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Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the distance between each station on the proposed Lewisham extension of the docklands light railway assuming that (a) the planned stations at Island Gardens and Cutty Sark are constructed and (b) there is no intermediate station between Mudchute and Greenwich.
Sir George Young : The approximate distance in metres between stations on the proposed Lewisham extension is as follows :
|Metres ----------------------------------------------- Mudchute to Island Gardens |400 Island Gardens to Cutty Sark |700 Cutty Sark to Greenwich |700 Greenwich to Deptford Bridge |700 Deptford Bridge to Elverson Road |800 Elverson Road to Lewisham |550
Column 911If there were to be no intermediate station between Mudchute and Greenwich, the distance between those stations would be 1,800 m, of which 400 m would be under the River Thames.
Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average distance between stations on (a) the original docklands light railway, (b) the Beckton extension of the docklands light railway and (c) the proposed Lewisham extension of the docklands light railway including the planned stations at Island Gardens and Cutty Sark.
Sir George Young : The average distance in metres between stations on (a) the original docklands light railway, including the extension to Bank, is 880 ; on (b) the Beckton extension, including Canning Town, which is under construction, is 700 ; on (c) the proposed Lewisham extension including the planned stations at Island gardens and Cutty Sark, is 640.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the Acts of Parliament and Consolidation Acts that affect local government which have been introduced by his Department since 1990.
Mr. Baldry : The following Acts of Parliament which affect local government have been introduced by the Department of the Environment since 1990. The list also includes consolidation Acts in respect of which the Department has responsibility, and legislation introduced before 1990 but receiving Royal Assent since then.
* Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8)
* Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (c.9)
* Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 (c.10)
* Planning (Consequential Provisions) Act 1990 (c.11)
Environmental Protection Act 1990 (c.43)
Caravans (Standard Community Charge and Rating) Act 1991 (c.2) Community Charges (Substitute Setting) Act 1991 (c.8)
Community Charges (General Reduction) Act 1991 (c.9)
Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (c.34)
Local Government Finance and Valuation Act 1991 (c.51) * Water Industry Act 1991 (c.56)
* Water Resources Act 1991 (c.57)
* Water Consolidation (Consequential Provisions) Act 1991 (c.60) Local Government Finance Act 1992 (c.14)
Local Government Act 1992 (c.19)
Non-Domestic Rating Act 1992 (c.46)
* Clean Air Act 1993 (c.11)
* Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (c.12)
Non-Domestic Rating Act 1993 (c.17)
The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (c.28)
Non-Domestic Rating Act 1994 (c.3)
* Consolidation Acts
Mr. Miller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the cost of establishing the housing association tenants ombudsman service ; how much the operation of the service will cost ; how these costs are broken down ; how many staff are employed by the service ; and what is its current remit.
Sir George Young : The ombudsman service for housing association tenants became operational in November 1993. The operating budget is as follows :
|1993-94|1994-95|1995-96 |£'000 |£'000 |£'000 ------------------------------------------------------- Staff costs |150 |227 |227 Non-staff costs<1> |79 |145 |143 Mediation/Legal, other Operational costs |103 |123 |110 |--- |--- |--- |332 |495 |480 <1> In 1993-94, there was an additional sum of £24,000 to set up premises.
The total staffing complement available to the ombudsman service is seven.
The main remit of the ombudsman service is to deal fairly and effectively with complaints about maladministration by registered housing associations. The service considers complaints from housing association tenants, applicants for a housing association tenancy and people receiving housing management services from an association.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what draft circulars he has recently released to waste regulation officers on the proposed changes to United Kingdom legislation required to meet obligations under EC directive 259/93 on waste shipments by 6 May.
Mr. Atkins : I refer the hon. Member to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Deva) on 2 March, Official Report, column 714.
Mr. Davidson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the extent of a link between the incidence of asthma and (a) air pollution in general and (b) oxides of nitrogen ; and what steps he is taking to reduce air pollution in general and the amount of nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere.
Mr. Atkins : The Government are continuing to assess the links between air pollution and asthma, with the assistance of its advisory bodies on the health impacts of air pollution. At present it appears that while the causes of asthma remain unclear, air pollution can aggravate attacks in those already with the condition. The health effects of oxides of nitrogen were considered in a report by the Department of Health's advisory group on the medical aspects of air pollution episodes--MAAPE-- published in November 1993, a copy of which has been deposited in the Library.
The systems for control of industrial emissions established in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and increasingly stringent vehicle emission controls are expected to secure significant reduction in the level of most pollutants over the next 10 years. Emissions of nitrogen oxides will be reduced in line with the United Kingdom's commitments under the Sofia protocol to the United Nations Commission for Europe convention on transboundary air pollution, signed in November 1988.
