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South East England Development Agency

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what environmental objectives have been set for SEEDA. [114397]

Ms Armstrong: The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have a statutory duty to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the UK, where it is relevant to their areas to do so.

The RDAs, including SEEDA, presented their regional strategies to Ministers on 26 October last year. SEEDA's strategy, "Building a World Class Region", contains a chapter on "World Class Environment". This chapter sets out SEEDA's region-wide programme for addressing environmental needs, and contains a set of strategic priorities and objectives.

A copy of SEEDA's strategy is available in the Library of the House.

School Places (West Sussex)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what undertakings he has received from the Department of Education and Employment regarding the provision of additional schools and school places over the next 15 years to cater for the increased housing requirement in West Sussex. [114407]

Mr. Raynsford: We will be consulting SERPLAN and others on the distribution of housing within the region, including for West Sussex, during the forthcoming consultation period. When regional planning guidance for the south-east is finalised later this year it will provide a planning framework which will assist decisions about the

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provision of supporting infrastructure, including the provision of additional schools and school places which are the responsibility of the local education authority. Where an authority can demonstrate growth in the need for school places, it may apply for capital funding.

Housing Green Paper

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to publish his housing green paper. [114427]

Mr. Mullin: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning on 10 March 2000, Official Report, column 832W.

Official Visits Abroad

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list his official visits abroad since May 1997; and what is their total cost. [114383]

Ms Armstrong: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 17 June 1999, Official Report, column 196W. The Government will publish similar information on ministerial visits for the period 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000 later this year.

Council House Sales

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many council house sales have been completed in each of the last 20 years. [114395]

Mr. Mullin: The available information is in the table.

Number of local authority and New Town dwellings sold: England(9)

YearTotal sales
1979-8055,400
1980-8171,500
1981-82132,100
1982-83185,600
1983-84126,000
1984-8595,300
1985-8689,500
1986-8788,800
1987-88116,200
1988-89161,000
1989-90168,500
1990-91127,800
1991-9270,900
1992-9369,600
1993-9484,200
1994-9587,400
1995-9679,100
1996-9757,700
1997-9877,800
1998-99117,800

(9) Includes all sales and transfers, but excludes those from local authorities to Housing Action Trusts and from New Towns to local authorities.

Source:

DETR Housing Activity P1(B) (quarterly) and Housing Investment Programme (annual) returns.


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Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many council houses he estimates will have been sold to tenants in the current financial year. [114396]

Mr. Mullin: Latest information on sales show that nearly 24,000 dwellings were sold into owner-occupation in England during the first six months of 1999-2000. It is not possible to predict accurately how many outstanding applications will be completed in the second half of the year.

Habitation Density

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what density of habitation for housebuilding will result for each region of England from his Policy Statement in response to the Crow report on 7 March. [114405]

Mr. Raynsford: More than half of all new housing in England is built at less than 20 dwellings per hectare. Planning Policy Guidance note 3, "Housing", requires local authorities to avoid such developments which make inefficient use of land and encourages more efficient use of land by developing new housing at 30 to 50 dwellings net per hectare net. PPG3 applies to all planning authorities in England.

Development Statistics

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what balance of brownfield and greenfield development he expects to take place in each of the English regions in the next 15 years as a result of his statement on 7 March. [114412]

Mr. Raynsford: The national target is that by 2008, 60 per cent. of additional housing should be provided on previously developed land or through conversions of existing buildings. Each region should propose, as part of its draft regional planning guidance, its own target to contribute to this national figure. Most have now done so. However, apart from in the south-east and East Anglia, these proposed targets have not yet been tested through the public examination process. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 7 March that the target for the south-east region outside of London should be 60 per cent. London already achieves over 80 per cent. of residential development on recycled land or through conversions, and we expect that to continue. Announcement on the RPG for East Anglia will be made on 20 March.

Housebuilding (South-east)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions to what extent the housebuilding requirement for the south-east of England as set out in his statement on 7 March will differ from that recommended by SERPLAN. [114404]

Mr. Raynsford: Allowing for housing completions between 1991 and 1996, SERPLAN proposed a "baseline provision" of 660,000, with a higher "indicative range" to be provided through the structure plan process of 696,000 to 718,000 additional dwellings in the region outside of London between 1996 and 2016. In London the provision for the same period was 462,000 to 512,000 dwellings, allowing for completions. The Government's proposal

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would be for an annual rate of provision of 43,000 dwellings outside of London and 23,000 within London. That would amount to 860,000 and 460,000 respectively for the same period. However, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister made clear in his announcement on 7 March that we do not believe in fixed 20-year housing requirements. Instead, there will be a more flexible approach with the level of housing provision for the region adjusted in the light of monitoring. Such reviews will take place at least every five years.

Affordable Housing (South-east)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his definition is of affordable housing as applied to the south-east region. [114426]

Mr. Raynsford: For the purposes of planning policy, affordable housing is defined in Circular 6/98 as


Housebuilding (West Sussex)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many new homes will need to be built in West Sussex in (a) the next 15 years and (b) over each of the next five years as a result of his housebuilding policy announcement on 7 March. [114402]

Mr. Raynsford: On 20 March we will be publishing, for consultation, the full details of our proposed changes to regional planning guidance for the South-East. These will include an illustrative breakdown of housing to county areas within the region to achieve the overall level of 43,000 new homes a year outside London announced on 7 March. This will include an annual rate of provision for West Sussex. We will be seeking the views of the local authorities in the region, through SERPLAN, and those of other interested parties, on that distribution.

Housebuilding (Brownfield Sites)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what tax incentives he has recommended to the Chancellor to encourage more housebuilding on brownfield sites. [114403]

Mr. Raynsford: In his Pre-Budget Report, the Chancellor announced that the Government were considering fiscal instruments to support their policies for sustainable urban development. Decisions on taxation are a matter for the Chancellor.


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