the public expenditure statistical supplement to the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1994- 95".
My Department issues basic credit approvals to most local authorities in England and those for 1990-91 to 1994-95 are set out in documents which are available in the Library of the House of Commons. In addition, the Department of Transport issues basic credit approvals to passenger transport authorities and the Home Office to joint fire and civil defence authorities.
Information about the supplementary credit approvals issued by my Department to individual authorities for the years 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 is also available in the Library.
Information for individual authorities about supplementary credit approvals issued by other Departments and about capital grants is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
Column 970children at risk, during the next financial year ; what is the allocation for the City of Birmingham ; on what basis this formula operates ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 16 February 1994] : The children's personal social service element for 1994-95 for Liverpool is £55 per head of resident population, that for Birmingham is £62. The formula uses a "client-group" approach where the client group is the estimated number of children at risk. Cost adjustments are made to reflect the increased costs associated with social conditions and differences in the costs of provision between areas. The formula for the children's PSS element, along with the formulae for other SSA elements, has been revised in the light of the SSA review. It is set out fully in the local government finance report, approved by the House on 3 February.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Director General of Gas Supply on his views on funding for energy saving grants ; and what assessment he has made of whether the reduction or abolition of these grant schemes would affect the Government's environmental target following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
Mr. Atkins : I have not met the Director-General of Gas Supply, as the funding of energy-saving expenditure through the E factor is a matter for her and British Gas plc. The Government are fully committed to the Energy Saving Trust, and the target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2000.
Mr. Baldry : Information on total usable capital receipts held at 31 March 1993 is given in the tables. No comparable information is available for housing receipts alone, since local authorities are not required to account separately for such receipts.
|£'000 ---------------------------- Basildon |88 Braintree |889 Brentwood |582 Castle Point |12 Chelmsford |15 Colchester |2,118 Epping Forest |5,749 Harlow |1,730 Maldon |425 Rochford |417 Southend-on-Sea |6,425 Tendring |2,066 Thurrock |nil Uttlesford |1,513 Source: Local authority returns.
Estimated reserves as at 31 March 1993 District Council |(£000s) --------------------------------------------------- Basildon |3,101 Braintree |3,591 Brentwood |6,349 Castle Point |-2,693 Chelmsford |4,227 Colchester |5,925 Epping Forest |5,500 Harlow |3,476 Maldon |1,145 Rochford |1,768 Southend-on-Sea |11,520 Tendring |2,843 Thurrock |10,654 Uttlesford |1,448
Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take concerning his powers to recover from local planning authorities the costs of inspectors he appoints to hold their development plan inquiries.
Mr. Curry : The statutory provisions for local plan inquiries were originally introduced by the Town and Country Planning Act 1968. It has always been our practice to charge local planning authorities for the provision of planning inspectors to hold development plan inquiries for them. Questions have recently arisen over the legal basis for this practice. We have considered this issue very carefully, and decided that we should put the matter beyond doubt, by introducing early legislation providing powers for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to recover from local planning authorities the cost of supplying planning inspectors to hold such inquiries. Such legislation would be retrospective in order to validate payments already made and to secure fair treatment of all
Column 972local planning authorities, irrespective of the timing of their local plan inquiries. The legislation would extend to Scotland. We share the concerns of local authorities about the high level of costs associated with local plan preparation, in which the local plan inquiry is just one stage. We therefore commissioned research to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of development plan inquiries, taking into account the costs involved. We published the executive summary of the research findings and recommendations in November 1993 and invited comments from those likely to have an interest. We will be publishing the final report shortly, together with our own reaction to the recommendations in the report. We are anxious to achieve full local plan coverage, as required by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as soon as possible. We therefore look forward to discussing proposals for improving the process with representatives of the local authorities and others, with a view to identifying the best way forward.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the value of consultancy contracts awarded by his Department each year since 1979, both in current prices and at constant 1994 prices.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list in rank order those local authorities that have budgeted to spend on social services less than the standard spending assessment for social services during 1993-94, showing their standard spending assessment for social services, their budget figure for spending on social services, the amount of the planned underspend and the percentage that the planned spending is below the standard spending assessment for social services ;
(2) if he will list in rank order those local authorities whose actual spending on social services was less than their standard spending assessment for social services during 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 showing their standard spending assessment for social services, their actual spending on social services, the sum underspent and the percentage that actual spending is below the standard spending assessment.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 15 February 1994] : I have placed in the Library tables showing the requested information. It is for each local authority to determine its spending priorities between services in the light of local circumstances.
Column 973prey are protected against taking, killing, injuring or removal from the wild in any other way, except under licence. I am satisfied that this legislation is required and appropriate. Many birds of prey, both native and non-native, are also subject to the registration and ringing requirements of section 7 and schedule 4 to the Act if held in captivity. A consultation paper was issued by the Department last April inviting comments on possible changes to these requirements. Consultation on detailed proposals affecting registration and ringing of certain hawks and other species should begin very shortly.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of the equipment stolen from his Department in the last three years for which information is available ; and what was the approximate value of each item.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 16February 1994] : During the period 1 April 1991 to the 31 January 1994 there were 85 reported thefts of equipment. The total estimated value of these stolen items was £117, 256.24.
