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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 18 March 1994



Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to limit unnecessary multiple representation by barristers of participants in court cases ; and what response he has made to the comments made by Mr. Justice Ward on this matter following a High Court case in Nottingham in 1992.

Mr. John M. Taylor : In the light of remarks made about recent cases, the Legal Aid Board has been asked to consider what action might be taken to ensure that applications for separate representation for parties with the same interest can be identified at an early stage in the proceedings with a view to avoiding duplicating costs.

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Allen : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) what plans he has to bring forward legislation to end the use of public interest immunity certificates.

(2) what plans he has to introduce legislation governing the issue of public interest immunity certificates.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Public interest immunity certificates are one of the subjects under investigation by Lord Justice Scott. The Government will take careful note of any conclusions and recommendations in his report.


Pathfinder Initiatives

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how the activities and performance of the careers service pathfinder areas will be assessed ; what are the terms of reference of the pathfinders evaluation exercise commissioned by his Department ; who is conducting the evaluation of the pathfinder process ; what information will be made available about the activities and performance in each of the pathfinder areas ; what restrictions the new pathfinder contract places on the ability of those organisations running the Careers Service to make public comments on the performance of the Careers Service ; if a copy of the contract will be placed in the Library ; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe : Performance will be assessed against the standards specified in the requirements and guidance for providers, which is a public document. I am placing a copy in the Library. The Department is commissioning an independent evaluation of the pathfinder arrangements. This will be carried out in two phases. The terms of reference for the first phase, which is largely complete, are to provide a

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comprehensive picture of the performance of a sample of careers services prior to the start of the new arrangements. This will provide a baseline against which the subsequent performance of pathfinder careers services can be compared. This initial study has been carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research, which won the research contract through competitive tender. The second phase of the study will be commissioned during 1995-96 to allow the pathfinders to make progress. This phase of the evaluation will also be competitively tendered.

Much of the information collected by the Department during normal contract management and by researchers in the evaluation will be commercially sensitive. The Department will not publish such information in a way which allows an individual contractor to be identified or which hampers subsequent contract negotiations. Careers Service providers will produce client entitlement statements setting out the careers guidance and other key services to be provided. The main conclusions about the delivery of the Careers Service under contract will be presented in the Careers Service annual report.

Under the Careers Service contract, providers are free to make factual statements about the performance of the service, but will require agreement from the Department to any proposed public statement about Government policy which is intended to be made by or on behalf of the provider.

I shall place a copy of the standard contract in the Library.

Civil Servants

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many civil servants are currently employed at his Department's offices at Caxton house ; and how many were women (a) in 1990 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available.

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The figures are not available for Caxton house. The following figures are for staff in all the Department's London headquarters buildings : 1,313 at 1 January 1994, of whom 662 were women. The comparable figures for1 January 1990 were 1,337 and 667 respectively.


Courts (Closed Session)

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Attorney-General what are the precedents for courts going into closed session where disclosure of evidence would be detrimental to the public interest ; and what sanctions are available to the courts to ensure that no disclosure is then made of matters which the court finds should not be disclosed.

Mr. John M. Taylor : I have been asked to reply.

As a matter of general principle in civil and criminal proceedings, the public interest lies in open justice. Section 8(4) of the Official Secrets Act 1920 and section 11(4) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 give courts the power to allow evidence to be heard in camera if disclosure to the public would be prejudicial to national security. In addition, the courts have a discretion at common law to rule that evidence may be heard in camera where a public hearing would defeat the interests of justice. Such a discretion is only exercised exceptionally and the courts

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will consider first whether any action short of excluding the public, such as communicating certain information confidentially to the court, would be appropriate. Unauthorised disclosure of evidence given in camera may be punished as a contempt of court which carries a maximum of two years imprisonment.


Single Regeneration Budgets

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contribution his Department makes to single regeneration budgets ; and what percentage of his Department's previous budgets will pass the single regeneration budgets.

Mr. MacGregor : I am not contributing specific transport resources to the single regeneration budgets, but I shall be taking into account the views of senior regional directors in allocating resources within national transport programmes to the areas concerned.

