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Mr. Nicholas Baker: It is for individual probation committees to decide what measures to take to live within their budget. I understand that committees are still considering how best to plan their 1995 96 expenditure in the light of the Chancellor's Budget statement.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the effects of the White Paper, "Continuity and Change", published in July 1994 for the Prison Service.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Many of the developments outlined in the White Paper, such as taking responsibility for pay and grading, developing effective management systems and improving the measurement of performance, are already reflected in the Prison Service's programme of work. A review of the senior management structures in Home Office agencies, including the Prison Service, is planned to take place in the second half of 1995; this will take into account the White Paper's proposals for a new senior management structure in the civil service.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. George Howarth, dated 19 December 1994:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about plans to re-open Lowdham Grange prison.
Proposals for the re-opening of Lowdham Grange prison are currently under consideration. No final decision has yet been reached.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 14 December, Official Report, column 693 on what grounds the immigration officer was satisfied that the requirements of section 128 130 of the immigration rules effective on 1 October 1994 were complied with in relation to the crew of the Ofelia having regard to its journey from Ullapool
Column 962on or about 10 December 1994 to Lerwick; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: A relief crew for the FV Ofelia arrived at Glasgow airport on 10 December 1994 and they were given leave to enter as the immigration officer was satisfied that they were seamen under contract to join a ship on which they were to leave the United Kingdom. I understand the Ofelia has now arrived in Lerwick from Ullapool in order to take on fuel prior to leaving British waters with possible further stops at United Kingdom ports en route.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will immediately investigate the manning of FV Ofelia in or near Lerwick harbour and in British waters in respect of contravention of immigration rules.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The present crew of the FV Ofelia were given leave to enter the United Kingdom at Glasgow airport on 10 December on condition that they joined the vessel and subsequently left the United Kingdom in that vessel. The Immigration Act 1971 contains powers to deal with seamen who fail to comply with the conditions of their admission and the Immigration Service will not hesitate to use these where necessary. I therefore see no need for any further investigation.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what rights the victim of crime in an individual case will have to challenge the Parole Board's decision to release a prisoner.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Victims of crime have no rights to challenge a decision of the parole board, although any relevant representations submitted before a decision is taken would normally be included in the papers which are considered by the parole board.
Sir Peter Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans his Department has to undertake a full economic appraisal of all the recommendations included in the Royal Commission on environmental pollution's 18th report on transport and the environment.
Sir Peter Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the organisations and individuals who contributed oral evidence to the Royal Commission on environmental pollution's 18th report on transport and the environment.
Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how the amount of money allowed by his Department for the inclusion of 9,000 Frankley residents into Birmingham reflects the pro rata to population formula used by his Department;
(2) what is the pro rata to population calculation which his Department has used in the calculation of the capping limit for Birmingham city council for 1995 96;
(3) how much he has allowed in Birmingham city council's capping limit for 1995 96 for the addition of an extra 9,000 residents of Frankley transferred to Birmingham as a result of boundary changes.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Non-domestic rates are distributed on the basis of population adjusted for boundary changes. Revenue support grant is determined by standard spending assessment calculations. In general, SSAs, other than the part relating to capital financing, are adjusted for boundary changes using population figures. However, for 1995 96 we are proposing to use pupil numbers to adjust three elements of the education calculation--for primary, secondary and post-16 education.
Relevant authorities have been sent information showing the calculations used in the boundary change adjustments. The boundary change involving 8,750 Bromsgrove residents has the following effect on the provisional SSAs for 1995 96:
|£ --------------------------------------------------------------------- Birmingham City Council |+2,447,310 Bromsgrove District Council |-664,019 Hereford and Worcester County Council |-1,928,991 West Midlands Fire and Civil Defence Authority |+145,700 West Mercia Police Authority |-379,115 West Midlands Police Authority |+379,115
The boundary change adjustment within Birmingham city council's notional amount for 1995 96 is therefore £2,447,310.
The Department is consulting on proposals for 1995 96 standard spending assessments and the content of the draft limitation of council tax and precepts (relevant notional amounts) report (England) 1995 96, sent to authorities on 1 December, and would welcome representations from authorities. We have had a representation from Birmingham city council, and we will consider it before taking our final decisions on the settlement.
Mr. Atkins: The supply of water unfit for human consumption by water undertakers is an offence under section 70 of the Water Industry Act 1991. Where incidents occur which may involve such a supply, they are investigated on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment by the drinking water inspectorate. Consideration is given as to whether there is sufficient evidence to justify proceedings, and whether the public interest requires them.
Sir Paul Beresford: A number of learned societies occupy courtyard buildings at Burlington house, which were erected for them in the late 19th century at Government expense. The accommodation has since been provided rent free to the societies, including external and structural repairs. Following recommendations on future management of the Government's civil estate made earlier this year by the Prime Minister's efficiency unit, my Department approached the learned societies to discuss future arrangements for ownership and management of their buildings. At a preliminary meeting in September, it was agreed that it was essential to establish, as clearly as possible, the legal basis for the present arrangements. The societies now anticipate being able to provide copies of the relevant documentation which they hold, early in the new year. Once the legal uncertainties have been resolved, I intend to have discussions with representatives of the societies about the future of their buildings.
