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Rising Sun Sports Ground, Wallsend

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will call in for determination planning application NT074496DM made to North Tyneside council for development at the Rising Sun sports ground, Wallsend. [38787]

Sir Paul Beresford: The Secretary of State is aware of this application for five houses and two bungalows at Kings road, Wallsend and has asked the council for more information about it. When he has received this, he will consider the issues raised by the application and decide whether to call it in. I have asked the Government office for the north-east to write and let the hon. Member know his decision.

Planning Inspectorate

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what performance targets he has set for the Planning Inspectorate for the financial year 1996-97; and how these compare with targets and outturns for earlier years. [38262]

Mr. Robert B. Jones: I have today set new performance targets for the Planning Inspectorate which reflect changes in the content and priorities of its work load. Since its launch in 1992, the proportion of inspector resources devoted to development plan inquiries has

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grown rapidly from just under 20 per cent., to 32 per cent. last year. The new targets announced today reflect this change. Taken as a package, they are demanding and will require the agency to work more effectively if they are to be met.

In particular, the timeliness target has been extended to embrace the three different methods of handling appeals. This replaces the previous target which was confined to written appeals and which did not take into account the more difficult appeals which take longer.

The principal objectives will be to continue to preserve the impartiality and quality of the inspectorate's work while seeking further to improve efficiency.

In detail, the key targets for the agency's work in England for 1996-97 are as follows:


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Offensive Poster Advertising

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to strengthen safeguards against offensive poster advertising. [37755]

Sir Paul Beresford: The display of all outdoor advertisements is subject to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Among other matters, these powers control the location, size and design of posters in relation on amenity and public safety. They do not extend to consideration of whether the subject matter of an advertisement would offend public decency or moral values, since these matters are outside planning control.

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These factors are separately addressed by a voluntary code of practice supervised by the Advertising Standards Authority, to which all reputable advertisers, including all the major outdoor poster companies, subscribe. There is no evidence to suggest that these arrangements have proved unsatisfactory or that legislative regulation is required.

Towing Caravan Exemption Certificates

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to issue a statement in

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conclusion of the review of the touring caravan exemption certificate system which operates under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. [39056]

Mr. Clappison: We have today issued a statement announcing the conclusion of the review of the touring caravan exemption certificate system. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Local Government Pension Scheme

Mr. Jacques Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress is being made to take forward his proposals for change initiative for the local government pension scheme; and if he will make a statement. [39055]

Sir Paul Beresford: Earlier in the year, we consulted widely on our proposals for change initiative for the local government pension scheme--LGPS--in England and Wales. There was wide support for our consultation proposals, which we have decided to adopt.

The LGPS will remain a public service pension scheme prescribed in regulations. The scheme's provisions will be streamlined and local authorities will be able to manage more of the scheme for themselves. We intend early in 1997-98 to make and lay before the House regulations giving effect to these changes. Our aim will be to provide

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easy-to-read regulations in plain English to assist administering authorities and employers in the operation of the scheme and, in particular, to help scheme members to understand better the benefits available to them. We shall be consulting the local authority associations and other interested parties on drafts of the regulations, which we intend to bring into force on 1 April 1998. This will allow adequate time for all the necessary administrative and other changes to be put in place and ensure a smooth implementation of the new scheme provisions.

I believe these measures will be welcomed by local government employers and employees alike and will provide a satisfactory and secure long-term basis for the LGPS.

Metropolitan Authorities

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the size of the electorate, and the name of (a) the largest and (b) the smallest of the three member wards in each of the metropolitan authorities in England; and which is the party of the councillors in each of these wards. [38753]

Sir Paul Beresford: All wards in metropolitan authorities in England are three-member wards. The table shows, for each authority, the name and size of electorate of the largest and the smallest ward. Electorate numbers are based on 1995 electoral registers.

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Largest Smallest
DistrictWardPopulationWardPopulation
Greater Manchester
BoltonDeane-cum-Heaton13,082Central7,608
BuryRamsbottom11,028Unsworth7,667
Manchester (City)Longsight11,876Hulme5,468
OldhamSaddleworth East9,948St. James5,742
RochdaleNorden and Bamford9,400Middleton West5,277
SalfordWalkden South11,390Ordsall5,473
StockportEast Bramhall12,768Brinnington7,692
TamesideAudenshaw10,140Ashton St. Peters7,688
TraffordMersey St. Mary's9,564Park6,025
WiganWinstanley11,863Norley7,541
Merseyside
KnowsleyRoby6,719Cantril Farm3,984
LiverpoolWarbreck14,223Everton4,544
St. HelensBinge and Seneley Green10,570Marshalls Cross5,959
SeftonPark11,618Netherton7,543
WirralClatterbridge13,974Bidston8,446
South Yorkshire
BarnsleyDarton10,400Wombwell North5,173
DoncasterArmthorpe13,233Intake8,396
RotherhamBramley, Ravenfield and Wickersley13,617Central6,289
SheffieldMosborough25,069Manor9,134
Tyne and Wear
GatesheadWickham South8,855Bensham5,106
Newcastle upon TyneDene10,759Scotswood5,414
North TynesideWeetslade7,842Longbenton5,892
South TynesideCleadon and East Boldon7,387Tyne Dock and
Simon Side4,772
SunderlandWashington South14,171Southwick7,379
West Midlands
BirminghamSutton Four Oaks24,484Kingsbury13,223
CoventryWoodlands14,356Westwood11,108
DudleyAmblecote14,309Netherton and Woodside7,201
SandwellTipton Green11,146St. Paul's8,147
SolihullShirley South13,510Kingshurst6,227
WalsallBloxwich West11,424Pheasey7,393
WolverhamptonBilston North10,991Heath Town8,123
West Yorkshire
BradfordOdsal12,790Keighley South9,816
CalderdaleGreetland and Stainland9,056Illingworth7,429
KirkleesBirstall and Birkenshaw13,931Deighton10,067
LeedsMorley South20,691Hunslet11,086
WakefieldStanley and Altofts13,773Castleford Whitwood9,776

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The Department does not keep records of party political affiliations.


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