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Mr. Channon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will overrule the planning inspectorate and order an appeal held in public into the proposed development at Marine parade, Leigh-on-Sea, about which the right hon. Member for Southend, West has been in correspondence with him.
Mr. Baldry : No. I am satisfied that the planning merits of the proposal can be considered adequately on the basis of written representations and a site visit. The inspector will take the strength of local feeling about the proposals fully into account in reaching a decision.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce provisions to establish legally enforceable targets for the avoidance, minimisation and recycling of packaging waste.
Column 105packaging waste will enable industry to devise the most cost-effective and flexible means of securing our environmental objectives, including the recovery of between 50 and 75 per cent. of all packaging waste by the year 2000. We are awaiting further advice from industry on how the plan which it has drawn up can best be implemented.
We will consider legislating to meet our objectives if industry can demonstrate that a purely voluntary approach will not succeed or if it is necessary to fulfil our obligations under the proposed EC directive on packaging and packaging waste.
Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the chemical composition of material which it is planned to burn in an industrial process is taken into account when Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution considers whether to grant an authorisation for the burning of the material.
Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to ensure that the burning of hazardous wastes will be subject to the same emission standards wherever it takes place.
Mr. Atkins : HMIP may authorise the burning of hazardous waste, other than in an incinerator designed for the purpose, provided that emissions from the burning will not adversely affect the environment.
Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in what circumstances Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution may authorise the burning of a substance whose chemical composition is unknown.
Mr. Atkins : Emission standards for cement kilns burning waste will be based on environmental protection and BATNEEC--best available techniques not entailing excessive cost. Precautions will be taken to guard against increase in environmental impact, compared with the use of conventional fuels.
Mr. Atkins : The justification for, and the details and length of any trial, are provided by the operator, and must be to the satisfaction of HMIP. Any trial must comply with the criteria laid down by HMIP and be of sufficient duration to provide adequate monitoring information, in order to enable HMIP fully to assess the environmental impact.
Mr. Atkins : Action to stimulate markets for recycled materials is a key element of the producer responsibility challenge to the packaging industries. If those industries are to achieve their target of recovering 58 per cent. of used packaging by the year 2000 in the most cost-effective way, they will need to ensure not only that used packaging is collected but that there are markets for the recycled material, and that buyer specifications do not unreasonably restrict these markets.
Mr. Gummer : I congratulate the Countryside Commission on its development and administration of the countryside stewardship scheme and the hedgerow incentive scheme, which have broken new ground in environmental land management. I acknowledge the valuable support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, English Nature and English Heritage in carrying forward the schemes with my Department. I have endorsed the commission's proposal to bring the schemes together so as to enable best use of staff time and to streamline their delivery to farmers and other landowners.
The countryside stewardship scheme will complete its pilot phase on 31 March 1996. Thereafter and with her agreement, I intend to transfer responsibility for this scheme and the hedgerow incentive scheme from the Countryside Commission to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
The Government intends to legislate, when parliamentary time permits, to confer on the Minister the necessary powers to enable her to make payments under the hedgerow incentive scheme and those parts of countryside stewardship which are covered neither by the EC agri-environment regulation nor by the powers that the Minister already exercises under the farm and conservation grant scheme. The Government also intend such legislation to confer a statutory advisory role on the Secretary of State for the Environment, the Countryside Commission, English Nature and English Heritage in relation to the development of all of the Ministry of Agriculture's environmental land management schemes.
The Government value the contribution which farmers, landowners and many local organisations have made to the development and implementation of the two schemes, and we shall continue to build on this partnership.
The Government intend, in the light of the pilot phase, to consider the future role of countryside stewardship. We also intend to consider ways of better integrating and
Column 107focusing all environmental land management schemes. We shall consult publicly on any proposals to change significantly current arrangements for countryside stewardship or other environmental land management schemes.
The Government place a high value on the skills and experience of the staff currently running the countryside stewardship and hedgerow incentive schemes. The staff needed to run the schemes after the countryside stewardship pilot phase has ended will be invited to transfer to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Mr. Thomason : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will publish the inner cities research programme report "Assessing the Impact of Urban Policy" ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : The inner cities research programme report "Assessing the Impact of Urban Policy" is being published today by HMSO. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The report is a substantial and wide-ranging analysis, covering the policies and programmes of several Government Departments and agencies over the period 1979-80 to 1990-91. It concludes that, across the 57 urban priority areas there was, over that period, a relative improvement in their social and economic fortunes, and that the gap between these 57 areas and other areas narrowed in the 1980s, notwithstanding some deterioration in the core areas facing the most intractable problems. It further concludes that across the whole set of targeted places and in the smaller areas within some of the conurbations, public resources appear to have made an impact on improving inner-city areas.