I propose shortly to publish a discussion paper as the first stage of a consultative process on measures to secure further improvement in air quality.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what policy he has on subsequent applications for opencast being made for the same site after planning permission has been refused ; and what period of time must elapse before a reapplication may be made.
Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on Monday 28 March, Official Report, columns 493-94.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on whether very special circumstances must be shown by the applicant before compulsory rights orders may be granted under the Opencast Coal Act 1958 for a second application to be granted for the same site.
Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on Monday 28 March, Official Report, column 494.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the members of the biodiversity action plan steering group ; what are its terms of reference ; and when he expects it to publish costed targets for key species and habitats.
Mr. Atkins : I expect to make an announcement shortly on membership of the group. The status and remit of the group are set out in paragraph 10.40 of "Biodiversity : the UK Action Plan" (Cm 2428) a copy of which is in the Library.
The plan commits the Government to publishing costed targets to key species and habitats during 1995.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to improve the accessibility of wildlife data and encourage public awareness and involvement in conserving biodiversity.
Mr. Atkins : These are matters which are being taken forward on a broad front by the Government, the countryside agencies and non- governmental organisations, and which are among the issues to be addressed by the biodiversity action plan steering group.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many nominations he has received by organisations wishing to contribute to the European Environment Agency as (i) a topic centre or (ii) as part of a national information network.
Mr. Atkins : Some 104 organisations have expressed interest in both topic centre status and in participating in the national information network. A further 50 organisations have said they want to be considered as topic centres and another 28 are seeking to join the national information network.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received nominations from (i) English Nature, (ii) Scottish Natural Heritage, (iii) the Countryside Council for Wales or (iv) the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to contribute to the European Environment Agency as a topic centre or as part of a national information network.
Mr. Atkins : All four organisations have said they want to contribute to the work of the European Environment Agency both as information network participants and as topic centres.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what moneys are available for urban and regeneration expenditure for 1994- 95 ; how much is available under each of the 20 targeted Government programmes contained within the single regeneration budget ; what were the corresponding figures for each year since 1988-89 in cash terms and at current prices ; and what is the planned expenditure for 1995-96 and 1996- 97 in cash terms at current prices.
Mr. Baldry : Planned funding by my Department on urban and regeneration expenditure in 1994-95 is as follows :
|£ million -------------------------------------------------------------- Urban Development Corporations |286 Housing Action Trusts |88 English Partnerships |181 Estate Action |373 City Challenge |<1>213 Urban Programme |83 Task Forces |16 City Action Teams |1 Safer Cities |4 Section 11 (part) |60 Ethnic Minority Grant/Business Initiative |6 Programme Development Fund |3 TEC Challenge |4 Local Initiative Fund |29 Business Start Up Scheme |70 Education Business Partnerships |2 Compacts |6 Teacher Placement Service |3 Grants for Education Support and Training |5 Regional Enterprise Grants |9 |--- Total: Single Regeneration Budget |1,442 Manchester Regeneration |23 Special Grants Programme |2 Coalfield Areas Fund |2 |--- Total: |1,469 Note: <1> Programme also supported by £19 million from the Housing Corporation.
Information on expenditure in previous years for my Department's programmes can be found in the departmental annual reports and public expenditure White Papers, copies of which are in the Library of the House. Information on previous years' expenditure for the programmes transferring to the single regeneration budget from the Home Office, the Employment Department, the Department of Education and the Department of Trade and Industry will be contained in their respective departmental annual reports.
In 1994-95, the single regeneration budget will largely operate through arrangements in place for the existing 20 programmes being brought together. Commitments under these programmes will be met for 1994-95 and later years. For 1995-96 and beyond, the non-departmental public bodies supported by the budget--English Partnerships, housing action trusts and urban development corporations--will, as now, receive specific allocations ; and the rest of the budget will be combined.
Column 915On current plans, the budget will be worth some £1.3 billion in each of 1995-96 and 1996-97. The Department of the Environment's 1994 annual report provides more detailed information.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what moneys are available for local authorities to bid for and are uncommitted from the urban and regeneration expenditure for 1994-95 ; how much is available under each of the 20 targeted Government programmes ; and what are the corresponding figures for 1995-96 and 1996-97 in cash terms and at current prices ; (2) what funds are available for all non-urban programme areas to bid for, that are uncommitted, from the single regeneration budget excluding the year 1995-96 ; and how much is available under each of the 20 targeted Government programmes within the single regeneration budget ;
(3) what funds are available for all urban programme authorities to bid for, that are uncommitted, from the single regeneration budget, for the year 1995-96 ; and how much is available under each of the 20 targeted Government programmes within the single regeneration budget.
