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Privacy

26. Sir Michael Neubert : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he next expects to meet the European counterparts to discuss measures to limit invasions of personal privacy by the media.

Mr. Brooke : I have no plans for any such meetings at present but I will be attending the Culture Council next month.

BBC

27. Dr. Liam Fox : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consideration he is giving to efficiency improvements in the BBC in the context of the renewal of the BBC charter.

Mr. Brooke : I am taking account of the BBC's continuing efforts to operate more cost-effectively in developing proposals for the corporation's future. Independent consultants, Touche Ross, reporting to me last year, concluded that the BBC has pursued opportunities to make savings and efficiency improvements in a vigorous and effective manner. The BBC is taking further measures to improve its efficiency.

Outdoor Education Centres

28. Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations his Department has received regarding the code of practice for outdoor education centres.

Mr. Sproat : Since the hon. Member's question on the accreditation of outdoor centres on 18 April, Official Report, column 624, I have received one representation, which was from the hon. Member.

Sports Council

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what additional administrative expenses will be incurred by the Sports Council in respect of its distribution of 20 per cent. of the national lottery distribution fund.

Mr. Brooke : The staffing, accommodation and IT requirements of the Sports Council in processing lottery applications are currently being costed. Directions issued to the Sports Council under section 26(3) of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 will require it to secure value for money in the administration of lottery funds.

International Sporting Events

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what action the Sports Council has taken and is taking to attract major international sporting events to the United Kingdom.

Mr. Sproat : The Sports Council assists national governing bodies of sport in attracting major international sporting events. The council has established a major events support group which will hold its inaugural meeting next month. This will provide practical guidance and technical advice on the various tasks and costs involved in bidding for and staging major events. The Sports Council has provided £560,000 in support of a number of major events being held in the United Kingdom this year.


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Television Reception

Mr. Hendry : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what information he has on communities of more than 200 people in England which cannot obtain reasonable reception of television programmes.

Mr. Brooke : I understand that there are around 210 communities of 200 or more people in England which do not have a reasonable reception of terrestrial television services.

Mr. Hendry : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what proportion of the population of England is unable to receive a reasonable reception of television programmes.

Mr. Brooke : I understand that about 0.4 per cent. of the population of England do not have a reasonable reception of terrestrial television services.

National Lottery

Sir Fergus Montgomery : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many organisations have expressed an interest in running the national lottery.

Mr. Brooke : The Director General of the National Lottery has received eight applications for the section 5 licence to run the national lottery in response to the invitation to apply that he issued on 21 December 1993.

Beaches

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment he has made of the impact of unclean beaches on (a) the internal and (b) the external tourist trade.

Mr. Sproat [holding answer 20 May 1994] : The Government are aware of the current concern about unclean beaches and of the importance of clean beaches to encourage the tourist trade to resort areas. It is naturally in the resorts' interest to work towards cleaner and more accessible beaches. This is recognised in part by the Department of the Environment's commitment to the Tidy Britain Group.

The TBG administers the United Kingdom seaside awards. Its primary functions are to help raise standards of cleanliness, hygiene and environmental management at beaches and also to provide a comprehensive and free public information service for beach users. All seaside award resort beaches must meet 28 land-based criteria--fewer for rural beaches--as well as attaining at least the mandatory water quality laid down by the EC directive on bathing water. A premier seaside award indicates guideline water quality--better than the mandatory standard--as well as the fulfilment of all land-based criteria. Some 137 beaches in the United Kingdom received seaside awards in 1993.

As the awards suggest, there is a serious commitment to ensuring the cleanliness of beaches. It is estimated that around 50 per cent. of Britons holidaying in the United Kingdom take their breaks at seaside resorts. This demonstrates the continuing appeal of the traditional seaside holiday and is something which the English tourist board has encouraged in the past few years by promoting resorts through its seaside campaign. Statistics on the number of overseas visitors who go to seaside resorts are not available.


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ENVIRONMENT

Housing Corporation Expenditure (North Yorkshire)

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was spent in North Yorkshire by the Housing Corporation in 1993-94 ; and what is its budget for North Yorkshire in 1994-95.

Sir George Young : In 1993-94, the Housing Corporation spent £15, 764,153 in North Yorkshire.

The Housing Corporation cannot, at this stage, give an exact figure for the 1994-95 budget for North Yorkshire. However, the total cost of housing association schemes which the Housing Corporation expects to approve in North Yorkshire in 1994-95 is £11,926,000 ; approximately half of this is expected to be spent in 1994-95. In addition, the corporation forecasts that in 1994-95 they will spend £8,147,000 on existing schemes in North Yorkshire. Therefore, the total Housing Corporation budget for North Yorkshire in 1994-95 is estimated to be in the region of £14 million.