Mr. Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table setting out, for each Government Department (a) the total stock of commercial property owned by each Department, by both square footage and number of units, (b) the amount of such commercial property which is currently empty, by both square footage and number of units and (c) the proportion of such empty commercial property as a percentage of the total stock owned by each Department, in terms of both square footage and of number of units.
Sir Paul Beresford: The Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible for the Government office estate, space on which is allocated to Departments in relation to their operational needs. This estate, known as the common user estate, is made up of over 3,000 buildings with a total floor area of approximately 7,515,000 m2, of which 2,801,000 m2 is freehold and the remaining 4,714,000 m2 is leasehold. Currently, some 934,700 m2 or, 12.5 per cent., of the CUE is vacant.
In addition, the Department of the Environment has its own, specialist, departmental estate with an area of some 87,000 m2, none of which is vacant.
Mr. Atkins: Representations have been made by the British Astronomical Association through its campaign for dark skies about skyglow, which is caused when artificial light is scattered by dust particles and water droplets in the atmosphere.
Light can be reflected upwards from a variety of sources. Given the legitimate desire for roads and public areas to be well lit for security and amenity reasons, there is a limit to how much of this reflected light can be eliminated. However, significant improvements can be achieved by lowering the intensity of and redesigning some existing lighting schemes and encouraging the sensitive design of new ones.
We are keeping under review whether other measures might usefully be taken to minimise excessive lighting, taking account of the recent findings of an informal survey of local authorities' handling of complaints about light pollution. At present it seems that many of these problems are most appropriately tackled through education and guidance, rather than regulation.
Mr. Curry: No. Bids for funding from the single regeneration budget were considered individually against the criteria set out in the bidding guidance. Government regional offices will be ready to discuss with the partnerships concerned issues relevant to the performance of the bid.
Column 966projects to be funded under the single regeneration budget (a) how many bids were not successful, (b) what was the total value of the unsuccessful bids, (c) how many (i) successful and (ii) unsuccessful bids involve a local authority as active participant (d) how many (1) successful and (2) unsuccessful bids support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils, and (e) what was the value of (x) successful and (y) unsuccessful bids to support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils; and if he will make a statement for (A) Eastern region, (B) East Midlands region, (C) London region, (D) Merseyside region, (E) North East region, (F) North West region, (G) South East region, (H) South region, (I) West Midlands region. (J) Yorkshire region and (K) Humberside region.
(a) 268 bids were unsuccessful;
(b) the total value of funds requested by these bids in 1995 96 was approximately £144 million;
(c) (i) 183 successful bids had local authorities as a partner; (c) (ii) 192 unsuccessful bids had local authorities as a parnter;
(d) (1) 51 successful bids contained proposals to support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils;
(d) (2) 38 unsuccessful bids contained proposals to support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils;
(e) (x) the total value of funds obtained by successful bids which contained proposals to support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils is approximately £92 million in 1995 96;
(e) (y) the total value of funds requested by unsuccessful bids which contained proposals to support the teaching of ethnic minority pupils is approximately £49 million in 1995 96.
The breakdown by Government offices for the regions is given in the table, using the references in the hon. Gentleman's question:
Question reference number: Government Office |(a) |(b) £ million |(c)(i) |(c)(ii) |(d)(1) |(d)(2) |(e)(x) £ million |(e)(y) £ million ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eastern |11 |2.66 |13 |5 |5 |- |1.449 |- East Midlands |15 |9.487 |11 |13 |3 |3 |2.39 |0.282 London |75 |52.513 |38 |52 |14 |17 |22.442 |19.394 Merseyside |9 | 7.563 |14 |7 |1 |- |1.1 |- North East |26 |6.395 |27 |18 |3 |- |4.955 |- North West |35 |14.930 |19 |25 |6 |5 |8.287 |2.690 South East |33 |8.415 |19 |25 |4 |2 |2 |0.87 South West |24 |7.373 |10 |21 |2 |- |4.939 |- West Midlands |24 |13.999 |12 |14 |6 |6 |14.071 |9.639 Yorkshire and Humberside |16 |20.564 |20 |12 |7 |5 |27.511 |16.039 |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- Total |268 |143.899 |183 |192 |51 |38 |89.144 |48.914
Mr. Robert B. Jones: It is the responsibility of each local authority, in drawing up its annual housing strategy, to consider the housing needs of all people living in its area, including people sleeping rough. In 1994 95 the Government are providing £6.8 million in grants to over 150 projects across England that provide direct, practical assistance to people who are either homeless or in danger of becoming so and who might otherwise sleep rough.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what use his Department has made of executive search agencies in filling vacancies within his Department and executive agencies administered by his Department during the last year; and how much these services have cost his Department.
Sir Paul Beresford: Executive search agencies have been used to assist with the filling of three vacancies in the planning inspectorate and the Buying Agency during the last year. The cost of their services was £73,536.