Major Road Starts

Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the environmental assessment carried out in respect of each of the major national road starts in 1994-95 announced on 28 February.

Mr. Key : No. Details of the environmental assessment for each of these schemes was made available to the public before a decision was taken to proceed. Copies of all the documents relevant to these assessments are not readily available and could not be obtained at reasonable cost.

Highways Agency

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff will transfer to the Highways Agency ; and to what locations.

Mr. Key : Some 2,416 ; initially the Highways Agency will have its headquarters in London and regional offices in Bedford, Birmingham, Bristol, Dorking, Exeter, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.

Railway Station Closures

Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement in respect of the railway stations to be withdrawn from service during 1994.

Mr. Freeman : Currently, British Rail has proposed the closure of 14 stations under the Transport Act 1962. The proposals are at various stages in the statutory procedure. British Rail is considering proposing a further two stations for closure under the 1962 Act.

From 1 April, responsibility for bringing forward closure proposals will rest with the operator or the Franchising Director. The rail regulator will be responsible for deciding whether or not the closure should be permitted. Appeals against the regulator's decision can be made to the Secretary of State. I am not aware of any plans at present to propose the closure, under the Railways Act 1993, of any station used for passenger services.

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Greater Manchester Buses North Ltd.

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy regarding intervention in the bidding process for Greater Manchester Buses North Ltd. ; what action his Department has taken since preferred bidder status was won by the bid from Greater Manchester North's employees ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : The responsibility for the actual sale process lies with the Greater Manchester passenger transport authority, the owner of Greater Manchester Buses North Ltd.

The Department is keeping closely in touch with what is happening with regard to the sale of both the GMB North and GMB South bus companies. The Secretary of State's consent to both the sales will eventually be required. As in the sales of all the public transport companies, his role is to give or to withhold consent.

In view of the Secretary of State's quasi-judicial function in these sales it would not be appropriate for me to comment further or make a statement.

Rail Fares (London-Doncaster)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what was the cost of a return journey by rail from Doncaster to London King's Cross at the (a) first-class and (b) standard class rate for each year since 1975 ;

(2) what was the cost of a return journey by rail from Doncaster to London King's Cross at (a) the off-peak rates and (b) the standard rate for each year since 1975.

Mr. Freeman : The costs of first-class ordinary and standard-class ordinary return journeys in January of each year since 1975 are set out in the table. The fare structure for off-peak rates has changed significantly over the same period and makes comparison less straightforward.

