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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 19 February 1996


Hunting Engineering

Mr. Flynn: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, what investments the Church Commissioners hold in Hunting Engineering. [15164]

Mr. Alison: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 13 February, Official Report, column 528. Hunting Engineering is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hunting plc, in which we hold no shares.


Trust Councils

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his Department's policy in respect of trust councils. [15170]

Sir Paul Beresford: We have no plans for a trust councils initiative.

Secure Accommodation

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the standard spending assessment for each local authority social services department for placing young offenders in secure accommodation for each year since 1988. [15439]

Sir Paul Beresford: There has been no separate standard spending assessment, or grant-related expenditure assessment in the case of years prior to 1990-91, for the placement of young offenders in secure accommodation. The need to spend on this function has, however, been taken into account in the personal social services element of authorities' SSAs and GREs.

Solent Shellfish Beds

Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 13 February, Official Report, column 481, if he will list the dates, positions, and results of the National Rivers Authority monitoring of the Solent under the shellfish waters directive for each month and year for which the NRA holds records. [15553]

Mr. Clappison: The NRA has monitored all designated shellfish waters in the Solent at the intervals specified in the directive since 1989 and holds records prior to this date. The location of sampling points and results of the NRA's monitoring are contained in the public registers maintained by the NRA.

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Rough Sleepers Initiative

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will extend the rough sleepers initiative outside London to make provision for night shelters for those who are prevented from using existing accommodation because they are drunk or drugged.[15911]

Mr. Clappison: The Housing White Paper, "Our Future Homes", published on 27 June 1995, said that the Government would continue the rough sleepers initiative in central London beyond March 1996, when it was due to end, and that we would consider assisting the development of the successful RSI model of co-operation between statutory and voluntary sector agencies in other towns and cities where rough sleeping could be demonstrated to be a major problem.

Proposals for taking forward these plans were set out in an interdepartmental consultation paper "Rough Sleepers Initiative: Future Plans", issued on 3 October 1995. A strategy paper will be issued shortly.


Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what representations he has received in connection with the proposal by Nickerson Biocem to release genetically modified potatoes; [15301]

Mr. Clappison: Two representations have been received from the public on the application from Nickerson Biocem for consent to release genetically modified potatoes. The first representation consisted of a petition signed by 17 people registering their concern over the proposed release and the time allowed for access to public information prior to the issuance of a consent. The second representation requested further details on the proposed release.

Currently one application for consent to release genetically modified potatoes is being reviewed by my Department. The proposed release site for this application is Pitgaveny estate, Elgin in Morayshire.

Since the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1992 came into force on 1 February 1993, genetically modified potatoes have been released at the following sites during the periods indicated:

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Sites DatesYear
Trumpington, Cambridge May-October1993
Trumpington, Cambridge April-October1994 and 1995
Contrannie, Perthshire April-October1995
Trumpington, Cambridge April-October1995
Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire April-October1993
Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire April-October1993
Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire April-October1994 and 1995
Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire April-October1994 and 1995
Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire April-October1994 and 1995
Oathlaw, Angus June-August1993
Oathlaw, Angus May-August1994 and 1995
Rothamstead, Herts Spring-Autumn1994 and 1995
Rothamstead, Herts April-September1995
Dundee and West Linton May-September1995

All consents to release genetically modified organisms, including genetically modified potatoes, contain a number of specified and general conditions. These include a requirement on the consent holder for monitoring the release and to report to the Secretary of State on the outcome of the release. The consent holder is also required to keep himself, and the Secretary of State, informed of any conditions which may lead to changes in the risk assessment of the release. Compliance with the conditions of a consent is enforced by specialist inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive.

Funding allocated for research relating to the release of genetically modified organisms under my Department's research programme for each of the past five years is as follows:

Right-to-buy Legislation

Mr. Dover: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many homes have been purchased each year under the right-to-buy legislation. [15584]

Mr. Clappison: The available information is in the table.

Right-to-buy sales in England, 1980-81 to 1994-95


(1) Provisional.

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These figures include sales by local authorities, new towns and housing associations.

Local Government, London

Mr. Dunn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to instruct the local government boundary commission to review the local government boundaries of London boroughs. [15634]

Sir Paul Beresford: We have no plans at present to direct the Local Government Commission to review the boundaries of London boroughs.

Supplementary Credit Approval (Bristol)

Ms Primarolo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when Bristol city council will receive its supplementary credit approval for 1996-97; and what factors have led to the delay in its issue. [15472]

Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 16 February 1996]: Bristol city council was asked to reconsider whether the reorganisation in its area could be implemented more economically and was asked to submit a revised bid by the end of January. An allocation was made on 15 February.



Mr. Heppell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what (a) plans and (b) facilities Her Majesty's Stationery Office has to provide (i) Acts of Parliament, (ii) codes of practice and (iii) other documentation in (1) European Community languages, (2) Braille, (3) large print and (4) audio tape. [14483]

Mr. Willetts: As this is a purely operational matter, I have asked the chief executive of HMSO to reply directly to the hon. Member.

Letter from Mike Lynn to Mr. John Heppell, dated 9 February 1996:

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