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Local Authority Housing

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people have been put on local authority housing waiting lists in London boroughs in each of the last six months. [104363]

Mr. Mullin: Information is not held centrally on the numbers of people joining and leaving local authorities' housing registers/waiting lists.

Beacon Councils

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many beacon councils have reached the Government's target of 25 per cent. recycling; and if he will list (a) the level achieved by each Beacon Council for waste management and (b) the councils not awarded beacon status which have achieved a higher level. [104290]

Mr. Meacher: There is no recycling target which each individual local authority is expected to meet. There is a national goal to recycle or compost 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005 or earlier.

From the data supplied for the 1997-98 Municipal Waste Survey, three authorities chosen as Beacon Councils in the "Sustainable Development: Dealing with Waste" category have recycling rates of 25 per cent. or over:

    Havant Borough Council

    New Forest District Council.

Other non beacon authorities which are achieving 25 per cent. or more, are:

    Chichester District Council

    Chiltern District Council

    Christchurch Borough Council

    East Dorset District Council

    Eastleigh Borough Council

    North Dorset District Council

    Purbeck District Council

    Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

    South Bucks District Council

    Tandridge District Council

12 Jan 2000 : Column: 164W

The remaining Beacon Councils are achieving the following recycling rates:

Between 20 and 25Rushmoor District Council
St. Edmondsbury Borough Council
Test Valley District Council
Between 15 and 20East Hampshire District Council
Fareham District Council
Winchester City Council
Between 10 and 15Basingstoke District Council
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Hart District Council
London Borough of Bexley
Portsmouth City Council
Less than 10London Borough of Hounslow
Southampton City Council
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Wealden District Council


1. Recycling rates are calculated as the quantity of household waste collected for recycling, expressed as a percentage of total household waste. These calculations exclude recycling of building rubble, and make no allowance for home composting.

2. In non-unitary areas, the figures cover amounts collected within the area by both the Waste Collection Authority and the Waste Disposal Authority. In most cases, figures for total household waste (apart from amounts collected for recycling) are taken from returns from Waste Disposal Authorities.

Employment Statistics

Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) men and (b) women in each of the standard age groups were employed in (i) his predecessor departments and English local authorities in 1979 and (ii) his Department and English local authorities in 1999. [104026]

Ms Beverley Hughes: (i) Available records indicate that on 1 January 1979, 26,438 staff were employed in the Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport. Age and gender analysis is not available for that time.

In June 1979, the English Local Authorities employed some 1,813,000 staff. Again, analysis by age and gender is not available.

(ii) On 1 April 1999, 15,520 staff were employed in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, of which 7,794 were men and 7,726 were women. The following is a breakdown into standard age groups for each gender:

50 and over2,7451,768

This information is not available for employees of Local Authorities. On 12 June 1998, the latest date for which figures are available, some 1,360,000 staff were employed within the English Local Authorities. Age and gender analysis of this total is not available.

12 Jan 2000 : Column: 165W


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were registered homeless in London boroughs in each of the last six months. [104362]

Mr. Mullin: Information is published on households accommodated under statutory homelessness provisions in a quarterly Information Bulletin, "Statistics of local authority activities under the homelessness legislation: England". Information on a monthly basis is not collected centrally. Table 2 of the Bulletin presents a quarterly summary by region, including Greater London, of those households accepted as homeless and in priority need under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts.

Copies of the Bulletin are in the Library, and the latest edition, published on 10 December 1999, presents statistics up to the third quarter of 1999.



Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights by United Kingdom and allied aircraft have taken place over Iraq during the last month; and what quantities of missiles were discharged into Iraq during that period. [103640]

Mr. Hoon: RAF aircraft undertook some 200 operational sorties during the period 18 November to 15 December in pursuit of their mission to prevent Saddam's air forces from persecuting the Kurds and Shia Muslims of northern and southern Iraq. Over this period, the RAF dropped six laser-guided bombs over Iraq in response to Iraqi threats.

Insensitive Munitions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on the exploratory talks on insensitive munitions. [104108]

Mr. Kilfoyle: This is a matter for the Chief executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Howe to Mr. Mike Hancock, dated 12 January 2000:

    It is not clear from the question which exploratory talks you have in mind, but if there are any further details you can let me have I will of course be happy to give a full reply. However, I can assure you that it is Ministry of Defence policy to ensure that munitions comply with NATO safety standards. One of these standards is that munitions shall be as insensitive as is practicable but still operate as intended.

12 Jan 2000 : Column: 166W

NATO Defence Capability Initiative

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the British members of the High Level Steering Group of the NATO Defence Capability Initiative and (b) the number of meetings so far which they have attended; and when the Defence Capability Initiative is expected to produce conclusions. [104270]

Mr. Hoon: The UK's representative at the High Level Steering Group is the Director General for International Security Policy (DGISP), who is supported by the Defence Counsellor at the UK Delegation to NATO. DGISP has attended, or been represented at, all four of the Group's meetings to date. It will be some years before the DCI is complete but work is well under way.


Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 December 1999, Official Report, column 260W, if he will list the types of vessels which have undergone the programme to eliminate asbestos from on board; when he expects the programme to be completed; what is the estimated cost; and if he will make a statement. [104349]

Mr. Kilfoyle: The comprehensive programme to eliminate asbestos is in its early stages and is expected to continue over the next 10 years, being undertaken during planned maintenance periods and refits. There are likely to be cases where it may be safer to leave the asbestos in place, undisturbed and sealed for the service life of the vessel. The use of asbestos in Royal Naval vessels is governed by the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987, as amended. Safe alternatives have been fitted wherever practicable since the inception of the Regulations.

It is estimated that the total cost of the programme to eliminate asbestos, wherever practicable, will be about £7.5 million. This includes the cost of replacement stocks.

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