             1st                     Standard                           

Year        |Cash       |1994 prices|Cash       |1994 prices            

            |£          |£          |£          |£                      


1975        |13.82      |64.68      |8.65       |40.48                  

1976        |18.40      |69.81      |11.50      |43.63                  

1977        |21.80      |70.96      |14.20      |46.22                  

1978        |25.45      |75.36      |16.60      |49.16                  

1979        |28.30      |76.64      |18.50      |50.10                  

1980        |34.40      |78.63      |22.30      |50.97                  

1981        |41.70      |84.39      |27.00      |54.64                  

1982        |45.50      |82.20      |29.50      |53.30                  

1983        |51.00      |87.81      |33.00      |56.82                  

1984        |54.00      |88.45      |35.50      |58.15                  

1985        |59.00      |92.02      |38.40      |59.89                  

1986        |66.00      |97.54      |43.00      |63.55                  

1987        |69.00      |98.15      |45.00      |64.01                  

1988        |75.00      |103.28     |49.00      |67.48                  

1989        |84.00      |107.64     |54.00      |69.20                  

1990        |84.00      |99.99      |54.00      |64.28                  

1991        |104.00     |113.69     |68.00      |74.33                  

1992        |111.00     |116.51     |72.00      |75.57                  

1993        |118.00     |121.79     |78.00      |80.50                  

1994        |118.00     |118.00     |80.00      |80.00                  

Year       |2nd       |1st       |2nd       |2nd       |1st                  

           |17 day    |weekend   |weekend   |day       |17 day               

           |return (a)|return    |return    |return    |return               

           |£         |£         |£         |£         |£                    


1975       |6.50      |9.21      |5.63      |4.61      |-                    

1976       |9.91      |12.63     |8.36      |6.92      |-                    

1977       |11.90     |12.40     |9.20      |8.40      |16.70                

1978       |13.85     |14.60     |10.80     |9.90      |19.40                

1979       |15.40     |16.20     |12.00     |11.00     |21.60                

1980       |19.60     |20.10     |15.50     |13.70     |30.10                

1981       |23.60     |25.00     |19.30     |16.60     |36.50                

1982       |26.00     |27.50     |21.00     |18.10     |39.50                

1983       |28.00     |29.00     |22.00     |19.50     |43.00                


May 1983    Monthly return fares withdrawn                                   

1984       |31.00     |23.50     |20.50     |-         |-                    

1985       |-         |33.00     |25.00     |21.50     |-                    

Year      |2nd      |2nd low  |2nd apex |Super    |Leisure            

          |saver (b)|saver (b)          |advance  |first              

          |£        |£        |£        |£        |£                  


May 1985   New fares structure                                        

1986      |29.00    |26.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1987      |31.00    |27.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1988      |31.00    |27.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1989      |33.00    |29.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1990      |36.00    |31.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1991      |41.00    |35.00    |-        |-        |-                  

1992      |43.00    |37.00    |27.00    |-        |-                  

1993      |45.00    |40.00    |27.00    |-        |-                  

1994      |45.00    |40.00    |25.00    |40.00    |59.00              

(a)  Became monthly return on 2 January 1977.                         

(b)  Saver and low saver tickets became white saver and blue saver    

tickets from 21 June 1987 and subsequently became saver and           

supersaver tickets from 13 May 1990.                                  

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide details of the statements made by each Minister in his Department during November 1989 which referred to a completion date for the channel tunnel rail link ; and what completion date was announced in each case.

Mr. Freeman [holding answer 15 February 1994] : Following a further search, I can provide the following additional information : Question by Kenneth Warren MP, 6 November 1989 :

"To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assurance has been received from British Rail regarding availability for use when the tunnel opens of a high-speed rail link to London from the Channel Tunnel for passengers and freight."

Michael Portillo : "In the early years of the tunnel's operation, BR plan to use existing lines, upgraded as necessary, for international passenger and freight services. British Rail and their joint venture partners, Eurorail, are planning to build a new passenger rail link between the Channel Tunnel and London to overcome capacity constraints on the existing network. This new line, which is expected to be operational in 1998, will release additional capacity on existing lines for the growth of international freight traffic."--[ Official Report, 6 November 1989 ; Vol. 159, c. 417. ]



Mr. Trimble : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many claims against the Northern Ireland Office in respect of criminal injury or criminal damage were disposed of by way of settlement or adjudication in the period (i) 1 July 1991 to 30 June 1992

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and (ii) 1 July 1992 to 30 June 1993 ; in how many of such cases within each period junior counsel was instructed giving (a) the number of junior counsel with the number of cases in which each was briefed and (b) the perceived religious affiliation of the number of counsel instructed and the number of cases in which each was briefed.

Sir John Wheeler : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Compensation Agency under its chief executive Mr. John Robinson. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from John Robinson to Mr. David Trimble, dated 16 March 1994 :

Your parliamentary Question to Sir John Wheeler MP concerning the number of settled claims for compensation in respect of criminal injuries and criminal damage in 1991-92 and 1992-93 in which junior counsel were instructed has been passed to me as Chief Executive of the Compensation Agency.