This Common Inheritance"

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many copies of the third year report on the environmental White Paper "This Common Inheritance" (Cm 2549) have been published ; at what cost ; to whom copies have been distributed ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : HMSO published 6,000 copies. The Department of the Environment purchased 2,000 of those and the remainder are on sale from HMSO. So far, the Department has distributed about 1,700 copies to Parliament, overseas Governments, central Government Departments and agencies, local authority associations, businesses and a wide range of special interest groups and academic institutions. At present, the estimated total cost to Government including both direct payment to the Department's designers and purchase from HMSO is about £52,000. In addition, we produced a summary not for publication but for free distribution.

Development Programme

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total amount of moneys in the approved development programme since its inception at (a) cash prices and (b) current prices.

Sir George Young : Housing associations, funded through the Housing Corporation, are now the main providers of new social housing. Below is the total amount of moneys in the Housing Corporation's approved development programme, gross, in cash and current prices for each year since its inception in 1981-82.


               |Cash         |Current                    

               |prices       |(ie. 1993-94)              

                             |prices                     

               |£ million    |£ million                  

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

1981-82 ADP    |520.5        |959.0                      

1982-83 ADP    |755.3        |1,300.2                    

1983-84 ADP    |734.0        |1,207.7                    

1984-85 ADP    |696.7        |1,090.5                    

1985-86 ADP    |710.8        |1,051.0                    

1986-87 ADP    |714.7        |1,023.6                    

1987-88 ADP    |751.7        |1,035.7                    

1988-89 ADP    |791.3        |1,028.2                    

1989-90 ADP    |935.2        |1,127.2                    

1990-91 ADP    |1,062.7      |1,168.4                    

1991-92 ADP    |1,585.7      |1,664.5                    

1992-93 ADP    |1,780.2      |1,810.9                    

        HMP<1> |591.0        |601.2                      

1993-94 ADP    |1,859.2      |1,859.2                    

               |-------      |-------                    

Total          |13,489.0     |16,927.3                   

               |-------      |-------                    

1994-95 ADP    |1,514.9      |n/a                        

<1>Housing Market Package                                

In addition, between 1987-88 and 1994-95 the approved development programme has levered in over £3.6 billion in private finance.

Portable Telephones

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 6 May, Official Report , column 650 , what was the cost of calls made on (a) car and (b) portable telephones in 1993-94.

Mr. Baldry : The cost of calls for car and portable telephones for each business unit is included with those of the other telephone services and, regrettably, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Local Authority Housing

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the housing capital expenditure of all local authorities in each year since 1980-81 at (a) cash prices and (b) current prices.

Sir George Young : Local authority gross housing capital expenditure in England, from 1980-81 to 1993-94, was :


£ million                                   

           |Cash      |<2>1993-94           

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

1980-81    |2,729     |5,669                

1981-82    |2,632     |4,985                

1982-83    |3,235     |5,719                

1983-84    |3,571     |6,035                

1984-85    |3,501     |5,633                

1985-86    |3,023     |4,608                

1986-87    |3,017     |4,469                

1987-88    |3,272     |4,600                

1988-89    |3,604     |4,749                

1989-90    |5,124     |6,312                

                                            

Present capital finance system              

1990-91    |3,164     |3,606                

1991-92    |2,818     |3,021                

1992-93    |2,627     |2,712                

<3>1993-94 |2,791     |2,791                

Notes:                                      

<1>Figures include Urban Programme and City 

Challenge housing capital expenditure.      

<2>Cash figures converted to 1993-94 price  

levels by excluding the effect of general   

inflation as measured by the GDP market     

prices deflator.                            

<3>Provisional.                             


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Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total amount of moneys made available to all local authorities for housing capital expenditure in each year since 1980-81 through (a) capital grants and (b) borrowing approvals at (i) cash prices and (ii) current prices.