The report draws five policy conclusions about how the delivery of Government programmes might be further improved and about how local authorities and communities might be more effectively involved in regeneration. These recommendations have been addressed by the major reforms which the Secretary of State for the Environment announced in November 1993, and which were implemented in April 1994 after the report was completed.
These reforms include the establishment of Government offices for the regions, bringing together the regional offices of the Department of the Environment, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Employment and the Department of Transport to make Government more responsive and accessible to local communities and employers ; and the single regeneration budget, worth some £1.4 billion in 1994-95, which combines 20 programmes from five Government Departments to support locally devised measures to encourage regeneration, economic development and industrial competitiveness.
Sir Harold Walker : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the level of compliance of each Government Department with the requirements of the quota for the employment of disabled persons.
I also refer the hon. Member to table 1 of "Independent 22", published by the Cabinet Office, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. This lists the numbers and percentages of civil servants registered as disabled in major Government Departments and agencies.
Sir Hector Monro : The only currently approved method of deer culling is by shooting, using an approved firearm as defined in sections 23(2) and 23A of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1959, as amended, and the Deer (Firearms etc.) (Scotland) Order 1985. I have no plans at present to approve any further methods.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what instructions are given to security staff in his departmental offices in London for dealing with (a) those sleeping rough in departmental doorways and (b) beggars in the vicinity ; and how many problems have been experienced with each category in the last three months.
Mr. Ian Lang : There have been no incidents of anyone sleeping rough outside my Department's London office and no instructions have been issued. The number of reported incidents involving beggars in the immediate vicinity is nil.
(2) what financial support he offers to public service obligation air routes ;
(3) which air routes he has designated as public service obligation routes.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Central Government support for air services is considered only where the services cross regional or islands council boundaries ; cross water ; are essential to the life of a remote community ; and where there is no prospect of services becoming commercially viable.
EU regulation 2408/92 requires public service obligations to be imposed on air services supported by public funds. A PSO has been imposed on the air service between Glasgow, Tiree and Barra. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State provides financial support of £115,000 per annum for the service.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the purpose of the meeting about Pan Am 103 and Lockerbie, between George Esson, then chief constable of the Dumfries and Galloway police, and Janet Reno, Attorney-General of the United States ; and what was the outcome.
Mr. Allan Stewart [holding answer 20 June 1994] : At 31 December 1993 there were 842 patients on in-patient and day case orthopaedic surgery waiting lists in the Ayrshire and Arran health board area. Half those orthopaedic surgery patients who were treated and discharged from hospitals in the Ayrshire and Arran health board area during the quarter ending 31 December 1993 had waited less than 47 days before being admitted.
Mr. Wilkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy toward the request of the transitional Government of Ethiopia for the extradition of ex-President Mengistu Haile Mariam from Zimbabwe.
Sir John Cope : We have received representations from many small brewers and had meetings with their trade body, the Small Independent Brewers Association. There are no current plans to introduce sliding scales of excise duties on the beer produced by smaller brewers, partly because, under the general agreement on tariffs andtrade, the lowest rate available to any United Kingdom producer would also have to be made available to all producers outside the European Union.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff there were at each tax office in South Yorkshire (a) at the latest date, (b) 12 months ago and (c) 24 months ago ; and if he will make a statement on the causes of changes in the numbers employed at each office.
This table compares the staff-in-post position for all offices--excluding the Valuation Office, which has agency status--within the geographical boundary of Inland Revenue South Yorkshire executive office. Because of the large number of locations involved, some summarising has been necessary. It has not been practicable to look at reasons behind the changes in numbers of staff on an office-by-office basis.
During these two years, part of Inland Revenue London head office has been transferred to Nottingham. Three offices set up in Nottingham and Barnsley during 1991-92 to deal with expected claims for repayment of composite rate tax have been closed--this work has now been concentrated into just five offices outside SYEO. Following the closures of these offices, PAYE work was moved from other offices in SYEO to Barnsley to provide work for otherwise surplus staff. Almost all trust work has been brought together into two large offices, one in Nottingham. SYEO has carried out an efficiency scrutiny of typing and secretarial services resulting in a reduction in the number of posts. The remaining posts have been reorganised into a separate service unit.