Mr. Atkins: Cemfuel is a blend of residues from solvent recovery plants and other solvents that are not suitable for economic recovery. Cemfuel can be used only if it meets a specification agreed in advance with Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and which covers limits on, for example, chlorine, polychlorinated biphenyls, sulphur and heavy metals content.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what investigations and research his Department has carried out into the impact of the use of Cemfuel by industry; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins: As I said in my statement in answer to a question from the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan) on 23 June Official Report, column 261 before trial burning of secondary liquid fuel in cement kilns is approved, satisfactory baseline data on the normal operation of the cement manufacture will need to be provided to Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. This will cover details of the kiln, its operating characteristics and the emissions to the environment during normal operation.
Trials will be run in accordance with a schedule of conditions to be agreed in advance with HMIP. Operators will be required to make ongoing reports in the progress of all trials. For monitoring purposes, HMIP will impose an enhanced and stricter regime to meet the particular circumstances of the trials.
The trials will be principally concerned with the testing and monitoring of releases. Continuous monitors for particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and oxygen, calibrated to the satisfaction of HMIP, will have to be installed before trials commence. HMIP will carry out independent testing to verify the results of the trials.
Monitoring results obtained during trial burns will be used by the company to prepare an environmental impact assessment report which will be submitted to HMIP. This report will be evaluated by HMIP when deciding whether the practice of burning these materials can be allowed on a more permanent basis. The monitoring results, plus any application from the company to burn secondary liquid fuel on a permanent basis will be placed on the public register.
Mr. Atkins: Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution is responsible for protecting the environment under the terms of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and has been closely supervising these tests. Results obtained so far indicate no cause for concern. The emissions of dioxins and heavy metals are well within the limits that HMIP will impose on incinerators. Milk
Column 968monitoring by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for dioxins has indicated no ill effects from the burning of Cemfuel. HMIP is keeping a close watch on the emissions from the trials and will shut them down if the environment is being damaged.
Mr. Trotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of opencast planning applications which have been refused by the mineral planning authorities and appeals that have been lodged since January 1989 with his Department, indicating in each case (a) the date of refusal, (b) the date of the appeal, (c) the date the inspector submitted his report to the Secretary of State, (d) the date when he arrived at his decision and (e) whether the appeal was granted or refused.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what inquiries the National Rivers Authority has undertaken and what reports it has received in respect of releases of toxic material into the Tyne from the site of the Anglo-Great Lakes Corporation, Newcastle, after the works ceased operating.
Mr. Atkins: The results of National Rivers Authority monitoring of controlled waters, including the Tyne, are on public registers in NRA regional offices. I understand that relevant monitoring shows no evidence of pollution before or since the Anglo-Great Lakes Corporation ceased operations.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations his Department has received regarding control of scrap yards; what plans his Department had to introduce changes regarding the control of scrap yards; and if he will make a statement.
(2) what discussions he has had regarding problems in meeting commitments for mandatory housing renovation and improvements grants; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Matters relating to grants for house renovation and improvement were on the agenda of the housing investment programme meetings offered by the Department to all housing authorities in England. In addition, the Department has received 149 written representations.
Sir Paul Beresford: Minerals planning guidance note No. 6 published by the Department in April 1994, which sets out guidelines for aggregates provision in England, states that the Government will undertake an examination of the marine sand and gravel resources in the Bristol channel. It is expected that this research will be commenced next year.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Legislation repealed by the Local Government Act 1992 is listed in schedule 4 to that Act. Other legislation that was affected is referred to, where relevant, in the body of the Act and in schedules 1 and 3.
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by region the current waiting list times and numbers for schemes under the home energy efficiency scheme; what additional steps he intends to take to reduce waiting times; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The average waiting times by region for work under the home energy efficiency scheme, based on information supplied by installers appointed by the energy action grants agency, are set out in the table. It is not possible to provide a regional breakdown of the numbers of householders waiting for HEES work to be done, because the practice of installers in recording information about their clients, who contact them directly, varies. However EAGA estimates that, nationally, about 100,000 householders are waiting. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor has announced that an extra £30 million will be allocated to the home energy efficiency scheme in each of the next three years. This will bring the total budget for the scheme to more than £100 million a year--a 185 per cent. increase on the 1993 94 allocation. This will enable 600,000 homes a year to be treated.
Country |Region |Waiting time (weeks) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wales |11 Scotland |6 England |London |10 |South West |13 |South East |10 |North East |16 |North West |10 |West Midlands |10 |East Midlands |14 |Yorkshire and Humberside|13
Sir Paul Beresford: It would not be appropriate to require planning permission to be obtained simply for the removal of a public call box; that is more properly a matter for commercial judgment. Telecommunications code system operators are granted a general planning permission to install, alter or replace public call boxes through the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988. However, before carrying out such works they must give the local planning authority the opportunity to say whether it wishes to approve details of siting and appearance. If the authority is not satisfied and there is a serious threat to amenity, it can refuse such approval.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the Government's commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions following the Chancellor's statement on value added tax on domestic fuel.