Sir George Young : Central Government capital provision for local authority housing capital expenditure in England, from 1980-81 to 1993-94, was :


£ million                                                               

             Capital grants<1>       Borrowing                          

                         approvals<2>                                   

            |Cash prices|1993-94    |Cash prices|1993-94                

                        |prices<3>              |prices<3>              

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

1980-81     |n/a        |n/a        |2,203      |4,576                  

1981-82     |n/a        |n/a        |1,795      |4,000                  

1982-83     |n/a        |n/a        |2,192      |3,875                  

1983-84     |n/a        |n/a        |2,233      |3,774                  

1984-85     |n/a        |n/a        |1,852      |2,980                  

1985-86     |135        |206        |1,605      |2,446                  

1986-87     |145        |215        |1,459      |2,161                  

1987-88     |147        |207        |1,400      |1,968                  

1988-89     |188        |248        |1,331      |1,754                  

1989-90     |326        |402        |1,095      |1,349                  

                                                                        

Present capital finance system                                          

1990-91     |293        |334        |1,558      |1,776                  

1991-92     |352        |377        |1,706      |1,829                  

1992-93     |423        |437        |1,541      |1,591                  

<4>1993-94  |413        |413        |1,367      |1,367                  

New social housing in England is now mainly provided by housing         

associations rather than local housing authorities.                     

Notes:                                                                  

<1>Outturn figures unless otherwise stated. Comprising specified        

capital grants and other housing capital grants. Before 1990, grants    

were paid to support loan charges incurred by local authorities in      

borrowing for the payment of private sector renewal grants. Estimates   

comparable with capital grants paid under the present system are        

available only for 1985-86 to 1989-90.                                  

<2>Outturn figures unless otherwise stated. Including Estate Action     

which forms part of the Single Regeneration Budget for 1994-95 onwards. 

Figures for 1990-91 onwards comprise the housing contribution to        

authorities' all-service basic credit approvals and housing             

supplementary credit approvals. Figures for years before 1990-91 are on 

a comparable basis, comprising HIP allocations including retrospective  

borrowing approvals.                                                    

<3>Cash figures converted to 1993-94 price levels by excluding the      

effect of general inflation as measured by the GDP market prices        

deflator.                                                               

<4>Estimated outturn.                                                   

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish for each local authority (a) the amount spent on council housing repairs and maintenance and (b) the number of council-owned properties ; and what was the average spent by local authorities on repairs and maintenance per council-owned property for each year since 1991-92.

Sir George Young : The information available to my Department from local authorities' returns has been placed in the Library. Based on those returns, my Department's estimates of the average amount spent on repairs and maintenance for the three years requested is £509, £545 and £595 per dwelling.

Local Government Reorganisation

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 11 May, Official Report, column 170, what increase in borrowing


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will be required to pay for the costs of local government reorganisation in Humberside ; and what plans he has to indicate this at each stage of reorganisation as it is introduced into Parliament.

Mr. Curry : The amount of borrowing required will depend, among other things, on what new structure is adopted. The Local Government Commission, in its report on the options for reorganisation in Humberside, gives an analysis of the costs derived from local authority figures as a basis for decisions on the future structure. Following Parliament's decision, authorities that are to be reorganised will be asked to submit updated figures of the transitional costs and the savings and receipts that they estimate will arise each year. Those will provide the basis for annual limits on the amount of borrowing approvals that the Department will grant. The limits will be issued to authorities before the beginning of each financial year.

Mr. Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 11 May, Official Report, column 120 (1) if he will set out the calculations of savings and receipts on which he bases his statement that borrowings and the interest payable thereon for the cost of local government reorganisation can be paid back ;

(2) what assumptions he made when issuing an assurance on costs of local government reorganisation, on the levels of redundancy and transfer arrangements and costs ; and when he will be in a position to give estimates of these costs.

Mr. Curry : The Government's policy guidance to the Local Government Commission asks it to take all feasible steps to assess all the costs and benefits of options being considered. Its estimates are based on figures provided by the local authorities and are published together with the Commission's recommendations. The estimates in the reports submitted to date show that in most cases the savings and receipts should be sufficient to pay back the transitional costs of reorganisation and interest. There would need to be exceptional non-financial benefits to justify approving a reorganisation for which the savings and receipts were not expected to pay off the transitional costs, including interest.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from his Icelandic counterpart since 15 December 1993 in regard to the consents given to British Nuclear Fuels to open the thermal oxide reprocessing plant.

Mr. Atkins : The Secretary of State met with Icelandic Environment Minister on 23 March 1994. A number of subjects, including THORP, were discussed at that meeting.

Parish Polls

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those parish polls which have been conducted since 1979, together with their subject matter in each case.

Mr. Baldry : This information is not held centrally.


