Mr. John M. Taylor : On the best information currently available expenditure on external consultants in 1992-93 was £3.455 million. It is not possible to isolate management and financial consultants as our records do not identify them in this way.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 11 May, Official Report, column 139, what was the cost of the calls made on (a) car telephones and (b) portable telephones in 1993-94 ; how much this equipment cost to buy or hire ; and what were the maintenance costs.
Mr. John M. Taylor : In 1993-94, the cost of calls made on car telephones was £4,621 ; and the cost of calls made on portable telephones was £35,023. The capital cost of this equipment was £113, 547. The maintenance costs, that is, the fixed charges, for the same year were £111,644.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No records are kept of the number of transactions in which "gazumping" occurs. The existing law is sufficiently flexible to allow the use of a variety of procedures or devices which preclude "gazumping", and buyers and sellers are free to adopt whichever best suits their needs. There are no plans to restrict this freedom.
Mr. Atkins : Judgments by the European Court of Justice indicate that member states of the European Community have a margin of discretion in the selection of special protection areas and in the determination of their boundaries. The margin of discretion has not been defined
Column 150by the court. Article 2 of the birds directive--79/409/EEC--requires member states to take requisite measures to maintain bird populations while taking account of economic and recreational requirements.
Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what advice he has received from English Nature as to whether the intertidal mudflats of Tipner lake within Portsmouth harbour qualify on scientific grounds for inclusion within the proposed special protection area and Ramsar site ;
(2) when he expects to designate Portsmouth harbour as (a) a special protection area under the European Union birds directive and (b) as a Ramsar site.
Mr. Atkins : English Nature has advised that the potential Portsmouth harbour special protection area and Ramsar site is of special importance within the United Kingdom and the European Union for the range of wildfowl and wader species which use the site. In particular, it contains internationally important numbers of regularly occurring migratory species of wild birds, including dark-bellied brent goose, red-breasted merganser, black-tailed godwit and dunlin. English Nature advises also that the area within Tipner lake which falls within the proposed SPA boundary is an integral part of that site.
My right hon. Friend expects to designate an area of Portsmouth harbour as a special protection area and Ramsar site later this year after considering representations received.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will publish the results of research by the Building Research Establishment on public response to noise from clay target shooting ; what further research is planned on the subject ; and whether he will now approve the draft code of practice on clay target shooting under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Mr. Atkins : Preliminary studies on response to clay target shooting noise were carried out by the Building Research Establishment, but, having regard to competing research priorities and the likely outputs from the project, it has not been pursued. I do, however, recognise that there is some concern about this issue. In July 1993 the Institution of Environmental Health Officers, the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association and the British Shooting Sports Council were asked to produce an agreed code of practice on this activity. It was made clear that if an agreed code could not be produced then the decision not to introduce further restrictions over clay target shooting under the general development order would be reconsidered. I understand that the organisations involved hope to reach agreement on such a code in the near future. It will be for these organisations to decide whether the code is subsequently submitted for approval by the Secretary of State under section 71 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Column 151hazardous wastes shipped to the United Kingdom for disposal from bases of the United States armed forces in Europe ;
(2) if he will make a statement on the nature and quantities of hazardous wastes shipped to the United Kingdom for disposal from bases of the United States armed forces in Europe ;
(3) by what means hazardous wastes that have been shipped to the United Kingdom from bases of the United States armed forces in Europe are disposed of.
Notifications for the importation into the United Kingdom of hazardous wastes from such bases were received by Torfaen borough council in March. The notifications were for the disposal at Rechem's high temperature incinerator at Pontypool of the following : formaldehyde, liquid pesticide (pyrethrin), adhesive, paint (laboratory waste) :--1 20,000kg consignment.
dilute nitric acid, acetic acid, sulphuric acid, ferric chloride solution (laboratory waste) :--1 20,000kg consignment.
cresylic acid and laboratory chemicals : sodium carbonate, magnesium chloride, sodium oxalate (laboratory waste) :--1 20,000kg consignment.
polychlorinated biphenyls (from redundant electrical equipment) :--3 60,000kg consignments ; 4 40,000kg consignments.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations, and from what organisations, the Government have received about their consultative document on access to local authority and housing association tenancies.