The figures are as follows :

                            |1 July 1991 to|1 July 1992 to               

                            |30 June 1992  |30 June 1993                 


Total number of settlements                                              

  and court awards          |9,330         |10,174                       

Number involving junior                                                  

  counsel                   |2,582         |2,217                        

Number of junior counsel                                                 

  instructed                |16            |15                           

Number of cases in which individual counsel was instructed  

Counsel        |1 July 1991 to|1 July 1992 to               

               |30 June 1992  |30 June 1993                 


A              |569           |500                          

B              |531           |318                          

C              |525           |461                          

D              |437           |368                          

E              |129           |91                           

F              |107           |99                           

G              |71            |96                           

H              |67            |219                          

I              |38            |8                            

J              |34            |13                           

K              |32            |1                            

L              |31            |39                           

M              |7             |0                            

N              |2             |1                            

O              |1             |0                            

P              |1             |0                            

Q              |0             |2                            

R              |0             |1                            

               |---           |---                          

Total          |2,582         |2,217                        

The Agency has no information on the religious affiliation of counsel instructed.

I hope this is helpful.


Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many abortions were performed by each health and social services board in Northern Ireland for each year from 1990 to 1993 ; and what was the total number of women aged 15 to 44 years who were resident in each board area in 1991.

Mr. Ancram : While the Abortion Act 1967 does not extend to Northern Ireland, therapeutic terminations of pregnancy may be carried out in Northern Ireland hospitals on strictly medical grounds. The number of such

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terminations cannot be identified separately in the statistical information collected centrally on obstetric and gynaecological procedures.

The total number of females aged 15 to 44 resident in each board area on 30 June 1991 was as follows :



Eastern  |140,600        

Northern |86,700         

Southern |61,700         

Western  |56,700         

Figures are rounded to   

the nearest 100.         

Child Care

Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spends on child care provision for the under-fives and out-of-school provision for children aged over five either directly, excluding provision for departmental staff, or indirectly through resources made available to local authorities or other organisations ; what form of provision is thereby provided ; how many places are thereby provided ; and if he will make a statement on child care.

Mr. Ancram [holding answer 14 March 1994] : The Department of Health and Social Services directly assists the development of child care for pre-school and school age children by grant aiding regional voluntary child care organisations in Northern Ireland working in this field. In the current financial year over £235,000 has been provided in this way.

In 1991-92, the latest year for which the information is available, health and social services boards in Northern Ireland spent £1,598, 000 on support for local day care projects, either through direct provision or in support of voluntary and community facilities. In that year, boards also spent £148,000 on family day centres, but these do not cater exclusively for parents with young children. Details of the forms of provision and number of places available, as at 31 March 1993, are as follows :

Type                  |Places             



Pre-school playgroups |16,063             

Day nurseries         |2,036              

Childminders          |14,045             


Total                 |32,144             

Note: These figures are provisional.      

The provision of day care services forms an integral part of the Department of Health and Social Service's preventive strategy in child care. Their development is a key part of the health and social services boards responsibilities under the current regional strategy 1992-97, in particular the identification of areas and groups with particular health and social needs and targeting services accordingly.

Hospital Beds

Mr. A. Cecil Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many beds per 1,000 people are available in (a) Northern Ireland hospitals and (b) Belfast hospitals.

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Mr. Ancram : The available information is as follows :

                     |Available beds|Population    |Available beds               

                                                   |per 1,000                    



Northern Ireland     |11,712        |1,610,268     |7.3                          

Greater Belfast area |3,721         |<1>n/a        |<1>n/a                       


Hospitals in the Greater Belfast area have been taken as those in Greenpark      

Healthcare Trust (Musgrave Park, Belvoir and Forster Green), Royal Group of      

Hospitals Trust (Royal Victoria, Royal Maternity and Royal Belfast Hospital for  

Sick Children), Belfast City Hospital Trust, the Ulster North Down and Ards      

Trust (The Ulster) and the Mater Infirmorum Hospital and Purdysburn Hospital.    

<1>Hospitals in the Greater Belfast area cater for people from all over Northern 

Ireland. It is therefore not appropriate to directly calculate available beds    

per 1,000 population in relation to the Greater Belfast population.              

Dental Services

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what is the average cost per child under 18 of general dental services in Northern Ireland for (a) children registered with a general dental practitioner and (b) all other children.

Mr. Ancram : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) on 11 March 1994, Official Report, c. 436-37.


