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Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of public appointments made by his Department were held by women at the most recent date for which figures are available.
Sir Paul Beresford: Information on public appointments to non- departmental public bodies and nationalised industries for which the Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible is contained in " Public Bodies 1993 ", published by HMSO, a copy of which is
Column 1149available in the House of Commons Library. This gives the percentage of all such appointments, for which this Department is responsible, held by women, as 22 per cent., at 1 September 1993. Similar information for 1994, to be published in " Public Bodies 1994 ", is currently being collected.
The information in " Public Bodies " includes the Commons Commissioners and valuation tribunals, for which the Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible but to which appointments are made by the Lord Chancellor and local authorities, respectively.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will support proposals circulated by the Dutch Government at the September meeting of the international negotiating committee--INC 10--to restrict the use of HFCs to applications where there are no viable alternatives to those HFCs with low global warming potential and to where leaks can be avoided.
Mr. Atkins: The document circulated at INC 10 was a report on the likely global warming effects of various HFC emissions control scenarios and, as such, was not a proposal by the Dutch Government. United Kingdom policy on HFCs is set out in sections 6.37 to 6.39 of the United Kingdom climate change programme, a copy of which is in the House Library.
Mr. Atkins: Green Ministers have encouraged the elimination of ozone -depleting substances and Departments have prepared action plans showing how they will reduce use and emissions of these substances,
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he has given to waste regulation authorities to ensure that they uphold the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 relating to the deliberate release of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs; and what action he will take if this guidance is not acted upon.
Mr. Atkins: Guidance on the application of waste law to ozone- depleting substances is contained in paragraphs 4.95 to 4.103 of DOE circular November 94. I fully expect waste regulation authorities to act upon this guidance.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance his Department has produced to help refrigeration engineers and technicians to assist in his policy of phasing out CFCs and HCFCs and limiting the use of HFCs.
Mr. Atkins: Guidance for the refrigeration industry is contained in the DTI publication, "Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. CFC Phaseout: Advice on Alternatives and Guidelines for Users." A second edition should be published by the end of November.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has held on the strategies for phasing out CFCs and HCFCs in refrigeration and limiting the use of HFCs with (a) ICI, (b) Calor Gas, (c) Sainsburys, (d) Tesco and (e) Iceland.
Column 1150are represented. Discussions have also taken place with Calor Gas concerning hydrocarbon refrigerants. In addition, representatives of the refrigeration industry met my predecessor last year, and I shall be meeting them later this month.
Details and results of the programme are given in HMIP's annual monitoring reports, copies of which are lodged in the Library.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the suitability, in terms of lining, soil conditions and proximity of water sources of Beddingham landfill site near Lewes for possible disposal of low-level nuclear waste.
Mr. Atkins: The suitability of the Beddingham landfill site to receive low-level radioactive waste, small quantities of which are sent only from Sussex university, was carefully assessed by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution before an authorisation for disposal was granted.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will agree to the request by Lewes district council for a representative of his Department to attend a public meeting in Lewes to explain the proposals to allow the disposal of low-level nuclear waste on council landfill sites.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of disconnections in water supply in the Rotherham metropolitan borough council area for each year since 1990 and so far in 1994.
Mr. Atkins: Data on disconnections by local authority district are not available centrally. The Director General of Water Services publishes data on disconnections twice a year, by water company area.
Column 1151approach interpretation of the framework convention on climate change article 4 commitments.
Mr. Atkins: The United Kingdom's response to the commitments in the framework convention on climate change is set out in our national programme under the convention, published in January. The programme sets out measures aimed at returning emissions of each of the main commitments contained in article 4.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in securing the voluntary controls on the release of HFCs described in section 6.38 of the Government's report "Climate Change: the United Kingdom Programme".
Mr. Atkins: My Department has held preliminary discussions with HFC producers and representatives of the aerosol, refrigeration, fire protection, solvents and foam manufacturing industries, to explore the scope for voluntary agreements to minimise emissions of HFCs.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 7 March, Official Report , column 38 -40 , what is the total cost of the refurbishment to properties at (a) Montrose house, Glasgow, (b) Station road, Kettering, (c) Lambert house, Talbot street, Nottingham, (d) Crown Building, 55 Norfolk street, Boston, (e) Crown Buildings, 1 Queen street, Wellingborough and (f) Ladywood house, 45-46 Stephenson street, Birmingham.