Sir George Young : We have now received nearly 10,000 responses from a wide variety of organisations, including local authorities, housing associations, and bodies campaigning on behalf of specific interests, as well as from individual members of the public.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when the Government will publish their response to public representations about their consultative document on access to local authority and housing association tenancies ;
(2) what is the Government's response to the public representations about their consultative document on access to local authority and housing association tenancies.
Column 152satisfy the terms of the tenancy agreement ; how many of these cases resulted in court action, and how many of the cases which resulted in court action were found in favour of the tenant ; (2) how many local authority tenants were taken to court by their landlords in 1993 for breach of the tenancy agreement ;
(3) how many complaints of noise disturbance from local authority tenants went to court last year ; and in how many of these cases the court found in favour of the tenant.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what evaluation he has commissioned of the prospective public expenditure savings arising from the announced reduction by United Kingdom Nirex Ltd. of the capacity of the planned national repository for nuclear waste ;
(2) what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and what interdepartmental discussions have taken place, on the cost implications of the proposed national repository for radioactive waste ; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the review of the costs of the repository.
Mr. Atkins : Questions relating to the sponsorship of Nirex are a matter for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. However, the cost implications of Nirex's proposed repository will be considered in the radioactive waste management review, announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 19 May, Official Report, columns 535-36. The Department proposes to publish the preliminary conclusions of the review later in the summer, as a basis for consultation.
Mr. Atkins : Green Ministers met on 18 May 1994 to discuss progress on green housekeeping. Ministers agreed to keep their departmental strategies up to date, to revise their purchasing guidance to emphasise environmental factors including the use of recycled paper in packaging, to improve energy usage, and to assess the practicality of developing environmental management systems. Ministers agreed to meet again later in the year to review progress.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the conversion of vehicles to run on natural gas ; and if he will make a statement about the benefits for the environment and air pollution of natural gas vehicles.
Mr. Atkins : My Department has received a number of interesting representations about vehicles fuelled by natural gas. It is clear that such vehicles can be quieter than conventional vehicles and that they can give rise to relatively low emissions of gaseous pollutants. There may be scope for them to offer a useful contribution towards environmental improvement.
Mr. Baldry : Parliamentary questions are answered within the financial guidelines issued by the Treasury. No records are kept of the costs incurred in answering individual questions where the amounts involved are not in excess of these limits.
Mr. Baldry : The key objectives for the agency in 1994-95 remain to preserve the impartiality and quality of the inspectorate's work while seeking further to improve efficiency. I have set the following further key targets for the agency's work in England :
(a) 80 per cent. of planning appeals by written representations to be decided within 18 weeks ;
(b) To provide an inspector for local plan inquiries when requested within 26 weeks of the end of the objection period ; Financial :
(a) Unit costs of planning appeals decided by written representations to be held at or below £690 ;
(b) Recover 90 per cent. of receipts due within 8 weeks of invoice date ;
Generate a 3 per cent. efficiency improvement in running costs, as compared with 1993-94 ;
(a) The number of justified complaints about the way Inspectors have carried out their duties, and the number of High Court challenges, should be less than one in every hundred decisions issued ;
(b) The number of justified complaints about the way the Inspectorate handled the procedural aspects of casework should be less than one in every hundred cases received ;
Column 154Volume :
To determine 15,500, appeals, subject to intake not declining ; Information and Guidance :
To complete a third customer survey by 31 December 1994. These and other performance targets for the agency will be included in its business plan for 1994-95 which will be published shortly.
Separate targets for the agency's work in Wales are being announced today by my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales.
Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what amendments he proposes to make to the Town and Country Planning General Development Order as a consequence of coal privatisation.
Mr. Baldry : It is essential that the planning system should provide continuity for the privatised industry, but it is equally important that operators should take responsibility for restoring sites once mining operations have ceased. We have today published for consultation draft amendments to the GDO and associated draft guidance which will provide such a framework.
Mines started before 1 July 1948 derive their planning permission from the general development order and surface development carried out at GDO mines before 1988 have no restoration conditions attached. The permission is personal to British Coal and its lessees or licensees.
After privatisation, in addition to the planning permission operators will need a licence from the Coal Authority unless they have an existing licence from British Coal.