Also over the two years, a number of procedural changes in tax office work, including for example the simplification of PAYE end of year work, have contributed to further changes in staff numbers.
South Yorkshire staff in post |1 June 1992 |1 June 1993 |1 June 1994 Regional Executive |Total staff |Total staff |Total staff Office/Towns ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alfreton |79 |71 |69 Barnsley |216 |162 |161 Boston |87 |83 |75 Bradford |989 |884 |821 Chesterfield |126 |117 |112 Derby |304 |282 |274 Dewsbury |83 |76 |72 Doncaster |165 |148 |144 Gainsborough |46 |40 |38 Grantham |76 |70 |69 Halifax |124 |115 |118 Huddersfield |167 |151 |153 Leeds |768 |683 |662 Lincoln |144 |125 |125 Louth |43 |40 |37 Mansfield |85 |73 |68 Melton Mowbray |51 |46 |42 Newark |66 |56 |55 Nottingham |596 |527 |518 Pontefract |68 |59 |61 Retford |45 |40 |40 Rotherham |80 |75 |73 Sheffield |489 |767 |757 Shipley |190 |182 |164 Spalding |60 |53 |52 Wakefield |77 |77 |70 Accounts Office Shipley |1,138 |1,163 |1,064 Other Executive Offices/Head Office |631 |1,117 |1,260 |---- |---- |---- Grand Total |6,993 |7,282 |7,154
Mr. John M. Taylor : The office of president of the Lands Tribunal in Northern Ireland is a group 5 post within the senior salary review body structure, with a salary of £82,641. Five years ago the salary was £53,400, while in 1984 it was £33,733.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each of the last 10 years by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b) staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information requested in respect of staff of grade 3 and above could not be collected in the time available. For staff below grade 3, there is no requirement for the Department to collect information on job offers made to staff. Records are not, therefore, kept and no information is available. No offers have been reported from staff who work in sections concerned with procurement or contracts.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential ; and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.
Column 112consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses may be made public unless they request confidential treatment. The Department will continue that practice.
Sir Anthony Durant : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the amount of each increase in the small claims court limit and the date on which it came into effect for each year since 1973.
Date |Limit |£ ------------------------- October 1973 |75 October 1974 |100 July 1978 |200 October 1981 |500 July 1991 |1,000
Mr. Peter Atkinson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many cases in each year since 1991 have been referred out of the small claims court procedure to the county courts under the safeguards contained in order 19, rule 3 of the county court rules.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he has determined a date on which he will publish the findings of his Department's fundamental review of its spending.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 26 May 1994, Official Report, column 329. The fundamental review is being conducted internally and its findings will not be published. Any resulting change in policy will, however, be announced in the usual way in due course.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress his Department has made on drawing up new rules for the bringing of class actions ; and when he expects to publish them.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The findings of the Department's fundamental review of expenditure, which includes a review of multi-party actions, are scheduled to be presented to the Lord Chancellor later this month. Any action which the Lord Chancellor decides to take as a result of the review's conclusions will, however, be preceded by public consultation in the usual way.
Mr. Peter Atkinson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the average cost per case of a plaintiff's disbursements for the provision of all witnesses and reports in personal injury claims where proceedings were commenced in county courts for each year since 1990.
Mr. Peter Atkinson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department whether the £112.50 maximum for the payment of expert witnesses as set out in the consultation paper on small personal injury claims is the total sum available for the payment of all expert witnesses involved in a small personal injury case or the maximum allowable for the payment of each individual expert witness.
Mr. John M. Taylor : It is proposed that the sum of £112.50 should be the maximum recoverable for the expenses of each individual expert witness. It must be borne in mind, however, that the actual figure allowed for each expert and the number of such experts deemed necessary remain in the discretion of the district judge.
Column 114Action for Victims of Medical Accidents
Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union
Association of British Insurers
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
British Legal Association
British Medical Association
Bus and Coach Council
Forum of Insurance Lawyers
General Council of the Bar
Institute of Consumer Affairs
Institute of Legal Executives
Institute of Professional Managers and Specialists
Lloyd's of London
Medical Defence Union
Medical Protection Society
Motor Accident Solicitors' Society
Motor Insurers' Bureau
National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
National Consumer Council
National Union of Mineworkers
Royal Automobile Club
Royal College of General Practitioners
Trades Union Council