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Sewage Outfall (Yaverland)

Dr. Brand: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research his Department has evaluated on, and with which bodies his Department has discussed, the high dispersal classification of the proposed Yaverland, Isle of Wight, long raw sewage outfall. [25478]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 28 January 1998]: Under the terms of the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, Areas of High Natural Dispersion (HNDAs) were identified by the Secretary of State in 1994, on the basis of recommendations by the then National Rivers Authority, using criteria agreed following public consultation.

The Environment Agency has recently reviewed HNDA designations, as required by the Directive and has submitted preliminary recommendations to the Department.

The proposed outfall at Yaverland will receive a minimum of primary treatment, subject to the outcome of a comprehensive study into the impact of the discharge on the receiving waters. The Environment Agency is responsible for assessing the comprehensive study. This process includes consultation with the Isle of Wight Council, Bembridge Harbour Company, Southern Sea Fisheries Committee, English Nature and MAFF/CEFAS.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 326

Copies of the study are available for public inspection at the Environment Agency's Isle of Wight office. 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.

Nursery Education

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for each local authority with responsibility for education the amount by which the increase in revenue support grant adjusted for changes in nursery voucher funding and increased NNDR differs from the amount that has been passported through the capping regime to raise standards in schools; and what is the total figure for all local authorities. [25981]

Mr. Raynsford [holding answer 28 January 1998]: I have placed the figures requested in the Library of the House. It is not possible to adjust revenue support grant in isolation from national non domestic rates, so the figures are expressed in terms of the sum of revenue support grant and non domestic rates, adjusted for changes in nursery voucher funding.

Civil Service Staff

Mr. Rhodri Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of Civil Service staff of grade 5 and above within his Department (a) have spent their entire civil service career within his Department or its predecessor Departments, (b) have had secondments to (i) the private sector and (ii) other Departments and (c) have come from other Departments. [26024]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 28 January 1998]: There are currently 264 staff in the Senior Civil Service (grade 5 and above) in the DETR and its Agencies. Of these, fewer than 10 per cent. have spent their entire careers in the Departments or its predecessors. Some 63 per cent. have had experience outside the civil service either before they joined the Department or as a secondment. In addition, some 70 per cent of the staff in the senior civil service have had loans to, or have worked in, other Government Departments. There are currently two senior civil servants on loan to DETR from other Government Departments.

Lake Windermere

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures he intends to take in relation to speed limits on Lake Windermere. [26221]

Angela Eagle: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) on 12 January 1998, Official Report, column 14.

Passenger Ships

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will place in the Library a copy of the compliance cost assessment and the EU Fiche D'impact relating to the intended proposal for a council directive for the registration of persons sailing on passenger ships. [26311]

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Ms Glenda Jackson: A Fiche D'impact was included in the European Commission's document 12395/96 which proposed a Council Directive on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships. A copy of this Document has already been placed in the House Library.

A copy of the UK's draft compliance costs assessment will be placed in the House Library.

Wychavon Local Plan

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will call in the Wychavon Local Plan for determination; and if he will make a statement. [26217]

Mr. Caborn: The Wychavon Local Plan has already been determined. It was adopted by the Council on 21 January 1998 and the Secretary of State cannot now intervene. We gave careful consideration to the plan proposals throughout each stage of the process leading to adoption and we are satisfied that there was no justification for intervention by the Secretary of State.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions how many recent representations he has received from residents of Fernhill Heath, Worcestershire concerning the Wychavon Local Plan; and if he will make a statement. [26216]

Mr. Caborn: Recently, one representation, dated 23 December 1997, was received from the hon. Member on behalf of one of his constituents in respect of Fernhill Heath. Prior to this, eight representations have been received, all during 1996. The Wychavon Local Plan was adopted by the district Council on 21 January 1998. We gave careful consideration to the plan proposals throughout each stage of the process leading to adopt and we are satisfied that there was no justification for intervention by the Secretary of State.

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal Service

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the cost of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal Service has been in each year since its establishment, at 1997 prices. [25778]

Mr. Raynsford: The cost of Leasehold Valuation Tribunals is not separately identifiable within the overall cost of Rent Assessment Panels. The estimated cost of the Panels in 1997-98 is £5.5 million.

Leasehold Enfranchisement

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact on the rated enfranchisement of the establishment of the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service. [25779]

Mr. Raynsford: It is difficult to assess what impact the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service, and its successor organisation, the Leasehold Advisory Service have had on the rate of enfranchisement. In many cases enfranchisement is achieved by agreement, even where statutory rights are invoked, and no central record of such transactions exists. However, in the period from February 1994 until June 1997 the Leasehold Advisory Service responded to 11,399 queries relating to enfranchisement.

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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the cost of the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service in each year since its inception. [25780]

Mr. Raynsford: The Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service received funding from my Department through the special grants programme from April 1993 to December 1996. Grant paid to them in each year was as follows:

£
1993-9427,575
1994-9575,000
1995-9678,711
1996 (April-December)83,748

In January 1997 the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service was relaunched as the Leasehold Advisory Service with a remit extended to providing advice on any aspect of residential long leasehold. Since January 1997 they have received grant of £269,537 under section 94 of the Housing Act 1996.


Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to evaluate the effectiveness of the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service; and if he will make a statement. [25781]

Mr. Raynsford: A programme of work, with performance indicators where appropriate, is agreed with the Leasehold Advisory Service each year to assist in evaluating their effectiveness against their objectives.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on Government policy towards leasehold enfranchisement. [25782]

Mr. Raynsford: We are committed to simplifying the rules governing the purchase of freeholds by leaseholders and we intend to bring forward a new package of reforms to assist leaseholders. We are currently considering the scope and practicability of possible new measures. We expect to make an announcement about our proposals and invite comments from interested parties in the Spring.


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