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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 9 February 2000


Energy Conservation

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what average saving in energy consumption he estimates would be made if new houses were constructed using best available techniques for energy conservation in place of the requirements of current building regulations. [108019]

Ms Beverley Hughes: New dwellings might have an annual energy consumption for space heating and hot water around half that of dwellings built in compliance with current building regulations if built using best available techniques that take account of factors such as capital and running costs, buildability and environmental costs.

A36(T) Wiltshire

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what representations he received (a) from Wiltshire County Council and (b) from named councillors in support of the provision of a pedestrian crossing on the A36(T) at South Newton, Wiltshire; [107640]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 1 February 2000]: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Peter Nutt, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Nutt to Mr. Robert Key, dated 9 February 2000:

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Airline Accidents

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 24 January 2000, Official Report, columns 131-32W, on airline accidents, if new boundaries for public safety zones at airports were defined following the receipt of the advice from NATS Ltd. [108215]

Mr. Mullin: We have accepted NATS' advice that it is feasible to base public safety zone boundaries on risk contours around airports, and NATS are well advanced with the detailed work to redefine the boundaries for us on this basis. We hope to bring the new boundaries into effect, together with guidance to local planning authorities, in the spring.

Open Skies

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had concerning the Open Skies policy in relation to regional airports in England and Wales during (a) this parliamentary session and (b) the last parliamentary session. [108634]

Mr. Mullin: In June 1998 we offered to bilateral partners with whom we did not already have liberal agreements unrestricted third/fourth freedom access to all UK regional airports, as long as UK airlines were also allowed to operate on the same routes. Some 17 countries have accepted the offer and it has been discussed in virtually all air services negotiations held since June 1998.


Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the proposals to be put forward by (a) Japan, (b) Norway and (c) other states on whales and whaling to the forthcoming meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, indicating the position of Her Majesty's Government in relation to these proposals. [108492]

Mr. Meacher: Japan and Norway have put forward four proposals to downlist whale populations to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). These are the North-east Atlantic and North Atlantic Central, the West Pacific and Southern Hemisphere stocks of Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and the Eastern North Pacific stocks of Grey whales (Eshrichtuis robustus.) We have already made clear to both countries our opposition to these proposals on the grounds that they would undermine the moratorium on commercial whaling under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). This position was endorsed by the majority of EU member states at a recent informal meeting of EU experts.

The meeting of experts, which acts as a precursor to the formation of a common EU position through the Council of Ministers, also considered three resolutions concerning the relationship between CITES and the International Whaling Commission (IWC). There are two

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competing resolutions: one from Japan, that seeks to weaken the primacy of the IWC in the field of managing and conserving whale stocks; and one from the United States, which underscores existing arrangements. In addition there is a simple consolidation of all extant CITES resolutions on whaling proposed by the CITES Secretariat. The majority of member states agreed that the EU should seek the withdrawal of the US and Japanese proposals in favour of the simple consolidation of resolutions which will preserve the existing arrangements between the two Conventions.

School Crossing Patrols

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the latest available figures are for the number of designated school crossing patrols in (a) England and Wales in total and (b) each London borough; and how many of these designated school crossing patrols have vacant positions in (i) England and Wales and (ii) each London borough. [108676]

Mr. Hill: The figures requested are not collected.

Major Road Schemes

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many major road schemes were (a) accepted, (b) provisionally accepted, (c) deferred and (d) rejected in each English region in the local transport settlement 2000-01. [108721]

Mr. Hill: The information is given in the following table:

RegionAcceptedProvisionally acceptedDeferredRejectedTotal
South East01539
South West10225
West Midlands206311
North West01405
North East10203
Yorks and Humber02619
East Midlands21418
East of England25119

The table refers to the 59 bids which are either being funded as major road schemes or were identified as being wholly roads-based. A further 14 major schemes put forward contain significant road schemes as part of an integrated strategy including public transport and related works.

Housing (Domestic Violence)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will issue guidance to local authorities on allowing housing in cases where a woman has left the area in which she was living as a result of domestic violence and has moved to a different authority area; and if he will make a statement. [108727]

Mr. Mullin: People who are fleeing domestic violence are regarded as homeless by virtue of sections 175 and 177 of the Housing Act 1996. Authorities should consider whether applicants are vulnerable as a result of having suffered violence or abuse from a person with whom they

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are associated. If so, they will have a priority need for accommodation. When discharging their duties under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996, authorities must have regard to how suitable the location of that accommodation is. Threats of violence would clearly be a factor in their decision making.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions revised draft Code of Guidance on the Allocation of Accommodation and Homelessness, due to be published in the Spring, gives clear messages to local authorities about the approach they might take where women need to leave their home because of domestic violence. It also encourages authorities to refer to the voluntary Inter-Borough Agreement on out-of-area- placements of homeless households in the private rented sector, which has been agreed between member authorities of the Association of London Government. This sets out a framework for co-operation and consultation between member authorities. Although this addresses the particular context of London, the principle and policies advocated apply equally across all areas where there is a need for out-of-area placement.

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