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Marine Conservation

Mrs. Maddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will introduce legislation to allow Government agencies to regulate the activities of harbour authorities in marine nature reserves ;

(2) if he will introduce legislation to allow Government agencies to control navigation and fisheries within the boundaries of marine nature reserves established under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Mr. Atkins : The Government have no such plans for marine nature reserves. However, the Government will shortly be laying regulations which will provide for the selection, protection and management of special areas of conservation under the EC habitats directive. Those regulations will place a duty on harbour, navigation and fisheries authorities to undertake their responsibilities in accordance with the requirements of the directive in relation to such areas.

Mrs. Maddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to protect vulnerable sea areas around the United Kingdom coast and to provide for their integrated management.

Mr. Atkins : The Government will shortly be laying regulations, under the European Communities Act 1972, which will provide for the selection, protection and management of special areas of conservation under the EC habitats directive. A number of those areas will be in the marine environment.

Last October, the Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office issued discussion papers on coastal management and control of development below the low-water mark, which looked at the broader issues relating to the management of the coastal zone. We are considering the responses.

Boreholes

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 17 May, Official Report, columns 395 -6, what is the legal liability for damage to neighbouring property of water authorities which are negligent in sinking boreholes, irrespective of powers conferred under the Water Industry Act 1991 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : The legal position of a water undertaker which abstracts water from a borehole on the undertaker's own land, in circumstances where no abstraction licence or works order is required, is no different from the law applicable to any other landowner who lawfully abstracts water from land. English law distinguishes between two kinds of underground water : water flowing in a certain and definite channel and percolating water. Only water which flows in a known and definite channel can be the subject of property or riparian rights. Whereas at common law the owner of land has the right to have the surface of his land supported by minerals on or under his neighbour's land, there is no equivalent right to have the surface of his land supported by water ; nor does he have any rights in respect of water running in undefined channels, except to sink wells and so obtain a supply of water.

Unless a duty of care is established there is no liability for negligence. Since the owner of land has no right of support from underground water flowing in undefined


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channels, he cannot show that a neighbouring landowner owes him a duty of care not to abstract that water and so remove support from his own land, unless the loss of support is due to the removal of minerals, such as wet sand, running silt or dissolved rock salt.

Sheffield City Council

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his decision on the final cap for Sheffield city council ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Curry : My right hon. Friend has laid before the House a draft order, under section 57 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, setting out our decision on the final cap for Sheffield city council, which had challenged its proposed cap and put forward a higher alternative. We have considered very carefully all the available relevant information, including the case made by the authority in support of a higher cap, before taking our decision. We have concluded that some relaxation in the proposed cap for Sheffield would be justified and have decided to increase its cap by £3 million.

The final cap for Sheffield is £381.65 million. This cap is, in our view, reasonable, appropriate and achievable in all the circumstances of Sheffield.

City-centre Investment

Sir Michael Neubert : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to encourage new investment in town and city centres.

Mr. Curry [holding answer 18 May 1994] : Through our planning policy guidance and other publications, we are encouraging vital and viable town centres in which developers will want to invest. Success is likely to depend on partnerships bringing together the relevant public agencies and residents, retailers, property owners and investors to develop a positive strategy.

In addition, one aim of the city challenge initiative is to make city and town centres more attractive to businesses and residents. Town centre redevelopments are a significant element in approximately a third of city challenge partnerships. They should attract nearly £350 million in private sector investment to city and town centres. The single regeneration budget can also support local proposals including measures which further encourage investment in town centres.

Bathing Water Directive

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which beaches in England are classified as unsuitable for bathing.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 20 May 1994] : None of our identified bathing waters are classified as unsuitable for bathing but bathers should heed local warnings provided on wind, wave and tidal conditions.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the progress of the National Rivers Authority in complying with the European bathing water directive.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 20 May 1994] : The NRA continues to report on a steady improvement in


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compliance. In 1993, four out of five bathing waters in England and Wales were better than the relevant EC standards. There are schemes under way to bring virtually all the remainder up to standard by the end of next year.

Vehicle Emissions

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the contribution petrol containing the detergent petrol additives which are able to clean the combustion chamber as well as the intake valves and the fuel injectors will make towards the Government's overall aim of improving air


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quality in the United Kingdom ; and if he will recommend the use of such petrol by the public sector, including the Government car service.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 20 May 1994] : None. The British standard for petrol does permit the use of performance enhancer additives but it is up to the individual oil company to substantiate such claims.

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect of the adoption of petrol containing the detergent petrol additives which clean the combustion chamber as well as the intake valves and the fuel injectors on the level of vehicle emissions.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 20 May 1994] : None.


 

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