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Data Protection

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received from local authorities about the cost of compliance with the Data Protection Act 1984; and if he will make a statement. [25447]

Mr. Raynsford: I have received no representations. I am aware that the Home Office have prepared a Compliance Cost Assessment estimating the financial implications to local authorities, amongst others, of the Data Protection Bill currently before Parliament. This estimates that there will be recurring costs of £29 million and non-recurring costs of £104 million for local government. The Government took all pressures on councils into account in the provisional local government finance settlement for 1998-99.

Opencast Coal

Mr. Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many responses his Department received to the consultation paper on the review of policy towards opencast coal; if he will list the respondents; and if he will place copies of the responses in the Library. [25330]

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 319

Mr. Raynsford: My Department has received 396 responses to the consultation paper. I have placed a list of the respondents in the Libraries of the House. Copies of the responses will be available in my Department's library on Monday 9 February.

Sewage Waste

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will review the discharge of sewage waste into coastal waters so as to make secondary treatment a mandatory minimum. [25256]

Angela Eagle: This matter is already under review. The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive sets secondary treatment as the norm for coastal discharges, unless it can be shown, through "comprehensive studies", that primary treatment only can be provided without any adverse environmental impact. The Environment Agency is responsible for certifying comprehensive studies. We have asked the Agency to ensure that the scientific basis for these studies is rigorously tested. We have also asked the Agency to keep us in touch with developments.

Bridleways

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made for each relevant local authority in England of the number and length of bridleways (a) recorded on the definitive map, (b) under consideration for registration on the definitive map and (c) eligible for consideration for registration. [25324]

Angela Eagle: Information is available only on the length of bridleways, as follows:

Highway authorityBridleways (km)
Avon200
Bedfordshire1,400
Berkshire260
Bolton2
Buckinghamshire649
Calderdale--
Cambridgeshire430
Cheshire124
Cleveland200
Cornwall522
Cumbria1,878
Derbyshire494
Devon570
Dorset1,600
Durham573
East Sussex678
Enfield--
Essex680
Gloucestershire360
Hampshire850
Herefordshire358
Worcestershire648
Harrow--
Hertfordshire576
Humberside453
Isle of Wight266
Kent694
Kingston on Thames--
Kirklees--
Lancashire388
Leeds148
Leicestershire584
Lincolnshire770
Norfolk443
Northamptonshire600
Northumberland1,295
North Yorkshire1,609
Nottingham799
Oxfordshire970
Shropshire795
Solihull7
Somerset927
Staffordshire355
Suffolk553
Surrey1,045
Tameside6
Warwickshire460
Waltham Forest--
West Sussex1,006
Wiltshire1,540
Wirral MBC30
Total28,795 (17,882 miles)

Countryside Commission data from 1991 and 1996 surveys; data for Cambridgeshire and Dorset are for 1998.


29 Jan 1998 : Column: 320

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what level of funding he has allocated to (a) the maintenance of existing bridleways and (b) the creation of new bridleways and new bridleway links; and if he will make a statement. [25321]

Angela Eagle: A specific figure for the funding of the bridleway network is not available. Revenue expenditure for local authorities on public rights of way, including bridleways, is taken into account in the calculation of local authorities' standard spending assessments (SSAs), as used in the distribution of revenue support grant. It is not covered by a distinct SSA component, but is included together with expenditure on many other services within the district level sub-block--"All Other Services".

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made on modification of the definitive map of bridleways; when this is planned to be completed; and if he will make a statement. [25323]

Angela Eagle: The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires highway authorities to prepare and maintain a definitive map for their areas, showing all classes of public rights of way, including bridleways. They must keep their definitive maps under continuous review and modify them when appropriate.

Cycle Routes

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Regions what is the current number of (a) exclusive cycle routes, (b) cycle routes combined with bridleways and (c) canal towpaths combined with bridleways in England and Wales; and what plans he has to increase that number. [25322]

Angela Eagle: I regret that information on the numbers of routes is not readily available. I will write to my hon. Friend about what is available. Local authorities should consider the provision of recreational facilities (including cycle routes) in drawing up their structure and local plans.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 321

Climate Change

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how the Government plan to ensure that the matter of global warming is addressed by the (a) WTO, (b) IMF, (c) G7 and (d) OECD. [25480]

Mr. Meacher: Global warming, or climate change, is already discussed at Ministerial and official meetings of the OECD, and was a feature of the G7 discussions in Denver last year. The Government are committed to taking forward further discussions regarding action arising from the Kyoto Protocol in these fora.

The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment held useful and informative discussions with the secretariats of a number of multilateral environmental agreements last summer, and intends to repeat the exercise this year; we hope very much that the secretariat to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will be able to participate.

The IMF aims for sustainable development for all of its members. It does not, however, have a specific mandate to deal with global warming.

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the contribution of the draft European Union Energy Products Directive to the United Kingdom climate change strategy; and if he will make a statement. [25757]

Angela Eagle: The Energy Products Directive is still under discussion within Europe, and its final form, if agreed, is unlikely to be identical to the draft. It is, however, clear that the measures in the directive would make a small but significant contribution towards delivering the UK's climate change objectives.

Environment Agency

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that the Environment Agency levies charges that recover fully the costs of its services to companies. [25519]

Angela Eagle: The Environment Agency's charges to companies are subject to annual Ministerial review. The Agency will shortly be submitting to Ministers charging proposals for 1998-99, following consultation with companies and their representatives. Ministers will examine the charges to see that they recover relevant costs in accordance with the legislation.

Disabled Tenants

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what amounts were allocated to housing associations for aids and adaptations for disabled tenants in each of the last five years; and what will be the funding for 1998-99. [25803]

Mr. Raynsford: Allocations to housing associations for aids and adaptations for disabled tenants are made from the Housing Corporation's overall budget for works to existing properties, which is part of their Approved Development Programme. Eventual out-turn of both the overall works budget and the component for aids and adaptations may vary from initial allocations.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 322

Initial allocations and out-turn figures for the last five years, where available, are:

£ million

1993-941994-951995-961996-971997-98
Initial allocations11.7613.5119.5713.698.93
Out-turnn/a12.3620.6116.75(2)7.06

(2) Figures to end December 1997.


The Approved Development Programme for 1998-99 will be announced shortly.


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