As the existing GDO permission is personal to British Coal and its lessees or licensees, the GDO will need to be amended to grant permitted development rights for licensees of the Coal Authority to continue underground mining at GDO mines, otherwise there would be no planning permission for the continued extraction of coal at such sites.
The Coal Industry Bill provides a power for my right hon. Friend to attach conditions to the GDO permission for underground working requiring the restoration and aftercare of the pithead surface area. We propose that the new GDO permission for licensees of the Coal Authority for continued underground mining will be subject to such conditions. These will require the operator to submit a scheme for the restoration and aftercare of the site for the mineral planning authority's approval.
There are also a number of minor technical amendments needed to the GDO, broadly to change references to British Coal to the Coal Authority and to update definitions in line with the Coal Industry Bill.
I believe these proposals will provide the necessary planning continuity for the industry and ensure that sites are restored to a beneficial use once mining operations cease.
Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the United Kingdom intends to sign the new United Nations Economic Commission for Europe protocol on reducing sulphur emissions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : Yes. I plan to attend the ministerial session of the executive body of the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution in Oslo on 13-14 June and to sign for the United Kingdom the new protocol on the further reduction of sulphur emissions. The text of the protocol will be published as a Command Paper and laid before Parliament in due course.
Based on the concept of critical loads, which the United Kingdom played a leading part in developing, the protocol will require parties to reduce their sulphur emissions by specified amounts, depending in part on the quantity of their emissions and on the nature of their impact on the environment across Europe. The United Kingdom's obligations will be to make reductions, against 1980 emission levels, of 50 per cent. by 2000, 70 per cent. by 2005 and 80 per cent. by 2010.
These are challenging targets which will substantially deal with acidification problems in the United Kingdom within the time frame of our sustainable development strategy, in addition to providing substantial benefits for other European countries affected by our emissions. The targets will provide a stable long-term framework for planning by Government and industry. While it is possible that developments in the economy at large may result in earlier achievement of the targets, our national strategy and policies will be based firmly on the targets and timescales set out in the protocol.
Other key obligations in the new protocol will be for parties : to apply specified emission limit values to major new combustion sources (ie. those whose construction is authorised after 31 December 1995) ;
to set specified national standards for the sulphur content of gasoil two years after entry into force of the Protocol ; for existing large combustion plants above 500 MW th, to apply the specified emission limit values from 1 July 2004 subject to not entailing excessive costs or to apply equivalent emissions limitations as defined in the Protocol or to apply "other appropriate provisions" which deliver the necessary reductions ; for existing large combustion plants of 50-500 MW th, to use the specified emission limit values as guidance from 1 July 2004 ; to produce within six months of entry into force of the Protocol a national strategy setting out how they will achieve their reductions ;
to submit reports on measures taken and progress in meeting the reduction targets ;
for the UNECE to review progress in 1997.
The protocol also establishes a compliance committee which will monitor the delivery of the agreed targets.
The Government warmly welcome this protocol which will bring substantial environmental benefits. The effect of the protocol's provisions is to leave the United Kingdom general flexibility to decide how to meet our obligations and will place no new obligations on us as to the means by which the sulphur emissions reductions are to be secured. In particular, for existing plant, the terms of the protocol will allow us to maintain the approach taken in the United Kingdom's national plan under the EC large combustion plants directive and also allow the use of economic
Column 156instruments. Therefore the provisions of the protocol will be without prejudice to HMIP's obligations under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to apply BATNEEC--best available techniques not entailing excessive cost--in deciding on authorisations on a site-by-site basis. Our strategy for implementing the protocol, on which we shall be consulting in due course, will met our obligations in a way which is cost-effective, appropriate to our national circumstances, and consistent with our economic and environmental objectives.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the results of the capital receipts holiday which ended on 31 December 1993 for each local authority, with the amounts raised.
Mr. Curry [pursuant to his answer, 11 May 1994, Official Report, column 170] : I regret that one figure for the London borough of Lewisham was given incorrectly. I have arranged for a revised table to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) the budgeted change in balances 1993-94, (b) the revised estimated change in balances 1993-94, (c) the estimated change in balances 1994-95, (d) the level of balances of financial reserves as at 31 March 1994 and (e) the estimated level of balances or financial reserves as at 31 March 1995 for each local authority and in total ; and if he will state the sources of the information.