Mr. Baldry : In 1994-95 the funds available under the single regeneration budget will be taken up in meeting existing commitments from the 20 programmes which habve been brought together to form the budget.
The total budget, on current plans, will be worth some £1.3 billion in 1995-96 and it is expected that about £100 million will be available to support bids from local partnerships. The budget will be available throughout England, and we intend to issue guidance on bidding soon.
On current plans, the budget will again be worth some £1.3 billion in 1966-67. It is too early to say how much will be available for bidding after 1995-96. The availability of resources will depend on the levels of commitments from previous years and the outcome on the annual public expenditure surveys.
I provided further information about the programmes being brought together in the budget in the separate reply I gave to the hon. Member today.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each year since 1981 in cash terms and at current prices the total amount of moneys made available to (a) urban programme authorities, (b) non-urban programme authorities and (c) urban regeneration in (i) urban development corporations, (ii) urban programme, (iii) city grant, or urban regeneration grant or urban development grant, (iv) derelict land grant, (v) city challenge, (vi) housing action trusts, (vii) estate action, (viii) safer cities, (ix) urban crime fund, (x) task forces, (xi) city action teams, (xii) single regeneration budget and (xiii) other programmes available relating to linkage between economic, social and physical regeneration.
Mr. Baldry : The information sought is not available and cannot readily be produced in the form specified. In previous years a number of Government Departments have contributed to urban regeneration through a wide range of programmes under the action for cities initiative. From1 April 1994, 20 regeneration programmes are being brought together to form a single regeneration budget which will be administered through the unified network of Government offices for the regions.
Some information on expenditure on these programmes in previous years, including the Home Office's safer cities
Column 916programme, can be found in the relevant departmental annual reports and public expenditure White Papers, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funds are available from the single regeneration budget for urban programme authorities and for non-urban programme authorities ; what different criteria or rules will be adopted for the 57 urban programme areas ; and how much is available for either urban programme or non-urban programme authorities and each of the 20 targeted programmes within the single regeneration budget.
Mr. Baldry : As the single regeneration budget is available throughout England, and proposals for funding will be locally driven, the existing list of 57 urban priority areas will not be used to direct budget resources and is being discontinued. In assessing proposals which aim mainly at relieving deprivation, the Government offices for the regions will take account of detailed information about local conditions based on the 1991 index of local conditions, to be published soon, and other relevant data.
I provided further information about the programmes being brought together in the budget in the separate reply I gave the hon. Member today.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the percentage of home ownership in 1979 and what it is now ; and how many more home owners there are now in the United Kingdom than there were in 1979.
Sir George Young : The available figures of the proportion of dwellings which are owner-occupied is shown in the table below :
Percentage [TITRE} --------------------------------------- December 1979 |56.6 |54.7 September 1993 |67.4 |<1>66.3 <1>December 1992.
The number of owner-occupier households in England was estimated at 9,170,000 households in 1977-78 and 13,460,000 in 1993. These figures are derived from the national dwelling and housing survey of 1977-78 and the labour force survey 1993 respectively, and are subject to sampling error. Comparable figures for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are not readily available to this Department.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for improving the accuracy of measuring fine particulate matter and benzene arising from vehicle exhaust emissions.
Mr. Atkins : The improvement of the accuracy of measurements of particulate and benzene in vehicle exhausts depends on the continuing development of measuring equipment. Contractors making these measurements for my Department will be expected to use the most up-to-date and accurate techniques practicable.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish (a) a list of those local authorities in England and Wales that have a designation order under the Caravan Sites Act 1968 and (b) the names of authorities which have made an application, and where a decision is pending, his decision.
Mr. Baldry : I have arranged for an up-to-date list of English local authorities designated under the Caravan Sites Act 1968 to be placed today in the Library of the House. Nine formal applications for designation are at present before my right hon. Friend. Of these, he has decided to designate the area of Wychavon district council in Hereford and Worcester. He is not yet in a position to announce decisions on the remaining applications.
For information about designation in Wales I refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the change in households in the private rented sector ; and what percentage of households have been in private rented accommodation in each of the last five years for which figures are available.
Sir George Young : Estimated numbers and percentages of households in private rented accommodation in England are as follows :
|number |percentages ------------------------------------------------ 1989 |1,610,000 |8.6 1990 |1,690,000 |8.9 1991 |1,760,000 |9.3 1992 |1,790,000 |9.2 1993 |1,950,000 |9.9
These figures are from labour force surveys and are subject to sampling error. They nevertheless provide a good indication of the trend over this period in privately renting households.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce the EC decision on the proposals for enterprise zones in East Durham, East Midlands and the Dearne Valley ; and when he expects to designate the new zones.
