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Cement Kilns (Pollution)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which member states of the European Union allow the burning of secondary liquid fuels in cement kilns with limits on the emission of particulates and other products of combustion more restrictive than those which apply in the United Kingdom. [17696]

Mr. Clappison: Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution wrote to member states in the European Union in 1994 requesting information on the emission regulations applicable to cement plants burning secondary liquid fuels. The response was poor and consequently this information is not available.

Housing Associations

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the number of housing association homes for rent which will be constructed in 1996-97; and what is his estimate for funding levels for 1996-97. [15484]

Mr. Clappison: Estimates of funding for housing associations and the number of homes that they will provide in 1996-97 have recently been published by the Housing Corporation as part of the approved development programme. Public funding for the ADP during the year will be £1,062.8 million, including £40 million receipts, of which some £786.7 million will be used to provide homes for rent. In addition, schemes funded through the ADP are expected to attract some £827 million of private finance.

The ADP is expected to provide around 28,000 housing association homes for rent during 1996-97 through new build and rehabilitation. Funding from the ADP, local authorities and other sources is expected to provide a total of around 60,000 additional social lettings for rent or shared ownership in 1996-97.

Cremations and Burials

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of state for the Environment if he will make a statement on his meeting on the re-use of graves and problems of cremation and burial with Reverend Dr. Peter Tupp, Lord Young of Dartington and other representatives of the National Funerals college. [15750]

Sir Paul Beresford: The Secretary of State has not met representatives from the National Funerals college because policy responsibility for matters relating to burial and cremation rests with the Home Office. He did, however, meet the Rev. Dr. Peter Jupp on 5 February as part of a delegation representing the Churches' Group on Funeral Services at Cemeteries and Crematoria. The meeting was held to discuss issues relating to the potential sale of local authority crematoriums. The Secretary of State told the delegation that he hoped local authorities would consider the potential merits of transferring their crematoriums to the private sector and that he had provided time-limited financial measures to encourage authorities to review the position carefully. He confirmed, however, that these measures were enabling ones only,

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and that local authorities will have the discretion either to retain or sell their crematoriums, according to their own assessment of local needs and circumstances. The delegation said that, in its view, such decisions should take into account whether transfer to the private sector would put funeral directing businesses and crematoriums in common ownership and should have regard to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission Report on Service Corporation International (CM20880). The meeting agreed that officials from the Department and from the Churches' group should continue to liaise on issues relating to Department of the Environment's area of responsibility.

Playing Fields

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will collate figures on the number of acres of playing fields on which development has been refused; and if he will make a statement. [15752]

Sir Paul Beresford: My Department does not hold information on this basis. The Sports Council is compiling a register of sports pitches under threat from proposals for development, but even this would not answer the question.

Local planning authorities have been advised, in planning policy guidance note 17(PPG17), to consider the longer-term need for playing fields, both by schools and the wider community. In addition, before allowing their development, authorities should consider proposals against policies in the local plan, including the need for public open space. Last July the Government published their sports White Paper, "Sport: Raising the Game", which makes it clear that the Government are concerned about the fate of all playing fields, not only those used by schools. The Government are currently consulting on a proposal that the Sports Council should be made a statutory consultee on planning proposals affecting all playing fields. This would ensure that local planning authorities are aware of any deficiency in playing field provision in making any decision on proposals to develop playing fields.

Public Bodies

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department publish (a) annual reports, (b) annual accounts, (c) the minutes of meetings, (d) the agendas of meetings and (e) a register of members' interests, indicating in each case if this is (i) under a statutory requirement or (ii) voluntary. [16821]

Sir Paul Beresford: Details of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by my Department are listed in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies 1995". A copy is available in the House of Commons Library.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to him on Tuesday 25 April 1995, Official Report, column 474. The information contained in that answer--No. 20496--remains correct with the following exceptions: Letchworth Garden city corporation ceased to be a public body on 30 September 1995 and Leeds development corporation has been wound up. The registers of

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members' interests of the British Board of Agreement and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee are now voluntarily available for public inspection.

Two new executive NDPBs have been established since April 1995, the Local Government Residuary Body and the Environment Agency, and my Department has taken on responsibility for the Health and Safety Commission and Executive. The new bodies and the Health and Safety Commission and Executive are statutorily required to publish annual reports and accounts. None of the new bodies publishes agendas or minutes of meetings. The Environment Agency will, like the National Rivers Authority, be under a statutory requirement to make agendas and minutes of the regional committees available to the public.

Millennium Exhibition

Sir Norman Fowler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had concerning the site of the millennium exhibition in his capacity as Minister for London; what advice he has given; and if he will make a statement. [17751]

Mr. Gummer: The case for Greenwich has been mentioned to me regularly by London organisations and individuals in the course of meetings on other issues. These are too numerous to list. Whenever the exhibition is raised, I explain that the decision is for the Millennium Commission and not for the Government.

Waste Management Licensing

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to revise the fees and charges for waste management licensing; and if he will make a statement. [17877]

Mr. Clappison: My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment, for Wales and for Scotland have made the Waste Management Licensing (Fees and Charges) Scheme 1996 under section 41 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The scheme has been made with the approval of the Treasury and comes into force on 1 April 1996.

In line with the "polluter pays" principle, the financial objective of the charging scheme is full recovery of the costs of supervising sites licensed under section 35 of the 1990 Act; and the cost of considering licence applications. With the aim of fulfilling this objective, the 1996 charging scheme increases subsistence charges by 15 per cent. and application fees by 2.75 per cent.

In order to reduce the effect of the introduction of charges on small businesses, we set some of them at 70 per cent. of our assessment of full cost recovery in 1994-95 and 1995-96. The abrupt ending of this transitional provision would have had a disproportionate impact on the businesses affected. We have therefore decided that the transitional provision should be retained for one year longer than was originally intended and should be set at 85 per cent. of our assessment of full cost recovery in 1996-97.

As required by section 41 of the 1990 Act, a copy of the 1996 charging scheme is being laid before the House and placed in the Library of the House.

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Subsequent charging schemes for waste manage licensing will be made under sections 41 and 42 of the Environment Act 1995 on the basis of proposals submitted by the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and they will reflect the costs incurred by the agencies in their operation of the licensing system.


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