Mr. Gummer : The latest available information as reported for each local authority is given in tables which I have arranged to be placed in the Library of the House. The estimated change in balances in 1993-94 and levels at 1 April 1994 are subject to substantial amendment as authorities finalise their accounts ; in general the amount actually drawn down from reserves is substantially less than suggested by local authorities' initial budgets. This is illustrated by the total figures given in the table ; 1991 -92 and 1992-93 figures have been added as these are the last years for which final figures are available.
2 Revenue reserves, all England local authorities Use of balances |Budget |Revised |Outturn |(1) |(2) |(3) |£ million|£ million|£ million -------------------------------------------------- 1991-92 |-593 |-781 |-171 1992-93 |-580 |-571 |280 1993-94 |-536 |-447 |n/a 1994-95 |-775 |n/a |n/a
Level of Reserves Estimate made: |One year in |Current |One year later|Two years |advance |later |(4) |(5) |(6) |(7) |£ million |£ million |£ million |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 31 March-1 April 1991 |1,965 |2,589 |3,500 |3,501 31 March-1 April 1992 |1,995 |2,719 |3,410 |2,908 31 March-1 April 1993 |2,138 |2,838 |3,625 |n/a 31 March-1 April 1994 |2,302 |3,178 |n/a |n/a 31 March-1 April 1995 |2,403 |n/a |n/a |n/a Sources Column (1) DOE/CIPFA General Fund Revenue Accounts (RA) return for the year, budgeted figure. Column (2) RA return for following year, revised estimate figure. Column (3) Revenue Summary (RS) return for the year, outturn figure. 1992-93 figure is provisional. Column (4) RA return for the year up to 1 April; implied figure from revised estimate year ( Column 6) and estimated and budgeted changes over two years. Column (5) RA return for the year starting 1 April; implied figure from revised estimate for level at beginning of year and revised estimate of change during year. Column (6) RA return for the year starting on the following 1 April; revised estimate figure. Column (7) RS return for the year starting 1 April. 1 April 1992 figure is provisional. Notes: Figures include Local Management of Schools and Colleges reserves. Outturn changes may not correspond with implied changes in outturn levels as authorities may further amend their accounts after submitting RS returns.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the amount and proportion of general government expenditure which is (a) directly controlled by and (b) partly or indirectly controlled by institutions of local and/or regional government, in each country of the European Union, with averages for the European Union as a whole.
Information on the degree of control is not available. However, total local government as a percentage of general government expenditure is shown in the table for the year 1991, the latest published year. The information given is under the European system of accounts definitions which allows for comparison of European Union countries on the same basis.
National currency of country millions Countries |Local |General |(A) shown as |government |government |a percentage ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belgium |426526 |3674880 | 11.6 Denmark |255354 |622986 | 41.0 Netherlands |83860 |368800 | 22.7 Greece |<4>- |<4>- |<4>- Spain<2> (1990) | 4805.7 | 24156.2 | 19.9 France | 594.3 | 3629.9 | 16.4 Ireland |<4>- |<4>- |<4>- Italy |185414 |887240 | 20.9 Luxembourg |<4>- |<4>- |<4>- Germany<3> |150880 |1273490 | 11.9 Portugal |<4>- |<4>- |<4>- United Kingdom |67429 |288796 | 23.3 Arithmetic average of above percentages 21 <1> Defined as total within the distribution of income account and current transaction account. <2> Data for Local Government includes a figure of autonomous communities. <3> Lander are not included in Local Government, under ESA definitions. <4> No data available. Source: Eurostat National Accounts - Detailed Accounts by Sector 1980 to 1991 - tables 2 (Overview of sector accounts).
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the names and companies of all the representatives of British companies who accompanied the former Prime Minister during her visit to Jordan in September 1985.
(2) on how many occasions in the last five years where commercial vehicles are likely to use a motorway, at the rate of over 4,000 vehicles per lane per day, permission has been given for the use of porous asphalt in the construction of the road ;
(3) if he will set out the criteria by which decisions have been made to use porous asphalt on motorways, or other developments, in the United Kingdom in the last five years ;
(4) if he will list the developments where porous asphalt was used on motorways and trunk roads in the last 10 years ;
(5) what EC directives or regulations relate to the use of porous asphalt on motorways or trunk roads.