Sir George Young : I am pleased to announce that the EC has accepted, in full, our proposals for the three new enterprise zones. Once arrangements are in place to ensure that EC restrictions on state aids to industry are enforced on the new zones, I expect to issue a letter of invitation to local authorities to submit draft schemes. The subsequent United Kingdom procedures usually take about six months and designations are therefore expected in autumn this year.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide financial assistance to South Wight borough council under the Bellwin scheme towards its costs of dealing with the landslips which occurred between December 1993 and February 1994.
Mr. Baldry : Yes. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that these incidents were indeed exceptional and that a scheme of assistance should be established under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Grant will be paid to South Wight borough council to cover 85 per cent. of eligible costs which it has incurred above a threshold in dealing with the emergency.
Mr. Stephen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme to assist local authorities in west Sussex with the costs of dealing with the flooding which occurred in January.
Mr. Baldry : Yes. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that financial relief under the Bellwin scheme would be justified in this case. A scheme of assistance will therefore be established under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. The Department will pay grant to those authorities in west Sussex which have incurred an undue financial burden as a result of flooding which took place between December 1993 and January 1994. Grant will cover 85 per cent. of eligible costs which are above a threshold.
Mr. Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the legal provisions governing the use of perclorethylene in proximity of food retail businesses.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 22 March 1994] : There are no specific legal provisions, but controls can be exercised under part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Ms Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many households were accepted as homeless in each local authority area in 1979-80 ; and what are the latest full-year figures.
Sir George Young [holding answer 28 March 1994] : I have today placed in the Library a table giving for each local authority in England the numbers of households which they reported as having accepted responsibility in the years 1979 to 1993 to secure permanent accommodation, under the homelessness provisions of the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977 and the 1985 Housing Act.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much funding in each of the last five years and for the next financial year has been allocated by the Rural Development Commission to the voluntary sector for assisting rural communities ; and if he will list those organisations and how much each received.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 29 March 1994] : The table shows the financial support which the Rural Development Commission has given in this period to the voluntary sector either through support for voluntary organisations themselves or through projects run by the voluntary sector. These include national organisations such as Help the Aged, Good Practice in Mental Health, National Youth
Column 919Agency, Rural Housing Trust. In addition, many grants are made to voluntary and community organisations as part of rural development programmes in the commission's priority areas. Detailed information on the sums and organisations involved could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Rural Development Commission Allocation of funding to the voluntary sector assisting rural communities |1989-90 |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 |1994-95 |Actual |Actual |Actual |Actual |To date |Estimate |Total |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Support for voluntary organisations National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) |80,000 |84,000 |89,000 |116,000 |92,332 |121,590 |582,960 Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) |73,000 |43,313 |85,652 |60,000 |61,300 |70,000 |393,265 National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) |- |27,000 |- |8,242 |- |18,250 |53,492 Rural Community Councils (RCCs) |2,181,000 |2,371,177 |2,493,607 |2,778,169 |2,818,000 |2,818,000 |15,459,953 Project support National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) |75,000 |75,000 |- |70,186 |- |- |220,186 Rural Social Partnership Fund (RSPF) |25,031 |182,043 |264,098 |184,685 |169,931 |327,000 |1,152,788 Housing |432,000 |387,867 |312,799 |277,689 |307,504 |340,639 |2,058,498 Rural Action |- |- |- |196,672 |265,367 |400,000 |862,039 Village Halls |- |- |- |146,169 |297,279 |350,000 |793,448 RDP Social Projects<1> |n/a |n/a |n/a |1,966,632 |2,383,000 |2,450,000 |6,799,632 |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |2,866,031 |3,170,400 |3,245,156 |5,804,482 |6,394,713 |6,895,479 |28,376,261 <1> The majority of grants under this head are for projects to the voluntary sector.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what policies the Rural Development Commission has for the voluntary sector to be a vehicle for assisting rural communities.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 29 March 1994] : The Rural Development Commission regards voluntary activity and community self-help as an important means of tackling economic and social problems in rural areas, especially those relating to services, such as transport or village shops, and to the disadvantage experienced by particular groups of people, for example, the elderly, which is heightened by their living in a rural area. Nationally, the commission seeks to strengthen the rural work of the voluntary sector by supporting the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Action with Communities in Rural England in their roles as national umbrella organisations as well as working in partnership with national voluntary organisations such as Help the Aged or the Rural Housing Trust on specific projects or issues. Countrywide, it supports both the work of rural community councils which provide support to voluntary organisations in each county as well as a wide range of local projects put forward by voluntary and community groups principally as part of rural development programmes in the commission's priority areas.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what procedures are used by board members and officials of the Rural Development Commission to inform themselves of the needs of rural areas nationally and locally.