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Departmental Staff

Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list (a) the (i) task forces, (ii) review panels and (iii) advisory groups his Department has, (b) the remit of each and (c) the members of each together with their principal employment and their level of remuneration. [62805]

Ms Glenda Jackson: I have today placed in the Library of the House the information requested for those task forces, review panels and advisory groups set up by my Department since 1 May 1997 and still in existence. The list uses the same definitions as in my answer to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Chidgey) on 30 July 1998, Official Report, columns 430-32.

Water Metering

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate (a) the number of one and two person households which would benefit from water metering and (b) the amounts of saving forgone by them in each of the past two years, for the current year and for next year, distinguishing between (i) pensioner households and (ii) households including a person on income support or housing benefit. [63242]

Mr. Meale: The following estimates are taken from the report "Incidence Effects of Charging for Domestic Water and Sewerage Services" published by my Department in July 1998. This reported the results of modelling work undertaken on behalf of the Department by Maxwell Stamp Plc. Estimates were produced as percentages rather than numbers in groups.

(a) Under the current tariffs of water undertakers, 66 per cent. of single person households, 31 per cent. of couples with no children nad 38 per cent. of single parents with one child would pay less on a measured than an unmeasured basis. No breakdown has been made of these categories into pensioners and persons on income support or benefit. However, 55 per cent. of all pensioner households and 47 per cent. of all households in which one member was in receipt of income-related benefit would pay less on a measured than an unmeasured basis. These estimates assume no consequent reduction in consumption or tariff rebalancing.

Under a move to a measured basis without standing charge, those gaining would be as follows: 79 per cent. of single person households, 32 per cent. of couples with no children, 43 per cent. of single parents with one child,

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63 per cent. of all pensioner households and 54 per cent. of all households in which one member was in receipt of income-related benefit.

(b) Savings figures have not been separately estimated for past or future years. Under current tariffs the distribution of savings for these groups would be as in the following table:

Percentages

Annual Gain£0-50£50-100More than £100
Single adults322113
Couples with no children1876
Single parents with one child2099
Pensioner households291610
Households with a recipient of income-related benefits25139

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to require water supply companies to notify customers of the likely range of metered water charges. [63243]

Mr. Meale: The Government's view is that water undertakers should ensure that all their customers are made fully aware of all the charging options open to them without favouring one solution over another.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to require water supply companies to install meters without charge by December 1999 to one and two person households including a person on income support or housing benefit. [63245]

Mr. Meale: The Government's policy, reflected in the Water Industry Bill, is that domestic consumers presently charged on an unmeasured basis should have the option of requesting a measured basis of charging. However, no household should be compulsorily transferred to a measured basis of charging where they are using water only for essential household use.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if it is his policy to allow landlords of short-term tenants to deny them the benefit of metered charges for water. [63244]

Mr. Meale: Under the present provisions of the Water Industry Act 1991, neither tenants nor any other consumers have a legal right to be charged for water on a measured basis, although water undertakers have powers to install meters and to charge any customer on a measured basis.

We propose that domestic water customers should have the right to move to a measured basis of charging for water, free of any initial costs for meter installation. Consumers benefiting from this right would include tenants who pay their own water charges. The Water Industry Bill provides that any contrary provision of any tenancy agreement which might otherwise prevent the installation of a meter is not to block the exercise of this right by tenants. However, the right would not be afforded to tenants on fixed term tenancies of less than six months. It is the Government's view that such tenants do not have

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a sufficiently long term interest in the basis of charging for water to warrant over-riding any provision in the tenancy agreement.

Marine Targets Sub-group

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the members of the Marine Targets Sub-group. [63237]

Mr. Meale: The members of the Marine Targets Sub-group are:









EU Structural Funds

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the forecast payment from the European Union with regard to the Merseyside Objective I area for (a) 1997-98 and (b) 1998-99; and if he will make a statement. [63153]

Mr. Meale: The payment from the European Union was, for 1997-98, £63.672 million and the forecast payment for 1998-99 was £53.457 million.

The Objective 1 Programme on Merseyside is now close to full commitment and while spend on ERDF, in particular, has been slower than expected this will increase substantially as the Programme draws to a close.

Gatwick Airport

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in which year noise limits were first placed on individual aircraft taking off from Gatwick Airport; and when he expects these limits to be reduced. [63453]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Noise limits on aircraft taking off from Gatwick have applied since 1968. On 24 November 1997 we published a consultation paper proposing lower daytime and night-time noise limits for aircraft departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted and more efficient noise monitoring arrangements. In February 1998 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) submitted an application for leave to apply for judicial review of that consultation paper. The Department subsequently undertook to publish a supplementary consultation paper and IATA withdrew its application for leave to apply for judicial review. We hope to issue the supplementary paper early in the new year. The consultation period will remain open until eight weeks after the supplementary paper is issued. As indicated in the November 1997 consultation paper, if possible the Secretary of State will aim to announce his decision within 3 months of this deadline.

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If the decision is to implement the proposals as set out, or with only relatively minor alterations, the Secretary of State would seek to bring them into effect within not less than 2, and not more than 3, months of the date of the announcement. Comments have been invited on these timescales as well as on the proposals.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is his estimate of (a) the passenger throughput of the Manchester second runway by 2008 and (b) the increase in passenger throughput at Gatwick airport up to 2008. [63458]

Ms Glenda Jackson: My Department publishes national traffic forecasts, the most recent being for the years 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. These forecasts split traffic between the London area and the other United Kingdom airports but the Department does not produce forecasts for individual airports. Manchester Airport has not published detailed forecasts for the period beyond 2005, but I understand that the airport company expects passenger throughput to exceed 30 million by 2008. the standard operating procedure will be for arriving aircraft to use the existing runway and for departing aircraft to use the second runway. BAA's most recent 10 year forecasts for its London airports, published in October, include 39.2 million passengers at Gatwick Airport in 2007-08 and 40.0 million in 2008-09.


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