The Prime Minister : Except for matters which are confidential or on which successive Governments have refused to answer questions upon grounds of public policy, or when a reply is not given on grounds of disproportionate cost, answers should give the information sought and should be accurate and truthful and not misleading.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish a list of all functions of Government whose administration in respect of Wales is vested in Ministers other than the Secretary of State for Wales ; which Minister is responsible in each case ; and what total amount of public spending is attributable to each of those functions in Wales.
The Prime Minister : The responsibilities of each Minister of the Government are set out in the list of "Ministerial Responsibilities", of which all Members have a copy. Where responsibility for matters in Wales does not lie with the Secretary of State for Wales, Ministers in charge of other Departments exercise their responsibilities in respect of England and Wales, or the United Kingdom, as appropriate.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
The Prime Minister : I visited Russia from 14 to 16 February as part of the regular practice of bilateral summits established by the partnership treaty which President Yeltsin and I signed in 1992. The Foreign Secretary accompanied me.
In Moscow I had talks with President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, and met a number of other Ministers, including Foreign Minister Kozyrev and Defence Minister Grachev. I talked to a cross-section of the newly elected parliamentarians. I also met British and Russian business men. I visited the city of Nizhny Novgorod, and announced new know -how fund projects.
President Yeltsin and I signed an agreement on the detargeting of nuclear missiles. We also agreed to hold military exercises, focused on peace- keeping, in the United Kingdom and Russia. My right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and the Russian Foreign Minister signed agreements on double taxation and on cultural exchanges.
President Yeltsin and I agreed that we should build on the partnership between our two countries which is now based on shared democratic values. President Yeltsin has accepted my invitation to visit the United Kingdom this year. I have separately invited Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. I shall be recommending to Her Majesty the Queen that she should take up President Yeltsin's invitation to visit Russia.
An important purpose of my visit was to give practical and polital support to reform. President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin assured me that economic reform would continue. But they did not underestimate the scale of the task which they face. It was clear that difficult decisions lie ahead.
I discussed a range of international issues with President Yeltsin, including Bosnia. These discussions underlined how important it is to maintain a close political dialogue with Russia. I told President Yeltsin that I would support closer political consultation between the Group of Seven and Russia.
Mr. Waldegrave : The members currently appointed to the citizens charter panel of advisers are Sir James Blyth, chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, Angela Heylin, the Right Hon. the Baroness Perry of Southwark, Dr. Madsen Pirie, Nick Rawlings, Christopher Swan and Lady Wilcox.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has had with the Treasury on the implications of the recent report of the Committee on Public Accounts for open government ; and if he will make a statement.
|Date ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) |1988 |2 meetings (January and May) |1989 |3 meetings (January, May and October) |1990 |3 meetings (January, May and October) |1991 |3 meetings (January, May and October) |1992 |2 meetings (January and May) |1993 |3 meetings (February, May and November) In addition to formal meetings of the full Council there were additional meetings with individual members of the council (b) The benevolent fund was constitued as a charity in September 1993 and the trustees have met once since then. Prior to that date, advice on donations has been given at council meetings as above.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much members of the Duchy Council are paid ; and how much each has received for travel and expenses for each year since 1987 or from the date of their appointment, if later.
The total paid to council members for expenses incurred in visiting estates or attending meetings since 1987 has been :
Year |£ ------------------ 1988 |1,174 1989 |573 1990 |337 1991 |699 1992 |1,228 1993 |649
Records of individual payments have not been maintained and it would entail disproportionate cost to research these items.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many appeals against decisions of child support officers have been registered by the Independent Tribunal Service ; and how many have been heard, broken down by area.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 17 February 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Paliamentary Questions asking about the number of appeals against Child Support assessments.
I understand from the Independent Tribunal Service that, to the end of January 1994, a total of 611 appeals had been lodged. Of these, 82 cases had been heard by the Child Support Appeal Tribunal. I attach a breakdown of these figures below :
|Number ----------------------------------- Midlands |11 North East |17 North West |8 Scotland |14 South East |26 Wales and South West |6
I hope you find this reply useful.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what is the average time taken by the Child Support Agency to perform reviews when the client disagrees with the original child support officer's decision, broken down by area CSAC ;
(2) how many parents with care have applied to the Child Support Agency pursuant to (a) section 4 and (b) section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991 ;
(3) of the child maintenance assessments completed to date by the Child Support Agency what proportion are (a) nil or (b) minimum assessments, and what proportion are interim assessments ; (4) what is the average time being taken by the Child Support Agency to perform reviews of assessments following a change of circumstances broken down by area CSAC.
Column 977Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 17 February 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Child Support Agency's operations.
In the period 5 April 1993 to 31 December 1993, the Agency issued 711,000 maintenance application forms. Of these, 686,000 were issued in cases where the parent with care was in receipt of income support, family credit, or disability working allowance, and 25,000 were issued in cases where the parent with care was not receiving benefit.
In the period from 5 April 1993 to 31 December 1993, the Agency completed 121,600 maintenance assessments, of which 41,000 were interim assessments, and 28,800 were nil assessments, or assessments where the absent parent is liable to pay the minimum amount of £2.20.
You have also asked for a breakdown of the time taken to perform a review where there has been a change of circumstances, and where a client disagrees with the original child support officer's decision. During the first months of the Agency's operations, the volume of work in these areas was relatively low. Although volumes have risen in recent months, it is too early for reliable information to be available.
I hope you find this reply useful.