Customs and Excise

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received in support of postponing the closure of the Customs and Excise group's Blyth office, on 31 March, pending a further independent review ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what estimate he has made of the number of job losses which will occur as a result of the proposal to close the Customs and Excise group's Blyth office on 31 March.

Sir John Cope : I have received representations from the hon. Member for Blyth Valley (Mr. Campbell) against the closure of Customs' Blyth office on 31 March. The closure will result in the loss of one and a half jobs.


Departmental Property

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what property, leased or owned by his Department, is not in current use.

Mr. Baldry : Property Holdings is responsible for the Government's reusable office estate--the common user estate. There are currently over 3,200 properties on the common user estate. Of these, 165 or 5 per cent. are not in current use. Some 128 are surplus to operational requirements and are either being actively marketed by external consultants or being prepared for disposal action ; nine have been allocated for re-use ; and six are held for


Decisions on the future of the remaining properties, which are ever changing, are under constant review in the context of normal portfolio management activity.

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Taxation, Ealing

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the change in the average payment per head in cental and local taxation in the London borough of Ealing between (a) 1986 and 1990 and (b) 1990 and 1994 in real and percentage terms ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : Both the rating system which operated in 1986-87 and the council tax are property-based taxes. This, and the extensive changes which have occurred in the local government finance system since the 1980s, mean that it is extremely difficult to make the comparison suggested.

It is not our practice to produce estimates of central taxation at the sub- regional level as they are not, in general, reliable.

Landfill Sites

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the measures that he is taking to ensure that operators who use landfill are held to account for any subsequent pollution of domestic and other water.

Mr. Atkins : Since 1976 active landfill sites have required licences under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. The purpose of these licences includes ensuring that the activities to which the licence relates do not cause pollution of water. Licences are granted by the waste regulation authority for the area, which is required by statute to consult the National Rivers Authority or, in Scotland, the river purification authority. As the then Minister for the Environment and Countryside announced on 29 November, Official Report, column 384, we intend to bring new waste management licensing regulations into force in May 1994. These regulations will strengthen the powers of waste regulation authorities to protect the environment. The Government is currently reviewing the arrangements for dealing with contaminated land and the related liabilities. As I announced on 8 March, Official Report, column 110, we have published a consultation paper, "Paying for our Past", as part of that review.


Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the number of appointments he makes to, and the budgets of, the non-departmental agencies he has responsibility for.

Mr. Baldry : Information about the non-departmental public bodies for which the Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible is contained in "Public Bodies 1993". A copy is available in the House of Commons Library and shows the number of bodies, their gross expenditure and the number of appointments to each body.

"Public Bodies" includes the Commons Commissioners and valuation tribunals for which the Secretary of State is responsible but to which appointments are made by the Lord Chancellor and local authorities, respectively.

Taxation, Lewisham

Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the change in the average payment per head in central and local taxation in the

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London borough of Lewisham between (a) 1986 and 1990 and (b) 1990 and 1994, in real and percentage terms ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Lady to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) today.

Open Government

Ms Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the implications for the operation of his Department of the code of practice on open government.

Mr. Baldry : A code of practice will reinforce and build on my Department's existing arrangements for the provision of information, which are already particularly extensive in relation to the release of environmental information. Operational details will be announced at the time of the launch.

Black People (Training and Enterprise)

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his Department's response to the key recommendations of the Black Training and Enterprise Group on the draft bidding guidance for the single regeneration budget ; and what actions are planned by the Government to ensure that the integrated regional offices (a) establish clear requirements for race equality for TECs and local authorities, (b) employ staff at a senior level to formally liaise with the black voluntary sector to ensure they are given the necessary support to put funding bids together, (c) employ staff to assist black businesses and enterprise agencies in accessing contracts funded by the SRB and ensuring that TECs and local authorities have clear guidelines as to how they should assist black enterprise and (d) have a specific budget allocation targeted at the black voluntary sector.