(b) Station road, Kettering--this refurbishment and fit out for government occupation, including the provision of full disabled access, cost Government just under £40,000 plus VAT;
(c) Lambert house, Talbot street, Nottingham--refurbishment did not take place;
(d) Crown building, 55 Norfolk street, Boston--this scheme, which did not proceed, was designed to accommodate a Government Department expansion which, in the event, did not materialise;
(e) Crown building, 1 Queen street, Wellingborough--Employment Service, the occupant of this building, is dealing with the refurbishment and improvements, however, planning is at a very early stage and no costs are yet available;
(f) Ladywood house, Birmingham--the Department's landlords, at their own cost, paid about £2.75 million to refurbish Ladywood house.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Local Government Commission's proposals for Cleveland would require joint arrangements between authorities and contracting of functions to maintain services;
(2) if he will make it his policy that any new authorities created as a result of local government reorganisation should be capable of directly providing the full range of public and support services within their own resources;
Column 1152(3) what assessment he has made of the effect of the non directly elected joint bodies requiring under the proposed local government reorganisation for Cleveland on local democracy.
Mr. Curry: Every local authority, existing or new, should be capable of securing the provision of the full range of services for which it is responsible. Except for the fire service, we do not consider that statutory joint authorities will be necessary for any local government functions in Cleveland following reorganisation. It is for the local authorities themselves to consider the most suitable means of service delivery, including whether voluntary joint arrangements or contracting out are desirable for particular functions. In any event, the elected local authorities will remain democratically accountable.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy that all the proposed orders for new local government structures should be laid before the House (a) at the same time and (b) the conclusion of the entire review process.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated number of jobs which the Local Government Commission has calculated would be lost if its proposals for the Cleveland area were implemented.
Mr. Curry: The Commission's financial estimates of costs and savings associated with reorganisation in Cleveland, which were made publicly available in November 1993, incorporated the assumption that 336 staff would become surplus if the present local government structure were replaced with four unitary authorities. The staffing levels of the authorities are, however, ultimately a matter for them.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy that there should be fresh all-out elections to shadow authorities to supervise the changes in local government structures; and what consideration he has given to the creation of shadow authorities for the Cleveland area.
Mr. Curry: Our policy is that wherever possible there will be all- out elections to shadow unitary in the May preceding the April start-up date. In Cleveland all-out elections to the four district councils will take place in May 1995. The councillors who are elected then will plan for the transfer of functions from the county council to the districts and will continue at reorganisation in April 1996 as councillors of the unitary authorities.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will ensure that, in the current local government reorganisation exercise, a package of staff protection and compensation measure will be available which will be at least as comprehensive and beneficial to staff as the arrangements made available during the last two previous reorganisations;
(2) if he will make it his policy to create a mandatory national framework to maintain continuity of employment for those affected by changes in local government as a result of the local government review, together with full protection of pay and conditions of service; and if he will provide sufficient resources in addition to those required for the maintenance of services, to ensure that such protection is available for all of the affected employees
Column 1153not be affected by reorganisation. The Government will ensure a suitable package of staff protection and compensation measures for employees in local government affected by the current reorganisation. We have consulted on proposals for redundancy compensation and hope to make an announcement on other elements of the package in due course. Since local authorities will benefit from the savings arising from reorganisation, it is right that they should manage the transitional costs without additional resources from central Government.
Mr. Curry: No. Local government reorganisation is intended, among other things, to achieve greater efficiency and long-term savings in the cost of providing services. There will inevitably be some effect on staffing structures. The changing role of local government is bound to have implication for the skills and numbers in the local authority work force whether there is structural change or not.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Local Government Commission's proposals for Cleveland have been demonstrated to have the clear support of an absolute majority of the residents of that area.
Mr. Curry: The commission's final report on Cleveland, published in November 1993, included the results of opinion research which showed that a clear majority of local residents want change, and that the structure proposed by the commission is the most popular option for change.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Local Government Act 1992 requires the Local Government Commission to have regard to the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities, and to secure effective and convenient local government. Public opinion is one important test of this.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: In 1993 94 the Housing Corporation provided 56,500 new lettings through its approved development programme. In estimates published in December 1993, the Housing Corporation indicates that on current plans it will be able to provide over 58, 000 new lettings in 1994 95 and some 52,000 in 1995 96 through its ADP. Plans for 1995 96 and beyond are, of course, under consideration as part of the current public expenditure round.
In addition, 8,334 new lettings were provided in 1993 94 through the Housing Corporation funded by local authority housing association grant. The level of output from this programme in future years will depend on decisions taken by individual local authorities.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has consulted fully with Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food over resolutions to be considered at the forthcoming conference of parties to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species which may affect the convention's listing of marine mammals and fishes.
Sir Paul Beresford: Yes. We have consulted all other Departments with an interest in proposals and resolutions to be considered at the CITES conference, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Overseas Development Administration, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Forestry Commission.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects decisions to be announced on bids made to the single regeneration budget, with particular reference to those applications relating to education projects; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a map of the area covered by the approved urban development around the planned international station at Ebbsfleet showing ownership of principal areas of leasehold and freehold interests.
