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Action Zones

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the initiatives undertaken by his Department since 1 May 1997 which have involved the establishment of (a) action zones and (b) pilot schemes limited to particular geographical areas, indicating the name of the programme and the action zone or pilot scheme areas covered in each instance. [47052]

Angela Eagle: There have been no initiatives announced by my Department since 1 May 1997 to establish new area based regeneration "action zones". However, in the recent Budget statement, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £15 million funding for New Deal for Communities pathfinder projects for 1998-99. My Department is taking forward the development of the New Deal for Communities initiative in England with the Treasury, the Social Exclusion Unit and other Government Departments. The exact location of these projects is yet to be decided.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave in reply to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) about Best Value pilots and the Joint Commissioning of new social housing schemes on 11 June 1998, Official Report, columns 632-34.

UN World Environment Day

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what initiatives the Government took to promote the UN World Environment Day on 5 June. [47221]

Angela Eagle: Advertising specifically promoting World Environment Day ran in the national press and on radio on 4 and 5 June as an extension to the Are you doing your bit? advertising campaign which took place during March and April this year. My Department also launched its Climate Change Impacts programme. To draw further attention to World Environment Day, the Deputy Prime Minister, as President of the EU's Environment Council, visited both the Donana National Park in Spain and the site nearby caused by a serious spillage of chemical waste.

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Cleaner Motor Vehicles

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had, and with whom, on the production of less-polluting motor vehicles. [47336]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Ministers from my Department have held discussions with vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers, environmental groups and trade associations on the production of less polluting vehicles. These discussions are being undertaken both within the context of the EU's strategy on CO 2 emissions and the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force which the Government have established, in conjunction with industry and other bodies, and which is looking in particular at what action can be taken to improve fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle pollution. These organisations have also been involved in discussions on the EU's Auto-Oil directives, which set more stringent emissions standards for new vehicles.

Shipping Industry

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will publish the results of the working group investigating the shipping industry. [47320]

Ms Glenda Jackson: A shipping paper based on the work of the shipping working group will be published shortly after the Integrated Transport White Paper.

Government Vehicles

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to encourage the use of compressed natural gas in Government fleet vehicles. [47414]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Government Car Service announced last year that they would be converting all the cars in their fleet to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas as the cars were replaced. The Government have also taken a number of other steps to encourage the use of road fuel gases more generally, including freezing the duty on these fuels in two

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successive budgets and providing funding for the Energy Saving's Trust's Powershift programme which aims to create a sustainable market for alternative fuels.

North West Water

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for the period from 1989 to date those works carried out by North West Water to achieve environmental improvements which were (a) required by statute and (b) undertaken without statutory requirement by the company; and if he will publish the cost benefit information on the works listed in each category. [47540]

Angela Eagle: Government set the statutory framework for water quality standards. The Environment Agency, through its monitoring and enforcement functions, has responsibility for ensuring that the water quality standards set by statute are met. It is for the privatised water companies to determine how those standards are met. In some cases, water companies may elect to exceed statutory requirements. The Director General of Water Services, as financial regulator of the privatised water companies, has responsibility for ensuring that water companies meet both statutory requirements and discretionary improvements in a cost-effective manner.

Information on the works undertaken to meet statutory requirements and discretionary improvements is not held centrally.

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Advanced Driving Instructors

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was the cost to the Driving Standards Agency of tests for advanced driving instructors in each of the last two financial years. [47509]

Ms Glenda Jackson: To qualify as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) it is necessary to pass a driving theory test, a practical test of driving ability and a practical test of instructional ability. Qualified ADIs are then subject to regular check testing of their continued ability to give instruction. The costs for the separate tests for the past two years were as follows:

Theory test232,700158,640
Practical driving and instructional ability tests681,678963,041
Check tests786,9391,332,614

Executive Agencies

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the payments per annum since 1992 to (a) those executive agencies with which his Department has framework contracts and (b) those non-departmental public bodies which are sponsored by his Department. [47455]

Angela Eagle: Net Voted expenditure (in £000s) for the years 1992-93 to 1997-98 by those executive agencies which are currently part of the Department, Transport and the Regions was as follows:

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Name of agency1992-931993-941994-951995-961996-971997-98
Highways Agency----2,115,4651,854,5101,651,5201,555,145
Vehicle Certification Agency(22)-93-96-250-22-44-120
Maritime & Coastguard Agency(23)----79,23883,39388,74783,247
Vehicle Inspectorate(24)111001
Driving Standards Agency(25)1,6291,5401,5671,0509211
Planning Inspectorate21,29625,66123,06524,57921,23822,951
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre6856,9516,5616,1714,7927,484
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency162,617165,226172,095173,345178,342155,041

(22) This Agency was subject to a net running cost control regime and receipts more than offset voted expenditure

(23) Launched on 1 April 1994 as two agencies (Coastguard Agency and Marine Safety Agency). The two agencies were merged on 1 April 1998

(24) The Inspectorate operates as a trading fund and has only a token Vote

(25) The Agency commenced operation as a trading fund with effect from 1 April 1997

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Grant-in-aid (in £000s) paid to non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Department in 1992-93

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to 1996-97, and provision for grant-in-aid for 1997-98, was as follows:

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Name of body1992-931993-941994-951995-961996-971997-98
Housing Corporation2,303,9002,539,9872,098,6931,732,1401,655,3981,476,477
Castle Vale HAT--2,0006,40011,78711,46418,800
Liverpool HAT--16,00013,71517,34020,75018,800
North Hull HAT--26,50027,45017,00017,0002,381
Stonebridge HAT----8502,7505,3209,000
Tower Hamlets HAT--8,6006,90010,0439,80010,000
Waltham Forest HAT--22,00036,65023,16822,53030,100
Black Country UDC59,65052,15040,00023,50020,80020,000
Birmingham Heartlands UDC5,49010,2007,5008,5008,000--
Bristol UDC22,90012,8008,000------
Central Manchester UDC17,2256,5008,8006,125----
Leeds UDC7,7904,7003,591------
London Docklands UDC156,455105,36470,70064,50054,68059,600
Merseyside UDC32,00022,44717,00020,60015,95018,300
Plymouth UDC--7,8588,1399,4507,26411,836
Sheffield UDC13,18512,0009,7008,6007,800--
Teesside UDC40,25537,00030,00028,60028,61728,884
Trafford Park UDC31,60030,60022,70025,13922,100--
Tyne & Wear UDC44,05541,50031,30227,90024,70027,600
Docklands Light Railway84,38328,09129,11037,10020,67032,500
English Partnerships--21,728118,306155,721210,965250,779
Countryside Commission42,60044,35447,19242,21225,43924,093
Rural Development Commission16,80019,96541,20838,79140,80541,464
English Nature38,10038,81940,17740,41939,18638,853
National Forest Company------1,8822,0002,500
UK Eco-labelling Board--676775842986863
National Rivers Authority74,70061,24860,26458,200----
Environment Agency------5,500111,917112,573
Health & Safety Executive/Commission----176,359180,700177,635180,957
Traffic Director for London1,7588,52910,67613,45617,45621,890
London Regional Passenger Committee----459471553523

HAT--Housing Action Trust

UDC--Urban Development Corporation

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29 Jun 1998 : Column: 85

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