Mr. Baldry : We have received a large number of responses following the extensive consultation on the proposed bidding guidance for the new single regeneration budget. We are now considering the comments that have been received, including the recommendations contained in the response from the Black Training and Enterprise Group, and this will inform the revision of the bidding guidance. The revised bidding guidance will be issued by the new regional offices in early April. The Home Office will be posting an officer to each of the new regional offices, who will monitor objectives for supporting the ethnic minorities, and will provide advice to the senior regional directors.

Waste Shipment

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he published his most recent departmental circular on the transfrontier shipment of waste regulations ; how many copies have been printed ; and to whom they have been circulated.

Instrument No. 1562. The printing and distribution of this circular are matters for

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HMSO. As part of the initial, official distribution, copies were sent to all local authorities and waste authorities in England and Wales.

Acid Rain

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures his Department will be taking to cut emissions of sulphur dioxide and to rectify damage already caused to buildings and wildlife from acid rain.

Mr. Atkins : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the then Minister of State for the Environment and Countryside to his question of 25 November 1993, Official Report, column 189, and to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's reply to the question from the hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) of 9 December 1993, Official Report, columns 366-67.

John Archer School Site

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions his Department is having on the proposed sale by Wandsworth council of land of the former John Archer school site.

Mr. Baldry : None.

Tiger Bone

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what products claimed to contain tiger bone have been imported into the United Kingdom during each of the last three years.

Mr. Atkins : No permits have been issued by my Department in the last three years to authorise the importation of products claimed to contain tiger bone.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had with the Environment Commissioner of the European Communities in relation to the impact of the 1979 wild birds directive and the habitats directive on the consents required for the construction of the Cardiff bay barrage.

Mr. Atkins : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 1 March, Official Report, column 643.

Domestic Fuel

Mr. Thomason : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what controls exist in England, Wales and Scotland over the sale of unauthorised fuels in smoke control areas and the sale of high sulphur solid fuels for domestic use ; and what proposals he has to introduce further regulations.

Mr. Atkins : The Clean Air Act 1993 contains provisions to control the sale and acquisition of unauthorised fuels in smoke control areas. Solid fuels with a sulphur content greater than 2 per cent. are not authorised for use in smoke control areas. In view of the decline in annual average concentrations and emissions of smoke and sulphur dioxide from domestic sources, we have re-examined our proposals for further regulations and do

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not propose any additional controls at present. The need for such controls will be reviewed if any significant risk emerges to the maintenance of air quality.


Dr. Twinn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to make the amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 announced on 16 December 1992 by the Minister for Local Government and Planning.

Mr. Curry : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have today laid amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988. These add privately financed toll roads to schedule 1 of the regulations, thus requiring environmental assessment in every case ; and wind generators, motorway service areas and coast protection works to schedule 2 of the regulations, the effect of which will be to allow local planning authorities to require EA where a particular development proposal would be likely to have significant effects on the environment. The amendments will come into effect on 8 April. The amendments will bring privately financed toll roads promoted by local authorities in line with similar toll roads promoted by the Department of Transport. The addition of motorway service areas reflects the fact that EA has been undertaken for motorway service areas proposed in the past by the Department of Transport. Future motorway service areas will be provided instead by private developers, but the measures announced today will ensure that they continue to be subject to EA. Coast protection works, which are carried out by maritime district councils, have been added to bring them in line with new flood relief works, including sea defence works, which are already included in schedule 2 of the regulations and subject to EA where appropriate. Wind generators have been added because they can often have a significant visual impact on the local environment, particularly in sensitive areas.

The amendments to the regulations also include the technical changes referred to in the reply which my right hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton (Sir G. Young) gave on 16 December 1992, Official Report, columns 320 -21.

Since my right hon. Friend's reply, the Government have reviewed earlier proposals for the addition of further categories of project to the regulations. We have concluded that any extension of the regulations beyond those set out above would be inconsistent with the aim of limiting unnecessary regulation. However, the environmental effects of any project will continue to be among the material considerations which a planning authority must take into account when deciding whether or not to grant planning permission.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be making similar amendments to the equivalent EA regulations for Scotland.

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