Sir Paul Beresford: Information on planning permissions and land ownership are not held centrally. Details of planning permissions which exist for development in the area around the site of the proposed international station at Ebbsfleet will be available from the planning registers of Dartford and Gravesham district councils. Records of land ownership are held by the Land Registry.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will decide whether to call in the planning application in respect of the leisure development at Whitechapel moor, South Molton, Devon.
Sir Paul Beresford: It is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's policy to deal expeditiously with requests that he call in planning applications for his own determination. He expects to issue a decision shortly after North Devon district council has reached its conclusions on it.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what changes in circumstances occurred between 16 September and 21 October to cause the Secretary of State to require the local planning authority to resolve the planning application in respect of the leisure development at Whitechapel moor, South Molton, Devon.
Column 1155article 14 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 and directed North Devon district council not to grant planning permission for a golf and leisure development at Whitechapel moor, South Molton, Devon. The direction was issued because the application would not otherwise be referred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State as a departure from the development plan. In effect, the direction provides an opportunity to consider whether the application raises the type of issues which would justify call-in. On 20 September the North Devon district council planning committee deferred making a decision on the application pending the outcome of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's decision on call-in. On 21 October the Government office for the south-west requested the council to resolve the planning application which remains before it and explained that it was important to know what the council's decision would be. If the application were refused, the substantial additional expense associated with a public inquiry would be avoided.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what investigations are made to ensure that a housing association tenant who proposes to apply for the move-to-buy grant is able to meet his mortgage commitments; how much is the move-to-buy grant; whether a recipient of the move-to-buy grant whose property is subsequently repossessed is regarded as intentionally homeless; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The tenants incentive scheme is available to housing association tenants seeking to buy a home on the open market. Grants of between £8,000 and £16,000 are available, depending upon the geographical location of the property.
In applying for a TIS grant, tenants are required to declare details of their income and savings as part of their application, and housing associations are entitled to take this information into consideration as part of their assessment of the application. In responding to an application under the homelessness legislation from a former HA tenant who is subsequently repossessed, a local authority will take account of all factors relevant to a particular case.
(2) what plans he has to introduce further sites for the disposal of low- level nuclear waste in East Anglia;
(3) on what date he expects to publish the findings of his review of waste management disposal;
(4) when he will take a decision about the level of nuclear waste disposed of at the Milton landfill pit near Cambridge;
(5) what representations he has received on his plans to allow the dumping of low-level nuclear waste on council landfill sites;
Column 1156(6) what further consultation he intends to carry out with the councils and the residents in the Lewes area before deciding whether Beddingham landfill site is to be approved as a site for the disposal of low-level nuclear waste; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins: One of the proposals in the Department's consultation paper, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary Conclusions", published in August, was that waste producers should be encouraged to make greater use of the controlled burial of low-level radioactive waste in landfill sites. The Department has received a large number of responses to the review, which are being given full consideration. A statement of future policy will be made in due course.
There are no proposals in relation to specific sites. However, Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution consults the relevant waste regulatory authority, local councils and water undertakers, before issuing authorisations for controlled burial.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what discussions he has had with the European Commission under its urban waste water treatment directive for the classification of all waters south of the Humber bridge as coastline;
(2) what part the National Rivers Authority plays in classifying rivers and coastline for the purposes of the urban waste water treatment directive;
(3) what discussion he has had with Yorkshire Water Services Ltd. concerning the designation of the city of Hull as a coastal city for the purposes of the EC directive on urban waste water treatment; (4) with whom he had discussions before the classification of all waters south of the Humber bridge as coastline;
(5) what estimates has his Department made of the savings in capital costs arising from the classification of Hull as a seaside resort for the purposes of the directive on urban waste water treatment.
Mr. Atkins: The EC's urban waste water treatment directive provides for waters to be identified according to their sensitivity to inter alia eutrophication--sensitive areas--or according to their natural dispersion characteristics--high dispersion areas. It also requires that the seaward limits of estuaries should be identified for the directive's purposes.
After public consultation on the criteria for the identification of sensitive areas and HNDAs, the NRA proposed that, for the purposes of this directive, the seaward limit of the Humber estuary be drawn at the Humber bridge and that the coastal area to the east of that be identified as an HNDA. The NRA advised the Department that no further environmental benefit will accrue from the provision of levels of sewage treatment in addition to the minimum requirements for HNDAs in the directive at the locations so identified.
Following discussions with English Nature and the water companies I announced on 18 May 1994 the identification of 33 sensitive areas and 58 HNDAs. These decisions were communicated to the European Commission.
The Director General of Water Services published on 28 July 1994 his estimate of £6 billion for the cost of
Column 1157implementation of the UWWTD in England and Wales. This estimate took account of the decisions taken on sensitive areas and HNDAs.