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Pubs (Business Rates)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will issue guidance on the application of the powers to reduce business rates to 50 per cent. on public houses. [95634]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The village shop rate relief scheme gives billing authorities a discretionary power to grant up to 100 per cent. rates relief to any business in a listed rural settlement, provided the rateable value of the property occupied is less than £10,000 and, in the view of the authority, is used for purposes which are of benefit to the local community. The legislation does not rule out any business or premises from receiving relief, and public houses might therefore qualify.

Guidance on the village shop rate relief scheme and eligibility for discretionary relief was issued to all billing authorities on 12 December 1997.

Leasehold Tenure

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to announce plans to reform leasehold tenure; and if he will make a statement. [95915]

Mr. Mullin: We have almost completed our analysis of the responses received to our consultation paper on residential leasehold reform, and will announce our conclusions shortly.

Building Regulations

Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects the Electrical Wiring Regulations set out in Building Standard BS 7671 to be incorporated into the building regulations. [95263]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My Department has been working with the Building Regulations Advisory Committee and others to develop proposals for

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amendments to the Building Regulations that would introduce requirements for electrical safety in dwellings. The draft proposals indicate that following the recommendations in the British Standard BS 7671 would be a way of achieving compliance. The Building Act 1984 requires consultation with interested bodies before substantive amendments are made to the Building Regulations. I intend to announce consultation on these proposals once I am satisfied that they meet our better regulation criteria. Whether and when amendments are made will depend upon the outcome of this consultation. Electrical safety requirements for buildings other than dwellings are already made in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what contingency plans are in place for visitors to travel to the Millennium Dome in the event that the Jubilee Line extension is not fully operable by 1 January 2000. [95807]

Mr. Hill: The Government expects that the whole of the Jubilee Line extension will be up and running from end-to-end in time for the opening of the Millennium Experience and hope that all stations will be open by the end of this year. A 15 train per hour Monday to Friday service is already operating to North Greenwich station through the Stratford to Waterloo section of the line. This is expected to be increased to 24 trains per hour seven days a week when through running from Stanmore to Stratford is successfully achieved in due course. Visitors to the Dome will therefore be able to travel on the Jubilee Line, even if access to the line is not possible from all of the stations at the end of the year.

It had, however, been decided in June 1998 that it would be irresponsible not to have contingency arrangements in place to manage problems on any of the main transport links to the Millennium Dome during the Millennium Year. London Underground Ltd. have therefore, in association with London's other transport operators, developed plans to cover a wide range of possible scenarios and a robust command and control strategy to direct those plans should they need to be invoked.

In the event of disruption, contingency provision will be made available through a combination of spare capacity on the other available public transport links to the Dome and a small number of additional buses and boats that have been contracted to be made available at short notice. A summary of the contingency plan arrangements has been placed in the Library of the House.

Dogs (Identification)

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what legislation exists to require dogs to be identified; and if he will make a statement. [95665]

Mr. Hill: The Control of Dogs Order 1992 made under the Animal Health Act 1981 requires every dog (with some exceptions) while in a highway or in a place of public resort to wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a place or badge attached to it. My Department has set up a Dog

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Identification Working Group to reflect a consensus view on all the available options for dog identification. They will be producing a report in due course. No decisions will be taken until we have fully considered the report.

Recycling

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the EU measures relating to recycling which apply in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the UK's performance in respect of such measures. [95562]

Mr. Mullin: Currently only the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/EC) imposes recovery and recycling targets for the UK. The Directive requires Member States to recover 50 per cent. of all packaging materials by 2001, of which half must be recycled.

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 implement part of the Directive in the UK. In 1998, according to returns to the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency--the bodies responsible for monitoring compliance with the Regulations--UK business exceeded their recovery obligation of 2,393,327 tonnes, with a total of 3,322,715 tonnes, with 2,874,316 tonnes having been recycled.

Plants (EU Transportation)

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what (a) guidelines and (b) legislation applies to the application of fees for transporting certain types of plants across EU borders; what the (i) cost and (ii) purpose of licences for such transportation is; what plans he has to make representations to the EU on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [95728]

Mr. Mullin: EU Wildlife Trade Regulations 338-97 and 939-97, implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), contain provisions for the control of trade and movement of listed species of endangered animals and plants. The controls apply to imports and exports across the external frontier. Member states may set fees for issuing the relevant import and export permits. Under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Fees) Regulations 1997 the current fee for import and export permits for plants issued by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is £7 per genus. There is a reduction to £5 per genus for non commercial consignments and for consignments of 5 or more genera.

Within the European Union there are controls on the sale (including movement for sale) and purchase of the most endangered category of plants listed in Annex A of Council Regulation 338-97. Such activities may be subject to the issue of a certificate from my Department although no fee is charged. Detailed guidance is available on demand to all applicants for CITES permits or certificates.

Domestic Electrical Installations

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he

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has to require domestic electrical installations to conform to a national minimum standard; and if he will make a statement. [95572]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My Department has been working with the Building Regulations Advisory Committee and others to develop proposals for amendments to the Building Regulations that would introduce requirements for electrical safety in dwellings. The draft proposals include the publication of approved guidance indicating that following the recommendations in British Standard BS 7671, "Requirements for Electrical Installations" would be a way of achieving compliance. I will announce consultation on these proposals once I am satisfied that they meet our better regulation criteria. Whether to amend the Building Regulations will depend upon the results of this consultation.

Draft Waste Strategy

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to amend the draft waste strategy; what representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [95563]

Mr. Mullin: The Government published for consultation its draft waste strategy for England and Wales, "A Way With Waste", on 30 June 1999. We have received over 500 substantive submissions from a wide range of interested parties, and around 20,000 postcards urging higher recycling targets from members of the public. These views will be taken into consideration as we develop the final strategy.

The final version of our sustainable waste management strategy--which we will publish early next year--will be a long-term strategy for handling the waste generated by businesses, service providers and households. The Government is committed to introducing and promoting sustainable waste management across the UK. This means using materials resources efficiently, to cut down on the amount of waste we produce. And where waste is produced, dealing with it in a way that actively contributes to the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development.


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